Twenty-two students received diplomas of biblical studies, and four others who had audited classes or attended only one semester received certificates of participation. Along with a speech by class president Alex Love and a final performance by this year’s ABC chorale, the ceremony featured a graduation address by Darris McNeely in which he urged the graduates to “run with the horses.” This was in reference to Jeremiah 12. Here Jeremiah seems to falter somewhat in his faith, but God admonishes him to rise up to the challenge and strive all the more to serve God and His people.
Aaron Dean and Jorge de Campos gave the Council of Elders Service Award to Keith Lippincott and Stephanie Tomes. This award recognizes excellent service to the class, the congregation and others. Victor Kubik and Aaron Dean gave the Ambassador Excellence Award to Joanie Nessa and Jason Lovrien. This award recognizes excellence in achieving the goals and ideals of ABC. A large number of family and friends attended the graduation and joined in the following celebration in the home office and on its back lawn.
ABC continues to play a valuable role within the United Church of God, in providing a thorough academic study of the Bible for those who attend. While the intent is to ensure each generation understands the truths that God has revealed to His Church, there is also an emphasis on preparing for service within the Church. Students get hands-on experience in various aspects of service. This ranges from conducting social activities for the local congregation, to training and practice in making presentations within Sabbath services. While ABC is not a ministerial training program, its graduates are expected to play an active role in God’s Church.