Southwestern Christian University student Zack Howry had his request come true Thursday as the sophomore baseball player from Mustang was baptized in a unique ceremony in front of friends, teammates, coaches and fellow students. The baptismal location was not the typical church sanctuary or even a river or lake. The place where Howry agreed upon was the whirlpool tank used in the SCU Athletic Training Center.
Howry called upon Joe Blackwell, the university’s Vice-President of Development to see what possibilities existed for him to be baptized on campus. Blackwell then enlisted the help of Brad Davis, the Vice-President of Student Life and an ordained minister to help search out an appropriate place. “This was simply amazing,” Davis said. “Trying to come up with a place was quite a challenge. The idea of a whirlpool was mentioned as kind of a joke. I laughed at first but then I began to think, Could it work?
The group then brought in Athletic Trainer Harve Griffin to ensure that the whirlpool tank would actually be adequate for the ceremony. Once it was decided to use the tank, Griffin raised the temperature from its normal 50 degrees to room temperature of nearly 75 degrees. “It’s primarily a cold-water tank. We tried to make it as comfortable for him as possible. We didn’t want to shock his system,” Griffin joked. “Seriously, we are honored to have such a spiritually important event take place in our own athletic training room.”
Howry’s journey in his Christian faith came in large part with his relationship with Blackwell who also serves as the SCU assistant baseball coach. “He’s much more than just my baseball coach. He’s like a father figure to me,” Howry said. “I told him what I’d like to do, and he said he would take care of it.”
Blackwell assisted in the ceremony and actually baptized Howry while Davis read from scripture. “I was very humbled and honored that Zack asked me to participate,” Blackwell said. “I have seen a total transformation in his life from his first semester until now. This is the result of his re-dedication to his Lord Jesus Christ and it is evident in his life.”
Both Blackwell and Davis are hopeful to be witness to even more such ceremonies on campus in the near future.
“I know as an administrator, we pray for a spiritual awakening on campus with not only our students but our faculty and staff,” Blackwell said. “The decision as Zack has made today to be so public may just put all that into motion.”
Posted on Tue, January 20, 2015
by Justin Tinder