Presbyterian College hosted the Baccalaureate Service for the graduating Class of 2019 Friday, May 10 in Belk Auditorium.
“This weekend marks the close of our 139th academic year,” PC President Bob Staton said at the opening of the service. “It is a time of celebration, joy and reflection for all of us but especially for our graduates and their families.”
“While this is an end to one phase of your life, it is also the beginning of a new and important phase of your life,” Staton continued. “It is our hope that this occasion will be a springboard to inspiring lives for each graduate: lives that reflect values nurtured and grown during your years at PC and inspired by our motto, ‘While We Live, We Serve.’”
Provost Dr. Donald Raber then led the congregation in a Call to Worship.
The hymn, “Called as Partners in Christ’s Service” (led by Dr. Christian Elser), and anthem, “There Will I Be” (The Presbyterian College Choir; Dr. Ron Davis, conductor; Ms. Sharalynn Hicks, piano) followed.
Staton offered the Prayer of the Day, and graduating seniors Anna Louise Shuford, Lindsey Kristen Odom, Tobias Lamar Hagins and Amber Baylee Davis read the Old Testament and New Testament Lessons.
The Rev. Dr. Brad Smith, senior pastor at Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Columbia, S.C., delivered the message, “More Than Enough.” Smith has served as senior pastor of Eastminster Presbyterian since 2009.
Before coming to Eastminster, Smith founded and for many years directed the Souper Bowl of Caring. When he was a seminary intern, Smith prayed, “Lord, even as we enjoy the Super Bowl football game, help us be mindful of those without a bowl of soup to eat.”
Since 1990, the movement has mobilized young people across America to raise more than $150 million for soup kitchens and food banks across America. The Souper Bowl of Caring began while Smith was associate pastor at Spring Valley Presbyterian in Columbia.
Smith talked about the Souper Bowl movement and a young man who took part in it and inspired him and others. He also shared the Biblical message of The Feeding of the 5,000, a story of Jesus using five loaves and two fish from a small boy to feed a multitude, according to the gospel.
“What would you have done if you were in the sandals of that 12-year-old lad?” Smith asked, later encouraging the audience to discover what they will do with the “resources, talents and abilities you’ve been given” to help others.
“The world needs people who will go all in for a bigger vision than themselves or their comfort,” he said.
Staton led the recitation of the Apostles’ Creed after the message, and the Rev. Rachel Parsons-Wells ’02, director of Religious Life and Service, offered the Prayers of the People. Raber led the graduating seniors in the Service of Investiture before the choral response, “Nunc Dimittis” by the Presbyterian College Choir.