Reflection and Release: Briercrest Commencement 2015
It’s that time of year again: final assignments have been submitted and exams completed. A new season has arrived in Caronport as we say farewell to many of our students for the summer, anticipating their return in September. For 175 of our College and Seminary students, however, the last days of April marked the end of a significant season of hard work and spiritual growth as graduates walked across the stage of the Hildebrand Chapel to receive their certificate or degree during the commencement ceremony on April 18th.
Graduation weekend is often filled with a mixture of celebration and bittersweet goodbyes as dorm rooms are emptied, family and friends arrive to congratulate their loved ones, and Briercrest students, faculty, and staff take a moment to reflect on the good work that God has done in and through Briercrest and its students as the years pass. Banquets on Friday and Saturday night for the College and Seminary, respectively, gave an opportunity for fellowship around the table as staff and faculty honoured students who excelled in their studies. Many students were also actively involved in the festivities of the weekend, giving testimonies to what they had learned and giving leadership to the commencement ceremony in music and song. From the Briercrest choir Resonant to musical interludes and leadership by students from both the Music and Worship Arts programs, the weekend was full of thanksgiving and praise to the Lord for the work he has done.
The College and Seminary valedictory addresses also emphasized this reality. Reflecting on their experiences in their address to fellow graduates, College valedictorians Britney Alexander, Tyla Fehr, and Brooke Olmstead spoke of their time at Briercrest with great passion and hope. “We have received the message of life, dear graduates … the power of the Gospel and our need for the Lord,” proclaimed Alexander. Fehr and Seminary valedictorian Kathleen McFarland spoke of the ongoing responsibility of the Briercrest alumni to graciously steward the wealth of knowledge and equipping that they have been given to the glory of God. Olmstead, a native of Caronport, finished the valedictory address reflecting that “We have learned to hope for God’s Kingdom to come in its fullest expression.”
Commencement also gives the opportunity for Briercrest to honour members of the community who have made a significant impact on the world at large. This year, Alumnus of the Year Merlin Bartel of Calgary, and Honorary Doctorate recipient Michel Bell were honoured by President Michael Pawelke and the Briercrest Board of Directors as passionate and enduring examples of Christ-centred leadership.
Through foundational teaching, deep relationships fostered in community, and a time of focused and meaningful equipping for the work ahead, each Briercrest graduate departs from Caronport having been called to seek the Kingdom and to discern God’s unique calling on their lives.
Congratulations class of 2015! Welcome to the Briercrest Alumni Association. We are excited to see where the Lord will take you in the coming season and hope that you will come back and visit us soon.