SUBMITTED BY RAJAN ZED
In a remarkable interfaith gesture, an interfaith baccalaureate service was held for graduating students of Sparks area high schools on June one evening, whose theme was “Faith-Hope-Love”.
Besides Presbyterian and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) religious leaders, Hindu leader Rajan Zed also participated in this interfaith blessing of the graduating class held at a ballroom of John Ascuaga’s Nugget.
Dr. Bruce Taylor, Pastor of Spanish Springs Presbyterian Church, who coordinated this “Sparks Area High Schools Baccalaureate Service of Worship of God”, read “Assurance of Pardon” (Psalm 103:8-12) and a prayer. Nicholas Frey, Sparks Stake Bishop of LDS, gave the sermon and benediction.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, read Gayatri Mantra, considered the most sacred mantra in Hinduism, and the audience repeated after him in Sanskrit. Besides Rig-Veda, the oldest existing scripture of the mankind, he also read from ancient Hindu scriptures Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita (Song of the Lord) in Sanskrit and then translated into English.
Rajan Zed urged the graduating class to stay pure, stay away from greed and keep God in the life. The purpose of baccalaureate service was to root the graduating class in divine spiritual tradition so that they have a spiritually meaningful life in addition to material success, Zed stressed.
Karen Bennett, teacher from Spanish Springs High School read the invocation, while Carley Porter from Edward C. Reed High School lead a vocal offering. Besides “Prayer of Confession”; hymns “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise”, “Many and Great”, and “Now, on Land and Sea Descending” were recited on the occasion.
Student leaders; Erika Vicente, Amanda O’Loughlin, and Noel Tsuchiya; contributed their thoughts, while Jim Poulton played the piano. This baccalaureate service has been an annual feature for the last many years.