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Mossy Creek provides setting as C-N football players profess faith in Christ

 Alan Duncan (left) and Marty Blakely (right) baptize Levi Myers of Greeneville, Tennessee in Mossy Creek as members of Carson-Newman’s football team look on.

Mossy Creek has held a special place in the hearts of Carson-Newman students and alumni for generations. On Sept. 29, the creek became the scene of a life-changing event for 11 members of the Eagles football team.

Following afternoon practice, the 11 teammates walked from the University’s Burke-Tarr Stadium down the hill to the banks of the creek. They were accompanied by fellow players, coaches, administrators and staff, all gathering to witness and celebrate the athletes’ shared decision to make public professions of faith after accepting Christ. Historic Mossy Creek provided the appropriate backdrop.

Helping officiate the event were Marty Blakely, director of Lakeway’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Alan Duncan, who serves on staff at Morristown’s Manley Baptist Church. Over the last four years, the duo has baptized over 50 C-N players. Blakley noted that prior to his participation, Dr. Dean Haun, pastor of Morristown’s First Baptist Church, had helped with the team’s baptisms.

“One of the things that makes Carson-Newman football special and unique is the opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with players,” Blakely said. “It was part of the program when I played in the 80s and is still part of the program today.”

Blakely said the fall evening that led members of the C-N community to line both banks of the creek, was truly special.

“It is a joy to see players give their lives to Christ,” he said. “Football is great but it will end one day, these decisions that players make have eternal ramifications.”

 Alan Duncan (left) and Marty Blakely

baptize Tydricus Hellams of Greenville, South Carolina.

The event was captured in photos and quickly shared across social media, instantly garnering thousands of shares and many words of encouragement and celebration. Having quickly gone viral, the University Facebook post reached a half a million people within 72 hours, marking the most successful social post ever by the University.

Carson-Newman President Charles A. Fowler was one of those in the crowd at Mossy Creek.

“As a Christian university, we not only have the opportunity to shape the minds of our students with a world class education, but we have the opportunity to shape their hearts,” Fowler said. “Sometimes that provides us the privilege of walking alongside them as they respond in faith to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Fowler shared that having such an opportunity is a blessing. “That is one of our highest privileges,” he said. “I’m grateful to serve in a community where the Gospel is shared openly and students respond.” 

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