Albion grads, at Baccalaureate, given blessing and urged to send love and kindness into world

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 June 2022 at 9:15 am

Photos by Tom Rivers: Pastor Trellis Pore of the Shiloh Church prays over Albion graduate Sawyer Braley during the annual Baccalaureate service on Sunday evening at the First Presbyterian Church in Albion. The service is optional for seniors and half of the class attended the event organized by the Albion Ministerium.

The Rev. Susan Thaine speaks during the Baccalaurate service on Sunday evening.

ALBION – The soon-to-be graduates in Albion’s Class of 2022 were prayed over on Sunday evening by local church pastors, given a blessing and asked to be “counter cultural” by bringing love and kindness in a world that is quick to anger, quick to judgement and slow to forgive.

The Rev. Susan Thaine, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Albion, gave the keynote message and told the seniors they live in very “important and interesting times” where they are critically needed.

“Do not lose heart – the times are hard and dangerous, but trust me God has placed within you the power for you to choose to live God’s way and change the world for good,” said Thaine, an Albion graduate.

She urged they to act for justice and “live in life-honoring mutuality.” She encouraged them to follow the example of Jesus with mercy and compassion at a time “when division, hatred and intolerance is everywhere.”

“No matter what the next chapter of your life looks like, what matters most is the kind of person you choose to be in the world,” she said. “In the grand scheme of things, who you are is far more important than what you do to make a living, what status symbols or accolades you achieve or what your financial portfolio looks like.”

Russell Kingdollar lights a candle with some assistance from Rose English of The Lord’s House in Waterport. Each graduate lit a candle to signify God’s love and light.

Aurora Serafin reads the Scripture from Colossians 3:12-14.

About 50 students or half the Class of 2022 attended the service, which is optional and organized by pastors in the Albion Ministerium. The 2020 Baccalaurate was cancelled due to Covid. Last year the service was limited to the students and up to two guests per senior.

This year everyone was welcome and Thaine said she was pleased to see a bigger crowd in the sanctuary.

Participating pastors in the service included David Beach of the Gaines Carlton Community Church, Tim Lindsay of Harvest Christian Fellowship, Jim Heiler of the West Barre United Methodist Church, Susan Boring of the Eagle Harbor United Methodist Church, Trellis Pore of the Shiloh Church, Eddie English of The Lord’s House, Susan Thaine of the First Presbyterian Church of Albion, Randy LeBaron of Go Scatter Ministries and Jason Tarnowski of the Albion Free Methodist Church.

The pastors presented each graduate with a cross necklace and prayed with them individually.

Pastor Eddie English of The Lord’s House gives the invocation. He asked God for “powerful protection” over the graduates and asked God “to guard them from all evil.”

Faith Bennett sings “Memory” during the service inside the First Presbyterian Church. Other students sang solos including “You Say” by Zoe Cusson and “Standchen” by Leah Kania.

The High School Clarinet Choir also performed “St. Anthony Chorale” and the High School Choir sang “O Love.”

The seniors are lined up outside on the sidewalk before the service in this photo taken looking though one of the stained-glass windows.

David Beach, pastor of the Gaines Carlton Community Church on Route 104, prays with his grandson, James Beach.