Friday, January 26, 2007

High School Graduation In Church Building Considered

In Montgomery County, Maryland, the Board of Education is struggling with a difficult decision on whether to hold this year's Blair High School graduation in the Jericho City of Praise Church. Wednesday's Washington Jewish Week reports that the Church's 10,000-seat auditorium is the only local venue large enough for the ceremony. However, some potential attendees say they are uncomfortable being in the auditorium that contains a pediment with the words "Jesus is the Lord" at the back of the stage. The Church says it will not cover the inscription for the graduation. Also a stained glass window with a cross is there, and "Jesus is the Lord!!!" is written in large letters on the outside of the building.

The Board's other choices for graduation, however, are not attractive. DAR Constitution Hall only seats 4,000, has parking and accessibility problems. Also the DAR has a segregationist history. Show Place Arena also is not well designed for graduations and is not near a Metro stop. An arena can be rented from the University of Maryland, but that will cost $37,000, while Jericho City of Praise Church does not charge for use of its facilities.

UPDATE: On Jan. 31, Washington Jewish Week reported that Blair High School graduation will be held at the Comcast Center in College Park, and that Montgomery County Public Schools will cover the cost for all other high schools in the county to also hold their graduations at Comcast Center.