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AVHS Baccalaureate Non-Denominational?

Original post made by Non-Denominational AVHS Parent, Amador Valley High School, on Jun 6, 2011

We attended the Baccalaureate for AVHS Seniors at the Cornerstone Church in Livermore yesterday. We were told that the event was non-deominational and fully expected some sort of religion neutral expression of faith. Within the first few minutes peoplewere praising their own specific religion and leaving those of us expecting a neutral expression a bit surprised.

The program featured the youth pastor for the church who delivering a rather interest sermon and gave a final benediction. All in the name of his specific beliefs. I know that it made my child and several of us uncomfortable. The people I spoke with truly expected a religionn neutral event.

Let me be clear before the haters chime in. I am completely in favor of people expressing their faith. However, perhaps our perception of the event was that it would be less specific to a religion and more supportive of all religions. I believe the organizers had the best intentions, but I know for our future graduates we now know what to expect and decide accordingly.

Comments (54)

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Posted by steve
a resident of Parkside
on Jun 6, 2011 at 8:26 am

'more supportive of all religions'?! How is that possible during a relatively short ceremony? Besides, why should that be the focus instead of why you were there....to celebrate the accomplishments of the senior class? If you are wiccan, do you expect the pastor to appease your you? I'm sorry to tell you, but it's not all about you and whether you were offended or not. Get over yourslef and your extreme sensitivity and look at the positive side of the event. Amazing.....


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Posted by justcrazy
a resident of Amador Estates
on Jun 6, 2011 at 12:53 pm

First, I've been to Cornerstone and I'm sure they didn't perform any specific religous rituals (such as the how the Catholics do the "father,son,holy ghost" thing or how the Jewish men wear Yarmulkas or how Muslims praise Allah).

Second, If a religion other than your own offends you or makes you uncomfortable don't go to a church other than your own. I'm not Muslim but if I decided to visit a Muslim church I'd not be offended by any of their rituals - how does that affect me in any way? I could be sitting next to a Holy Roler Baptist screaming, falling to the floor crying and dancing around naked, it wouldn't offend me - to each his own. America is about freedom of religion so why prevent others from having that freedom?


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 6, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Maybe they should call this a Catholic-based ceremony and not non-denominational.


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Posted by Another parent
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 6, 2011 at 2:18 pm

If this was advertised as a christian event, then perhaps people who were uncomfortable would have known what to expect.


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Posted by Hot Sam
a resident of Southeast Pleasanton
on Jun 6, 2011 at 6:03 pm

I don't get it. The youth pastor of Cornerstone Church gives a sermon and a benediction and everybody gets "uncomfortable". If you have to sit on bleacher seats for a couple hours in the cold rain and your underwear is too tight, that's uncomfortable. But nobody can stand letting the youth pastor say a few words? People are waaaay to sensitive around here. Sorry everybody's "perceptions" of the event did not come true but put your comfort level aside for a while and let the seniors have their baccalaureate.


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Posted by Oh brother.
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 6, 2011 at 11:22 pm

I believe a "baccalaureate" is a religious celebration that is held prior to a graduation ceremony.

I'm probably best described as non-religious. I was at this event and was not offended or uncomfortable. In fact, I thought the speeches by the teacher and the pastor were very well done. If the world around you is offensive, stay home.


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Posted by Amazing
a resident of another community
on Jun 7, 2011 at 8:16 am

I agree with "Oh brother" You went to a Church for a baccalaureate ceremony...if you were uncomfortable maybe you should look within and find out why God was speaking to you...no obligation to attend the baccalaureate if Church scares you just go to the graduation ceremony next time....


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Posted by Mother of Jewish kids
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jun 7, 2011 at 8:22 am

My kids, who are Jewish, were also uncomfortable with the numerous mentions of Jesus. It was laughable that the woman who introduced this "non-denominational" event talked about accepting Jesus as her savior!

Since this was supposed to be non-denominational, it would have been more appropriate to leave out the Jesus references and just stick to God, an entity accepted by most religions.


