As the “designated” photographer for our Annual Session events, I have the fabulous privilege of capturing the “moments” that highlight the essence of our gatherings. And each “moment” is significant in and of itself for that one particular snapshot in time. So it is hard for me as a photographer to make qualitative comparisons between photographs because each represents its own unique context. That said, I would like to lift up one moment during our 2016 Pastors’ Academy and Annual Session weekend of celebrations as perhaps a moment that inspired and moved me most in a solitary way. It was one of the candidates during the ocean baptisms. Ed Borkowski is a member of FBC of Ledgewood, where the Rev. David Holwick is pastor. He is sickly and disabled, and had to be transported by wheelchair from the plenary hall to the boardwalk, and then onto a 4-wheel dune buggy that took him to the edge of the ocean surf. Since he was so frail, weak and heavy set, everybody saw that it was just going to be difficult for him to get immersed. It was suggested that he just stay in the wheelchair and have water be poured on him. But he insisted on “doing it the right way” and wanted to get in the water. It turns out that Ed became seriously ill last year with a brain aneurysm which put him in the ICU for 99 days, followed by an additional 200 days in rehabilitation. Ed’s wife has been attending FBC Ledgewood and pastor Holwick visited him in the hospital. A friendship emerged from those visits, and Ed expressed the desire to visit FBC Ledgewood when he became able. He began attending church and loved it. Surviving his near-death experience led Ed to feel that he was physically reborn. He now wanted the same experience for his soul. When he found about the ocean baptism at Annual Session, he wanted to be part of it! And so with the help of pastors Pete Ely, Joe Gratzel, David Holwick, and Camp Lebanon staff Donald Smith and Hilary Gierman, Ed was taken to the edge of the water. Him having to bend low enough to get in the water seemed impossible. But as he was lowered into the water gingerly, a wave of surf came and crashed over the group immersing all of them. It appeared to me that the Holy Spirit completed the task for Ed. The sight of those men taking him - arm in arm - in and out of the water was inspiring and a truly powerful witness!
[gallery type="slideshow" size="large" ids="12497,12498,12501"]