CORE Holds Final Creek Commencements and Baptisms of the Summer
On the last summer weekend of the year, CORE gathered together along Bull Creek for our final outdoor commencement ceremony and baptisms. The sunny day, green trees, and grassy fields contrasted with temperatures in the 70’s and the chilly creek running beside us which hinted at the impending approach of autumn.
Nestled in picturesque surroundings, the more than 200 in attendance held a celebration for the ages. First there was fun and a barbeque. There were games and activities, music, and socializing. While everybody was mingling, Christos Papanikas and his crew prepared the feast. They grilled burgers and brats, prepared pasta salad, sliced melons, and made other yummy stuff. Everybody eventually settled onto lawn chairs and beach blankets for a delicious meal. When all tummies were full, we did baptisms.
Sixteen people were baptized in obedience to our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus. The water was cold, yet the hearts of all in attendance were warm in spirit and faith. The baptism candidates made public confessions of their faith in our Lord Jesus, and they were immersed into the water by Cary McKee and Bracy Sams. This was an important foundation for their life as Christians. We ended up with a bunch of soggy but happy people, and our attention next turned to the graduates of our one-year recovery program.
Eight clients commenced in all. Amidst a backdrop of hope and resilience, the commencement ceremony was a poignant celebration of transformation. The graduates came forward one by one. Family and friends spoke on their behalf. Whereupon, they all got roasted by their CORE house managers and friends (in good fun, of course!)
For each, tears of joy flowed freely as heartfelt words and applause resonated through our forest clearing along the creek. Commencement is an important milestone in the recovery journey for each client. God has gifted them hope, freedom, and life. May their commencements mark the beginning on the road to happy destiny for each. We are so pleased for them!
Bracy led the crowd in prayer to close the ceremonies. We’ll continue to hold our commencement events at our Springfield and Branson recovery centers until springtime when warm weather returns.