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Posted by hybrid owner
a resident of Valley Trails
on Jun 7, 2011 at 8:35 am

Taken from Wikipedia:
A baccalaureate service (or, baccalaureate mass in the case of institutions affiliated with the Catholic Church and its orders) is a celebration which honors a graduating senior class from a college or high school. The event is often, but not necessarily, of an inter-faith religious nature.


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Posted by Roger
a resident of California Reflections
on Jun 7, 2011 at 8:36 am

My wife and I attended the ceremony, we thought it was very tastefully done, not too much and not too little. There is nothing wrong with the young having some exposure to a God, I can't remember seeing such a beautiful group of fine young people assembled, I didn't observe anybody squirming or looking uncomfortable, to those who were offended, the message was not for you, it was for the young graduates.


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Posted by Dad of Jewish Kids
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jun 7, 2011 at 8:38 am

I attended Baccalaureate, as well -- I was the one who designed the slideshow to honor the kids. The references to Jesus were not over the top, but they were a surprise to me, because the organizers went out of their way to emphasize that the service was non-denominational. We can probably debate what the expression even means -- my .02 would suggest that we seek the common denominator in all of our faiths, that of God. And indeed, I heard several references to "the Son," which I took to be a less conspicuous way of citing Jesus.

It is my understanding that past services have included a priest and a rabbi, and who knows, perhaps seeking to be "multi-denominational" might be easier to pull off than "non-denominational."

The contradiction was not lost on the kids: the introduction of "I have accepted Jesus Christ into my life...and I would like to welcome you to this non-denominational service" was met with lots of teenage laughter.


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Posted by steve
a resident of Parkside
on Jun 7, 2011 at 8:38 am

If you're that offended by exposure to the terms used by other religions, you should be insulating yourself within your small, narrow community and don't venture out into the world outside your bubble. Maybe a private school is best for you.


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Posted by mom
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 7, 2011 at 8:47 am

I was so glad we attended the services Sunday evening. I was told it would be a much more personal ceremony and that advice was right on target. The ceremony was well done, the speakers had good messages and the slide show took me back many years. What more could you ask for in a baccalaurete?


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Posted by mom
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 7, 2011 at 8:47 am

I was so glad we attended the services Sunday evening. I was told it would be a much more personal ceremony and that advice was right on target. The ceremony was well done, the speakers had good messages and the slide show took me back many years. What more could you ask for in a baccalaurete?


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Posted by student
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jun 7, 2011 at 8:53 am

The slideshow was fantastic, the performances by students were good, I didn't even mind the bible verses that were read by students... but the long sermon given by a priest that most of us have never met in their life was over the top and ridiculous. Granted, there were some inspirational parts to it, but preaching to all the graduates that jesus would take care of all their problems was offensive and inappropriate. Especially the part at the end where he had us all pray to jesus. That being said, I still enjoyed the ceremony.


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Posted by way more than this
a resident of Country Fair
on Jun 7, 2011 at 8:54 am

Small minded smart mouthed parents raising families that think the service is the 'right way to talk about spirituality' is a sad comment on our future. Please get a life!


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Posted by Mary
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 7, 2011 at 8:58 am

Could it be that it was a mistaken vocabulary moment? a 'Non-Denomination' in a Christian church is completely different than an 'Inter-Faith' program in a Christian church.

Non-Denominational would mean that no particular Christian denomination would be obvious, (Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran, etc.). But it would, by definition, still be a Christian service.


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Posted by Maja7
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 7, 2011 at 9:09 am

I attended the OPTIONAL Baccalaureate and it was well done and I especially want to thank the Dad that did the slideshow! Excellent Job. Thank you!
Regarding the references to Jesus. Seriously! The event is held at a Non-Denominational Church and yet, you naively think that they would be no references to God! Now we cannot give our own personal truth because it might make "you" feel uncomfortable! What about the fact that if I do not give my testimony; Jesus as my own personal Savior; it makes me feel uncomfortable!! My children are exposed each & every day to (what I consider) liberal messages about sexuality, alternative lifestyles and religions. I am not offended; I see it as an opportunity to talk to my children about our beliefs and the secular world. What offends me is that I cannot express Jesus Christ as my Savior without someone being offended. Really! Are you really offended?


