National Star Student baptised in aqua therapy pool
When Alex Smith found the faith he wanted to join he wasn’t going to let his disability get in the way.
Alex has spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic condition that makes his muscles weaker and causes problems with movement.
The 19-year-old is a sports student at National Star. He wanted to be baptised and immersed in water. The challenge was that Alex needs support to transfer from his power wheelchair. Due to his disability Alex would need a hoist and specialist support to access a pool.
‘Often if a person who has disabilities wants to be baptised the only way to do it is by covering the wheelchair with plastic protection and pouring water over his head,’ said Polly White, Multi-faith Support Worker and Physiotherapist at National Star.
‘But wheelchairs are expensive and Alex wanted to be immersed in water.’
Alex worked with Polly and other members of National Star and he was baptised in our aqua therapy pool, watched by family and friends.
Ollie Bennett, Pastor of Kingfisher Church in Gloucester where Alex attends, carried out the baptism and admits it was the first one he had ever done one in an aqua therapy pool.
‘Alex was determined to be baptised in water and it has been a real privilege to be part of this special service,’ said Pastor Bennett.
Alex, who grew up in Plymouth, wrote a speech which he read at the poolside before the short service.
‘God came to me in my time of need when I felt angry and couldn’t express myself in a way that I found appropriate,’ said Alex. ‘I love coming to church as it is my favourite part of the week. I have been so excited about this service.’
Using a hoist, physiotherapists Polly White and Hattie Neave helped Alex in the aqua therapy pool and supported him during the service.