Many are the favorable remarks heard during and after a baptismal service conducted in the Big Tent Studio of the Voice of Prophecy evangelistic group, for everything is so carefully planned that it is a most impressive and solemn, yet joyful, occasion, which leaves a beautiful picture in the minds of all who witness it.
The nightly lectures of the Pictured Truth Bible class, which culminate in the Friday evening baptismal instruction, together with prayer-room calls in the main auditorium, focus attention upon the previously announced baptismal night. Either on, or just before, this night, the evangelist meets with the entire group of candidates in the Pictured Truth tent, with several hundred others "listening in." The fact is emphasized that we are "reformers," with a message of reform. Our message includes prophetic reform, quarterly-service and ordinance reform, social reform, financial reform, Sabbath reform, health reform, and dress reform. The Spirit of prophecy is the great binder and edifier in the world-wide church.
There must be, of course, most careful personal instruction. We visit with each candidate in his own home, using a two-leaved baptismal covenant, in which are the various points of testing truths. This covenant must be signed by each candidate before he is accepted into the baptismal class. After the solemn rite of baptism, the covenant is handed back to the one baptized, with the information on the back regarding where and when his baptism took place, by whom administered, and into which church he has been received.
The organization of the baptismal night is planned in detail, so that everything will proceed smoothly and without excitement, yet with dispatch. The baptismal tank (4 feet wide, 472 feet deep, To feet long), located immediately behind the choir loft, has been filled with warm water. A sliding door (3 feet high and 8 feet long), cut in the rear wall of the platform, is pushed back, so that the entire setting is plainly visible from all parts of the main auditorium. The choir chairs and the pulpit desk are removed, and the choir is lined up in two rows at the sides. A beautiful river scene forms a pictorial background on the rear wall.
We have individual booths for the candidates, in each of which is placed a robe of suitable size and a chair. The name of the candidate is pinned on the outside of the booth, so that he may find his place without assistance if necessary. The booths for the women are in the choir room, and those for the men are in the opposite prayer room. The booths are made by pinning unbleached muslin on two parallel wires running along the two sides of the tent. Each sheet forms an "L," and the next sheet, forming a similar "L," makes the side partition wall and front of the next booth, etc. A long piece of muslin is pinned diagonally across the choir room and the prayer room, and this makes the whole booth compartment quite private, and provides another room for the candidates when they all assemble a little later. (See Diagram III.)
The evangelist gives final instructions and offers prayer, and then walks down into the water, while the candidates are seated in the prayer room in alphabetical order. The sliding door is removed, the baptismal floodlights are turned on, and the auditorium lights are turned off simultaneously. A microphone placed above and out of sight carries the evangelist's voice to all points of the auditorium. The associate assists the candidate into the water, and supplies the evangelist with a clean handkerchief and the name of the candidate. With the beautiful painting of the mountain, lake, and trees, as a background, the entire ceremony forms an unforgettable scene.
Howard A. Curran. [Associate Evangelist.]