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Posted by Mellow Fellow
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2011 at 9:32 am

It seems the problem could be solved if the other denominational churches had their own Baccalaureate. The Jewish religion should have one, the Muslim's have one, the atheist have their own, the Wicca's have their own, and so on. Then the end of the year Baccalaureate would be more like choosing the spaghetti sauce right for their taste as opposed to honoring their students in a quasi-religious manner. Of course that would entail effort on everyone's part, rather than sitting back and criticizing the editorial content of the show.


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Posted by reasonable
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2011 at 10:16 am

Considering that this is a quasi-school-sponsored event, it should have been as inclusive as possible. We live in a diverse community, so an inter-faith service that did not stress Jesus would have been more appropriate. Although I am personally a mainline Christian, I would have also been uncomfortable with a highly evangelical service. There are many inspiring Bible verses (and verses from other religious texts) that could be incorporated in an inter-faith service, and a general theme of faith and belief would have been a better choice.

That said, anyone who is totally uncomfortable with religious themes, should probably stay home from baccalaureate. It is optional and it is held outside of school grounds for a reason.

For those wishing to have a more robust Christian experience, where a personal "testimony" of being Saved or Born Again would be appropriate and welcomed, and a sermon speaking of reliance on Jesus would be perfect, our area churches all have June services at which graduates are recognized and celebrated.


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Posted by no big deal
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 7, 2011 at 10:44 am

I am not a very religious person, but I attended the baccalaureate because my son wanted to participate in it. I found the entire event to be very well presented and received by the majority of people that were in attendance. I knew that this event was taking place in a church so I realized what I was getting myself into. If you were offended your probably should have done the same and thought out your attendance to this optional event beforehand, instead of nit-picking about it afterwards.


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Posted by Miss Vivian
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 7, 2011 at 11:27 am

I agree. I went to the baccalaureate service last year, and although I am a Christian, I was stunned at the specificity of the religious part of the service. This is for all seniors at a public high school, I don't feel it should be religion specific.


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Posted by member
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jun 7, 2011 at 11:53 am

The dictionary defines baccalaureate as specifically a religious service associated with commencement ceremonies. Why would anyone be surprised to find religious content at such an occasion? Many people hold the mistaken idea that they have a right to "not be offended". There is no such right. I have found that no matter what you are, do, or say (or even not say) it will be found offensive to someone. The only way to not offend anyone is to stand for nothing, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing and be just a cipher as a person.


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Posted by Member
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 7, 2011 at 12:21 pm

The earlier comments do a good job of hitting the issues here.
A baccalaureate is usually accompanied by the word "service" or "Mass" and it is generally, although not necessarily, an event with some religious aspects.
So if you are going to one, expect there to be some religious aspect to it. But it is not to convert anyone, because the point is to honor the graduates and to send them on their way into life beyond school.
If you are going to be uncomfortable with any mention of anything religious, then you should probably not attend a baccalaureate service.
Or, just get over your hangups about what people might say about their faith or religious beliefs or philosophies about life.
I have found that most religions have some common beliefs that are found in all religions, and I am not offended or uncomfortable hearing someone talk about what is meaningful to them.
Cornerstone is I believe known as a non-denominational or inter-denominational church that is open to a range of religious beliefs, probably in the general area of Catholic and Protestant.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Like I said, this should be called a Christian-based ceremony, not non-denominational. There is a big difference; unless you are Christian.


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Posted by Stated Above
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jun 7, 2011 at 2:11 pm

As mentioned in an earlier post, Non-Denominational is still a christian service. The ceremony was held in a Christian Church. WHAT DID YOU EXPECT?? And moreso, WHY WERE YOU OFFENDED? I attended a christian service last month. I'm not christian. I visited a Buddhist Temple last summer. I'm not Buddhist. I watched a Jewish sermon on TV a while back. I'm not Jewish. None of these services or experiences are in line with my own beliefs. Still though, I could find no reason to be offended or uncomfortable with my experiences with these other religions. Why in the world would a reasonable person be offeneded by someone expressing their faith or beliefs in a public fourm? Are you really that sheltered or narrow minded?

