After much discussion by the Copperas Cove Ministerial Alliance regarding the high school’s annual baccalaureate service, tradition has prevailed.

There will be a single guest speaker.

Previous discussion included a large speakers’ panel and even a skit to help prepare students for the challenges they might face in the college world. The skit was ruled out and the speakers’ panel was reduced to three — a pastor, a scientist and a Copperas Cove High School graduate attending college who held strong to his faith. But ultimately, the alliance decided to involve only a single speaker, Dr. Jeffrey Browning, a chemistry professor at University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, whose research focuses on chemical signaling in neurological disorders.

Mark Kemp, president of the alliance and pastor of First Baptist Church of Copperas Cove, described Browning as a passionate Christian in the field of science, where faith is often questioned. Kemp said Browning often argues about the credibility of Christianity as a faith and recommended him as the baccalaureate speaker to the alliance.

Gary Hocker, Alliance vice president, suggested asking the award-winning Copperas Cove High School choral groups to perform at the baccalaureate and questioned what the alliance could do to encourage their participation.

Several pastors discussed the fact that the choral groups perform a lot of sacred music as many of the classic tunes originated from religious hymns.

“We really want to focus on the students because it’s more about them and not about us,” Hocker said. “There are still those out there searching for Christ. Let’s be praying that God will use the baccalaureate to strengthen faith and that those on the sidelines or teetering on the fence will make the decision to come to him.”

The alliance also discussed the Easter programs happening at churches throughout Cove and surrounding communities, including a new church in Topsey opening on Easter Sunday.

“More people are hearing the gospel during this season than any other time of the year,” Kemp said.

The National Day of Prayer scheduled May 1 will be held at noon at the new Cove City Council chambers. A second gathering will be held for motorcyclists at 5 p.m. at Dave’s Ice House. The riders will depart at 6 p.m. to head to the Bell County Expo Center for the Bell County National Day of Prayer event which begins at 7 p.m.

Prayer leaders are needed for small groups of 6 to 10 people. Anyone interested in serving as a prayer leader can contact the alliance through First Baptist Church.

Contact Wendy Sledd at or (254) 501-7476

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