December grads called to be like Mary

Mary said “yes” despite apparent odds—and so should you, FPU’s newest graduates were told at commencement December 11.

Answer as Mary did in Luke 1:38: “Here am I, servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word,’” urged speaker Sharon Stanley.

Stanley needed to look no further than her own life for an example to the 284 new graduates honored in the Special Events Center. Called to a three-month assignment working with refugees in Fresno, 20 years later she’s still here. Stanley is founder and executive director of Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries (FIRM), a nonprofit agency serving more than 6,500 Southeast Asian, Slavic and African refugees. She has an M.Div. from San Francisco Theological Seminary and a doctor of ministry degree is from Columbia Theological Seminary.

Mary trusted God would fill her life, no matter what the consequences might seem to be for a young, poor, unwed woman, Stanley said. “Mary believed she could be called for very important purposes—and so can you. May now be your yes time.”

Commencement was at 10:00 a.m. for the 62 master’s and 47 traditional undergraduate students, and at 3:00 p.m. for the 175 bachelor’s degree completion students. This is the first time since fall commencements began in 2004 that there has been more than one ceremony.

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