Hike commemorates 175th anniversary of First Baptism in Ireland

Hike commemorates 175th anniversary of First Baptism in Ireland

Twenty young men and leaders from Belfast, Northern Ireland followed the route taken by Elder John Taylor in 1840 as they took part in a walk to commemorate the175th anniversary of the first LDS baptism in Ireland on July 31st 1840.

During a short opening devotional at Albert Basin in Newry, some of the history of the event was shared, courtesy of the Church History department. The group then made their way to Newry Court House where John Taylor preached the first LDS sermon in Ireland on 28th July 1840. As at other stops along the way a short church history vignette was shared, to recount a story from 1840.

The youth and leaders embarked on the 11 mile hike to Loughbrickland, following the trip that John Taylor, William Black and Thomas Tait had taken on their journey from Newry to Lisburn.  Just like those early missionaries, after a 5 hour walk, they came over the brow of a hill and saw the lake directly in front of them. It was in this lake that Elder Taylor baptised Thomas Tait, the first person to be baptised in Ireland. At the loughside, the group met in the same field where, in 1985, Elder Neal A Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles dedicated Ireland for the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In return for her kindness in allowing the group to use the field at Henning Farm, the young men carried out a service project for the owner Ms Heather Henning.  They refurbished sheep pens used to house the sheep in the field.  They pulled off old roofs and replaced them with new waterproof roofs, repaired old timber wall panels, pulled out overgrown weeds and nettles and painted the pens.

After the service project and a much needed dinner, a commémoration devotional was held with Heather Henning as their guest.  More of the history from the day was shared, and full time missionaries taught the young men about preparing for missionary service. The Belfast Stake President, President James McCrudden shared and discussed the dedicatory prayer.  A re-enactment of the first baptism was held and James Crawford of Bangor 1st Ward was baptised by Lee Brussard from Coleraine Branch.

Stake Young Men's President, Ben Noble remarked, 'As the young men embarked in the footsteps of those early missionaries, learnt the history of the church in their land and served a friend of the church they became better prepared for their future missionary service.'