Two young women took part in a Hudson Valley religious ceremony that included being completely submerged in the icy Hudson River.

Most people in the Hudson Valley know to avoid going in the river, especially during winter when the water temperature is hovering around 34 degrees. However, the fear of toxic chemicals and hypothermia were no match for the religious faith of two young women who recently braved the freezing water near West Point.

The ceremony took place on February 12 as Brooke Parker and Jenny Ma were brought out into the Hudson River and completely submerged. Chunks of ice surrounded the women as their heads plunged into the water as a symbol of their "rebirth."

According to, the two young women described the water as "painfully frigid." However, they both explained that it was their choice to take the plunge. Parker and Ma were given the option to wait until the water warmed up this spring or have the ceremony inside, but both opted for their baptisms to happen now, in the Hudson River.


Parker explained that she needed her baptism to take place outdoors because she wanted strangers to be able to stumble across the spectacle.

(Not having the ceremony outdoors) would eliminate a big opportunity to share this experience and Christ with others who may not have previously considered attending.

Ma agreed with the decision, saying that the ceremony had to happen now, in the icy waters.

I couldn’t wait any longer to show others all His greatness but also to proclaim to God that I am His, and I welcome Him into my heart, and I want to follow Him.

The women, who are both West Point Cadets, were baptized by Joshua Austin who is the military academy's director of the Baptist Campus Ministry. Both Parker and Ma met in a discipleship group which led to their decision to take the "believer's baptism."

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