Gilead’s Thirty-seventh Graduation
THE graduations of Gilead School, operated by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, are always joyous occasions; and this was especially true of the thirty-seventh one. The class consisted of 103 students from 50 different lands.
The graduation took place on Monday, November 26, 1962, at the Brooklyn headquarters of the Society, the program beginning at 3:30 p.m., with song and prayer. After the opening remarks by the president of the School as well as of the Society, N. H. Knorr, the four instructors were briefly heard.
Fred Rusk based his remarks on Isaiah 2:2-4, likening the Christian course of the students to climbing a high mountain that brought to view the sanctuary of Jehovah’s worship. He concluded with the admonition to cherish Jehovah’s house and prove worthy to remain therein. Harry Peloyan compared the students to spears that had been sharpened but now had to prove what kind of metal they were made of by enduring in their assignments. Ulysses Glass, basing his remarks on James 1:22-25, stressed the need of the students’ being doers of God’s Word and always viewing themselves as brothers regardless of what supervisory position they may hold. Edward Dunlap, who also serves as the school’s registrar, reminded the students of the importance of joy, the strength it gives and how they can maintain it, by prayer, by giving, by taking an interest in others and by noting the fruits of their labors.
Next, the many telegrams received from six continents and from some fifty different lands were individually acknowledged and the contents of some were read as time permitted. Then the factory servant, Max Larson, was heard. He stressed the importance of the training they had received and their now knowing how to train others. The Bethel home servant also gave fine counsel, using as his theme Jehovah the Potter.—Isa. 64:8.
Fred Franz, the Society’s vice-president, next spoke on the subject of the Christian’s “deposit” or trust, basing his remarks primarily on 1 Timothy 6:20 and 2 Timothy 1:12-14. The fine instruction and training that the students had received for the past ten months were part of this deposit or pattern of healthful words. He counseled them to add continually to their deposit and also to safeguard it lest empty speeches that violate what is holy, such as the things mentioned at Ephesians 5:3-5, enter the mind and cause them to lose their deposit or pattern of healthful words.
Then came the main talk of the graduation, “Qualified to Teach,” by N. H. Knorr, with remarks based on 1 Timothy 3:2 and; 2 Timothy 2:24. He noted that the students had been invited to this school not because they had been coming short as teachers but rather because they had been doing so well that it was considered advisable to bring them to the School to train them to do still better. Also, he said that while they needed to be qualified to teach all people the truth in simple, easily understood language, even more important was their being able to teach their brothers in the Christian congregation. At times, he said, they may need to be firm with those who contradict, but at all times they must be patient and kind. As an aid to remaining qualified, he counseled the students to pray as did David, “Make me walk in your truth,” “Teach me to do your will.” Yes, pray, ‘Make me to do your will.’—Ps. 25:4, 5, 9; 143:10.
At the conclusion of President Knorr’s remarks the students received their assignments. They were being sent to 64 different lands, to serve in many different capacities, such as special pioneers, missionaries, circuit, district, branch or zone servants. Then one of the students, Alexander Tharp, read a Resolution that the class had adopted that voiced their thanks to Jehovah and to all others that had contributed in any way to make their training at Gilead possible or profitable. It was indeed a warm expression of appreciation, and this class had special reason therefor, because in addition to the regular missionary course they daily received training in the operation of Bethel homes, branch offices and printing plants.
There was an intermission from 5:45 to 7:30 for the enjoyment of a fine farewell dinner, and then the program was resumed. It began with a condensed study of the week’s Watchtower lesson, “Take Courage—God’s Kingdom Is at Hand!” selected students furnishing the comments. After this some forty of the students had opportunity to relate experiences and impressions and express individually their appreciation for the training received. A closing song, “O Walk with God,” and a prayer by Brother Knorr brought the joyous and highly upbuilding program to a close at 11:30 p.m.