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Photos: Hundreds baptized on Queens Boulevard

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On Queens Boulevard, hundreds of members of The Rock Church in Elmhurst pour of the former Elmwood movie theater where they worship onto the sidewalks to engage in a mass baptism ceremony.
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Hundreds of worshipers were baptized at the outdoor event held at one of Queens’ business crossroads.
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Members of the church take the annual public ritual — first a prayer with two church elders followed by a full-body dunking — as a solumn event.
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Two hijab-wearing shoppers from the Queens Center Mall across the street, stop to see what the boisterous gathering was about and stay to watch as scores of congregants go through the ritual.
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The non-denominational Protestant congregation is multi-racial and unabashedly evangelical.
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Couples and whole families climb into the pool together so they can be baptized at the simultaneously.

It is a bold public statement of faith — getting baptized in a swimming pool with hundreds of people watching at one of the busiest intersections in Queens.

On Queens Boulvard, the Rock Church — a non-denominational Protestant congregation that took over the old Elmwood movie theater in Elmhurst a decade ago — stages a mass ceremony every summer where the members of the church can be baptized again.

It is an unusual sight for the hundreds of motorists driving by — several major bus routes pass the church, too — but the faithful do not seem to mind.

Updated 11:56 am, August 28, 2018
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