“The ivy chain on Rose Sunday bound us together, In love’s sweet devotion for aye.” These lyrics from the senior song “A Spray of Laughter” sum up the true meaning of Rose Sunday. Rose Sunday is a tradition that has been around since 1915. It symbolizes the bond we share not only with the current classes, but with the sister classes who came before us. Each year the freshmen weave the ivy with the help of their soon-to-be big sister class. As both classes hold up the chain, the senior class comes through the two lines dressed in their academic regalia. Then after the classes sing short prayer songs, the president, faculty, and students walk down the street to Siloam Baptist Church, where the president delivers a message.
In the year 1915, Judson College held its first Rose Sunday, in honor of when Milo P. Jewett, the first president of Judson College, would invite the students to walk with him to Siloam Baptist Church. Siloam has been home to many of Judson’s presidents and students. Some of Siloam’s members founded Judson as well as Samford University.
As we come to celebrate Judson’s 104th celebration of Rose Sunday, we welcome Dr. Mark Tew back to our Judson family for his first Rose Sunday as president of the college.
Judson has been doing Christian Emphasis Week for over 60 years! This tradition started in the 1940s when one Judson student suggested to the then president of the school, John Riddle, that there should be more encouragement of the students’ spiritual lives with different special guest speakers. President Riddle took that suggestion and thought well along with the idea. With the rest of the Judson staff and faculty in agreement as well, Judson College had their first Religious Emphasis week. The student that suggested this idea later became a part of the WMU (Woman’s Missionary Union).
Since then Judson has valued this tradition very well. Judson has now changed the name from Religious Emphasis Week to the more specific Christian Emphasis Week. Each year Christian Emphasis Week gets a new speaker for three days consecutively. Christian Emphasis Week is always held in Judson’s Ramsay-McCrummen Chapel. All three of these services are open to the public for everyone in the community to hear the speakers that travel in to speak.
Very often some speakers bring another guest with them to accompany them such as with things they do to cover the music portion of worship. Other times Judson will provide for them by letting the staff or students lead the worship portion. This year Judson had their own very special guest for both the speaker and worship leader for Christian Emphasis Week.
This year our speaker was Terrence Jones and our worship leader was Rayellen English. English is the worship leader at her church in Texas.
Jones is originally from Norman Park, Georgia. As a young boy Jones attended church regularly. At a young age Jones made a declaration of his faith. As Jones grew older he received a football scholarship to attend Tuskegee University.
While attending Tuskegee, he was in campus ministry outreach and became overwhelmed with how he was then living. Jones’ lifestyle and Christian profession did not match up. During this time was when Jones came to the realization that what he needed was his Savior. Terrence describes this moment as very eye opening. By the age of nineteen Jones truly gave and trusted his life with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ again. After graduation from Tuskegee University, Jones later went on to get his Masters of Divinity degree in California.
Jones opened up to the school and community with his personal testimony by sharing how he and his wife lost their first child. As student Jordan Hooks said, “I really liked the speaker because it was very thought provoking, and I really enjoyed how he shared his testimony.”
Jones spoke of his struggles through his life to show us that we all can overcome our struggles. Student Katelyn Lawrence said, “I enjoyed Christian Emphasis Week because it allowed me to take a break from the rush of school. I was able to slow down and actually focus on my relationship with God. It was a way for me to get back on track with my quiet time and devotions. He really encouraged us as a student body and as individuals to live out our lives honestly and purposefully for Christ.”
Judson has been blessed with many excellent chapel speakers during the fall 2018 semester thanks to the chapel committee’s efforts to feed spiritual energy to each member of the Judson community.
Our first chapel speaker of the semester was Grace Thornton, a special assignments editor of “The Alabama Baptist.” She is also the author of the book “I Don’t Wait Anymore.” According to her personal blog “Grace for the Road” she identifies herself as being “passionate about knowing God through His Word and encouraging others to discover Him and let Him write the story of their lives too.” She is a church member of The Church at Brook Hills, Birmingham.
