For decades, baccalaureate services have provided meaningful spiritual encouragement to graduates. Yet not all communities currently host such services, and many Christian clubs and churches are unaware of the opportunity. Because baccalaureate services are not school-sponsored, they respect church-state separation and are completely legal. Services may take place either at local churches, or on school campuses, and typically take place within a few days prior to graduation.
Pacific Justice Institute is offering free legal advice and practical tips, including model formats, to churches and student clubs interested in sponsoring a baccalaureate service. PJI can be contacted at (916) 857-6900 or through its website, www.pji.org.
PJI President Brad Dacus commented, “Baccalaureate services provide a tremendous opportunity to offer spiritual encouragement to our youth at a key transition point in their lives. It is easy to get lulled into thinking that high schools are closed to the messages of faith and hope, when in reality, graduation can be the perfect time for students and churches to reach out. For these reasons, we are strongly encouraging student clubs and churches to consider hosting a baccalaureate service, and we are eager to offer legal advice and practical tips.”
PJI is working with student ministries such as the California School Project, headed by Warren Willis, to launch the Baccalaureate Project. Willis’ ministry has assisted with dozens of student-led religious events at California high schools in the last few years.