Gilead Graduates Its Twenty-seventh Class
THE intermittent shade of low-flying clouds combined with gentle summer breezes provided pleasant comfort for the open-air assembly on Gilead’s campus. It was the week end of July 28 and 29. The setting was one of natural beauty and the occasion one of rejoicing. It was the graduation program for the twenty-seventh class of the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead and 4,420 persons had assembled.
All day Saturday was a time of warm Christian fellowship and then at seven o’clock in the evening 2,634 assembled for the weekly Watchtower study. The Society’s president called for twelve volunteers from the student body and these, assembled on the platform, demonstrated that even in small congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses interesting and instructive studies may be conducted if everyone prepares and participates in the discussion. The Watchtower study was followed by music by members of the student body.
Sunday morning the program began at nine. After song and prayer the Society’s president, N. H. Knorr, introduced each of the school’s four instructors, who offered final words of counsel. Congratulatory messages from around the world were read next, and then N. H. Knorr delivered the graduation address. The subject: “Irreprehensible Witnesses.”
He made clear to all present that being a witness for Jehovah God is a grave responsibility as well as a joyful privilege. He warned of the many pitfalls that may endanger the position of one of God’s ministers. Materialism ranked high on this list of dangers. The witness of Jehovah must always be keen to distinguish by God’s Word the difference between material advantages and blessings from Jehovah God. Prosperity in material things is not the blessing that Jehovah gives his people now, but rather his blessings are spiritual and make his ministers spiritually strong in his service. He warned against covetousness and, citing Proverbs 28:16, showed that the anxieties of this life and desires for material things possessed by others lead to disappointment and death. To maintain happiness he recommended the Christian course of shunning materialism and turning to full-time service of Jehovah God.
Following the graduation discourse the 108 members of the twenty-seventh class filed across the platform, where each was presented a white envelope containing a personal message from the president, a gift from the Society to aid the graduate to continue in the full-time service, a picture of the twenty-seventh class and, for those who had achieved scholastic marks of merit, a diploma from the school. As each graduate received his gift ministerial assignments were announced. It was noted that whereas these ministers had come from six different countries their assignments would scatter them to twenty lands around the earth. Joy filled the hearts of all as their thoughts turned to new fields of service awaiting them.
A member of the class then read an expression of gratitude addressed to the Society’s president. It was subsequently declared to express the sentiments of the entire group and was adopted as an expression of their gratitude to Jehovah and his organization, which had arranged for the Gilead training they had received.
The two-day program ended with expressions of appreciation from the graduates themselves. Twenty-three representatives of the class spoke and in their brief expressions was a unanimous appeal to all those attending to consider the joys of full-time service and missionary work as being something attainable for them too.