MONMOUTH, ILLINOIS (May 7, 2019) — Monmouth College's baccalaureate service will once again be a festive affair, featuring several special music performances.

The service will be held at 2PM May 11 in Dahl Chapel and Auditorium, the day before the College's 162nd Commencement Exercises. The public is invited.

The service will also feature a message delivered by the Rev Dr J Herbert Nelson, stated clerk of the General Assembly, Presbyterian Church (USA). Baccalaureate will be an encore for Nelson.

"The Monmouth College community will remember Dr Nelson well as our 2016 Martin Luther King Jr Convocation speaker," said the Rev Dr Teri Ott, Monmouth chaplain. "Since then, Dr Nelson has been elected to the highest office of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and has an incredibly busy speaking and travel schedule representing our denomination around the world."

Nelson's sermon is titled "Courage Sealed in Love."

"Don't miss this opportunity to hear Dr Nelson," said Ott. "He's an inspiring prophet for our time."

The son, grandson, and nephew of Presbyterian pastors, Nelson is the first African-American to lead the denomination, which has a 300-year history in the United States. As stated clerk, his duties include interpreting assembly actions, representing the church on various denominational and ecumenical councils, witnessing on behalf of the church to social justice issues, and making statements as directed by an assembly.

Nelson holds a doctor of ministry degree from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. At Johnson C Smith University in Charlotte, NC, he received a master of divinity degree at the school's seminary and a bachelor's degree in political science.

In addition to Nelson's message, there will be special performances by the College's percussion ensemble, the Highland Harmonizers and the Chorale.

The baccalaureate service will be live-streamed on the College's YouTube channel (

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