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Baptist pastor’s electrocution death prompts review of baptistery safety


‘Kyle had an infectious smile that made a person want to be around him,’ Waco minister says of friend

By Tamie Ross
The Christian Chronicle

December 1, 2005

Jim Martin, preachingminister at the Crestview Church of Christ in Waco,Texas, last saw his friend Kyle Lake ata fast-food restaurant a few days before Lake’sdeath.

Lake, 33, preached atthe University BaptistChurch in Waco. He had stopped with his twin 3-year-oldsons at Chick-fil-A for nuggets and ice cream cones, and happily introducedthem to “Daddy’s friend,” Martin said.

The two men, who metonce a month or more for informal chats about subjects ranging from spiritualformation to books, planned to have coffee the next week.

Four days later, Lake was dead — the victim of a freak electrocutionmishap that occurred in front of 800 congregants as he prepared to baptize awoman during Sunday morning services on Oct. 31. The woman had not yet steppedinto the water and was unhurt.

“Kyle’s death stunnedme. It stunned our community,” said Martin, who confirmed that Lake had been adjusting a microphone while standing inwaist-high water. Lake was shocked andcollapsed beneath the surface.

Martin said he askedan electrician at Crestview to conduct a safety check of his church’sbaptistery after Lake’s death.

“The week had beentoo traumatic,” he said, “and I found that I needed some reassurance regardingour baptistery.”

While rare, theelectrocution was not without precedent: John Allen was killed in February 1994when he grabbed the microphone while standing in the baptistery of the Christian FellowshipChurch in Larose, La.

Martin was one of2,000 who attended Lake’s funeral. On Nov. 6,he ended his sermon with thoughts about his friendship with Lakeand his tragic death.

Filed under: National Staff Reports

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