Easter Monday saw 10-ft high waves crashing on beaches at the UK seaside resort of Brighton, but this did not deter an idiotic bunch of evangelical Christians who gathered on a section of the beach to baptise several children.
They had reportedly come to Brighton from outside Sussex and clearly had no idea of how treacherous the conditions were on Monday.
According to the Argus, lifeguards had to step in to warn the group not to dunk participants in the water and keep children away from the water’s edge during the ceremony near Black Rock, fearing it could have ended in a tragedy.
Brighton and Hove City Council’s seafront manager Chris Ingall said:
Once you go in you aren’t coming out of that sea on days like Monday. It is completely unforgiving and very difficult to get out of the water.
Seafront officers and Brighton lifeboat station were made aware of the potentially deadly situation at about midday on Monday.
We were out on patrols and one of my colleagues spotted them on a very dangerous bit of beach at Black Rock. These ceremonies do happen fairly regularly, but when people come down here from further away without any understanding of the dangers on the beach they do put themselves at risk.
Even I would have been uncomfortable going in the water in a wet suit and with 30 years experience in those conditions. It’s a scary concept. There were people of all ages including children.
We were very fortunate that this didn’t develop into a much more serious situation. We got them to move up the beach and further out of the water and stopped them from dunking right in the water.
Witnesses described seeing at least three children baptised during the ceremony.
Photographer James Taylor watched the group for about half an hour. He said:
You could see the kids were clinging on to him [the pastor]. They were clearly really scared.
The first thing I saw as I came along the beach was a big group of people in white robes, so I went to have a closer look.
There was some really fanatical behaviour – ladies talking in tongues and then people wading into the water to be baptised.
Hat tip: Peter Sykes