St. Nersess Seminarians Participate in National Council of Churches Annual Assembly
For the first time, St. Nersess Seminary was invited to send representatives to the Christian Unity Gathering, the annual assembly of the National Council of Churches of Christ (NCC). Held November 8-10 in Silver Spring, MD, two seminarians – Dn. Albert Hambardzumyan and Dn. Michael Sabounjian – attended the conference with Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, Ecumenical Director and Diocesan Legate of the Eastern Diocese and long-time member of the NCC. Yn. Arpi Kouzouian and Mr. Raffi Balian also attended.
This year’s theme was “Resilience, Resistance, and Persistence,” with 38-member communions of the Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African-American, and Living Peace traditions represented. The seminarians attended seminars and workshops during the course of the three days. One of the presentations was the Middle East Situation Report, where the NCC Middle East Delegation – including Abp. Vicken Aykazian – shared their experience of traveling to Iraq in January 2017.
The seminarians also had an opportunity to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, a new Smithsonian Museum that opened in September 2016. “Attending the 2017 Christian Unity Gathering was a valuable experience in creating dialogue with Christian denominations of diverse backgrounds,” commented Dn. Michael Sabounjian. Dn. Albert Hambardzumyan added, “Coming together for a common cause was insightful, and interacting with seminarians from other seminaries was helpful.”