Archive for July, 2010

Megan Karanfil Reflects on Her Internship

July 23rd, 2010    |    1 Comment »

When I was asked to write this article, it really hit me that the time I have left is limited.  I cannot believe I have to return home in two weeks.  The time has flown by, yet so much has happened.   My sense of my Armenian Christian identity has expanded immensely through the various educational and cultural programs provided as a part of my summer internship at the Eastern Diocese.

Our schedule has included Bible studies, Armenian language and history classes, and weekly lunch meetings with clergy.  We have also traveled to St. Nersess Seminary and St.Vartan Camp with the Primate. We even put on a talent show for the Armenian Home for the Aged in Flushing, Queens.  For the first time in my life, I was able to speak with survivors of the Armenian Genocide.

As Diocesan interns, we participate in the AGBU New York Summer Internship Program.  Only about half of our AGBU group is composed of American-Armenians.  We have students from so many places, including Argentina, Australia, Russia, Cyprus, and even Uzbekistan.  Because of this, I am learning not only about my Armenian heritage, but other cultures as well.  This has changed my perspective on many issues faced in my day-to-day life.

I learned about the Diocesan internship program last year at a conference and immediately was interested.  I am currently working toward a degree in biochemistry in hopes to be a physician’s assistant.  Even though my tasks at the Diocese don’t directly relate to my field, the experience has been more beneficial than anything else I could currently be doing.  I am putting together many projects in which I get to read the Bible every day.  That is probably my favorite part.  Being in scripture daily, along with Bible studies and morning services several times a week, has thoroughly reinforced my faith.

The work I’m doing at the Diocese really means something.  It has given me real work experience in which many of my skills have considerably advanced. One of my projects is to put together a Bible study for ACYOA chapters.  My hope is that a Diocesan-wide Bible study can be put into place to spiritually connect our youth while further developing their relationships with God.  I am also writing bi-weekly Advent reflections for the upcoming Christmas season with themes from verses found in our lectionary calendar.

I was recently appointed co-chair of a committee that is making a book to commemorate the ACYOA’s 65th anniversary. Therefore, another part of my job is to sort through archives for pictures and memorabilia to use in the commemoration. This project not only will be preserving the memories of our past generations, it will raise money to support ACYOA’s promising future. Looking through the archives, I have found that the youth are not very different today than they were 50 years ago.  We all have similar questions and struggles.

My relationship with God has always been a vital part of my life, and I have passion for serving the Armenian Church. I have held the position of chair of my local ACYOA chapter, and am currently serving as vice chair.  Teaching Sunday School has been by far the most rewarding experience in my service to the Church.  I strive to help instill in my students a strong love for God and an appreciation for the Armenian Church. Even though my purpose in service to the church is to give and not to receive, I feel I have gained vastly more than I have contributed.

Megan Karanfil is interning in the Department of Youth and Education.

From a World of Numbers to Matters of Faith – Intern George Macarian Shares his Summer Experience

July 20th, 2010    |    3 Comments »

About 10 minutes ago I was told by the Diocese’s Communications Department that my deadline to submit my internship blog was today at 3:00 p.m. It is now 2:15 p.m., but I must admit that I am not phased by this task because the past five weeks that I’ve spent in New York as an AGBU intern at the Diocese have provided me with enough experiences and opportunities to fill more than just a single blog post.

In today’s economic and political climate, internships and entry-level job positions are scarce, but with the aid of AGBU’s New York Summer Internship program and the Diocese Summer Internship Program,  young Armenians can find themselves working in the field of their choice at a time when most college students are unable to. The AGBU places young Armenians in an environment where they can learn to grow culturally, spiritually, and professionally, while simultaneously interacting with others from around the world.  I can not imagine a better way to bring together the young Armenian diaspora than having young people come to the greatest city in the world to enhance and enlighten their career aspirations. It was obvious from day one that this experience would be one to remember for a lifetime.

I first heard of this AGBU internship in 2008 while attending an ACYOA Chapter Workshop in Boca Raton, Florida. I was immediately interested in the idea of interning in New York; however, I decided to attend Camp Nubar instead, which proved to be a great experience in itself. It wasn’t until a year later that I decided to pursue the internship through the Eastern Diocese.

Upon entering the Diocese on the first day of my internship, I felt a warm sense of welcome which continued to express itself in the everyday work environment. As a fourth-year accounting major, I was assigned to work in the accounting department, and at first I thought that it would not be as beneficial to me as working for an accounting firm or hedge fund, but I soon realized that was not the case.  From the first day, I was assigned the tasks of working on accounts payable, accounting software, cash operations, and open income contracts, while my friends, who were interning at other companies, were doing much more mediocre tasks.

