AceShowbiz - Serena Williams has officially reclaimed her faith, three months after she retired as a professional tennis player. The 41-year-old was baptized as one of Jehovah's Witnesses at the Jehovah's Witness Assembly in West Palm Beach, Florida on Sunday, January 8.
In footage taken from the initiation, Serena was seen wearing a black outfit with a head scarf as she was walking into a pool and standing in the middle of the pool with two men standing next to her. One of the guys was then holding her as she dipped her head into the water, while she held her breath.
In her younger years, Serena and her sister Venus Williams were raised as Jehovah's Witnesses, but she never really put it into practice in her adult years. But she and her husband Alexis Ohanian have since chosen to be committed to their faith.
"Being a Jehovah's Witness is important to me, but I've never really practiced it and have been wanting to get into it," she told Vogue back in 2017. "Alexis didn't grow up going to any church, but he's really receptive and even takes the lead. He puts my needs first."
Among their many beliefs, Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe in celebrating birthdays "because we believe that such celebrations displease God," according to the official website for Jehovah's Witnesses. The website notes four reasons followers of the religion avoid birthday celebrations, including ties to paganism, and that the Bible says that "the day of death is better than the day of birth."
Serena previously cited her religion as the reason why she didn't throw a party for her daughter's first birthday. "Olympia doesn't celebrate birthdays," she said in 2018. "We're Jehovah's Witnesses, so we don't do that."
She has also often cited her faith for helping her get through difficult times. "I have to thank Jehovah God for this. I was down and out and he helped me today and I just said prayers, not to win but to be strong and to be healthy and in the end I was able to come through so I have to give the glory to him first and foremost," she said in 2015.