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Sara Bailey (far left) and Victoria Drakes, both of Lanett, took part in graduation ceremonies on Saturday at Bethlehem Baptist Church in West Point. Bailey earned an associates in Biblical Studies degree and Drakes a Level II certificate from the Jehovah Jireh Institute of Higher Learning. They are shown above with West Point natives Rod Williams and John Williams. -- Wayne Clark

Bethlehem Baptist Church hosted a Saturday graduation program

WEST POINT — Bethlehem Baptist Church hosted a graduation program on Saturday.

More than 60 people received degrees or certificates from the Jehovah Jireh Bible Institute of Higher Learning. This year’s class had Ph.D. graduates, doctoral graduates, master’s graduates, bachelor associates and certificate diploma graduates.

Two Lanett residents took part in the ceremony. Sara Bailey received an associates in Biblical studies degree and Victoria Drakes an associate level certificate II.

Jehovah Jireh has a presence in more than 60 countries worldwide. The Institute of Higher Learning offers degrees in more than 20 disciplines of religious studies. Its purpose is to serve Christianity by providing academic certificate and degree programs with goals of promoting spiritual growth, biblical knowledge and development in ministry.

“We have schools in more than 40 countries,” Bishop Willie Sanders Sr. said in opening remarks. “We are fast growing as a bible college and seminary. We are developing relationships worldwide and have been accredited in many countries. Many of our graduates are performing well in secular jobs. Many leading businesses have discovered how skillful and dependable our graduates are in the work place. They are great Christian leaders, and the world welcomes that.”

Speaking to a crowd gathered inside Bethlehem Baptist was a homecoming of sorts for the school’s dean, Dr. John Williams. He grew up in West Point, was a star athlete at West Point High in the early 1980s and delivered his first sermon in the old church on the Bethlehem campus.

“It is so good to be back home again,” he said.

“We are all about the cross and what Jesus did for us. The cross is the one plus sign we have in our lives. Without it, everything is a minus.”

As he spoke about Jesus’ death and resurrection, he got into the spirit of the moment and moved everyone to their feet.

“Thank God he arose from that grave on that Sunday morning,” he said. “He can resurrect your broken dreams. Class of 2019, always remember you need God in every situation.

Without God, you have nothing. God can open blind eyes and make the lame walk again. Don’t let people drag you down to their level, bring them up to yours.”

The choir then sang “A Wonderful Change Has Come Over Me,” leading into the presentation of diplomas or certificates. They were conferred by Dr. Anton Jones Sr.

“They have each completed a very tedious journey,” said Dr. Jones.

Jehovah Jireh has learning centers in West Point, Geneva and Ellenwood in Georgia, in Centreville, Gardendale and Phenix City in Alabama, Lakeland and Fort Pierce in Florida and in Hartford, Connecticut. Its main campus is in Alexander City, and its corporate and administrative office is in Washington, D.C.

Jehovah Jireh is also affiliated with Princeton High School International, which was originally designed to offer students the chance to earn a high school diploma.

Princeton students are encouraged to take the ACT or SAT for preparation for college and a future career. Many Princeton graduates go straight into a new career following graduation.

For further information, contact drussellprincetonhighschooldc@gmail.com.