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Providence to Mark 90th Anniversary with Special Baccalaureate Service
Countless Providence students have no doubt experienced a happy turn of events over the course of their studies. Perhaps their world was dark, their thoughts in shadow, before the light suddenly and unexpectedly appeared.
It’s a story Andrew Krahn will relay during Sunday’s Baccalaureate Service (10:00 a.m., R.W. Affleck Chapel), and one he’ll be relying on J.R.R. Tolkien to help in the telling of.
“I’ll be focusing a little bit on the term coined by Tolkien: Eucatastrophe,” says Krahn, a Providence alumnus who graduated with a major in Biblical and Theological studies in 2008. “Eucatastrophe is sort of when things are looking grim and suddenly, without any expectations or cause, are turned around for the better.”
Tolkien used the term in his “Letter 89,” which was published (along with 353 other letters) in the 1981 volume The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.
In his writing the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings refers to eucatastrophe as “the sudden happy turn in a story which pierces you with a joy that brings tears,” and he cites the resurrection of Jesus Christ as “the greatest eucatastrophe possible.”
It’s a message Krahn identifies with, as the now-Associate Pastor at Fort Garry Evangelical Mennonite Church in Winnipeg went through his own period of darkness—one he says Providence helped him out of.
“Providence was hugely transformative for me,” he says. I had some pretty grim, dark times while I was there and really, seriously questioned my faith. I walked through that and out of it and, eventually, into ministry.”
Krahn’s message will be just one of the highlights of the Baccalaureate Service, which will also include reflections from 2015 graduate Daniel Rempel, former board chair Don Streuber and long-time employee Gary Schellenberg.
Additionally, the Providence Chamber Singers will perform and there will be a special presentation marking the institution’s 90th anniversary.
Krahn, who is working on his Master of Divinity through Providence, believes in the school’s vitality and importance in forming the thinkers and leaders of the future.
“We need to train people to think critically about our faith and about our world,” he says. “Providence is an excellent place to learn how to do that.”
The Baccalaureate Service is just one of many exciting, graduation-related activities on the Providence campus this weekend. Have a look at the full schedule.
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