While all the students are engaged in coursework during the academic year, seminarians are required to spend their summers in educational programs, including participating in a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program, working at a Diocesan or AGBU summer camp, and studying at Holy Etchmiadzin or the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
Two seminarians were very busy over the summer months, fulfilling some of their requirements needed for graduation.
Dn. Adam Bullock completed his first unit of hospital CPE at Baystate Medical Center, a level 1 trauma center in Springfield, MA. The program began on May 6 and concluded with a graduation ceremony on August 13. Dn. Adam was assigned to three units in the hospital and completed multiple overnight on-call shifts. He regularly visited patients and families to offer spiritual support. Additionally, he met once a week with his educator and peers for pastoral education, discussion, and presentation of written work.
When asked about his experience, Dn. Adam stated, "This was as much a growing opportunity for me as it was a ministry opportunity. In my three months with Baystate Medical, I learned to sit with patients in their suffering and helped them to see that they were not alone. My aim was to treat them with the love and patience of Christ, serving as His vessel. There were some heart-wrenching experiences, but in all it was truly humbling and rewarding."
Dn. Garen Hamajian, who hails from the Western Diocese, spent the summer in California assisting at Armenian summer camps there. During a Day Camp held at the St. Leon Armenian Cathedral in Burbank, Dn. Garen led morning and meal prayers, gave instructional sermons, and held discussions and Q & A sessions with the young participants. He also attended Week 3 of Hye Camp in Dunlap, CA, where he led services and presented on topics such Building a Relationship with God to the campers. “What moved me most was not only my opportunity to teach the children but also how I learned from them,” reflected Dn. Garen. “Children truly have so much to teach us, through their innocence, their love, and their ability to appreciate all the blessings that God has given them.”
After the camp season, Dn. Garen organized weekly meetings with deacons from the Western Diocese to teach our Church’s beautiful liturgies. He taught liturgical theology, the history of the Armenian language, the language of our services, and on the more practical side, the order and chanting of the liturgies. “The presence and the devotion that I saw from my brothers in Christ to learn about their faith encouraged me,” commented Dn. Garen.
The seminary continues to support full-time remote students as well as part-time students studying both remotely and on campus. The students will come together over the weekend of September 10-12 at the Ararat Center in Greenville, NY, for the annual Orientation Retreat.