Graduation is fast approaching and that means its time once again for the annual Baccalaureate services for graduating seniors. This year's program will have a new wrinkle, however.
Since the Baccalaureate services were reinitiated about five years ago, a single service has been held at Bladen Community College, usually on a Sunday. This year, however, a separate service will be held at East and West Bladen high schools. Both services will be held on Wednesday, May 18, at 7 p.m.
Though the services are not directly affiliated with the school system, they are supported jointly by the system, Bladen Baptist Association, Bladen Ministerial Association and the Bladen County Board of Education.
The services at both campuses will be student led.
The program at West Bladen will feature and overview of school devotionals by Dr. Darryl Covington, school chaplain, a performance by Dublin First Baptist Youth Praise Band, testimonies by students, a performance by the African-American Youth Choir, and a message by Reverend Bruce Cannon, director of missions for Bladen Baptist Association. Cannon is also a member of the West Bladen Principal's Advisory Committee.
Baccalaureate services were discontinued in Bladen County for more than 20 years due to questions regarding church and state issues in local schools.
But a movement about five years revived the services.
Though attendance in the services is entirely voluntary, Bladen Ministerial Association officials are hoping for a great turnout this year with the movement of the services to the respective campuses.
"We believe these services are an especially important part of graduation and merit our participation and attendance," said Cannon.