03 July 2023

Our 100th Auckland Graduation

On Saturday 10 June 2023, students, faculty, staff, friends, whānau, and supporters gathered to celebrate those who have completed Laidlaw qualifications at our Graduation ceremony for Tāmaki Makaurau. This was a particularly significant occasion as it marked the 100th year of graduation ceremonies held by the College.

In 1923, our first graduating cohort of nine students were commissioned at a ceremony at the Auckland Baptist Tabernacle. While the number of graduands and range of programmes made the 2023 Auckland Graduation a significantly larger event – with more than 200 students graduating across the College this year – the elements of celebration of achievement, recognition of God’s faithfulness, and commissioning remained the same.

It was a proud moment for many when their loved one crossed the stage – with shout-outs, haka, waiata, and cheering from whānau and friends. Many of this cohort completed the majority of their studies in the midst of lockdowns and disruptions – so it was an especially poignant time of connection.

National Principal, Dr Roshan Allpress, gave the graduation address based on Psalm 98:1 “Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvellous things”. He reflected on the way God has worked through people to establish training institutions such as the NZ Bible Training Institute, now Laidlaw College, and the ripple effect that faithful service has had on people and communities throughout the world.

As the new graduates processed out of the auditorium at the end, their names scrolled across the screen, followed by the names of all who had graduated from the College since 1923. The list was still scrolling long after the procession left the auditorium.

A hundred years ago the prayers for our first graduating cohort were that they would go out in service of the Gospel and the renewal of their communities. We know from the many stories of faithfulness that God answered those prayers. While we do not yet know what is to come for each of our 2023 graduating cohort, we look forward with confidence to the stories of what will come out of the investments in study, vocation, and service of those we celebrated on this occasion.