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Baccalaureate represents city's faiths

June 10, 2010|By Levent Akbarut

The fourth annual La Cañada Interfaith Baccalaureate Service, a religious service for all graduating seniors in the La Cañada Flintridge area, will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday at St. Bede the Venerable Church in La Cañada Flintridge.

Sponsored annually by the La Cañada Flintridge Ecumenical Ministerial Assn., the service provides a contemporary and religious forum that supplements the high school graduation ceremonies. Following the American motto "E pluribus unum," Latin for "Out of many, one," which was incorporated in the seal of the United States in 1776, our community's baccalaureate offers a great way to celebrate the many great civic and religious values that represent American pluralism.

Since 2007, the service has been expanded from a Christian service to an interfaith service to include other faiths that have become an integral part of our great city. In as much the same way as Catholics, Jews, Mormons and other religious minorities made its inroads into the tradition of religious pluralism in our country.

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This year's service will include prayers, scripture readings from the Torah, Bible and Koran, student testimonials and musical offerings by the La Cañada Chamber Choir. The keynote speaker will be John May, a La Cañada High School alum and current Young Life leader at La Cañada Presbyterian Church. The interfaith service will naturally reflect the life and future of our young leaders.

Each year the event is a welcomed ray of hope for the future. It is a welcome relief to the sad state of current affairs of the polarized, politicized and contentious way our world grapples with issues of the day. More than ever, we need the Christian principle of "love thy neighbor" and the Islamic principle of "O Mankind, God has created you from a single pair of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other. Verily the most honored of you in the sight of God is the one who is the most righteous of you" (Koran Chapter 49, Verse13).

The Interfaith Baccalaureate Service will, therefore, serve as a peaceful and joyful celebration of the community's shared values.

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