My Only Baptism

by Harold Loder

In March of 1937, while still at the United Church residence on Long's Hill, St. John’s, I began sending applications to school boards in such places as Baileys Cove, Summerville, Charlottetown, Musgravetown, Norris Arm, Heatherton, and as far north as there were schools.

However, it was not until about August 27th, that I received a telegram advising me that I was accepted for a school at Herring Neck, to teach for five months from September to January inclusive, at Too Good Arm and for five months, from February to June inclusive, at Merritt’s Harbour.

During my first or second week at Too Good Arm, I was walking home one evening when I noticed a gentleman standing by the side of the road. As I approached, he moved toward me and said, “Are you the schoolteacher?”. I felt worried and wondered to myself, “What on earth have I done wrong now?”.

I soon learned that the man had come to ask me if I would go along with him to his home and baptize his infant baby, who was ill and might not live long. Their minister was away from the place for a few days. I hesitated, as I had never baptized a child, and I asked him for a few minutes to think it over.

I went home and told my boarding mistress about the situation. She quickly reassured me, adding that she had baptized many babies during her lifetime, and she had proper procedures at hand for one to follow.

Without delay, I joined the man who was waiting for me outside and we were soon on our way to his home, a distance of about 2 miles. We went first by boat, then about a mile on foot, and by boat again. Finally, we arrived at the home, and with God's blessing (I hope!), I baptized the child.

Strangely enough, even though I conducted church services on many occasions over the years and sometimes superintended Sunday school, I was never again asked to perform a baptism.

(Reprinted with permission from the RTANL)