The accounting team at the Diocese has been very friendly and helpful in making me accustomed to the everyday financial operations.  Besides enhancing my accounting skills, the Diocese provided me with other great outlets from which to learn and grow. As an active church member, ordained sub-deacon, and newly-elected ACYOA Central Council member, I thought that I knew all there was to know about our church, religion, and culture, but as I discovered there is always much more to learn.

By participating in weekly Bible study and lunch with various clergy from our Diocese, we really became better acquainted with the clergy and improved our theological knowledge. We also traveled with Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese, to St. Vartan Camp and St. Nersess Seminary, where we shared our experiences as AGBU interns.  The internship schedule also includes Armenian language and literature lessons once a week, which really help since living at university for three years has weakened my Armenian speech, reading, and writing. Finally, the history lessons we receive at the Diocese’s Zohrab Information Center help incorporate the study of culture, religion, and Armenian identity with professional skills, which makes for a very educational and balanced program.

Besides working and learning at the Diocese, the AGBU also provided all interns in the program with educational and social events ranging from professional presentations to mentoring opportunities and sightseeing trips around Manhattan. The AGBU even arranged a day for us to give back to the community by hosting a talent show at the New York Armenian Home where I had the opportunity to speak with a Genocide survivor.

It has been a great privilege so far to socialize and interact with the interns from four of the six continents living together at New York University apartments. We have really grown close as a family and truly encompassed the vision of Armenian writer and poet William Saroyan by “creating a new Armenia.” I feel blessed and humbled to have had the opportunity to participate in the AGBU New York Internship Program this summer, and even more so to have worked in the Eastern Diocese. I hope this program continues for years to come and benefits others just as much as it has benefited me.

George Macarian interns in the Diocese's accounting department.

Summer Days at the Diocese – The Interns’ Perspective

July 16th, 2010    |    No Comments »

For the Diocese’s three full-time interns, the long, hot days of summer have been anything but lazy.

The three interns – Nicholas Burdman of St. Leon Church in Fair Lawn, NJ; Megan Karanfil of St. Mary Church in Washington, D.C.; and George Macarian of St. David Church in Boca Raton, FL – have spent the last five weeks working in the Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center, the Department of Youth and Education, and the Department of Finance respectively. They have contributed to a number of projects, ranging from cataloging and digitizing books to learning how to update the Diocese’s new website, recording accounts payable, verifying contracts for the Diocese’s facilities rentals, compiling images for various publications, and developing Bible study resources and Advent reflections.

They also attend morning prayer, Bible-study sessions, and classes on Armenian language and heritage, and take part in weekly lunch meetings with clergy. Earlier this month, they accompanied Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Diocesan Primate, on visits to St. Nersess Seminary and St. Vartan Camp. And on Thursday, the interns met with Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, Legate of the Eastern Diocese, who spoke to them about the Armenian Church’s ecumenical involvement and answered questions about his work with the National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.

The three interns are living in student housing at New York University, along with summer interns participating in the Armenian General Benevolent Union internship program.

Click here to read Nicholas Burdman’s reflection on his experience at the Diocese, and check back next week for essays by Megan Karanfil and George Macarian.

The Very Rev. Fr. Aren Jebejian with interns (from left) Megan Karanfil, George Macarian, and Nicholas Burdman, on the steps of St. Vartan Cathedral.

In the Dark about the Transfiguration

July 8th, 2010    |    No Comments »

Three disciples come face-to-face with the mind-boggling nature of God. How do they react? And is there a lesson for us in their experience? That’s the question the church poses in the Feast of the Transfiguration.

Click here to read more.

A manuscript depiction of the Transfiguration.

ACYOA Armenia Service Program Begins

July 6th, 2010    |    1 Comment »

A total of 17 young people are taking part in this year’s ACYOA Armenia Service Program, from June 30 to July 20. The three-week trip – which is being led by the Rev. Fr. Tateos Abdalian, with assistance from Katrina Shakarian of Holy Martyrs Armenian Church of Bayside, N.Y. – includes sight-seeing opportunities as well as a service component.

In addition to experiencing Armenia’s historic, spiritual, and cultural sites, group members will volunteer at the Fund for Armenian Relief’s Ounjian School and Soup Kitchen in Gyumri. This is the first time the ACYOA is partnering with FAR to volunteer in Armenia, as part of a long-term initiative to provide opportunities for young people to visit and serve their homeland.

Participants are writing about their trip on the Fund for Armenian Relief’s blog. Click here to read their updates and to view photos.

ASP participants pose for a group photo.