On Sept. 18, we received John Killian as our chapel speaker of the day. He is a member of the Board of Governors of Judson College. According to “The Alabama Baptist” John Killian is the new director of missions for Fayette Association. He was a past president of the Alabama Baptist State Convention, and he served as a pastor of Maytown Church for 19 years. He has two children and a wife, Jeanie.
Our third speaker of the semester, Terrence Jones who is a lead pastor of Strong Tower Church, Montgomery, came on Sept. 15. He was raised in a religious home, but he discovered his need of a Savior and turned to Him at the age of 19. He holds a Master of Divinity Degree from The Master’s Seminary in California. He married his partner in Christ who served together on their College campus, and they have five children.
On Oct. 2, we received Larry Hyche as our fourth speaker of the semester who is an associate in Global Missions for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions. He specially serves for men’s spiritual development. He is a church member of Mount Hebron, Elmore.
Cory Horton was invited to speak on Oct. 9, and is a senior pastor of Elkdale Baptist Church. He is a passionate pastor who is zealous to make disciples of all nations. He holds a Masters of Divinity from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He loves to see his church members have changed lives for His glory.
We received Chris Mills on Oct. 16, not only as a chapel speaker, but also as a student mission mobilizer by offering mission opportunities to students. He is an associate in Collegiate and Student Ministries and he works with community college campus ministers, international student ministries and assists in social media efforts for the office of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions.
On Oct. 23, we received Tracie Griggs as our speaker of the day. She is a member of Twelfth Street Baptist Church, Gadsden. She is a minster to children and young families. She joined the church as a staff member in January 2018.
Our second to last speaker of the semester on Oct. 30, was Ben Bowden, who is the senior pastor of the First Baptist Church,Enterprise. Ben served as an associate pastor for four years before he became the senior pastor in 2015. Ben has been blessed with a wife and five children.
Our last speaker of the semester was Pilar Murphy, a church member of Provewell Baptist. She is an associate professor at the McWhorter School of Pharmacy in the Department of Pharmacy Practice. Murphy also served at Sowing Seeds of Hope in Marion.
This year’s Christmas Vespers will be held on December 1 in Alumnae Auditorium and will be led by the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts. The event will offer a more theatrical vibe to celebrate Christ’s birth, organizers say.
“Vespers is a special service where we focus on Jesus as a newborn Savior,” said Dr. Cindy St. Clair, head of the Music Department. “It is a great time for all Judson community to come together to worship Christ.”
Christmas Vespers will be a collaborative work of Music, English, Religion, Social Work, and Distance Learning departments. The event’s main coordinators, St. Clair and religion professor Stephanie Peek, have a joint vision of instilling a precious connection between the Christmas story and the Judson community in a brand-new way.
In previous years, Christmas Vespers has been joyfully celebrated in a choir concert, a musical celebration of Christ’s birth. This year, however, the event will take the form of a theater concert. There will be narration of the Christmas story read from Scripture by different speakers, along with Christmas music by the Judson Singers, music professors, and other music ensembles and accompanists.
“It’s not going to be a choir concert like it’s been in the past, so it’s going to be more like a service,” St. Clair said.
The narrators of the night will be Peek and Dr. Stacey Parham, chair of the Humanities and Fine Arts Division and head of the English Department. They will start with Scripture describing the Israelite people in exile, waiting for their missing king, and then share verses showing the King’s return after hundreds of years.
Peek said the purpose of the event is to “craft the service that can tell the story of Christ contextually so that we can put Christ’s birth in the context of the bigger narrative [of Scripture].”
The event will be all about making connections between students, faculty members, and staff. Those attending the event will receive the joy of good news for the Christian life and be able to reconsider the story of Christmas — a story that is more than just the season of sweaters and presents.
