Sunday afternoon’s baccalaureate at the Eastpoint Church of God was a hands-on affair for all involved.
From Lenny Ward’s stirring piano solo, to Cameron White’s strumming of his guitar, to the personal prayers of eight pastors who embraced in prayer all who came forward to receive, it was an inspiring afternoon.
“I have someone greater living on the inside of me,” said Pastor Damien Davis, a 2010 Franklin High School graduate who received spirited applause from the Class of 2014 who attended, nearly all 64 of the senior class.
Davis, who was raised in the Love and Worship Center and became licensed in Jan 2010, and now serves as youth pastor, studied at the Southeastern University seminary in Lakeland. He graduated from Gulf Coast State College with an associate’s degree in business administration, and is now completing his senior year at Florida State University.
Displaying polished oratorical skills, Davis began by reminding the class that in closing this chapter of their lives, they’re “closer to being something great.
“Your hard work has paid off, and you are to be celebrated for your accomplishment,” he said. “Your cap and gown signifies academic accomplishment, and your endurance.
“There may have been times in your life you did not feel like going to school,” said Davis. “It’s not about how you start. It’s how you finish.”
He quoted Proverbs 3:6, “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make straight your paths,” and said that would lead to exercising good judgment.
“Always have God in view, to see him as an ever-present help,” said Davis. “Don’t take a step without his advice. Consult his word, and don’t forget to observe the footsteps of his providence.”
Davis urged the students to “find their greatness” by discovering their own passions in life.
“Greatness is not in one special place, or one special person,” he said. “Greatness has no gender, has no economic class, and doesn’t ever require you have a perfect track record. Don’t let anyone cheat you out of greatness.”
He told the senior class “I am equipped with greatness. I have greatness inside of me” and had them recite together that they can accomplish with the help of the Lord.
The service opened with a welcome from salutatorian Jathan Martin, and an occasion on the history of baccalaureate from class vice president Stefan DeVaughn. Alex Causey offered a prayer, followed by a reading from Proverbs 3:6 from Logan McLeod. Later in the service, McLeod sang to guitar accompaniment from Cameron White; both young men long active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Savannah Cook offered a sing, in which she reminded the gathering that “I want to do something that matters/ I want to do something better, with the time I’ve been given.”
Lenny Ward played “Amazing Grace” on the piano, to generous applause. After a slideshow presentation, either clergymen stepped forward, and each prayed individually with students in groups of eight.
Pastors included Ronnie Luke and Scott Shiver, from the Eastpoint Church of God; Damien Davis and Robert Davis from the Love Center; Gene McLeod and Don Carroll, from the Carrabelle Christian Center; David Walker from Covenant Word; and Bobby Shiver, from the United Baptist Church.
Valedictorian Brian Walker closed the service with remarks.