Beach baptisms draw large gatherings to the shore

Amber Strayhand, right, is baptized at Corona Del Mar State Beach on July 31 as part of Saturate OC.
Amber Strayhand, right, is baptized at Corona Del Mar State Beach on July 31 as part of Saturate OC.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

The Southern California coast has always been a draw.

On Friday nights at locations scattered along the Orange County coast, hundreds of Christian faithful have been gathering, raising their hands skyward and, for some, stepping into the cool Pacific to be baptized.

Parker and Jessi Green had been planning Saturate OC for more than a year and initially planned to host it at the Hyatt hotel, but then the coronavirus pandemic put an indefinite end to large indoor gatherings, they said. They held their first event at Huntington Beach on July 3, and they’ve seen attendance grow every week, surpassing their expectations, they said.

“They kind of put us between a rock and a hard place because they’re saying churches, as a whole, that they can’t meet inside buildings because of the health codes, to go outside,” Jessi Green said. “So we’re just trying to find places to go outside to share the Gospel and practice our religion, but then we’re being told the public city beach is not an option.”

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Like minded

Saturate OC gathering in Newport Beach.
Megan Gonzalez, center, of Seal Beach and Heidi Foster, left, of Huntington Beach raise their arms in praise during the Saturate OC gathering in Newport Beach.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Helping hands

Two young men are baptized near 13th Street in Newport Beach by members of Saturate OC.
Two young men are baptized near 13th Street in Newport Beach by members of Saturate OC.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Pirate’s Cove

The religious group Saturate OC is made up of over 60 churches from California and beyond
Saturate OC, which is made up of over 60 churches from California and beyond, gather at Corona del Mar State Beach, to pray and perform baptisms.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Family affair

The Gomez family pray at Corona del Mar State Beach
Members of the Gomez family, including mom Elysse, center, holding baby Rylan, and daughter Rowyn, age 3½, praying at right, gather at Corona del Mar State Beach for Saturate OC.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Connection

The religious group Saturate OC is made up of over 60 churches from California and beyond
Members of the religious group Saturate OC prepare to baptize a man at Corona del Mar State Beach in Newport Harbor.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Rebirth

A man is baptized at Newport Beach by members of Saturate OC.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
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Christian faithful

Newport Beach baptisms
Baptisms are performed in the surf at Newport Beach.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

“We started over a year ago. We just wanted to bring people together to share the gospel.”

Parker Green, organizer of the recurring event

Parker Green, of Costa Mesa, started the religious group called Saturate OC
Parker Green, of Costa Mesa, started the religious group called Saturate OC, which is made up of over 60 churches from California and beyond.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Nighttime celebration

Jessi Green, foreground, and her husband Parker had been planning Saturate OC fore more than a year.
Jessi Green, foreground, and her husband Parker had been planning Saturate OC for more than a year.
(Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times)

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