Baptismal House Call

By November 13, 2020

On November 10 Dr. Mike Marshall made a house call — for a baptism! No, it wasn’t an infant, or a toddler, or even a teenager. It was Carroll Dean Lee, 82 years young, who contacted the church to see about a home baptism because he had just never gotten around to it, although he had been a Christian and churchgoer all his life. The baptism was at the home of Dean’s daughter, Shelby (Lee) Dougherty, who lives in west Fort Worth.

Dean is a graduate of TCU with a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Art. He taught art classes at both TCU and the Fort Worth Art Museum (now The Modern). Dean met his future wife, Tommie, when she was riding her bike around Lake Como on Merritt Street. She stopped to speak to a neighbor of hers and Dean happened to be nearby and see her.  He knew the neighbor and asked to be introduced to Tommie. The rest, as they say, is history.

Dean and his wife, Tommie, and Shelby attended FUMCFW for many years when Shelby was growing up.  Shelby and her husband, Darin, were married in Leonard Memorial Chapel, with Dr. Bill Longsworth officiating.

Elaine Johnson, Worship Coordinator, says that although the request was a bit out of the ordinary, it immediately set her brain to considering the logistics and possibilities for making this the special moment in this man’s life memorable, safe, and aligned with the requirements of The United Methodist Book of Discipline. “He was really worried about how it all would work, whether he’d have to get wet — and how that might work,” Elaine says, “and I just told him that “It’s not the manner in which you’re baptized that counts, but how you answer the questions and what’s in your heart.”

When Dr. Mike arrived, masked and sanitized, he was greeted warmly by Dean and Shelby.  Mike describes Dean as “sincere and quietly enthusiastic when answering the questions of baptism and church membership” as Shelby assisted Mike with the baptism, also witnessed by her cat, Rascal! “For me,” Mike adds, “this was a truly humbling experience that reminded me again that God’s gracious love is moving among us and guiding us through this challenging year of 2020.”

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