The March of Bibles
More than thirty years ago, SAGU borrowed federal funds to assist in a major renovation of the Farmer Administration Building. In doing so, the loan’s fine print prohibited the use of the renovated facilities for religious purposes. In time, the university was required to move Bible-related classes to other locations on campus. Only general education courses could be taught in the Farmer Administration Building. When Delmer Guynes became president in 1982, he led an effort to pay off the federal debt ahead of schedule to free SAGU from those restrictions.
After the debt was repaid, a formal event was organized during Homecoming 1984, marching the Bible back into the Farmer Administration Building. Representatives from the former schools that now constitute Southwestern Assemblies of God University attended: from the south, representing Southern Bible Institute in Houston, Texas; from the west, representing Shield of Faith Bible Institute in Amarillo, Texas; from the north, representing Southwestern in Enid, Oklahoma; and, from the east, representing those from other areas of the United States. These groups assembled on the campus and marched, singing, toward the front of the administration building where a formal proclamation declared that the Bible was back in the Farmer Administration Building to stay.
Participants signed Bibles as a commitment to maintain the Bible as the educational focal point of SAGU. These four historic copies of the Bible remain on display as a reminder of SAGU’s full devotion to the primacy of the Word of God.
Still a rich tradition today, each commencement procession begins first and foremost with the march of Bibles. Staff or faculty of the university are privileged to lead the procession as a reminder of that momentous occasion.