Joy and Judah’s Baptism



Testimony from Lawrence and Jemma

Many of  you will know that Jemma and I have been together as a couple for 23 years. We have  grown up together and our relationship has been the greatest gift God has given us. There have been ups and downs along the way. Having a family together was one of the difficult things we faced. It took us many years, much heart ache, emptiness and loss until we had our dear daughter Hope, and we had further losses before we had Joy and Judah.

As we see Hope growing and thriving we thank God for the assurance found in his promises that he knows the plans he has for us and we pray will carry his hope wherever she goes.

When we hold Joy we thank God for his love that sustains and strengthens us and we pray she will carry this joy to all she meets.,

When we hold Judah we lift up our praises to Jesus and thank him for his grace, mercy and new beginnings. We pray that Judah will lead others to praise him too.

When Jemma and I walked intthis church we were broken and lost. We found a place of safety. There are people gathered here today who have loved us through it all and continue to point to the source of all hope and love in their lives. Jesus is at the root of all things but his people help so much to see how alive and active he is.

Someone here once said that they had felt God was going to pick up every part of our shattered lives and make a beautiful mosaic like nothing we could have imagined.

Today we stand in the midst of beauty and blessing, but the existence of Jesus that is rooted is suffering. In our darkest moments God has shone brighter He gives us peace in turmoil, joy through our tears, strength when all ours has gone. Jesus Christ is our rock, our loving Father, our closest friend, encourager, counsellor, purifier and redeemer. Our words and songs don’t come close to capture who he is.

During communion Liz will sing a song called ‘Beauty for Ashes’. The words of this song come close to summarising our experience and so as a family we thank God for all his goodness.

Beauty for Ashes

God of new beginnings

God of the second chance

Your grace an endless river

Your love an avalanche


There in my darkest moments

All hope burnt to the ground

That’s where your mercy found me

That’s when your love came down

You turned my mourning into dancing

You turned my sorrow into praise

You give me beauty for ashes


Love met me in the ruins

Of all my past mistakes

Love walked me to the river

Love broke apart these chains

Love spoke a new tomorrow

Opened my eyes to see

Love washed away the sadness

Love came and rescued me

You turned my mourning into dancing

You turned my sorrow into praise