Sarah Adams: “It is time to leave the safety and familiarity of Haigazian and move into a new place”
“Our challenge is to capture the hope and the promise of the benediction in the midst of our lives filled with challenges and heartache”. With these words,Sarah Adams, representative of the Mennonite Central Committee for Lebanon and Syria summed up her message to the graduating class of 2012, at the Baccalaureate Service held on Sunday, June 24th 2012, in the First Armenian Evangelical Church in Beirut.
The service, which many graduates attended with their families, started with a prelude by studentNanorMadjarian on the piano, followed by a processional hymn marking the entrance of the graduating class of 2012, as they made their way through the church.
After the call to worship, a classic hymn of praise “Amazing Grace” was sung followed by the prayer of invocation.
“Our accomplishment is never complete without a moment of silence and gratitude before others and God,” said Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian, President of Haigazian University, in his welcoming address.
Haidostian emphasized on the “spirit” as the innermost feeling of celebration, noting that “The best celebration is not when you accomplish something or receive something, but when you become thankful for what you receive.”
Talking about the human spirit and religion, Haidostian concluded by saying, “our university education allowed our hearts to grow, to also show us that religion is not our property, or our hobby. It has to do with our deepest, God’s deepest, and all that happens in between.”
Following the president’s word, graduating student Liana Ghazarossian beautifully led the reading of Psalm 40, which included responses read by the audience. The next two graduates to contribute to this service were Jirair Ghazarian and Rebekah White, who each shared their reflections as students of Haigazian University and in particular their appreciation for Spiritual Life at the university.
After the song of exhortation, a poignant hymn entitled “Your steadfast Love,” 2 students read a passage from the Bible.
In her address entitled“Blessings for a New Journey”, to the graduating students,Sarah Adamsexplained that the moment has come “to leave the safety and familiarity of Haigazian and move into a new place”. Concentrating on the meaning of “benediction” as a “focus on the hope and joy that is coming our way,” Adams proposed two simple suggestions: to remember to smile, even if one is forced to that sometimes, and to pick a simple benediction that resonates in their hearts, as a reminder of God’s continual hope and blessing for their lives.
This was followed by a prayer of dedication offered by Rev. HrayrCholakian, after which studentsMaria Palazian and Elias Rbeizread the pledge of the graduates: “We, the class of 2012 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. With truth, freedom and service illuminating our hearts, we will challenge each other, and our world, to uphold the worth of each human being, and we will strive for the betterment of society, knowing that this is pleasing to God.”
To conclude the service, the President of the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East, Rev. MegrdichKaragoezian, pronounced the benediction, whereupon the class of 2012marched out of the church with the recessional, each carrying the light of truth, freedom & service to the world.
The service was followed by a reception in the New Heritage Building yard.