Wisconsin Pastors Re-Introducing Baccalaureate

Post a Comment » Written on May 30th, 2008     
Filed under: News
RIVER FALLS, WI (May 30, 2008) – Baccalaureate services have become less and less a part of high school graduations across the country, but youth pastors here are bringing back the tradition for the first time since 2002.

Nobody seems to know why the services ended, says Leah Jarosek, youth and worship director at First Covenant Church and one of the event organizers. The youth workers wanted to give the students a special sendoff, however. “We’ve been working with these kids for years,” she explains.

The service will be held in the 750-seat high school gymnasium on Wednesday, but Jarosek says she has no idea how many people will attend because six years have passed since the last event. “We hope we fill them all,” she says.

The theme is “We, Not Me,” and the keynote speaker will be River Falls native Karyn Bye-Dietz, a co-captain of the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team that won a gold medal in 1998. That year, she also was a finalist for the Women’s Sports Foundation Team Sportswoman of the Year Award and was named USA Hockey’s Women’s Player of the Year in 1998 and 1995.

Despite her honors, Bye-Dietz’s success was dependent on team play, which also makes her an ideal speaker for the event, Jarosek says.

The service will include songs of praise by the local band SOAP, which stands for Souled Out Actors and Praise. The band members also will act in a short drama.

The service is one of four events put on by Souled Out, a ministry that local youth pastors formed several years ago. Other events have included a ski trip, a Christian comedy night and Mudfest.

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