Ordinary Miracles

From Ordinary Miracles, Chapter 1:

Father Lincoln Stelk held out his hands and took the baby and upended him three times into the water. The boy howled. "That's right," Stelk called out triumphantly. "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

The priest turned to the congregation. He raised the blinking boy, now quiet, to his shoulder. Elation shone on Stelk's face. "People of St. Mary's, meet your new son," he cried. Then he stepped down into the aisel and paraded the boy to the back of the small church. Applause from the pews cascaded over them. People craned to see. Stelk turned at the door, where the Stars and Stripes and the Episcopal Church flag hung, and marched back up the aisle in exuberant procession. The boy looked from face to face with bright-eyed curiosity.

That was how Stelk began the second quarter-century of his priesthood.

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Excerpt: Father Lincoln Stelk conveys the joy of a baptism in the opening passage from this account of two years in the life of a small church and its congregation.