One police officer informally guesstimated the crowd for tonight’s Mars Hill Alki baptism-fest at around 750.
Loud but peaceful so far as we could tell, perhaps at least partly thanks to all the guys in black T-shirts stenciled MARS HILL SECURITY. We’re adding video clips at the bottom of this post, but first a few more stills, starting with Mars Hill’s controversial leader Mark Driscoll, who declared this to be the biggest mass baptism in Seattle history (he said 200 people had signed up to get baptized, then welcomed anyone else who wanted to, to join in).
Other church leaders on hand included West Seattle campus pastor Adam Sinnett, caught by our photographer with towel in hand as he prepared to head for the water.
The event even featured a band, which proclaimed itself (and the crowd) there “to praise, and party.” Our photographer didn’t see any of the threatened protesters, unless you count the kid seen hooting out the window of a passing car and flashing devil-horn hand signs. 9:10 PM UPDATE: Three more photos, these taken and e-mailed to us by Elspeth Jones (thank you SO much!):
9:56 PM UPDATE: Video of the actual in-water event, starting with the baptism of a child.
10:35 PM UPDATE: Adding this clip of Mark Driscoll talking about those about to be baptized, as they stood in front of the stage. Church leaders, by the way, say this is their 11th summer baptism event – the first one drew 3 to be baptized, 40 to watch.
11:57 PM UPDATE: Last addition, a clip showing what it was like in the throng during the event — some baptizees getting congratulated, and a Mars Hill guy trying to keep order as others waited to take part.
P.S. — Thanks again to the WSB Pledge Day contributors who made it possible for us to get the video camera; we pledge to keep working on better video quality (this was only our second video-recorded event since the camera was delivered a few days ago).