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Presbyterians to honor two high school graduates

At 10:30 a.m. worship this Sunday, June 8, local Presbyterians will honor 2008 Tyrone graduates Dudley McNitt and Kenneth Nearhoof in a service that will include a vocal solo by Leslie Ieraci Estep, Edward Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance March,” a message by Pastor Mark Liller, audience hymns of commitment, and an after church fellowship hour to greet the graduates.
Dudley McNitt, the son of Cummins and Peg McNitt of Tyrone, who has served as a Presbyterian church deacon, will graduate from Tyrone High next Friday evening, and plans to pursue medical studies  at the Johnstown Campus of the University Of Pittsburgh. Kenneth Nearhoof, the son of Robert and Rebecca Nearhoof of Warriors Mark, also will graduate from Tyrone High next Friday evening, and plans to pursue Dairy Science studies at his mother’s alma mater – the state University Of New York in Morrisville, New York.
Mrs. Leslie Ieraci Estep, a graduate of Juniata College and Saint Francis University, member of Saint Matthew’s parish, and presently dean of Tyrone’s middle school students, will offer a special vocal solo as part of the graduate recognition program. As these two Presbyterian youth prepare to graduate, Mrs. Estep will sing Phil Johnson’s fitting solo entitled, “I’ve Never Been Out Of His Care.”
Presbyterian organist Richard Merryman will pay a musical tribute to McNitt and Nearhoof at the offertory, when he performs Edward Elgar’s celebrated “Pomp and Circumstance March,” sometimes christened “The Graduation Song.” When British Composer Edward Elgar created his famous march in 1901, he whispered to his friend Dora Penny, “I have composed a tune that will knock them flat.” At the debut of “Pomp And Circumstance,” The audience gave Elgar a standing ovation, and insisted that the orchestra perform the march three times. In 1902, Elgar’s melody became modified into the anthem entitled “Land Of Hope And Glory,” for the coronation of England’s King Edward VII.
Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance March” first arrived in America on June 28, 1905 for Yale’s commencement, on which occasion Yale awarded Edward Elgar an honorary Doctorate of Music. For his march, Elgar drew the title from these lines which appear in Act III of Shakespeare’s tragedy Othello  – “Farewell, the neighing horse, and the shrill trumpet/The spirit-stirring drums, the ear-piercing piccolo/The royal flag, and all military qualities/The pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war.”
Epworth Manor chaplain and Presbyterian preaching pastor Mark Liller will deliver the morning message entitled, “God Is Not Finished With You Yet.” Using the appointed Old Testament reading for the day  from Genesis 12:1-9, Reverend Liller will review God’s call to the ancient Jewish patriarch Abraham. He will remind listeners that when Abraham was seventy-five, God called him to leave his country, his people, and his father’s household, and to journey to the land of Canaan.
Pastor Liller will remind the audience that no matter what their age, every person has a part in God’s plan, and that other people need the fruit that only certain lives can bear.
The audience will respond to Liller’s homily about God’s call to people of all ages by singing hymns of commitment. These hymns encourage both old and young alike to answer God’s call. The congregation  will open with the 1905 hymn Harold Walters composed while teaching English in Japan. Walters entitled his hymn “I Would Be True, For There Are Those Who Trust Me,” and mailed it back to his mother, who resided  in the United States, in those long ago days over a century ago.
Walter’s friend Joseph Peek provided the melody for this commitment hymn in an extraordinary manner. A florist by profession, Mr. Peek read Harold Walter’s hymn lyrics and simply started whistling a tune that someone else captured as a music manuscript. The florist Mr. Peek also boasted the honor of introducing the double carnation to American flower buyers. After writing his hymn and returning from his English teaching mission in Japan, Walters eventually traveled to India, where he proclaimed Christ’s good news to young people of the Islamic faith. Tragically, Walters died in 1918 at age 35, a victim of the world-wide influenza epidemic.
After Pastor Liller’s sermon on obeying God’s call, the audience will respond with another hymn of commitment by blind American composer Fanny Crosby, “Master, thou callest, I gladly obey/Only direct me, and I’ll find thy way/Teach me the mission appointed for me/What is my labor, and where it shall be/Master, thou callest, and this I reply/Ready, and willing, Lord, here am I.” Blind almost from birth, Crosby never wavered in her commitment to Christ. During her lifetime, which extended from 1820 to 1915, Crosby composed about 8,000 hymns. The epitaph on Crosby’s tombstone provides a fitting memorial to her committed life, when it reads – “She Has Done What She Could.”
At the close of worship, McNitt and Nearhoof will join Pastor Liller in greeting people as they depart the worship service. These 2008 Tyrone graduates also will be the honored guests at an after church fellowship hour hosted by the Christian Education Committee in the Christian Education Building hallway.
As the school year closes and summer holiday commences, Tyrone Presbyterians invite the people of Tyrone to join them at 10:30 a.m. this Sunday, June 8 as they reflect on the dual themes of high school graduation and Christian commitment, eloquently embodied in this theme song from the 1969 movie Good-Bye Mr. Chips: “In the morning of my life, I will look to the sunrise/At the moment in my life when the day is new/And the blessing I shall ask is the God will grant me/To be brave, and strong, and true/And to fill the world with love my whole life through/In the noontime of my life, I will look to the sunshine/At the moment in my life when the sky is blue/And the blessing I shall ask shall remain unchanging/To be brave, and strong, and true/And to fill the world with love my whole life through/In the evening of my life I will look to the sunset/At the moment in my life when the night is due/And the question I shall ask only I can answer/Was I brave, and strong, and true/Did I fill the world with love my whole life through?”