Commissioning 2023: Commencement service for Reflectors of Holiness
By: Brad Rowland
From June 2-4, 2023, Commissioning Weekend for the Reflectors of Holiness session was held at the Atlanta Temple Corps with the theme of “All In: Everyone… Everywhere—A Call to Evangelism & Discipleship Mark 16:15 ERV.” Below is a recap of Friday morning’s commencement service.
On Friday, June 2, hundreds gathered at the Atlanta Temple Corps for the first assembly of Commissioning Weekend, under the banner of “All In: Everyone… Everywhere—A Call to Evangelism & Discipleship Mark 16:15 ERV.” With a full slate of events to follow, the commencement service was held for the Reflectors of Holiness session of cadets.
Major Anthony Juliana, president and principal of Evangeline Booth College, opened the meeting by acknowledging and praising the work of the session and officers in their pursuit of higher education.
“We realize the work and the dedication that it has taken to earn those degrees,” said Major Juliana. “The extra hours reading, engaged in cohorts, writing posts and other assignments. Preparing sermons, personal reflections, and integrative papers. We recognize the sacrifice of parents, children, wives, husbands, other family and friends that had to be made during those months and years of work that were required.
“This morning, we will take time to celebrate the accomplishments of the Reflectors of Holiness. We will rejoice with them in the recognition of the Apostle Paul’s words to Timothy, when he wrote: ‘Study and do your best to present yourself to God, approved as a workman or woman, tested by trial, or perhaps more appropriately for cadets, tried by testing. Who have no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth.’”
After the Reflectors of Holiness entered via processional, Major Bradley Caldwell, assistant principal for continuing education, recognized the officer degrees earned over the last year. Following an introduction from Major Juliana, the commencement address was delivered by Dr. Kevin J. Brown, president of Asbury University, who spoke on the longevity of sanctification. He also asked attendees to consider “What endures? What perseveres? What is durable? What is robust to withstand the dynamism of tomorrow’s innovations, technology, and growth?”
Dr. Brown referred to a well-known quote from Gypsy Smith, a British evangelist, who noted “There are five gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the Christian, but most people never read the first four.” He encouraged the Reflectors of Holiness to “cultivate a sound, humble, well-furnished mind” in aiming for “a sanctified, holy life in Christian discipleship.”
“You’ve been given a name, Reflectors of Holiness, and when others see you, may they see the fifth Gospel,” Dr. Brown said. “May they see Good News. May they see hope. May they see a holy life. And may they see a holy God. For the fullest realization of your humanity, as someone made in the image of God, for the edification of the communities that you will come to serve and inhabit, and for the glorification of God.”
The soon-to-be lieutenants were presented with diplomas and degrees, with the session’s top awards distributed. Cadet Karim Shuaib was the recipient of the Principal’s Award, while Cadet Luke Swain earned the Commissioner’s Award, presented by the territorial leaders upon the recommendation of the EBC staff to the second-year cadet who exemplifies the high ideal of Salvationism, exerts a positive influence on the EBC campus, demonstrates effective leadership, commits to the Salvationist mission, manifests maturity and self-discipline, works well with people, and operates in good academic standing.
Cadet Swain also served as the session speaker for the commencement, and, in his address, he delivered a poignant reminder of the calling bestowed on the Reflectors of Holiness and all gathered for the weekend.
“My friends, God is calling us. He’s calling us,” said Cadet Swain. “I challenge you today. I challenge you. As part of your accountability, as part of your commencement, at the start, at the outset, at the dawn of every day, of every endeavor, of every moment, of every conversation, look Christ in the face, who’s mercy you profess to obey. And tell Him whether you’ll join heart and soul, body and circumstance, in this march and this war, to publish a hope to those who we come into contact with. That’s my challenge for everyone in this room.”
For more information, photos, and to view streaming video of Commissioning 2023, visit the events portal by clicking here.