Students in field

Pastor Sarah Shares Baccalaureate Info and Words of Encouragement

May 1, 2020

On this week’s Finlandia Fridays host Anastazia Hartman speaks with Campus Pastor, Sarah Semmler Smith to discuss this year’s virtual baccalaureate service, student care packages, and words of encouragement during times of social distancing.

The virtual baccalaureate service offers graduates and families the opportunity to gather for a time of worship centered on prayers, blessings, and homily. From the Chapel of St. Matthew, Pastor Sarah Semmler Smith will preside over this special virtual edition.

“Typically baccalaureate would be the weekend of commencement and we would invite students, families, faculty, and staff to gather in the Chapel of St. Matthew,” said Semmler Smith. “With social distancing this year we obviously can’t do that. We will be having a virtual baccalaureate service where we will have about twenty different people who will be contributing different parts from separate places that we will share on May 3rd and I am looking forward to offering that.”

All are invited to join our live stream of the baccalaureate service on Sunday, May 3 at 10 a.m. The live stream can be found on our YouTube channel, Finlandia University, or on our website at finlandia.edu/virtual-ceremonies/.

As the school year comes to a close Semmler Smith and members of the university and local community worked to send care packages to FinnU students to show that we care for them. “These care packages don’t just come from me or campus ministry, they are from everyone who loves Finlandia students.  We just wanted to show a sign of tangible love like getting something in the mail and not just through a computer, but getting something physical in the mail. I think is a different kind of care and that’s what we were going for, to show our student we were thinking of them and that we care for them.”

At the end of the episode, Semmler Smith shared her words of encouragement for this time. “Have grace with yourself, it is okay to have bad days, its okay to not be okay sometimes,” said Semmler Smith. “just to be gentle with yourself, be kind with others and make that assumption that everyone, like you, is doing the best we can and we are going to get through this. We are going to show up in ways for each other in ways we never imagined.”

And to the graduating class, Semmler Smith offered this, “To our graduating seniors, I just wanted to offer my congratulations and support. I know hearing from faculty and staff how proud we are of you. You had this odd and interesting end to your school career you’ve pushed through and you’ve done it!”

For more information related to this year’s virtual graduation ceremonies, click here.



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Thanks for checking out Finlandia Fridays, one of four podcasts in the Finlandia University Podcast Network. Finlandia Fridays is a weekly interview series talking about a wide range of Finlandia University topics. You can check out an archive at finlandia.edu/fridays. We also invite you to subscribe to the Finlandia Podcast Network wherever you get podcasts.

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