Newman theology professor ‘walks on water’ as a reminder to those in the pews

John McCormick, left, as Jesus, beckons Peter to step out of the boat in a video clip just released for church use. McCormick is a member of St. James Parish, Augusta.

By Christopher M. Riggs
John McCormick was just happy he didn’t have to fall into the lake.
McCormick, associate professor of theology at Newman University, Wichita, portrays Jesus in a video clip recently filmed in Wichita. He was originally cast to portray St. Peter in the video available for use by churches to remind their flock to turn off their cell phones.
Cell phones, Jesus, and St. Peter? Yes, it’s anachronistic but the clip makes its point. To see it go to, look at the top of the page and click on the “Jesus Walks on Water Video” link. Churches may download it and play it at no cost.
McCormick was recommended for the part by Fr. Joseph Tatro, Newman’s chaplain and visiting adjunct professor of theology.
“Once on site, after we had dressed for our roles, they felt I had more of the look (to play Jesus) and so we switched roles,” he said.
McCormick, who holds a Ph.D. from Duquesne University, said he learned alot as part of the troupe.
“Most of the takes were actually done on land with the lake in the background,” he said. “It is amazing how much fiction goes into these productions.”
The minute-long clip was taped at a small lake in northeast Wichita.
Although McCormick is working toward a high level of sanctification, the producers had to use a little bit of low-budget trickery to make it look as if the Newman associate professor was walking on water: they sunk a picnic table just below water level.
McCormick won’t be getting any residuals each time the video is viewed or played, everyone volunteered for the very low budget video. “We were paid with pizza and the educational experience for my children and I who got to watch and ask questions.”
McCormick added that he will not be quitting his day job anytime soon.
Peter was played by Bill Allen and James by Michael Wayne Foy. The clip was written and produced by Vienna Averilla and Brad Morehouse of It was directed by Jordan Langhofer of and sponsored by