|Updated: 6/13/2011 10:45 pm
||Published: 6/13/2011 9:27 pm
For one day, Big Splash rented out their park to Life Church, a large Tulsa congregation, but not everyone who walked through the gates Sunday knew what would be in store because of that rental agreement.
Judie Wilson says she needed a trip to Big Splash water park Sunday afternoon.
“It's been really hot, like I can barely go outside without breaking a sweat,” 20 year-old Judie told FOX23.
One of her family's favorite spots, the wave pool. That's where they were Sunday around 3-30
“The lifeguards, they started blowing the whistles, telling everyone to clear out, and I thought someone had drowned. I wasn't really sure what was going on,” She said.
Turns out nobody drowned, but they did go under.
“I've never seen anything like it before. They said they were baptizing people,” Judie said.
She's talking about pastors at Life Church in Tulsa.
“We actually rented the park out. It was our day to do what we wanted,” Pastor Derrick Henslee told FOX23 Monday.
Sunday's event called Life Stock 2011, culminated with 150 people being baptized in the wave pool. This while other guests not affiliated with the church looked on at the ceremony.
“To do it at one time, with all three campuses, and thousands of people watching, it really is the most efficient place at Big Splash to do it,” Pastor Henslee said.
Judie says the whole situation has her confused.
“I thought it was great that everyone was dedicating their life to Christ. I just didn't know if that was the right place or not to do that at,” Judie told FOX23.
She wishes she had time to wrap her head around it all.
“No one told us when we went through the gates that they were going to empty out the wave pool for the baptisms,” she said.
Pastor Henslee makes no apologies, he says what may have looked awkward to some was awe inspiring for others.
“For those individuals that were being baptized it was a very, very special moment, and that for them meant the world,” Henslee said.
No matter how visitors felt about the baptism, they did get one perk because of life church. Admission prices were cut down to just $7.
Life Church pastor Derrick Henslee believes the church was well within its rights, even so he made this concession, “We probably could have been a more clear, in terms of announcing it.”
Judie says a warning would have been nice.
“Maybe just say like there's going to be a baptism until about what time, just so people know of what's going on,” Wilson said.
Pastor Henslee says his church is more than willing to do that.
“If there was any confusion that was in no way intentional, so we'll probably look at how can we increase signage, make more frequent announcements, things like that,” Henslee told FOX23.
Life Church also has congregations in Oklahoma City, on Sunday those churches rented parts of Frontier City amusement park and had their baptisms there, but had to bring in their own pool. As for Big Splash, they say they'll continue to evaluate their policies to help guests have the best possible experience at the park.
Big Splash General Manager Amber Woessner sent FOX23 this statement: “While it is unfortunate some of our guests were unhappy about the half-hour closing of the Wave Pool, signs were posted at the entrance to the park, another inside the gate and one more by the Wave Pool announcing “Life Stock 2011”. The entire water park had been rented by Life Church for the day. During our planning meeting with Life Church the decision was made to allow the park to remain open, at a discounted daily rate ($7 per person, over a 50% discount), to the general public. Big Splash is a family-friendly facility and we continue to review our policies in order to communicate with our guests in most effective manner.”