You should be offended when you look at the rising crime rates in Pleasanton. You should be offended by the low test scores at some of our schools, especially the schools with higher minority enrollment.(PMS) You should be offended when your children continue to take your handouts and expect you to pave their path through life. You should be offended that more people don't contribute to our community in meaningful ways.

But to be offended by someone expressing their own beliefs and faith in a positive manner? Seriously?? Please open your eyes and get a life.


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Posted by Mother of Jewish kids
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jun 7, 2011 at 2:29 pm

I guess it boils down to the definition of non-denominational. Several folks posting here says the baccalaureate service is non-denominational **Christian**. But we thought non-denominational was "Not restricted to or associated with a religious denomination." (thefreedictionary.com)

This is something that should be discussed and clarified with those organizing the event in future years. If it is indeed intended to be for Christians, then it should be advertised as such so that non-Christians can be aware of this and choose to attend or not. If the Baccalaureate is truly supposed to be for any religion, then the event fell short this year and hopefully can be rectified in the future.


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Posted by CP
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2011 at 2:59 pm

"You should be offended by the low test scores at some of our schools, especially the schools with higher minority enrollment.(PMS)"

All of our schools have high test scores, including PMS.

"You should be offended when your children continue to take your handouts "

Handouts? How did the subject of welfare get into this discussion.


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Posted by Non-denominational Parent
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 7, 2011 at 4:22 pm

I am the person who started this thread. My original goal was to have a mature conversation about the AVHS Baccalaaureate. On average I believe the community participating in this thread have looked at all sides of the issue and offered up their viewpoint. If nothing else, the community of uninitiated Baccalaureate attendees can decide if this is an appropriate event for them or not. This in itself achieves my goal. No offense or insult was ever intended, only clarification and education of the event.


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Posted by steve
a resident of Parkside
on Jun 7, 2011 at 4:25 pm

mother of jewish kids----there's nothing to rectify. Oy. The service may not be appropriate for those looking to be offended by a mainstream set of beliefs. You can't please everyone, nor should they try....then, we all lose. Get over yourself and move on.


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Posted by AVHS parent
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 7, 2011 at 4:26 pm

When I read about the non-denominational service on the AVHS Senior Parent website, I thought it would be appropriate for my interfaith family. And the venue wasn't announced until sometime after photos were due and we heard the setting didn't have religious symbols anyway. Anyway, the setting was okay, however the service turned out not to be non-denominational. The slide show was dynamite, the event was joyful and we appreciate the effort, just would have preferred it being non-denominational. However, for future Bacclaureate committees, please check into FHS's service as that apparently was non-denominational. Congratulations, Class of 2011!


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Posted by Stated Above
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jun 7, 2011 at 4:46 pm

CP- I was refering to an article posted on this website. As seen here: Web Link

I wasn't trying to change the subject of this conversation to welfare. I was merely trying to suggest that there are a number of issues in this community affecting us and our youth that deserve more attention than someones exposure to the religious beliefs of others. And if you don't think handouts from parents in this community is a big deal than you're lying to yourself. Not only does it influence youth in developing a sense of entitlement which is unrealistic in this day and age, it facilitates teen drug use. I know this from experience. My fellow students, friends and I weren't spending our own money for illicit uses. We used our parents money which was supposed to be for the movies, dinner, gas, etc... In hindsight, if I was earning the money myself, as opposed to my parents giving it to me whenever I asked, I would have spent it more wisely. Had I done so, I would have avoided many of the trials and tribulations of my youth. Thats another story.

Back on topic.

"If the Baccalaureate is truly supposed to be for any religion, then the event fell short this year and hopefully can be rectified in the future". -Mother of Jewish Kids

What part of this service was not for any religion? Could you explain for us why you are uncomfortable hearing others express their faith? If you analyze life this way, how can you truly enjoy it. I may not think volleyball is the best sport in the world, but I don't get uncomfortable watching it. I prefer oranges to bananas, but I don't get uncomfortable when I see someone enjoying their favorite banana.

I know my analysis is a bit tongue in cheek in nature. Thats just the way I see it. Let me pose a more serious question.

