RHS 2012 grads to celebrate their story of faith, hope, joy

Rockford community invited to baccalaureate ceremony Sunday, June 3

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL

In a scene carried out in thousands of churches across the country these past few weeks, high school graduates are honored during Graduation Sunday morning services. Pictured are but nine of Rockford United Methodist Church’s seventeen 2012 graduating seniors. Photo by CLIFF HILL

A baccalaureate ceremony for graduating high school students in the Rockford community has been an annual tradition for decades, yet there are many Rockford residents who are not aware of the baccalaureate service’s existence. Few understand the meaning of the ceremony.

According to Wikipedia, the term baccalaureate generally refers to a nondenominational ceremony held a few days before high school or college graduation. Baccalaureate ceremonies offer a quieter, more intimate opportunity to pause and reflect on this rite of passage, hear faculty members offer advice to the graduating class (last year’s keynote speaker was RHS Principal Dan Zang) and enjoy students’ musical talents.

The greater Rockford community is a community of faith and home to some 4-dozen churches of various denominations. For the past several years, the youth pastors of many of these churches have organized these baccalaureate services. As a group, the coalition of youth pastors is known as Unite. Unite meets monthly for the purpose of working together to positively impact the young people of the Rockford community. Unite also runs “Reverb”, a popular before school program for the students of Rockford North and East Middle Schools.

The purpose of this year’s baccalaureate ceremony is to “recognize the success and faith of the graduating class and to send them off into the adventure that is their next stage of life,” said Rockford United Methodist youth pastor, Chad Inman.

The RHS baccalaureate ceremony is open to everyone, not just parents, grandparents, extended family, and friends. Unite invites the entire Rockford community to join with the 2012 graduates during this inspirational ceremony. Those in attendance that evening are sure to enjoy uplifting music from highly talented Praise Teams along with an appearance by the Rockford Aces, the RHS men’s a cappella ensemble.

A highlight video showcasing the 2012 RHS graduating class will be shown and also on the program will be pastoral and faculty challenges to the graduates. Most certainly, guests will be reminded to keep the graduates in their minds, their hearts, and in their prayers.

The 2012 RHS baccalaureate ceremony will be held this Sunday evening, June 3, at 7 p.m. in the RHS Auditorium located at 4100 Kroes Street, Rockford.

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