By Libby Hopkins

To profess ones love for Jesus Christ in public is a powerful message. It not only shows your family and friends how much you love the Lord, it also shows complete strangers as well. At times, your profession may even inspire others to join you in your walk with the Lord. This past August 25, members of FishHawk Fellowship Church (FHFC) in Lithia, traveled to E. G. Simmons Park in Ruskin to be baptized at the beach. This is the third year the church has held this event and each year, more and more people want to be baptized. Steve Block is a member of the congregation at FHFC and when he was in junior high school, he gave his life to Christ, but he was not fully baptized. He says it was more of a “sprinkle” rather than an actual submersion. “For the past year, I’ve been coming closer to Christ and it has been on my heart to go through and be fully submerged and have a real baptism,” Block said. “I want to re-dedicate my life to Jesus Christ.”

Bob Magruder is the Discipleship Pastor at the church and he feels that the beach baptism gives people the opportunity to be baptized in nature rather than being baptized in a church setting. “We’ve seen a lot of excitement among the families who are baptized at the beach because it shows their friends and loved ones that the old person is gone and the new person has come to life through the grace of a relationship with Jesus Christ,” Magruder said. He hopes that the families who come to the beach have a good time and experience what it’s really like to follow Jesus Christ.

Pastor David Whitten is the Senior Pastor at FHFC and he loves seeing more of his congregation wanting to be baptized at the beach. “I love it and anytime we get someone to take a public step in their affirmation of faith, that’s a great thing,” Whitten said. “It becomes more than just a baptism; it’s strengthening their relationship with Christ.” For more information on FishHawk Fellowship Church and the different ministries offered at the church, you can visit the church’s website at or call 655-7431. The church is located at 15326 FishHawk Blvd. in Lithia.


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Libby Hopkins has been a part of the Brandon community for more than 30 years. She is a graduate of USF with a degree in journalism. She has been a freelance writer for The Osprey Observer Newspaper since 2008. She also the Executive Director of Center Place Fine Arts and Civic Association. She is a dog mom to her rescue dog, Marshall. She loves being a part of the Brandon Community and she loves sharing positive news about our community.