St. Sarkis Sunday School Events Serve Lord with Gladness

Youth is not wasted on the young, and the metro Detroit area can thank Diane Changelian, the superintendent of the St. Sarkis Sunday School program in Dearborn, along with the exemplary volunteer staff of teachers, for their dedication to the religious upbringing of the future generation of churchgoers.

Under the direction of Rev. Fr. Hrant Kevorkian, who arrived to serve parishioners late last summer, Sunday School attendance has flourished with many more students attending this ancient church of Apostolic origin.

John Manoogian was generous in the improvements made several years ago, which transformed the Sunday School rooms into a first-class learning environment for the youngsters.

Rev. Fr. Kevorkian wisely gives special attention to the youth even during Badarak, making them feel like an important part of the congregation and services. They will, after all, be the inheritors and the hope of our future.

After church services on May 19, parishioners were treated to a program that concluded religious instruction until next fall. Following opening remarks by Diane Changelian, Grades 4 through 8 did the Spirit of St. Gregory. The Outstanding Attendance Award was given to Arev Majeska, and Grades 9 and 10 did the Havadamk/Nicene Creed.

The Timothy Award went to Allie Krikorian, while PreK through Grade 3 said “Pokr Achker” (Oh Be Careful Little Eyes). Presentation of graduates was by Alexandra (Allie) Krikorian. Der Hrant Kevorkian gave closing remarks and prayers.

The students are learning the roots of their Christian foundation. The church is Apostolic, pertaining to Jesus’ Apostles, two of whom ministered in Armenia after the Crucifixion. One was Thaddeus, who cured King Abgar of Edessa of leprosy and converted him to Christianity. The other was Bartholomew, who ministered in Armenia proper.

The Armenian National Church refers to itself as the Armenian Apostolic Church, as it was originally established by the Apostles. Youngsters are proud in knowing that they are following in the footsteps of their ancestors who, by their acceptance of Christ, distinguished Armenia as the first to accept Christianity as its state religion.

Community members give high praise to Changelian and the dedicated teachers who have taken on the vital responsibility of teaching the Armenian youth about their heritage and religion. They need to be congratulated and shown appreciation.

On Mother’s Day, May 12, a very lovely high-gloss booklet of prayers called “Hreshdagayeen Seero Aghotkner” (Angelic Prayers of Love) was given to mothers; compiled by the St. Sarkis Sunday School students, it reflected affection and admiration. It was made possible by the generous contribution of Pearl Mooradian in loving memory of her husband, Hagop Mooradian.

The booklet contains a congratulatory message from Archbishop Oshagan, Prelate of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America, Eastern United States of America, saying how pleased he was with their efforts in honor of the “Year of the Mother of the Armenian Family.”

He wrote, “Mayr, Mother, is the sweetest sounding word of all. Mother is someone we love and respect, the person who loves us unconditionally. She willingly suffers for us. Prayer is our daily communication with God. They can be prayers of our making or the more familiar ‘The Lord’s Prayer.’”

The Prelate congratulated the students for their inspired initiative to write the prayers to their mothers.

A great deal of time and patience was needed for this beautiful keepsake 36-page booklet to come to fruition. It contains the sentiments of students from all grade levels.

“The Sunday School students present this book of prayers to their mothers, grandmothers, godmothers, aunts, and all the women of the St. Sarkis Church community,” Changelian wrote in the book. “They thank God for the presence of these women in their lives, and ask His blessings for their health, happiness, and long life.”

The imprint of tiny hands fill some pages, along with crosses, hearts, flowers, and the amazing originality in expressed thought. It brings tears to my eyes when reading the words of the little ones so grateful for the love of their precious mothers. Some even refer to their mom’s delicious pilaf—Armenian all the way!

The children are sweet and tender. Hugs and kisses were plentiful at the conclusion of this wonderful afternoon of tribute to special ladies: MOMS.


Betty Apigian-Kessel

Betty (Serpouhie) Apigian Kessel was born in Pontiac, Mich. Together with her husband, Robert Kessel, she was the proprietor of Woodward Market in Pontiac and has two sons, Bradley and Brant Kessel. She belonged to the St. Sarkis Ladies Guild for 12 years, serving as secretary for many of those years. During the aftermath of the earthquake in Armenia in 1988, the Detroit community selected her to be the English-language secretary and she happily dedicated her efforts to help the earthquake victims. She has a column in the Armenian Weekly entitled “Michigan High Beat.”

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