Native church within the US honors Armenian pastor’s milestone.
On Aug. 5, Hovik Sarrafian retired from 60 years of ministry that started in Armenia shortly earlier than the work closed there attributable to political circumstances. Most of his ministry was carried out within the US. “It’s a special occasion for the Glendale Metropolis church,” stated Southern California Convention area president Velino A. Salazar. “The Armenian group has been assembly on this church for a few years, beneath the management of Pastor Sarrafian.
“In 1957, Sarrafian started a ministry in Iran with a congregation of three members. After conducting seminars and evangelism there, Alice Bahranian grew to become a member of the church.” Sarrafian faithfully ministered for 60 years. Along with his years of management of the Armenian congregation, since 2000, he ready and introduced weekly well being and non secular messages on the world’s Armenian-language tv station. His messages recurrently drew scores of telephone calls from his viewers.
“You probably did all of this for greater than 60 years, pastor,” Salazar noticed. Noting from Numbers eight:23-26 that Levite monks served within the sanctuary from ages 25 to 50 after which retired, Salazar affirmed Sarrafian’s prolonged ministry. “Once you began,” he stated, “some who’re right here at this time weren’t born but. All these years, Christ gave you the energy.”
Emeritus Pastor Rudy Torres traced the historical past of Armenian Adventism in Glendale and the half that Sarrafian performed there. “Round 1985, a gaggle of Armenian folks got here to the Glendale Metropolis church,” he stated. “They didn’t converse English, and church members weren’t positive what their language was. After the church service, the group congregated beneath a tree on the church patio. Barbara Abrahamian, a girl I had met earlier, was visiting together with her husband Henry, an Armenian. She informed me concerning the group.”
Southern California Convention president Velino A. Salazar, left, and Los Angeles Metro Area director Gerard Kiemeney, at mic, provide a prayer of dedication with Armenian leaders for his or her beloved pastor throughout his retirement service. [Photo: Betty Cooney]
The week following Sarrafian’s retirement, Glendale Metropolis church Pastor Todd Leonard, left, welcomes Pastor Vigen Khachatryan, proper, his spouse Inga, daughter Noemi, and son Daniel. [Photo: Mark Azali]
Pastor Vigen Khachatryan and his daughter Noemi carry out for the pastoral introduction service. [Photo: Mark Azali]
Following quite a few tributes from church and convention leaders, Hovik Sarrafian speaks to the congregation of his zeal for the Armenian work and his gratitude to God, his church, and the convention for his or her assist. [Photo: Betty Cooney]
Henry Abrahamian, it turned out, was associated to most individuals within the group. They have been Adventists who had fled their nation in the course of the Iranian Revolution, mixed with the Iran-Iraq Warfare. Circumstances there triggered an exodus of about half 1,000,000 folks from the Center East, largely from Iran. Since that point, there has additionally been an exodus of many non-Muslims, together with Armenian Christians, due to persecution. Nonetheless, after arriving within the US, they discovered that “they’d no place to go to worship in their very own language,” he stated.
Metropolis church leaders responded shortly. “Somebody ought to begin a Sabbath college for them,” was a suggestion that finally led to participating Armenian Pastor Malcolm Gasparian. He was adopted by Sarrafian, who ministered to the group for 32 years.
“Thanks, God,” responded Sarrafian. “I’m not so happy that I’m leaving, however we imply, really, thanks and reward to our God. We recognize it a lot. I thank God that He gave us supporters — members and different households. My spouse, Alice, was trustworthy. I thank her for her companionship and assist, and I thank my household.”
“Apart from one small group in Russia, our Glendale Armenian group is the one Armenian-speaking group on the planet,” he continued. “There isn’t any means I might let it go untended. I’m grateful that they’ve a brand new pastor who’s younger and energetic.”
“Keep near Jesus, to His church,” Sarrafian urged, “keep within the boat, as a result of Jesus is within the boat.”
A couple of weeks later, although having fun with a well-deserved relaxation, Sarrafian mused, “I’m pondering of how I can do extra.”
An unique model of this story was printed within the Pacific Union Recorder.