Sunday, May 31st was another memorable day for St. John Armenian Church and its faithful.
In the morning, Abp. Derderian along with Fr. Mesrop Ash and the altar servers proceeded to the Holy Altar to celebrate the Divine Liturgy while the choir was singing glorious hymn of Hrashapar. By the recommendation of Fr. Mesrop Ash, three young parishioners, Enrike Kaltakhtchyan, Josiah Kelly and Matthew Kesecker were ordained to the rank of acolyte by the primate. Enrike, Josiah, and Matthew have attended Sunday School for many years and served on the altar on Family Days. The young men knelt humbly before the primate and received the four ranks of the acolyte. Following the service, the primate congratulated the newly ordained acolytes, and their parents, and praised them for their devotion and commitment toward the church, hoping that they inspire and motivate others to do as they have done.
At the conclusion of the service, Fr. Mesrop invited Mr. and Mrs. Takvor and Mari Gamitian to receive the Hye-Spirit Award. He expressed his heartfelt gratitude for their dedication and support of the church throughout the years, and wished them health and strength.
Following Divine Liturgy the Parish Council prepared a lavish luncheon. During the luncheon Sunday School student, Irina Sargsyan, emotionally recited “Yes IM Anoush Hayasdanee,” the famous poem by Hovhaness Shiraz. The highlight of the event was the granting of the Hye-Spirit awards to several parishioners that have truly devoted their lives to St. John. Particularly this year Fr. Mesrop, along with the Parish Council nominated husband and wife teams, because for years as a couple they diligently worked hand-in-hand.
Fr. Mesrop and Abp. Derderian invited the following couples and individuals to receive their awards. Mr. and Mrs. George and Rose Riley, Mr. and Mrs. Oskan and Nuritza Mazlumian, Mrs. Sona Tuncer, and Ms. Carol Kazarian. Abp. Derderian congratulated the recipients wholeheartedly and expressed his gratitude for their faithful devotion and hard work in the service of the Armenian Church.
St. John Armenian Church of San Francisco, A Growing Parish
Over the past several years St. John has launched many new programs, and devoted its efforts to the strengthening of worship, educational, and youth programs.
In 2012, bible study groups in the San Francisco City, and Peninsula areas were established, and Eastern Armenian Language classes are held every Tuesday evening.
Wednesday night Evening Services are performed to provide an opportunity for the faithful to pray and meditate. We give thanks that many have come to enjoy the prayerful respite of the prayers of the evening hour.
In 2013 the Garden Ministry was developed, coinciding with the creation of the parish garden. Parishioners and Sunday School students utilize the space to exercise Christian service, and learn more about God’s creation.
Special attention has been paid to the development of youth programs. The Sunday School has expanded with new teachers and classes. A summer internship program has taken place for two years, during which youth serve for entire month in the parish, and learn valuable skills. The ACYO Juniors group has also been revamped to serve parish teenagers, and the number of children participating in the Western Diocese Summer Camp program has increased each year, with parents actively volunteering as staff members.
These efforts have been made to provide means for the Armenian Community of the Bay Area to become active members of the St. John family, and by the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, grow in their relationship with the Lord.