Haigazian University Baccalaureate Service 2007
"There are several areas of your life you can ruin, and if we put our heads together we can come up with effective ways to ruin each area, including personal health and well-being, family and friends, country and society, and environment and world," said Rev. Nishan Bakalian, Haigazian University Campus Minister, facetiously to the graduating class of 2007 during the Baccalaureate Service, on Sunday, the 24th of June 2007, held in the First Armenian Evangelical Church in Beirut.
A large number of graduates and their families participated in this ceremony, a service of dedication and thanksgiving, which began by the graduating class walking through the church sanctuary during the processional hymn.
The service began with a call to worship by John Sagherian, Haigazian University Board Member, followed by a hymn of praise, "Our God, Our Help in Ages Past", and the prayer of invocation.
In his word of welcome, the President of Haigazian University, Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian, invited the graduating class to pause and say thanks to God.
"Proper preparation for life and work can never be complete and meaningful without the proper openness before God," Haidostian noted.
Several graduates took part in the service: Rana Merhi and Sylva Bardakjian read biblical selections, Lily Malky shared her reflections as a student with the audience, while Shoushan Artinian on the cello and Vartan Agopian on the piano played J.S. Bach?s "Arioso".
"How to Successfully Ruin Your Life" was the theme of the message of the day, delivered by Rev. Nishan Bakalian, who brought the example of "Jesus Christ who successfully ruined his life at a fairly young age, paying the price for taking on all of what we call human sin." He also included several examples of people who have made their modest contributions for the betterment of Lebanon in the past year.
Rev. Bakalian concluded his speech by motivating students to follow Jesus'' steps. "I do take Jesus and his words very seriously. I do want to ''see the kingdom of God come with power.'' And I want to do it the right way, even if it means being considered a ''failure'' in the eyes of the world; by thinking of my (as yet unconceived) grandchildren as I live my life; by spending my energy, not entertaining myself, but doing something that matters - to the Lord and to the world he loves. And I wish that each of you the same ? to live a ''successfully ruined'' life, by the grace of God," Bakalian noted.
It is worth noting, as Rev. Robert Sarkissian, Vice-Chairman of Haigazian''s Board stated in his introduction of the speaker, that after 7 years of unwavering service to Haigazian University as its Campus Minister, Rev. Nishan Bakalian will be leaving Beirut, and heading back to the United States with his wife, Maria, as Pastor of the Armenian Martyrs? Congregational Church of Greater Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, beginning Sept. 1, 2007.
A prayer of dedication by President Haidostian followed, after which Wael Bahnan and Taline Chakerian read the pledges of the graduates to carry the light of truth, freedom & service to the world: "We, the class of 2007 of Haigazian University, in receiving this light, pledge to hold high the light of truth, to defend the light of freedom, and to spread the light of service to our communities, our country and our world."
While the graduates shared the flame among fellow-classmates, the President of the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East, Rev, Megrdich Karagoezian pronounced the benediction, whereupon the class of 2007 marched out the sanctuary with the recessional, each carrying a light out into the world.
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