This summer, the annual High School Summer Conference was held virtually due to COVID-19. Shortened to five days and held online in the evenings from 7pm – 9:30pm, the program ran from July 13 -17 with 30 participants from the Eastern and Canadian Dioceses. The high school students gathered through Zoom for bible studies, lectures, prayer, and fellowship.

The program was directed by the Rev. Fr. Ghevond Ajamian, pastor of St. Sarkis Armenian Church in Dallas, TX, assisted by staff members Dn. Njteh Keleshian, Emily Movsesian, and Ani Khachatryan. The faculty included Bishop Daniel Findikyan, the Rev. Fr. Kapriel Mouradjian, Dr. Andre Markarian, Christopher Le, and Yn. Hasmik Ajamian.

There were interactive group lectures each evening, including “Sacraments” with Bishop Daniel, “Praying for Profits” with Fr. Kapriel, “Spiritually COVID-19” with Dr. Markarian, and “Stressors for Students” with psychologist Chris Le. A special cooking class with Yn. Hasmik allowed participants to learn how make boreg.

“St. Nersess holds a special place in my heart after I attended a summer program last year for the first time. I never expected how awesome it could be and how much we could learn. This year was not that far off, even though we didn’t create the personal bonds like we would in person. The conference was still a great way to keep learning and interacting with each other. Of course, I hope we never have to meet virtually again, but I’m very glad I participated this year,” commented Aram Krajekian from St. Sarkis Armenian Church in Charlotte, NC.

“This year’s St. Nersess Summer Conference was definitely interesting since we weren’t able to go to the seminary due to COVID-19. I loved it because it was a great opportunity to see my friends from last year and get to see new people that I will hopefully see next year. My favorite day was the cooking day and the evening service, especially since we were able to see the St. Nersess Chapel… it felt like old times,” recalled Stefanie Akilian, from St. Sarkis Armenian Church, Dallas, TX.

Fr. Ghevond summed up the conference in this way: “This year’s High School Summer Conference was unlike anything we have ever experienced before because it was virtual. It most definitely was not what we wanted, but the participants came together every evening to learn, grow, and interact in Christian fellowship and faith. Naturally, not physically being together in person at St. Nersess is something we all missed out on, but God willing next year, we will gather and continue the tradition of the summer conferences. I look forward to it.”

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