“You graduates stand at the end of this chapter of your life, the chapter entitled Haigazian University is about to finish, and the next chapter of your life now opens before you. What is it that you will write on those pages? Who will pen the script of your life? Are you going to pursue what God wants for and from your life or not?,” asked Rev. W. Gregory Lee-Parker, Campus Minister of Haigazian University facetiously to the graduating class of 2009 during the Baccalaureate Service, on Sunday, the 28th of June 2009, 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 call to worship was given by student Stepan Harmanlikian, followed by a hymn of praise, “Be Thou My Vision”, with students Issa Saddi on the piano and Celine Gharibian on the violin, and the prayer of invocation, delivered by student Makrid Markarian..
In his word of welcome, the President of Haigazian University, Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian, invited the graduating class to give thanks to God, and to evaluate and give deeper meaning to their success.
“Today, we reflect, we evaluate, we want to see the deeper picture, not only the wider picture of education and growth. Gratitude and thankfulness are the words that characterize the day. So, during and after this service, thank God, thank each other, thanks your families, teachers or staff, thank the guards or the janitors, first thank them in your heart. This is not a duty, but see if it could be your privilege,” Haidostian noted.
Several graduates took part in the service: Aline Roussialian played the prelude on the piano, Tamar Majarian read biblical selections, Hagop Akbasharian and Nairy Arakelian shared their reflections as students, while the Spiritual Life Worship Team performed a song ”I will Sing Your Praises Father God”.
“For Such a Time as this” was the theme of the message of the day, delivered by Rev. W. Gregory Lee-Parker, who using the biblical story of Esther, illustrated to the students how their lives could easily deteriorate into following after a shadow mission, a mission that looks good and inviting but is not what God made them for. Rev. Lee-Parker encouraged the students by pointing out that, like Esther, they are where they are for a reason…it is not a mistake that they are graduating from Haigazian University at this time and they need to embrace the purpose set before them. As in the story of Esther they have been called, “For such a time as this.”
A prayer of dedication by the Vice Chair of the Haigazian University Board of Trustess, Rev. Robert Sarkissian followed, after which students Susan Foudoulian and Omar Salam read the pledges of the graduates to carry the light of truth, freedom & service to the world: “We, the class of 2009 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 Spiritual Life Worship Team sang the song “Here I am to Worship”..
At the end, the President of the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East, Rev, Megrdich Karagoezian pronounced the benediction, whereupon the class of 2009 marched out the sanctuary with the recessional, each carrying a light out into the world.
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