Judson College is a proud Christian college because of two things: one is because of the Christ-loving community and two is the agents of Christ. Judson students daily receive two or three emails from our agents of Christ who are serving in the community with all of their hearts. This semester, the office of Faith Based Service and Learning has offered weekly service opportunities to students in various branches where they can serve the Marion community along with student leaders—the agents of Christ. The opportunities that are available are as follows:
Tutoring at Eagle Grove
Kayla Jones, a third-year senior, has been tutoring students at Eagle Grove Baptist Church. She helps children work on their homework and other students are needed to help.
Sowing Seeds of Hope
One of the most helpful organizations in Perry County, Sowing Seeds of Hope is a place where students can participate in every branch of work. Two of our Judson agents are Aqui Lacy and Rebecca Carver who faithfully help out in the office of SSOH every Thursday. Aqui shares her reasons that she devotes herself to keep on going. “The reactions we get back from people and staffs there. Sometimes helping them organize files does not seem like that big of a deal but to some it is. And they are really thankful and appreciative for the help we bring to them in just that short hour.”
Lincoln Nutrition Site
This site is where the volunteers and adults spend time together when they have their lunch and build relations through conversations and playing games. The contact person for this opportunity, Hannah Woods, a third-year senior, says that her reason for going to the nutrition site is “because I love hearing people’s stories. The people at Lincoln have so much wisdom and knowledge to offer. I can make their day better just by listening and being interested in what they have to say. The body of Christ is multi-generational, and I think it is important to spend time with other people.”
Perry County Nursing Home
This opportunity is for everyone who loves to build new relationships with older people who always love to have visitors to their resident home. As one of the two residential homes for older adults in Perry County, Perry County Nursing Home is a place where volunteers can give love to the hearts of residents who do not receive the love that they deserve. Audri Thicklin is the contact agent for this opportunity. She states, “In order to obey God’s commandment, we have to be able to love the ones around us. The residents at the nursing home deserve love, and I felt led to be one of those people to do that. My heart is tugged every time I go there, and I know that it is where I am supposed to be serving.”
Shut-In Home Visits
This activity is an opportunity where volunteers visit elderly people in the community who aren’t able to leave their homes, and whose friends and family do not visit them as much as they would like them to. Volunteers spend time listening to their stories and learning about them, as they have been here for a long time and have a wide range of knowledge of Marion. The shut-in home visit opportunity is led by Leslie Wheat, a graduating senior, who shares the same feelings with the other agents who love elderly people as much as they do themselves. Wheat explains that her “greatest motivation is seeing how much our visits means to them, and their appreciativeness to us. Even though we think what we are doing seems so small, it means a lot to them to have someone to be with them even for a short time.”
At the “Hand in Hand” service lunch on September 13, some Judson students were interested in serving as a full-time volunteers at the office of Sowing Seeds of Hope every Thursday. This year volunteering started off with five Judson sisters out of the 15 who signed up; Aqui Lacy, Rebecca Carver, Kai Bu, Cassidy Harrison, and Cassidy Padgett began on September 20 by helping at the SSOH in the office of Mrs. Angela Gaston.
Sowing Seeds of Hope, a community non-profit organization which helps provide shelter and promote equity in Perry County, has teamed up with the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), a rural development agency, to provide home construction loans to families in need. Judson and SSOH has partnered for decades since former Judson president Dr. David Potts served as a secretary member on the SSOH Board of Directors during his terms at Judson. Since then, Judson students have been actively participating in the services that SSOH offers to reach out and stay connected with Marion community. This year, SSOH is offering students different areas of service opportunities such as “teaching computer class to elders; Social media and flyer making/distribution; Holiday events: Thanksgiving food bags and Christmas at the Center; Self-help housing: painting, drywall, laying tiles; Administrative duties; and Healthcare Clinic assistance,” as Mrs. Frances Ford said at the luncheon. Judson students will be volunteering especially in the areas of teaching and helping with housing under Ford’s lead.
