Jesus was baptised in the River Jordan. This was a turning point in his life (you can read the story in the Bible at the beginning of Mark’s Gospel in the New Testament).
Jesus told his followers to baptise others as a sign that they had turned away from their old life, and begun a new life as Christ’s disciples, members of his Body, having been assured of God’s forgiveness.
In the early years of the Church, baptisms often took in a river: new Christians were dipped under the water, marking their death to an old way of life, and lifted up again as a sign of new birth. Some churches still follow the practice of ‘full immersion’ in water. In Oldham, we do not practice full immersion.