GRAND FORKS, ND (April 8, 2015) — Most of the 35 people who were baptized during Hope Evangelical Covenant Church’s Easter worship service hadn’t planned on doing so but were moved to respond to Pastor Paul Knight’s invitation.
Only eight people had signed up ahead of time, but the people—many of whom don’t regularly attend the church—kept coming following the invitation. “Some of them were dressed up so we baptized them in their Sunday best,” Knight said, laughing.
Though he laughed about it today, he fought back tears throughout Sunday morning, first as 83 people laid white roses at the foot of a cross on the stage as a public sign that they had accepted the invitation to commit or recommit their lives to Jesus. And then as some of the attendees sought to be baptized.
It was the second year that the church, which has a regular attendance of 1,000 on Sunday mornings and meets at a mall it recently purchased, held the Easter service at North Dakota University’s Chester Fritz Auditorium. Some 2,300 people attended.
“One woman had been praying for her husband for years. He doesn’t normally come to church but he came down on Sunday to accept Christ and then said he wanted to be baptized,” Knight said. “It was a pretty powerful moment.”
Some of the people who came forward to be baptized were told that since they already had been as believers, they didn’t need to do it again.