A few weeks ago, Andy Szatkowski, a Villa Rica High School defensive coordinator, and 18 football players were baptized in a makeshift tub placed on the school’s football field. The baptisms were led by Kevin Williams who is the senior pastor at First Baptist Church Villa Rica. The church posted a video on YouTube (which they then took down afterwards), after it gained viral attention and brought threats from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
In a twenty minute interview with WXIA-TV, Pastor Williams offered a deeper explanation. Andy Szatkowski and several of the players came and made first-time professions of faith in Christ on Sunday, August 9. When Andy was asked about following in baptism, he made the request to have it on the football field because of his “love for the game.” Pastor Williams, agreed but wanted to ensure they “followed the rules.”
Pastor Williams said “In that baptism, if you see the video, there’s African-American kids, there’s white kids, there’s Hispanic kids. And they’re all jumping up and embracing each other and everybody’s clapping and applauding.” He continued by saying that in their small 20,000 member community outside of Atlanta, they’ve experienced much tragedy recently: one football player and two middle-schoolers committed suicide, one student died from an asthma attack, and another drowned. Pastor Williams said the baptism event was encouraging and much needed “good stuff” — offering much needed healing in an area torn by racial tension. It was encouraging to see so many people from different cultures hugging, crying, and banding together.
Our country could use some more of this, don’t you agree? Here is Pastor William’s full interview with WXIA-AM: