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Last Updated: Sunday, 23 March 2008, 15:36 GMT
Archbishop leads outdoor baptisms
Dr John Sentamu conducts the baptism
Dr John Sentamu carries out a baptism in York
The Archbishop of York has totally immersed 20 people in a tank of water as part of an Easter baptism ceremony.

Archbishop John Sentamu baptised the new worshippers using a large pool outside the Church of St Michael-le-Belfrey in York.

Hundreds of people watched as Dr Sentamu stood in the water to immerse each of the adults involved.

The outdoor baptism ceremony first took place in 2006 and involves a network of churches across the city.

Severe weather

Church officials said the total immersion during the service represents a person's death of their old life.

By emerging from the water, the service is meant to be symbolic of being reunited with Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday, the day his resurrection is celebrated.

Graham Hutchinson, joint chairman of One Voice York, which organises the religious service, said: "New life in Jesus Christ is open to everyone, always, but Easter is a great time for people to make that public commitment.

"The open-air baptisms in the centre of York are a sign that Jesus is alive and with us."

Before the service there had been concerns from church officials that the severe weather would mean the service would have to be conducted indoors.

A spokesman for the York Diocese said: "We had the service as planned in the open air.

"It was well attended."

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