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Commissioning 2024: Joy & Celebration

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On Wednesday, May 15, 2024, the ADC community gathered to celebrate our 63rd annual Commissioning Service with a full day of joy and celebration.

Open Doors

As has become our tradition in the last few years, we opened the College building to graduands, their guests, and our community for a time of connection.

For several hours leading up to the Commissioning Supper, staff and faculty gave tours, shared updates, and enjoyed the hustle-and-bustle of supporters, students, graduands, and alumni visiting the building. For some graduands, this was their first visit to the ADC building, as they had completed their studies entirely online. We welcomed the opportunity to meet them while they visited Wolfville.

Woven Together

Our Commissioning Supper took place in Wheelock Dining Hall with nearly 200 in attendance, including Dr. Jeff Henessy, Acadia University’s new president; Rev. Dr. Peter Holmes, recipient of the 2024 Honorary Doctor of Divinity; Elder Joe Michael; Rev. Dr. Marjorie Lewis, Acadia University Chaplain; Mr. Mark Jelley, Chair of the ADC Board of Trustees; and many other special guests who travelled from near and far to join us.

Using the story of Rev. Dr. Charles Aubrey Eaton, Dr. Holmes reminded the graduands that “there are many who have gone before us, who have prepared the way in ways we may never understand or see, whose names may be all but forgotten. We stand on their shoulders, like branches of trees,” he said. “You too are branches, and one day there will be someone standing on your shoulders. Go into this world in the knowledge that you are not alone.”

Rev. John Campbell, Director of Development, echoed these thoughts in welcoming the graduands into the alumni family, presenting them with a pen and a pin as giftsto remind them of the community that surrounds them, always.

During the Commissioning Supper, it’s tradition to honour outstanding students with special awards. This year, Master of Divinity student Vipin Joseph received the Student Service Award for the ways he faithfully serves the College community, and Doctor of Ministry graduand, Rev. Chris Stefanidis was awarded the MacRae Prize for the best doctoral thesis. Congratulations Vipin and Chris!

To conclude the supper, Rev. John Campbell reminded graduands that within the financial support extended them during their studies, “every cent has a story, every number has a name. The support you received not only helped you financially, but it has woven you into this family.” John encouraged us all to “weave ourselves into the story of Acadia Divinity College” by giving generously to support future students.

Always a Part of this Community

Wolfville Baptist Church was full to the brim and ringing with music provided by Music Director, Dr. Heather Price and Owen Lee, Music Minister at EBC The Meeting Place, as our community gathered for our 63rd annual Commissioning Service.

Attending the Commissioning Service for the first time, Dr. Jeff Henessy, new President of Acadia University, brought greetings to the graduands. “Faith leaders have an important role to play in a world that needs help practically and spiritually,” he said. “I applaud your call to service, your commitment to a better society, and your championing of the good in humanity.”

Rev. Renée MacVicar, new Executive Minister for the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada, reminded our graduands that their “story is forever woven with this community of ADC.”

With many new staff and faculty joining our community in recent years, Dr. Anna Robbins, President of Acadia Divinity College, invited us to bear witness to the commissioning of our new faculty and staff who also teach. We recognize and celebrate the team that God has brought together for this time in the College’s story.

During our Commissioning Service, our community sends off our graduands with a prayer and a blessing before Convocation. However, for five of our graduands, the Service marked their official graduation ceremony. Sheila Cummings, Chelsea MacGregor, and Awah Manasseh Ndingwan, who each received a Graduate Diploma in Christian Studies; Amanda (Mandy) Pitre, who received a Certificate in Christian Studies; and Leonard Wile who received a Certificate in Lay Leadership, were all recognized and celebrated for their achievements.

Dr. Anna Robbins presented the 2024 President’s Award to Master of Divinity graduand Keegan Perry. The award is given to the student with the highest cumulative grade point average and who shows great potential for ministry. Congratulations, Keegan! 

Reflecting on his time at ADC, Keegan said, “By far the best part of my time at ADC is being a part of the community. ADC has a beautifully diverse community of people coming from all different walks of life and from all over the world.”

You Have Got to Move!

The Annual John Gladstone Sermon was delivered by Rev. Andrea Anderson (MDiv ‘18), Senior Pastor of East Preston United Baptist Church and a member of the ADC Board. Drawing from the story of Elijah and Elisha in 2 Kings 2:1-14, she energetically encouraged graduands to embrace transition and step confidently into what God has for them.

“Don’t become complacent in the places God placed you when greater is before you,” she said. “You can’t stay there! You’ve got to move to the next chapter of God’s glory in your story.”

She emphasized the importance of mentors in the journey of transition. “Always remember that mentors are essential to your transition. Don’t underestimate or undervalue the contribution a mentor can make in your spiritual journey. Never go it alone.”

“You are about to transition from studying in the classroom to doing ministry in society,” she concluded. “You are going to need more than a textbook, you are going to need more than a mentor, you are going to need the power of God for the ministry journey you are about to take.”

We Pray Together

The act of Commissioning – praying for our students and sending them out into a mosaic of ministry contexts – is the truest reflection of our mission here at ADC. Our students and alumni are our legacy, and we will take every opportunity to celebrate the bright futures they represent.  

Perhaps your future will bring you to ADC for further study. Discover how you can join our community to study with purpose and be equipped to serve the mission of God with transformative impact.

Memories from the Open House & Supper

Memories from the Service

Memories from Convocation

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