Image Credit: Provided by Upper Columbia Academy

UCA Celebrates Graduation With 38 Baptisms

Upper Columbia Academy celebrated the baptisms of 38 people in June 2021.

Initially, the service included a few baptisms for students whose families would be present during graduation weekend. Upon witnessing their commitment, other students, staff members, parents and UCA alumni lined up to be baptized at that time.

More than two hours into what became a nearly three and a half-hour baptismal service, Sid Hardy, chaplain and bible teacher at UCA, commented on how the blessings kept rolling in. “Today, I’ve lost count,” said Hardy. “Every time I go back there, I think, ‘Okay, we’ve got three more left,’ and then I go back there, and there’s more than three left. It’s just multiplying.”

Families approached the baptismal to get a close-up view as their loved ones publicly proclaimed their love for Christ. Eventually, the stage surrounding the baptismal was flooded with those who wanted to show support.

Clair Barrutia, volunteer dean of women, was among the many who were baptized. Barrutia was previously a student at UCA and returned to serve as a dean following her graduation from Walla Walla University.

“God works in really mysterious ways,” said Barrutia from the baptismal tank. “I told him to give me a sign tonight because I’ve been thinking about this for a while. I was like, ‘Oh, I’ll do it next year or something.’ Then Franny got up here, and she said, ‘why wait?’”

Barrutia echoed the sentiment, “Yeah, why wait when you’ve got today?”

In addition to the 38 baptized that evening, many other lives were touched, including two younger children in the audience, who later shared with their family that they wanted to attend UCA for high school and to be baptized as well.

“Baptism is a witness,” Hardy shared with the crowd. “It is a witness of your life, it is a witness of your decision, of something that has already happened in your heart. Now you are doing this as a witness, and it’s exciting.”

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Featured in: March/April 2022


Makena Horton

North Pacific Union assistant communication director and Gleaner managing editor