Summer Conference Welcomes Students from Armenia and Jerusalem
From July 26 to August 4, the seminary welcomed students to the annual High School Summer Conference. This year, participants represented parishes in Washington, D.C., Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Florida, Rhode Island, Canada, Armenia and Jerusalem. The conference was directed by the Rev. Fr. Ghevond Ajamian, pastor of St. Sarkis Armenian Church in Dallas, TX, and a graduate of the seminary.
For the 13th year, students from the Sts. Tarkmanchatz Armenian School in Jerusalem were invited to attend, thanks to the support of several benefactors who cover their expenses. And for the third year, students from Armenia attended a summer conference. “We are happy to offer our American students the opportunity to interact with their peers from Armenia and Jerusalem,” remarked the Rev. Fr. Mardiros Chevian, dean.
The main benefactors of the project this year were Russell and Susan Kashian (WI) with generous support by Vicken and Rosette Arslanian (NJ), Joseph and Kristine Casali (NJ), George and Lorraine Marootian (NJ), Steven and Karen Nargizian (NJ), Gregory and Meline Toufayan (NJ), Sara Andonian (MI), Keith and Karen Bilezerian (MA), and Paul Derderian (NY).
Traveling from Jerusalem were Nareg Sevan and Ardashes Hekimian and from Armenia were Sargis Hovsepyan, Armanush Andreasyan, and Diana Baghumyan. “Even though I had heard positive experiences from my friends who previously attended the summer conferences, I couldn’t wait to see for myself!” exclaimed Nareg Sevan. “We are very happy to be a part of the High School Summer Conference. It is very important for the Armenian youth to have opportunities like this,” said Ardashes Hekimian.
The three students from Armenia were also proud to experience the High School conference. Armanush Andreasyan expressed that what she had experienced was beyond her expectations. “The warm and open-armed welcome of the staff and the participants made us feel at home, especially when it is easy to become disengaged and feel homesick in a country and an environment that is not familiar,” she reflected. Sargis Hovsepyan commented, “I am so happy and very grateful for this opportunity of making new connections.” And Diana Baghumyan added excitedly, “I can say that my conversational English improved significantly.”
Each of the students from Jerusalem and Armenia was impressed at how serious and deep the Christian education was during the conference and all were going to cherish the memories and knowledge received.
The St. Nersess Summer Conferences have attracted thousands of students over the past 50+ years to explore their faith and the heritage of the Armenian Church. Clergy and lay leaders instruct the participants in the fundamentals of the Armenian Church’s faith and traditions, and they encourage frank discussion about issues and topics important to young people. In addition, sports and recreation, daytrips, and other activities add to a well-rounded experience where students make deep, lasting friendships and discover their place in the Armenian Church.
The next conference will take place January 2-6, 2020 for college-age students.