What if it was a denominational service that celebrated the achievements of all of our High School Graduates? Would you decline to attend if your student wanted you to go? Do you not recognize the educational benefits of experienceing other cultures and faiths? Are you as tolerant of others as you think you are?

Cheers and Happy Debating


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Jun 7, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Just an idea, especially for Mother of Jewish Kids. Here is your quote:
This is something that should be discussed and clarified with those organizing the event in future years. If it is indeed intended to be for Christians, then it should be advertised as such so that non-Christians can be aware of this and choose to attend or not. If the Baccalaureate is truly supposed to be for any religion, then the event fell short this year and hopefully can be rectified in the future.

Perhaps you can plan the next event and express your concerns during the planning stages. Many parents dedicate hours to these events and parents such as yourself criticize the end result.

For AVHS parent, quoted: . However, for future Bacclaureate committees, please check into FHS's service as that apparently was non-denominational. Congratulations, Class of 2011!

I'm sure the committee would welcome your assistance.

Thank you to the committee that put in countless hours.


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Posted by Retired school volunteer
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 7, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Some great discussions here. If those who are commenting with strong opinions could volunteer to take time to put their thoughts, energy, and time into planning future school events, I am sure they would be appreciated. Volunteers deserve our gratitude and thanks for doing what they do for our students out of their own time, for free.


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Posted by Amador Student
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 7, 2011 at 7:25 pm

The service was advertised as "non-denominational" which shouldn't specify which sect of Christianity they choose to preach. I came knowing there would be religion involved in the event, however I did not expect all of the Jesus remarks. They were not non-denominational. The part that made me feel uncomfortable was the chain removal scene, which basically stated that if you did not accept God or Jesus as your savior, you will lead a life filled with worry.
Like I said, I knew there was going to be religion involved in the ceremony. All I expected was a non-denominational ceremony, which it wasn't. I came to support my graduating sister, and that was the most important part for me, however I thought I'd chime in to say that the ceremony was not non-denominational, as advertised.


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Posted by Dad of Jewish Kids
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jun 7, 2011 at 8:08 pm

The issue should not be one of "were we offended" -- I didn't think that there was anything offensive about the service, and to repeat, I quite enjoyed it. Mother Of... asked how can we rectify it; perhaps I would temper that a bit to ask "how can we make it better?"

I am not suggesting that we eliminate religion from the service; anti-demoninational would be devoid of meaning. And I would not be in favor of holding separate services for separate faiths; the idea of interfaith events is for us to seek out the areas of commonality we have, not to highlight our differences. And the one thing we all have in common is God. I would be in favor of the service illustrating the impact that God can have in our community and the ways in which we all can find meaning in our faith.

I would like to think that such an experience would not be seen as denying people their ability to celebrate Jesus in their lives, but I have no doubt that should that be the case, we'll hear about it here!


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Posted by reasonable
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2011 at 9:31 am

I still remember my own Baccalaureate (which was held in the gym back then). It featured a Christian pastor, a rabbi and perhaps a third religious leader as well. Each spoke about how our faith could sustain us and help us as we moved into our future. The Christian pastor may have mentioned Jesus (I don't remember) but the theme was NOT about how we all had to accept Jesus as our savior in order to be happy, and was accompanied by appropriate verses and music. I was in the choir and yes, we sang several religiously themed songs.

I would think a service along those lines, more general and inclusive of more religious backgrounds, would satisfy more members of our community than one which is highly Jesus-specific. Remember that this is not about one specific church, but about all graduates who wish to reflect - together - about their faith at this time.

As I mentioned before, those who want a deeper Christian experience can attend their own church's service celebrating the church's own graduates, where in some cases, each graduate has a chance to get up and give their own personal testimony. This is a more intimate and appropriate setting for deeply held, denomination-specific beliefs.


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Posted by reasonable
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2011 at 9:47 am

By the way, Cornerstone is interdenominational meaning it is just "Christian" not Catholic, Presbyterian, Lutheran, etc. However, most interdenominational or nondenominational Christian churches are also highly evangelical and even more likely to stress Jesus as a personal Savior than are the mainline denominations. A mainline Episcopal or Methodist pastor would have known better than to get into a discussion of being "Saved" in a public school's baccalaureate service.


