The 95 graduates included students who had studied at the CHET main campus in Compton, California, as well as satellite campuses in Los Angeles, San Diego, Spring Valley, Huntington Beach, Chicago, Illinois, and Tijuana, Mexico. The school offers four programs, including a Bachelor of Christian Ministry degree.
Students come from throughout Latin America to study at the Covenant’s Hispanic training center, which was reflected in the ceremony. The crowd that squeezed into the church watched as the students marched into the auditorium waving flags from their native countries.
“Watching the parade of the flags of the different countries represented was truly unforgettable,” said Rebecca Valencia, a CHET student and member of Amigos de la Gracia Covenant Church in Rialto, California.
Some graduates said they had achieved goals they once thought impossible. The joy expressed in multiple ways by students led Abraham Bejarano, senior pastor of Emmanuel Covenant Church in Northridge, California, to say he would have named the ceremony “Tears and Laughter.”
In addition to their degrees, Bachelor of Christian Ministry recipients also were given a white towel with the CHET logo, which signifies they are called to serve as Jesus did. The graduates were exhorted, “Like the master, wrap this calling around your heart and with passion, wash and dry your neighbor’s feet – sharing their grief, sorrow, pain, and joy.” Graduates also received an Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC) Book of Worship.
[pull]”My prayer is that many CHET graduates will be called to serve the denomination that they have learned to love and respect . . .”[/pull]
Danny Martinez of Grace Covenant Church in Spring Valley is a previous graduate of the school and recalled what the bachelor’s degree meant to him. “CHET provided me with highly practical ministry tools and is the place where my theology has been given shape and a center,” he said, adding that he is grateful that the degree prepared him to go on to earn a doctorate in homiletics.
“My prayer is that many CHET graduates will be called to serve the denomination that they have learned to love and respect as they study in the various CHET programs taught by Covenant professors,” said Manuel Valencia, CHET dean and senior pastor of Amigo de la Gracia Covenant Church. “By the time they complete their programs, the ECC ethos runs through their veins.”
Scholarships also were awarded to students continuing their studies. The Eldon and Opal Johnson Scholarship was presented to Melvin and Kira Ardon, members of Fountain of Life Covenant Church in Long Beach, California. The Johnsons served 23 years in Bolivia before returning to Los Angeles where they were instrumental in developing Spanish-speaking Covenant ministries.
Six students received the Lyle and Rosie Stokes Servant Leadership Scholarship. Recipients were awarded $300 to go toward their studies at CHET and $100 to go to a community outreach program of their choice.