Special ceremony honors religion graduates
May 1, 2014
PLAINVIEW – Yet another semester is winding down at Wayland Baptist University, culminating in a commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 10, at 2 p.m. in Hutcherson Center. Among the 106 students scheduled to participate are Hailey Budnick of Missouri City and John Bocko of Post. Budnick and Bocko participated in a special ceremony held by the School of Religion and Philosophy to honor its graduates.
Led by Dean of the School of Religion Dr. Paul Sadler, each year faculty members prepare a special dinner for the graduating seniors that not only serves as a time of fellowship, but also gives faculty member a chance to honor their graduates with a special foot-washing ceremony. Taken from the New Testament story of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, Sadler said the foot-washing is a chance for faculty members to show students that they are prepared to go to “wherever God will take them.”
“We hope to illustrate for them, to act out for them, even to model for them the importance of being willing to serve,” Sadler said.
Sadler said most students are hesitant to let faculty member wash their feet and that the experience can be uncomfortable for all parties involved. Bocko agreed.
“It was a little strange,” he said. “For the last two-and-a-half years, they have been up on this higher level, this pedestal as a teacher, the one with all the knowledge. It was just kind of strange, all of a sudden having them turn around and start serving us and washing our feet.”
Budnick said she had no idea that the ceremony would take place. Faculty members don’t discuss the ceremony and in the past have tried to keep it secret. For Budnick, the surprise added to the feelings of awkwardness.
“It was interesting and it really put the story into perspective, that Jesus was the disciples’ teacher and they didn’t feel worthy to be served by Him either. He did it right before He was going to leave them and they were going to be on their own, serving without Him,” Budnick said. “It really did put it into perspective that we are about to leave as well and we are going to be out in the world serving just like they did.”
Sadler said the faculty members hope students take the ceremony as a learning experience.
“We want them to learn and to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ and to make connections between what happens in the classroom and what happens in our lives as Christians,” he said. “It is probably the most meaningful thing we do with our students.”
Bocko said the service was humbling, and illustrates what students need to do as they start the next chapters in their lives.
“Whether I go to seminary, which I plan to do, I’m going there with the intent of not necessarily being served by other people at the school or by the professors or people in the ministry that I work with, but rather finding ways that I can serve them,” he said.
Bocko will graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Christian Ministry on Saturday and Budnick will receive a Bachelor of Science Degree, majoring in molecular biology, chemistry and intercultural missions. Bocko plans to attend seminary while Budnick hopes to go to medical school and eventually work as a medical missionary.