by Neville Beelitz

At 97, Michael Haas is living proof that you’re never too old for baptism!

I first met Michael in mid-2022. He had moved to our community of Waikerie in South Australia’s Riverland to live in a local aged-care facility that is visited regularly by our pastoral assistants.

Because he had previously attended Lutheran churches and knowing my connection with the parish, a family member of Michael’s contacted me, asking for assistance with getting him to church. Despite his age – then 96 – he was an active person and keen to walk the 450 metres to church on a fine day if he was accompanied. So, church members established a roster of helpers to pick him up or walk with him to worship.

It is always a treat to sit and chat with Michael about his life. He will proudly tell you he was born in the same year as the late Queen Elizabeth II. Born in Romania but having moved to Germany in his teens, he lived through much conflict in Europe, including fighting and being a prisoner of war during the Second World War.

Michael and his family migrated to Australia in 1966. Despite all that he has gone through, he has continued to display his faith in Jesus and cherishes the gift of grace and eternal life.

However, after discussions with Michael and some research, we realised that, due to various life circumstances, he’d never been baptised. Well, this didn’t seem right! Could we do something about it? Yes, we could and would!

So, on 1 October 2023, Michael was baptised, aged 97, at Waikerie Lutheran Church by Pastor Julian Bayha. My wife Sue and I were honoured to be Michael’s sponsors and celebrated this joyful occasion with him and our whole congregation. All praise be to God!

Neville Beelitz is a member of Waikerie Lutheran Church in SA.

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