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Congregations pay tribute to the Class of 2011

Baby picture displays. Bible presentations. Banquets after Sunday services.
It’s the time of year when many Churches of Christ across the nation recognize graduating seniors.
“We start by singing ‘A Common Love’ as the seniors enter our worship assembly,” said Corey Trevathan, student minister for the Campus Church of Christ in Norcross, Ga. “It’s a way for our church family to say and share the love we have for these seniors in the Lord.”
At the A&M Church of Christ in College Station, Texas, senior boys lead a special worship service. Elders present graduates with Bibles and thank God for them.
That night, juniors serve senior classmates at a catered dinner that features plenty of laughter as well as tears.
“We present each graduate with an award for something funny they have said or done while with the youth group,” said Monty McCully, A&M’s youth and family minister.
“Then we have a special time of blessing by each graduate’s parents. We ask each mom to share a funny story about their son or daughter, and we ask each dad to say a short blessing over their son or daughter.”
Besides Bibles, seniors at the Pleasant Valley Church of Christ in Little Rock, Ark., receive laundry baskets — to collect gifts from the congregation and, presumably, to store dirty clothes when they leave home, missions minister Roger Pritchett said.
The Fairgrounds Road Church of Christ in Troy, Mo., promotes Christian education by offering a $500 scholarship to any graduate who chooses a college or university associated with Churches of Christ, deacon of education Rod Dollins said.
At the San Leandro Church of Christ in California, each senior takes the microphone.
Graduates talk about future plans and offer advice for younger members.
“Everyone really enjoys hearing from our seniors and honoring them,” said Judy Square, wife of San Leandro family minister Woody Square. “It can be especially moving when seniors share a favorite memory and thank the church. Older members realize that all the time and energy they pour into teens and children is appreciated by them.”

Amid all the “Pomp and Circumstance,” The Christian Chronicle asked a few members of the Class of 2011 about their “hero in the faith.”
Among the responses:
“The hero of my faith is my mother, Shelly Kellis.

“She has led by her example. She has taught me that living inside my comfort zone was never Jesus’ intention for my faith and wouldn’t help me grow into the person and purpose he has planned for me. She has pushed me to put my faith first, others second and myself last.”

— Rebekah Kellis | Greater Portland Church of Christ, Maine

“Skyler Ellis is my hero. He is my best friend, and he has been since the seventh grade.

“He has always invited me to church. But for some reason, I always turned him down. It took me until my junior year to finally accept his offer. God worked through him to help me in my time of need.

“He never gave up on me, just like God never would, and we’ve grown so much in our faith together. I look at him as a role model as he spreads the Word and represents Jesus Christ in everything he does.

“We were always best friends, but Christ elevated our friendship to a new level. I am so blessed to have a friend like him, as I have no idea where I would be without him. God worked through Skyler, and it ultimately saved me.”

— Natt Rataphan | Greenville Oaks Church of Christ, Allen, Texas

“My hero in the faith is my grandmother, Mary Crosswhite, a member of the Lawson Chapel Church of Christ in Clay County, Miss.
“She is a strong, wise, faithful and humble Christian woman who exemplifies what it means to be the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31.”
— Mary Beth Morris | Henderson Church of Christ, Tennessee

“If I had to pick my hero in the faith, it would be my brother David Ray. He was the one that baptized me.

“We have always been able to be real with each other. If I have a problem, he is one of the first people I go to. I know that if I talk to him about something, he’s not going to judge me for it.

“He’s understanding and helps me be a better person by keeping me in check on my spiritual walk. He’s my brother, and I love him. Me and him live out Proverbs 27:17: ‘As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.’”

— Aaron Ray | Alliance Church of Christ, Ohio

Filed under: National

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