On November 17, 2017, St. John celebrated the 75th Anniversary of its founding as a Parish with a Gala Banquet at the Waterfront Marriott in Burlingame.
Our 257 Banquet guests enjoyed Armenian mezze from Haig’s Delicacies, an excellent meal, and an informative program, which included inspiring remarks from Archbishop Hovnan Derderian and a very informative video created by Deacon Anthony Catchatoorian and Fr. Mesrop Ash. Mistress of Ceremonies Tamar Sarkissian described highlights of Parish history. Tamar also demonstrated how important the Parish is in our daily lives by asking those who have served the Parish organizations, and who have been married and baptized here to rise from their seats. Many, perhaps most guests stood up in response. DJ Raffy provided dance music after the formal program.
Under the leadership of Fr. Mesrop, Banquet organizers prepared for the Anniversary Gala for more than one year. They selected “Faith, Hope and Love” (1 Corinthians 13:13) as the theme of the Gala first to honor the many generations of San Francisco Bay Area Armenians whose dedication, industry and frugality created the Parish, its homes at 7 Elgin Park and 275 Olympia Way, and its active Parish life up until today. But the event was not designed only to celebrate the many accomplishments of the Parish – it was also designed to inspire each guest, our youth, and the wider community to continue to serve God, His Church, and our brothers and sisters with joy and energy.
In keeping with tradition, this anniversary was an occasion to recognize the dedicated servants who work tirelessly to realize the mission of the church in various areas. The recipients of this year’s Hye Spirit awards were Cecelia Baloian, Greg Cherezian, Sylvia Cherezian, Michael Kazarian, and Lorraine Mirigian. The recipients of the prestigious Archbishop’s Award were Dn. Sarkis Kestekyan, Dorothy Svihovec, and Sona Thomasian.
Proceeds from the event will be given to Syrian Armenian Relief and the Western Diocese Summer Camp.
The Banquet organizers received help at every turn, and would like to thank the following people who made the event a success:
Nadine Takvorian, for the design of the beautiful 75th Anniversary logo; Jacques Oskanian of Hyegraph Invitations & Calligraphy of San Francisco helped shape our invitation package, and gave us prompt and efficient calligraphy, printing and mailing services; Sylvia Cherezian and Hera Kestekyan provided welcoming hospitality services to our guests; Haig’s Delicacies provided scrumptious dolmas and spanakopita for our mezze; Frank’s Floral Shop of San Francisco created beautiful floral arrangements; Louise Nalbandian fashioned our delightful table centerpieces; Nairi Arabatyan made the “Anoush” chocolates each guest enjoyed; Yer. Annie Ash extracted and bottled the honey; Tamar Berberich designed the favor packages, and Katherine Kapeghian contributed the cross charms; Royal Market supplied Karas Wine from Armenia; The Anniversary Booklet was designed by Nicole Vasgerdsian, and the Booklet was printed by Anto Cingoz of Minuteman Press of Berkeley. Church Secretary Nairy Sarkiss provided help in all aspects of the event.