8/30/2011 - Annual 'Rose Sunday' Marks New Academic Year at Judson College
Annual 'Rose Sunday' Marks New Academic Year at Judson College
By Michael J. Brooks
Participants in Judson College's 96th annual "Rose Sunday" service on Aug. 29 were happy to find a clear morning, though very warm, as they walked the few blocks from the college to Siloam Baptist Church.
Students donned white gloves and many wore hats for the traditional processional and worship service marking the commencement of the new academic year which began the previous Wednesday.
Rose Sunday was first observed on Sept. 19, 1915, but has its origins much earlier in a practice begun by the founder and first college president Milo P. Jewett. Jewett underscored the value of worship by walking with students to Siloam every Sunday.
Judson seniors began the day, appropriately in front of Jewett Hall, by passing through a woven ivy chain, crafted and held by the underclassmen in their honor--another long-standing tradition at the college. Each senior wore her academic regalia and a single red rose--the college's signature flower.
Judson president Dr. David Potts then lead the procession to the church for worship.
Members of Siloam Baptist Church met earlier in the day in order to accommodate the Judson students, faculty and staff at the traditional late morning worship time.
As has been his custom in his presidential address, Potts brought laughter from the crowd by reading some "general regulations" from early college catalogues.
Students had to have permission from the principal to leave campus, to receive any magazines or newspapers and to open accounts in Marion. They were allowed to spend no more than fifty cents per month from their "pocket money." Letters were subject to inspection unless written to parents or guardians, and two offenses merited expulsion: dipping snuff and "communicating with unmarried gentlemen."
Further, Potts noted that a "regular course" in 1911 cost $20.00 and board was $15.00 per month. Campus dress was rigorously prescribed and students were issued two green, two pink and two white uniforms.
Potts then turned to the purpose of the day, noting that the college's founders "sat where you sit today."
"They were people who understood service and humility," Potts said.
"The founders created organizations that made important differences in the minds, hearts and souls of the people around them. We would do well to follow their examples in our time."
Potts noted that surveys find today's young people less inclined to evangelical faith because, in their view, Christians are loud and judgmental.
Potts cited a recent editorial about “loudmouth Christianity” in "The Alabama Baptist."
"Dr. Bob Terry quoted Rick Warren, pastor of the 100,000 member Saddleback Church and author of 'The Purpose Driven Life,’ Potts said.
“Warren said today’s evangelical church has 'cut off [its] hands and feet, and all that is left is a big mouth.' That is one reason many people in the 21st century refuse to listen to the church, [Warren] says. The church is all talk and no do.”
Potts urged students to adopt a lifestyle of humility and service, and to do so in the imitation of Christ.
"Humility is the antidote for hypocrisy, for being judgmental," Potts said.
Potts praised the service-learning tradition of the college and urged students to continue to reach out to their community.
"Service demonstrates Christ’s love in our 'me-first' culture," he said.
"Let us remind those around us that as Christ followers we 'come not to be served, but to serve.' Let us apply our minds and hearts to edifying and lifting the spirits of those lost in a dark and dying world."
Founded in 1838, Judson College is the nation’s premier Christian college for women. Located in Marion, Ala., Judson has been recognized by “U.S. News & World Report” as among the top 20 best national liberal arts colleges by guidance counselors in the “Best High Schools” category.
Photo cutline: Senior Miriam Hart of Tallassee is pinned with a red rose by Faith Williams of Crossville before students processed to Siloam Baptist Church. Photo by Bill Mathews.