Baptism in Aberdeen

Baptism in Aberdeen

Aberdeen, ScotlandJanice Savizon

Sabbath the 27th of April was a day of celebration in Aberdeen church when the congregation witnessed the baptism of two candidates, Lina Navikiene and Sean Savizon. Each approached the baptistry from different directions reflecting on journeys that brought them to this point of their lives, journeys filled with emotions, difficulty, and gratitude.

Giving their individual testimonies before being immersed, Lina and Sean relayed how they arrived at their decisions to be baptised. Lina, originally from Lithuania, came to know of Adventism through a friend who lives abroad. At that time she had lived in Scotland for 21 years, yet Lina felt that there was no one she could speak to about her traumatic history. So she reached out to her friend, who in their conversation, told Lina that the only way to find peace was not to rely on anyone but on God alone. Her friend then informed her to find the Seventh-day Adventist Church. This she did with Google maps, but COVID was prevalent then so the church in Aberdeen was closed due to the restrictions.

Lina was anxious for the church to reopen but knew she had to be patient. Eventually, when the restrictions were lifted, Lina found herself at the church early one Sabbath morning. She was met by Elder Manuel who took on the task of helping Lina with delivering bible studies online, later assisted by Pastor Weiers Coester. Using her Lithuanian bible to study along with the readings of Ellen G White, Lina could not wait for her baptism which was witnessed by her sister and fiancé. In order to attend church regularly, she wrote a letter to her work supervisor asking for every Saturday off. This she was granted her request allowing Lina to be free to worship with her congregation.

Sean, who was brought up in an Adventist home, had his first baptism at the age of 16 at Aberdeen church. He became involved in church activities with his peers and later was selected to be the youth leader.  However, situations that were challenging within the church lead to his discouragement, so Sean decided to leave, not only the church but also the city of Aberdeen. He moved to Glasgow where he met up with some old acquaintances and also made new friends. Unfortunately, while there Sean got involved in worldly activities and ways yet, he testified that his belief in God did not wane.

Though in a good job in Glasgow, circumstances beyond his control meant that he had to move back to his parent’s home in Aberdeenshire. But Sean was still dwelling on his past experiences with the Aberdeen church so did not go back straight away. However, after some conversations with his mother about the changes at the church post COVID, Sean began to visit again and became integrated despite the absence of most of his peers. Recently, Sean thought to study the book of Daniel assisted with a book he received from his father. Upon reading and studying, Sean felt the need to recommit his life to Christ. His testimony was both honest and tearful, a reflection of his past experiences while at the church.

Sean’s family and friends were present to see his baptism, coming from near and far. One of Sean’s friends who had travelled up from Edinburgh for the event. No being an Adventist he said that the service was ‘one of the best church programmes’ he had ever been to. While in Aberdeen, he studied with Sean, and they discussed his questions about Sean’s beliefs.

Before immersing the candidates, Pastor Coetser spoke on entering the way of wisdom and asked where the journey to baptism begins. He later expounded that this event of baptism is not to be seen as an end of a journey, but the beginning. He compared the time of baptism to reaching the peak of a mountain. Spiritually at the peak, there will be yet more mountainous peaks to get over as life continues. Reading from Proverbs 3, Pastor Coetser emphasised for the candidates to keep God’s teachings in their hearts and to submit to him in all their ways.

Both Lina and Sean are members of the Aberdeen church choir and have now become newly cherished members of the Aberdeen Church. At the end of the service, instead of everyone leaving the sanctuary in the usual manner, each person passed by the front of the sanctuary and shook the hands of Lina and Sean to welcome them to the church family.

In conclusion, Pastor Coester showed appreciation to the congregation for seeing people for who they are and in celebration of their lives. The way we build them up and find what we need to give each other in support so we can grow together. It is hoped that as God blesses the Aberdeen church that Lina and Sean would continue to glean from that blessing and find solace and peace enabling them to reach their full potentials as God intends.

A short video capturing highlights of the event was published on the Aberdeen Church

(A short video/reel was published on the Aberdeen church's social media).