Say a prayer for Mike as he gets baptised in Ellesmere's freezing cold Mere - with pictures and video
It was near freezing and snow was on the horizon, but Mike Ford donned his swimming cap and shorts and plunged into Ellesmere's icy mere to be baptised today.
And having decided just hours earlier, local barber Ellen Bridgwood, 39, joined Mike and took the plunge in the fully immersed baptism.
The service at the Cellar Church in Ellesmere began at 10am before the walk to the mere.
The service was taken by the pastor of the church, Phil Wright.
Pastor Wright, along with Jamie Eccleston, dressed in waders while they prepared to baptise the pair.
About 30 people turned out to watch the baptisms, armed with blankets and flasks of hot drinks.
Pastor Wright said it was the first time he had ever baptised anybody in the mere.
"We've heard that Mike has come to know the Lord before Christmas," he said.
"We should be absolutely thrilled with what we are doing here with both Mike and Ellen."
Mike and Ellen in turn were fully submerged into the freezing water, facing the crowds, and came up gasping for breath from the temperature.
Songs were sung as of them was baptised in the shallow water.
Mike said he decided to commit to God last summer and wanted to be baptised as soon as he could.
"It was freezing, when I went under it was a bit of a shock but it was invigorating.
"The water was so cold it took my breath away, but it was excellent.
"I feel like a new man now, this will be a new start for me."
Ellen added: "With everything that's going on it just feels right to let God into my life now.
"The water was freezing but it was so refreshing."
Mike, who moved to the town with his wife about 10 years ago, said the Mere was, for him, a focal point in the community and his life.
He said: "When I was young I was not interested in Christianity, then I met my wife who was a practising Christian. As the children grew up we went to events in church and I become more and more involved.
"But it wasn't until I went to a Christian weekend away, that I realised I wanted to commit fully.
"The weekend included camping, music and beer. Then, during a service when we were asked about our calling to Jesus I found myself walking up to the front, just as the rain stopped and a shaft of light shone in through the top of the big top. It was a very special moment."
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