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Posted by Bill
a resident of Castlewood
on Jun 8, 2011 at 9:49 am

If folks were truely "secure" in their own beliefs...be they Christian, Jewish, Muslim, athiest or whatever. AND if they truely understood the underpinnings of their own "religions"...would we really even be having this discussion? Are folks truely concerned that one ceremony could tip their entire perspective of the world? The fact is, Man truely doesnt know the right answer...thats why its called "faith"...an athiest has just as much "faith" as anyone else.

It really does come down to guiding young people towards doing the right thing and having a set of values that helps them succeed and coexist in society...no?

Those that are offended are really insecure in their own belief system and lack the confidence that their belief system can withstand the challenges of LIFE! It is not our job to protect them and make them feel comfortable.


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Posted by Senior
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jun 8, 2011 at 9:49 am

I myself am a senior at Amador. I don't feel as if the gatherings refrences were inappropriate whatsoever. 1. The baccalaureate is a relgious event, and being held at a church a reasonable being might infer this is a Christian ceremony
2. Could this be a mistake in terms of phrasing? As if the event was non-denominational Christian--expressing the values of Christian faith but not appealing to any specific areas of Christianity?
3. Without referencing any specific religion how
were people expecting this sort of ceremony to
take place? Have people sitting around a fire talkig to sacred ghosts?
This is amazingly disappointing to me


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Posted by CP
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2011 at 10:05 am

Bill,

None of that is offensive. What is offensive is to tell a child that her beloved grandmother is currently roasting and will roast for eternity suffering unspeakable tortures in hell because she was not a Christian.


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Posted by Bill
a resident of Castlewood
on Jun 8, 2011 at 10:21 am

@ CP
I dont think they covered that part in the ceremony...why dont you cover that part in the privacy of your own home and expose your child to all the different possibilities and perspectives. And then let the child decide for themselves. Guess what...thats what is going to happen anyway. Then "you" look to your child as an open minded person ....who looks at all things...as opposed to someone who is close minded that is pretending to be open minded.

By the way...the whole point to the ceremony is that your child is no longer "your child".....

As a side note, there is much more to Christianity than (metaphorically) burning in hell. There are many common values taught in Christianity that are consitent with Jewish, Muslim, Athiest...why not focus on good things that are in common than "bad" things that are not.


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Posted by reasonable
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2011 at 10:53 am

Bill -

I think the whole point is to yes, focus on the good common ground that our major faiths share -- the common values that spring from our Judeo-Christian heritage. Of course this is a religious service. However, being that it serves an entire high school community of kids with diverse types and depths of religious belief, something covering more common ground - i.e bible verses, a sermon stressing the role of faith (and this could include God and Jesus both) in supporting them as they go forward, would have been more appropriate than a segment accentuating the need to accept Jesus as Savior -- something that is most definitely NOT a common thread to all major religious backgrounds.

Just because it was held in a church does not mean it should be an evangelical Christian ceremony.


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Posted by Bill
a resident of Castlewood
on Jun 8, 2011 at 11:01 am

@ reasonable...agreed.

At least we're not trying to deny that our country did spring from Judeo-Christian values or that that is something we should be ashamed of or diminish. Some common set of values actually does draw our society together and lubricate it so that it can perform more effectively. (I'm dying to bring up Weiner...and how his loud mouthed appoach is so typical (and hypocritical)...but I wont)


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Posted by long time parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2011 at 11:17 am

An inclusive non-denomination spiritual service probably involves a god.

An exclusive service involves jesus. Only the Christian religion has a believe in jesus.

My observations show that many christians believe only their belief in jesus is correct and everybody else is wrong. It makes it difficult to be non-denominational. I have been in circumstances where christians believe tolerance is everybody else tolerating their use/belief in jesus.

If the schools are sponsoring or involved in a spiritual event, that is fine but as soon as they take on a single belief system, that belongs in your church; not a non-denominational spiritual ceremony.

