Churches give Albion grads a sendoff blessing at Baccalaureate program

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 June 2017 at 8:12 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Jared Hollinger and Xitally Rosario, members of the Class of 2017, light candles during Sunday’s Baccalaureate ceremony at the First Presbyterian Church.

In lighting a candle, the graduates were urged to be lights in the world. The act also was another way of helping to “anchor” the graduates to their small town as they embark on the next journey of their lives, said Aleka Schmidt, president of the Albion Ministerium and pastor of the First Baptist Church.

The Albion Ministerium organizes the program and invites students and their families. Many communities have stopped doing the church service for graduates, but Albion continues to do the event.

“We are a faith-filled community and that is still core to our small-town values,” Schmidt said.

Calandra Prentice reads a Scripture, Philippians 4:4-8, during the service. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.”

Father Richard Csizmar, pastor of Holy Family Parish, addresses the graduates and urged God’s blessing upon them.

Evan Steier sings “You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban. The services also included two hymns, “Here I Am, Lord” and “The Spirit Sends Us Forth to Serve.”

About half the class attended the voluntary program. Schmidt said the churches wanted the graduates to receive a blessing from the the faith community.

The Rev. Twyla Boyer, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, shared the message. She said graduates have plans for life, but God may lead them in other directions. When Boyer graduated she was planning to go on to become a surgeon or neurosurgeon. But she said God had other plans for her life.

“Changing you mind, figuring it out along the way is OK,” she said. “God wants the best for each and every one of you.”

The soon-to-be graduates are pictured outside the Presbyterian Church. Sue Starkweather Miller tries to get their attention for a group photo.

The students appreciated the chance to get together as their high school careers wind down.

Chanyce Powell, a track star for Albion, hustles to join her classmates for the group photo.

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