Ms. Rebecca Carver, a Judson Jr-Soph student, shared her reasons to stay connected with the organization. “I went to SSOH last year with Heather Mae [a third-year senior] and enjoyed helping them out. I was asked if I would like to be the student leader this year over it and was very excited to be able to go back and help every chance that I have,” she stated. Gaston, the coordinator of family resources, delightedly shared her thoughts on Judson students coming to volunteer at SSOH. “Even though volunteering is not for everybody, if you could give some time to volunteer, it really helps out the people of community. It’s kind of letting them know that there are people who really want to help them out personally or as a whole community,” says Gaston.
SSOH highlights the big needs of the community and shows that each person can step in to lessen those needs. Judson sisters have made up their minds to stay with them until the end of their journey. “I will be at Judson until 2021. I will probably volunteer there until I graduate and hopefully even after I graduate,” Carver affirmed.
Community service is important at Judson because of the Christ-loving Judson community. This year on September 15, 26 Judson women volunteered to clean up flowerbeds at Francis Marion High School and Francis Marion Elementary School alongside students from Marion Military Institute (MMI).
Amy Butler, director of Faith-Based Service and Learning, led participants to Francis Marion High School, where the group met with three cadets under the lead of Col. Passmore and Col. Raczkowski. “Judson/MMI Service Day is a joint effort by both schools to collaborate together in serving our community,” Butler explains. “Projects are identified through an expressed need from community partners. This event allows students from both schools to meet each other and build relationships through service to their college hometowns,” Butler works hard to offer many different community service opportunities where students can join in and serve at anytime in the community.
All participants were divided into two groups. The first group, led by Col. Raczkowski, cleaned up flowerbeds at FMES, and the second group, led by Col. Passmore, cleaned the weeds and grass from flowerbeds at FMHS. After one hour of cleaning, some of the high-schoolers came and helped, finishing the work within another hour.
For freshwomen, this service was their first time working in the Marion community with its members. Alexandra McKay, a freshwoman, shows her compassion to the community where she has spent only two weeks by volunteering not only her time but also her active energy. “When you volunteer the time [that] you could spend studying or hanging out with friends to instead help someone you don’t even know, I think that shows compassion. It’s good to have compassion for the town you live in, especially smaller towns. You’ve got to bloom where you are planted—why not help others do the same?” says McKay. Within a tight college schedule, giving away precious time to a place in need without expectations for something in return is a way of showing love to that community. As a Christian, McKay earnestly explains the importance of participating in community. “God expects you to show the same love that He shows us. It’s only moral to offer your time when you have it. It also keeps us from getting too self-centered. The world is a lot bigger than our next class.”
Erin Brown, SGA VP of Government and graduating senior, also thinks that “it is essential for freshwomen to participate in community service because it teaches them so much about loving others and making sacrifices to support others. Especially as freshwomen, students learn to become a part of something much bigger than themselves, which helps them to adjust to college life away from their families. For me, community service has encouraged me to participate more in the Judson community and has allowed me to grow in my love for others.” Brown herself believes that volunteering in the community provides Christians the opportunity to “directly and openly” share the love of Christ and glorify God through their actions.
Even though some seniors have been participating in this kind of service for their entire tenure at Judson, they still find it special and amazing. Whenever the opportunity comes into their hands they grab it and show meaning of selfless participation to underclassmen. “I have been attending Judson for almost four years, but the community never ceases to amaze me,” says Arienne Borowski, Manager and Tutor of Writing Center and English Club President. “The fact that students of various ethnicities, different ages, and from three different schools can all come together for one purpose will always astound those involved.”
Judson is a Christian college, and it loves and stands equally for non-believing students as well. Through Christ-loving sisters, every student has the same opportunities to serve in the community where everyone comes together as one: the children of God. Borowski expounds on this: “Jesus made His entire life about community service—He had a heart for the people of this earth. Following His example, Christians are duty-bound to reach out to God’s people as well.”
“I was also excited to hear how the Lord taught each person on the team something different and to hear the take a ways that each person had.
