Berlin (AFP) – Clad in white at a Berlin church, asylum seekers Saeed, Veronica, Farida and Matin were just about to become Christians on a recent Sunday.
“Do you believe from the bottom of your heart that Jesus Christ is your Lord and saviour, and will you follow him every day of your life?” Pastor Matthias Linke asked them. “If so, say yes.”
All four replied with a frank “Ja”, to the enthusiastic applause of the faithful at the Free Evangelical Church, and were plunged head-to-toe into a baptism basin.
“I am very, very happy, I feel… how to say?”, said 20-year-old Iran native Matin right after his baptism, placing his hand on his chest.
Muslim refugees have recently been taking the same step throughout Germany, where nearly 900,000 asylum seekers arrived in 2015.
Church leaders have confirmed a notable, though not huge, trend upward, but have not provided statistics.
“In our diocese, there are several …