On Friday, October 1, 1999 a group of St. Nersess faculty members and seminarians joined the St. Leon's Men's Fellowship, Fair Lawn, NJ attending the Promise Keepers' Convention, which was held at the Continental Airlines Sports Arena in East Rutherford, N.J. The Friday evening session was the beginning of a two-day long retreat that included worship, Bible Study sessions, reflections and lectures. Among the main lectures and discussions during the weekend were, "Becoming a Godly Man in an Ungodly Culture," "The Disciplines of a Godly Man," and "Becoming a Champion for Unity in the Body of Christ." These and other lectures and activities during the weekend encouraged and challenged the thousands of Christian men to lead a godly family in an ungodly culture, to learn to overcome sin in areas of personal temptations and to integrate the power of the Scriptures, prayer and worship into their daily life.
The Promise Keepers, a nation-wide group of Christian men of all denominations, holds annual conventions in various regions of the country to promote Christian values and spirituality among men. Among the organization's main focuses is the commitment of Christian men to their faith, families and local parishes. The way they do so is through abiding by seven promises that affirm their commitment to love their spouses, children, churches, and to contribute to their Christian faith by sharing it with others. "I felt overwhelmed to see approximately 10,000 men gathered from different Christian denominations, different races, and ethnic backgrounds in one arena to worship Christ and witness to his love," said Subdeacon Ara Kadehjian, a senior student at St. Nersess Seminary. The gathering was a great demonstration of these men's love and obedience to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. "We joined thousands of Christian men" adds Subdeacon Ara, "to renew our covenant with God that we will do our utmost to live a moral life befitting our calling to be Christians, followers of Christ."
The gathering helped demonstrate how we are affected by the anti-Christian media, secular institutions, and our society's contemporary pagan culture. Armenian men, therefore, proudly joined the thousands of Christian men of other denominations in an act of Christian solidarity witnessing to their love for, and faith in, Christ our Lord and His Church. "It was an awesome experience," said Deacon Patrick. "I can't wait until the next convention." Representing St. Nersess Seminary at the convention were Fr. Vahan Hovahenssian, Dean, Professor Abraham Terian, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Fr. Daniel Findikyan, Professor of Liturgy, and seminarians Deacon Patrick Kaprelian and Subdeacon Ara Kadehjian. Special thanks to David Moore and Allan Tossounian of St. Leon's Parish for coordinating the Armenian presence at the convention.