In the Christian Church, the rite of baptism is a symbol of a new life and the first step at the start of a new journey. When teens and adults join Benton Mennonite Church, Pastor Douglas Kaufman prefers to hold a service and the baptismal ceremony outside, along the Elkhart River, located near the Mennonite church. But then he learned the river has so much manure in it, the Health Department recommends no full body contact with the river.
So for the past 12 years, the church has been involved in Hoosier Riverwatch to monitor the quality of the river water, raise awareness about issues of water quality and host river cleanups. As a pastor, Douglas said the issue of water quality in his community has prompted him to rediscover the importance of rivers in the Bible and water as a symbol in Christianity.
Listen to his story below.