Sunderland schoolgirl takes part in rare sea baptism in South Shields

A schoolgirl made waves as she took part in a rare sea baptism in South Shields.

Gabriela Machicado, 12, was submerged in the sea during a ceremony watched by dozens of friends and fellow churchgoers.

Gabriela Machicado was baptised by South Shields Seventh Day Adventist Church Pastor Peter Jeynes.

Gabriela Machicado was baptised by South Shields Seventh Day Adventist Church Pastor Peter Jeynes.

Pastor Peter Jeynes dropped Gabriela beneath the waves for a split second before plucking her from thigh-high deep water.

Gabriela, of Hendon, Sunderland, and Peter are members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in South Shields.

It was the first time in 35 years that Peter had performed such a service, and thought to be just the second time in 40 years it had been done off the coast of South Shields.

Among those at the ceremony were Gabriela’s proud parents Freddy, also a member of the South Shields church, who is from Bolivia, and Eileen, a student from Belgium.

We had a perfect day with great weather, and it’s something we’ll all remember forever

Freddy Machicado

Freddy said: “Gabriela wanted to be baptised because she said it was the right time for her.

“She was very happy about it and wanted to do it this way.

“She says that she wants to give her life to Jesus and is following Jesus’ instructions.

“We had a perfect day with great weather, and it’s something we’ll all remember forever.”

Gabriela Machicado was baptised by South Shields Seventh Day Adventist Church Pastor Peter Jeynes.

Gabriela Machicado was baptised by South Shields Seventh Day Adventist Church Pastor Peter Jeynes.

Eileeen said: “Gabriela chose this method herself, and I think it was a nice way to remember how Jesus was baptised.

“It isn’t in an artificial pool, but outside in natural water.

“I think it’s a brilliant thing and she was very excited about it.”

Gabriela was wearing a white Alb, a garment worn by Church of England priests and servers.

Ahead of the service, Peter carried out a trial run and spoke to South Tyneside coastguards to ensure it was safe.

The ceremony took place close to the Sanddancer pub on Sandhaven Beach.

Among those presents were members of the South Shields church, based on Westoe Avenue, and those in Newcastle and Middlesbrough.

Peter said: “This kind of baptism, baptism by emersion, is not actually that unusual, although it is a first for me out of about 60 others that I’ve done.

“It is not just the sign of the cross on the head, it’s whole body immersion.

“The Bible teaches it, and so people want to do it.”