Baccalaureate and Chaplain Rob Spach
There was a lot going on Saturday afternoon of Commencement weekend. One of those events was the traditional religious service associated with graduation – the Baccalaureate Service.
More than six hundred guests filled the seats in Belk Arena, as nearly two hundred soon-to-be-graduates and faculty members marched into the arena floor wearing the academic regalia that they would wear Sunday morning at Commencement.
The prelude and processional were performed by organist Tomasz Robak and French horn musician Steffen Kulp ’23.
Participants in the religious ceremony included President Doug Hicks; Rev. Caitlyn Zold, Campus Minister, Davidson College Presbyterian Church; Chaplain Robert Spach, Davidson College Chaplain; and Rev. Daniel Heath, Associate Chaplain.
Hicks welcomed everyone to the service and gave the Call to Worship. It was during the welcome that he took time to say a few words to honor Chaplain Spach. The Davidson alum from the class of 1984 took a somewhat circuitous path to Princeton Theological Seminary but came directly to Davidson after his ordination. He has served as the Davidson Chaplain for the past 30 years.
Following the hymn For the Beauty of the Earth, Rev. Zold led the prayers of adoration and thanksgiving. Psalm 67 was performed as a responsive reading.
Members of the Davidson College Chorale performed All of Us under the direction of Renata Berlin. The powerful music by Craig Hella Johnson had been part of the Chorale’s larger performance of Considering Matthew Shepard that took place on March 24, 2023.
Chaplain Spach gave the prayer for illumination, followed by several scripture readings. He then gave the sermon entitled “Goodbye, go in peace, adieu.”
He noted that growing up in Brazil the most used farewell bidding is “tchau.” However, “when it is a longer goodbye or more permanent parting, we say adeus, to God, toward God.” Spach then reflected on that bidding to “go toward God” as a hope that people are open to a presence of God, of a spirit. Going further to say that such a spirit can give us peace in wide world.
Spach’s sermon was followed the hymn All People That On Earth Do Dwell.
Associate Chaplain Daniel Heath provided the prayers for the people and then led the Lord’s Prayer.
The final hymn was Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.
Chaplain Rob Spach then offered his final Baccalaureate Benediction.
The service ended with a musical favorite of many, Charles-Marie Widor’s Toccata from Symphony No. 5.