I hope that students will take the things they learned on the trip and use them in their everyday lives.” —Cynthia White
This year as part of our SEND (name inspired from the Bible verse Isaiah 6:8) spring break mission team, a group of Judson students and I went to New York City with the ultimate goal of loving and caring for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Under the leadership of our beloved Dean Susan Jones, Coach Cynthia White, Amy Butler, and Sarah Fowler, the team successfully served, communicated, and enjoyed time with people from NYC. All 24 of us left the campus on March 10 and returned safely back on March 17.
Our team was divided into two groups: one, led by Dean Jones and Ms. Butler, served with the Let My People Go (LMPG) organization, and a second group, lead by Coach White and Sarah Fowler, served with the Urban Nation Outreach (UNO) group. While UNO groups mainly focused on teaching ESL (English as Second Language) and working together with Jackson Heights Community Church, the LMPG group addressed human trafficking by loving those most vulnerable and exploited people whom traffickers target. There were other students from three different colleges joining with the LMPG group, which equaled 45 students in total. Our week was spent as follows:
Team SEND arrived safely at New York School of Urban Ministry (NYSUM) and had orientation regarding rules and regulations of NYSUM dorm.
Sunday- March 11
UNO team participated in the Jackson Height Community Church (JHCC) service, and LMPG team worshiped at Times Square Church.
Monday- March 12
UNO team worked in the South Asian Center (SAC) tutoring ESL, and LMPG team did a community needs assessment, which is “a process by which one practically learns how to understand and reach those most vulnerable in the local church and community to effectively proclaim and demonstrate the gospel” (LMPG website).
Tuesday- March 13
LMPG learned more about “Ending Modern-Day Slavery through the Marketplace” so that we could engage human trafficking at the demand level. We went out to many places that create a demand in NYC and asked store owners if their products were fair trade or slave free. Meanwhile, UNO group did a service project helping with Church Plant and kids’ ministry at JHCC.
UNO team had a tour of a nearby Mosque and did an Easter egg hunt at Hart Playground with JHCC members. LMPG team walked around the city and took time to talk and pray with vulnerable people, such as homeless people.
Thursday- March 15
LMPG’s last mission of the week was “Loving Those Vulnerable to Trafficking: At-Risk Youth.” We went to after-school programs such as Operation Exodus and Chinese Christians Herald Crusade where we helped with children’s homework. Meanwhile, the UNO group assisted in level 3 ESL and citizenship tutoring at SAC.
After four days of serving in different areas, 24 of us had a free day on Friday, March 16 to visit NYC. We left the city on March 17 and arrived safe and sound at Mother Judson.
Judson annually gives the student body an opportunity to rethink the life of our great foremother, Ann Judson. This year, on February 27, Rosalie Hunt visited as the chapel speaker of the day. In her address to the student body, she recalled the works and life of Ann Judson.
Rosalie Hunt is also the author of the books “The Enchanting Story of Ann Hasseltine Judson: a Life Beyond Boundaries,” “Bless God and Take Courage:: Judson History and Legacy,” “The Way: the Remarkable Story of Hephzibah Jenkins Townsend,” and “We’ve a Story to Tell: 125 Years of WMU.” She spent her early life in China with her missionary family. She also went to Myanmar and did research for her books. Even though Hunt’s speech has the same theme every year, she still offers new and interesting things that we never knew about Ann Judson. She reminded the audience of the worthiness of knowing more about Ann Judson, and she offered her books for sale after the service. Most importantly all proceeds from selling books go to missions and student scholarships.
Hunt’s visits inspired members of the Judson community to get involved in mission trips to Myanmar last summer. Lillie Hobson, a senior who went on the summer mission trip to Myanmar, related her trip experience, stating “I can’t even imagine how hard it must have been for her to go without having the chance to email back home. When I was in Myanmar, I got to email home about four or five times, and I got to call twice. So, I can’t imagine going and never being able to communicate except through letters that only came every so often.”
