Kingsland seniors participate in singing before the opening of the 2014 baccalaureate service, held last Wednesday evening at the high school.GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
Kingsland seniors participate in singing before the opening of the 2014 baccalaureate service, held last Wednesday evening at the high school.GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
"Attending baccalaureate might be something we did just as part of the graduation ritual," said Our Savior's Lutheran Church youth pastor Nicole Pokorney, who was at her own baccalaureate 25 years ago.

Pokorney, addressing the Kingsland students in the class of 2014 last Wednesday evening at their own baccalaureate, noted that the meaning of attending such a service might eventually reveal itself more fully as the students leave Kingsland High School and venture into the lives they will be given to pursue, as "no matter where you are in your faith journey, God will use you."

She read a portion of Matthew, citing that "you are the light of the world," illustrating that point to the students and congregation through the activities the students participate in during concerts and other school activities.

"Each year at the winter band and choir concert, there's a performance of 'Silent Night' that at the end finishes with the room dark and a single, soft candle lit, a focal point for the audience, and that candle lights another until the room is full of light," she said. "We are full of light...our light began in a stable, and it's always with us, guiding us."

She spoke of the seniors' class trip to Chicago. "In Chicago, many of you packed meals for children, spending an hour to an hour and a half bagging food - in that time, you packaged 25,056 meals to be sent to Uganda to feed refugees fleeing South Sudan. There was a boy healed by the food that you packed...his name is 'Immanuel.' Your light shone then...."

Pokorney went on, "But you might ask, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, courageous?' Who are you not to be?" she asked. "You are children of God, and you're all meant to shine as children do. When you let your light shine, you unconsciously give other people permission to do so....find your passion, find your purpose, let your light shine. Graduating class of 2014, you are children of God."

Seniors reading Scripture and giving prayers included Brianna Musel reading Philippians 4:4-8, Noah Schmidt sharing James 1:2-4, Shelby Larson reading Jeremiah 29:11-13 and she, Jordan Pokorney and Hannah Ramaker offering prayers, a choral presentation by the parents' choir, and a baccalaureate trialogue led by the Rev. Laura Fladten of Our Savior's Lutheran Church that encompassed the hopes students and their parents have for the future, and the support that parents and the congregation professed to provide. Corrin Lee and Courtney Marks sang "The Prayer" as special music, and the Rev. Dennis Timmerman of Our Savior's gave the blessing and benediction, after which the students and congregation enjoyed refreshments and fellowship.

The class extended its appreciation to senior class advisor Niki DeBuhr and the baccalaureate planning committee comprised of Taylor Link, Musel, Ramaker, Paige Webb and Melinda Woods, musicians Josh Hogberg, Maria Klingsheim and Scott Stockdale, speaker Pokorney, the Spring Valley Area Ministerial Association for hosting the service and Valley Christian Center for worship preparations and coordinating refreshments, Melody Schwanke for designing the worship bulletin cover, students, parents, family, friends and community members for participating in the service, and junior ushers Dane Gillespie and Amy Welch.