I realize that the christian belief is the largest group in this area and therefore they have facilities that can handle large groups of people. Therefore these spiritual ceremonies will typically be in a christian-based church. However the building does not necessarily mean it needs to be a christian-based ceremony. Growing up Jewish in the Bay Area, I have seen many Jewish ceremonies in christian-based churches as there was not enough money, or a big enough congregation, to have a local synagogue. The local Jewish community rented the churches for their ceremonies and it worked out just fine.


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Posted by Middle
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Christian is one thing, but being linked with Catholic icons, idols, pergatory, and cultish excorsisms is quite something else ! "God" I think is universally 'safe'. Witnessing 'holy rollers' would be pushing it a bit... but having rabbi and catholic "priest" would NOT serve a mainstream Christian.
The service is OK.
Where I do have trouble is at the early elementary 'Holiday' programs, where Christmas carols are not allowed. The new DEC quanza 'holiday' that was 'created' by mortals in 'OUR' lifetimes is a bit insulting too.
Can't bring in everybody, but for this service, addressing God is sufficient.


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Posted by Class of 2013 AVHS Parent
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 8, 2011 at 1:10 pm

As an involved parent and one of a incoming Junior, I'm glad this thread is here. Many good points have been made on both sides of the arguement. Even being an "evangelical non-denominational (or interdenominational)Christian" person, I have to agree that with the increased diversity of cultures in our school, it would probably be better to organize and INTERFAITH baccalaureate. I will definately work to be on the committee who organizes it for 2013 to put my $0.02. Most Christian churches (well at least the ones I know of anyway, do something in one of their Sunday Services for the members of their church who are graduating.


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Posted by 2013 Mom
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 8, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Thank you for all the comments. I will expect to see many of you at ALL the Sr. activity meeting for AVHS and will look forward to your discussion there regarding your concerns. If not, oh well you are missing out and can continue to complain here rather than being supportive and an assistance to your children and the community.


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Posted by David
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Jun 8, 2011 at 3:57 pm

@Parent, a resident of the Foothill Knolls neighborhood -

Clearly you missed the part where Mother of Jewish Kids' husband organized THE ENTIRE VIDEO for the service.

I don't know if this gives her the right to enter your special club of volunteers to give constructive feedback regarding the event, but I suspect it should.

A school-sponsored non-denominational event should seek to be as inclusive as possible. I don't understand what there is to debate about that.


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Posted by Just another teacher
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 8, 2011 at 5:21 pm

David,

It is not a school sponsored event. It is organized by parents (not teachers or administrators) from each class. Please feel free to join next years group and offer your time and thoughts - and please expect others to do the same. "A special club of volunteers" is nothing more than those who committed many hours of their personal time to bring this to pass.

Please do not mistake this as a school function.


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Posted by just saying
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Dear Middle: for the record it purgatory not "pergatory".

"you say "but having rabbi and catholic "priest" would NOT serve a mainstream Christian."

not for me to judge your heart, but I will pray for you that it is open to do likewise. I think that is pretty "mainstream Christian"

Faithful Catholic w/ upper case "c"


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2011 at 11:04 pm

As far as I have ever understood the term "Baccalaureate" has always been a Christian service recognizing and honoring the graduates within a Christ-centered venue. The religion-neutral service is the graduation ceremony held at the high school. The term "non-denominational" is one that I have only encountered within the Protestant community. It typically refers to a congregation that is not affiliated with any established denomination. Such churches have very specific beliefs and those of one such will not necessarily be the same as another. However, non-denominational is also sometimes used to mean a service where the attendees share a small, but very critical list of Christian beliefs, while possibly differing on less critical articles of faith. I believe that the latter definition of "non-denominational" is the one that was intended by the organizers of this event, and many other Baccalaureate services that I have attended.


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Posted by AVHS Parent
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 14, 2011 at 5:22 am

Check out the definition of bacclaureate on wikipedia and on yahoo. Hearing nothing different, that's what I"d expected the event would be....


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Posted by AH
a resident of Dublin
on Jun 15, 2011 at 5:08 pm

My comment to: "but I know for our future graduates we now know what to expect and decide accordingly."

As you should!


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