The information that Hunt delivered in chapel has been a great window for freshman to see Ann Judson from a new perspective. While some freshwomen– or even some juniors and seniors–cannot give a quick answer to the question “In what form does Judson continue to keep the relation with Myanmar that Ann Judson made over 200 years ago?” as freshwoman Laura Grace Terry answered after chapel, “Kachin exchange students coming over and us going to their country and going over there and experiencing and helping to minister to those in Myanmar” are prime examples of how Ann Judson’s legacy lives on today.
It was my pleasure and honor to write about a historical time not just for our school, but the whole Baptist community. As most of you know February 4, 2018 marked the 175th anniversary of The Alabama Baptist newspaper. Most of the paper’s staff and more than 100 visitors around the state came to celebrate this day with us in the Marion and Judson Community.
The paper was first published in 1843 here at Judson College by four founding members: James DeVotie, a pastor from South Carolina and one of the co-founders of Howard College, which is now known as Samford University; Gen. E.D. King, another one of the founding members, who donated space for the paper in Marion, Alabama; and finally, two founders who are commonly known throughout the Judson Campus, Milo P. Jewett and Julia Tarrant Barron. Without these four individuals fulfilling their God-given vision, the paper would not have ever gotten started.
Today, the paper is received in 65,000 homes and has 1,500 subscribers online. It has already won 200 national awards and the title of award-winning publication. The Alabama Baptist has upheld a wonderful mission statement and has continued “seeking to empower [Christian readers] to live out discipleship in their personal, professional, and church life.”
A couple of days before the big event, I got to interview Mary Amelia Taylor, a graduate and Director of Marketing and Communications at Judson. I asked her how reading The Alabama Baptist made her feel, and her response was “The Alabama Baptist helps me feel connected to what is going on in the Alabama Baptist community.” I also asked her what her opinion on the event as a whole was, she said “It is exciting to commemorate the paper’s achievements. It deserves a moment in the spotlight.”
Pastor John Nicholson of Siloam Baptist church, also instrumental in the founding of both Judson and TAB, agrees. “It is incredible being a part of the history; it does, however, get overwhelming knowing that I have the responsibility of carrying on this legacy.”
The morning of February 6, the day of the birthday celebration for TAB on Judson’s campus, I was told to go interview people at the three touring locations: Reverie, Siloam, and Marion Military Institute. The people whom I interviewed all said they came to hear about the wonderful history and to see the beautiful campus. I met one woman who was a former student at Judson she told me “I’m always interested in Baptist history and was a graduate from Judson, so any excuse to come back is great.”
It was a privilege to meet and question some of the staff members, the current editor Dr. Bob Terry and the editor-elect Jennifer Rash. Dr. Terry will be retiring soon so I asked him to reflect upon the accomplishments of the paper during his tenure. He said, “When I talk to people about their opinion of The Alabama Baptist no two answers are the same, and in every print of the paper the is bound to be an article that will influence a person’s life.”
Rash further expanded upon the benefits a publication like TAB offers both those who work for it and those who read it. She said, “It gives me the opportunity to merge my Christian ministry and my passion for writing.”
Once Dr. Terry retires, Ms. Rash will become the first woman to be the editor of The Alabama Baptist, and when I asked her how this made her feel she said, “Grasping the fact that my tenure as editor of The Alabama Baptist will mark the first time a woman has served as editor of one of the major state, Baptist newspapers adds to the honor and overwhelming sense of duty for this role in which God has entrusted me. The road to this point has been such a natural flow during the past 20-plus years and the sense of calling so strong that I can only look forward with anticipation about what is next. Being a part of such a tremendous legacy as what surrounds The Alabama Baptist as a communications ministry inspires me to do better than my best to add to the amazing work from the past 175 years and continue carrying out the foundational purposes for which the ministry exists. I am thankful to current editor Bob Terry for investing in me, the TAB board of directors for believing in me and Alabama Baptists for trusting me.”
As a Judson woman, I too am excited to see what God has in store of the future of The Alabama Baptist, and on March 2, the Alabama Baptist will host a lecture at Samford University where Dr. Terry will talk about the future of the publication.