GCI-USA Regional Pastor Randy Bloom provided this update concerning Stephen Larison, son of Eric and Sue Larison. Eric pastors GCI’s congregation in Syracuse, New York. Randy had the honor of leading a special “blessing ceremony” for Stephen the day he left to enter the U.S. Naval Academy. At the end of the ceremony, all present sang the hymn mentioned below. Randy said it was a particularly moving ceremony (no dry eyes!), since Randy had performed a blessing of children ceremony for Stephen just after he was born.
It has been a momentous year for Eric and Sue Larison along with their son Stephen, who graduated from high school on June 28 and was inducted into the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) on July 1. Steve also had been offered appointments to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and a full ROTC scholarship to the University of Rochester. The decision was not easy, but Steve felt he would have the most opportunities by going to the USNA as part of the Class of 2019. Steve started classes there following “I-Day” and “Plebe Summer.” He is now serving as a member of the USNA’s Drum and Bugle Corps (if you watch a Navy football game you might see Steve performing in the half-time show).
An Eagle Scout, Steve has many other accomplishments to his credit. At his high school graduation, he received awards for leadership, community service, athletics, and academics, and his peers selected him to be the honors graduate speaker. Steve also received several scholarships including the Driver/Sweet Scholarship, one of the top scholarships offered to graduates from his high school (his father Eric received the same scholarship 37 years ago). He also was awarded the Lt. Patrick Kelly Connor, USN, Scholarship to help develop new leaders with Christian values in the United States Military.
During high school, Steve was active in his GCI congregation and in a local Young Life chapter. At the USNA, he is part of the a choir serving the USNA Chapel most Sundays during the academic year.
Steve’s GCI congregation in Syracuse now sings the hymn “Eternal Father, Strong to Save” (known as the “Navy Hymn”—click here to watch an excerpt on YouTube). The fourth verse of the hymn is the congregation’s prayer for Steve:
O Trinity of love and power!
Our brethren shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them where so e’er they go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.