Sending Menaul Grads Into the World With Hope and Blessing

Rev. Takako Terino

An enduring and beloved Menaul School tradition, one which has its origins in medieval European universities, is the baccalaureate service. A service of worship to celebrate and honor our graduating seniors on the evening before Commencement.

The most meaningful part of baccalaureate for our seniors is the opportunity for them to honor and embrace the parents or parental figures who have loved and encouraged them on their journey to graduation.

Rev. Takako Terino

The Presbyterian Book of Common Worship describes a four-fold shape of worship, consisting of (1) Gathering, (2) The Word, (3) The Eucharist and (4) Sending.

Within these four primary movements are secondary parts of worship, such as: (under Gathering) Call to Worship, Hymns of Praise, Confession and Pardon, and the Peace; (under the Word) Prayer for Illumination, Scripture Readings, the Sermon, an Invitation to Discipleship, the Affirmation of Faith, Baptism, and Prayers of the People; (under the Eucharist) Offering, Invitation to the Table, Great Thanksgiving, Lord’s Prayer, Communion of the People; and (under Sending) Songs or Acts of Commitment, the Charge and Blessing. There is broad historical ecumenical consensus on this liturgical pattern.

The PC(USA)’s Directory for Worship offers a slight variation on this structure, describing five actions centered on the Word of God: (1) Gathering Around the Word, (2) Proclaiming the Word, (3) Responding to the Word, (4) The Sealing of the Word in the Sacraments, and (5) Bearing or Following the Word into the World. This characteristically Reformed view of worship emphasizes the centrality of the Word, and frames human actions in worship as a response to God’s initiative. Although the framework is somewhat different, this order of worship is essentially consistent with the ecumenical pattern described above.

How the School Year Mirrors the Ceremony

Gathering, Word, Sending. We gather (prayer, song), we hear the Word (Scripture) read and interpreted in a message focused on the graduates, and then they are sent/dismissed with a charge and blessing.

We can see this structure framing the school year. The Convocation in August follows this same pattern, but in a sense the Convocation is a Gathering for the Menaul community. Throughout the school year in their classes, chapel, activities and mission the students hear, respond, interpret, grow and serve in response to the Word, both sacred and secular. Finally, at the end of the year, at Baccalaureate, we remember the seniors’ time here and send them forth into the world with hope and blessing.

This year’s baccalaureate service will be held on Friday, May 13th, at Menaul School—Hart Park. The service begins at 7 p.m. Please arrive no later than 6:30 p.m. in order to receive brief instructions regarding your involvement in the early portion of the service.

Your presence honors both Menaul School and your graduating senior. We look forward to having you participate in this year’s baccalaureate service.

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