Commemoration of a Former Armenian Evangelical Scouting Program of Beirut, Lebanon

By Zaven Demirjian

Former Scouts with their Scoutmaster
Names of people from Left
1st Row: Zaven Demirjian, Dr. Steven H. Aharonian, Rev. Dr. John Khanjian, Raffi Aposhian, Nishan Basmadjian, Robert Meneshian,
2nd Row: Dr. Vicken Aharonian, Dr. Ivan Shnorhokian, Dr. Ara Tilkian, George Keushguerian, Vatche Kasparian, Barkev Tashjian

The former members of the Junior Christian Endeavor Organization of the First American Evangelical Church of Beirut, Lebanon, hosted a dinner and program on January 17, 2009 at 7:00 p.m., in the Derian Hall of the Armenian Cilicia Evangelical Church, in Pasadena, California. The guest of honor for the evening was Rev. Dr. John Khanjian, who was the organization’s prominent Youth Leader and Scoutmaster during the years of 1957 to 1962.
Rev. Kevork Terian, Pastor of the Cilicia Church, gave the invocation. He thanked God for the virtuous character and dedicated service of Dr. Khanjian, who has been a role model to his students.
Zaven Demirjian described some of the activities of the scouts. He stated that the church provided a room, that was used as a meeting place and storage area. Tents and sleeping bags were purchased at a discount from Hagop Salibian’s business. The scouts went on camping trips to different mountain locations, such as Brummana. In the winter a popular trip by train was the snow covered mountain at Dahr El Baydar.
Nishan Basmadjian presented the biography of Dr. Khanjian who was born in Aleppo Syria. He graduated from Near East School of Theology and the American University of Beirut in 1962. He also graduated from Claremont Graduate School with a Ph.D. degree in 1974. He has taught at Aleppo College,Near East School of Theology, Kansas Wesleyan University and University of La Verne. He was Dean of Students from 1987 to 1993 at the Armenian International College/University of La Verne, where Nishan also worked as Librarian. From 1995 to 2002 he was President of Haigazian College, which became a University in 1997. At Haigazian University he upgraded the academic program, the infrastructure, including the renovating and moving back to the old campus in West Beirut. Presently he is the Provost of the Evangelical Theological Academy (Seminary) of Armenia in Yerevan, which aims at training ministers and Christian workers.
Some of the former scouts shared interesting events and experiences.
Dr. Steven H. Aharonian stated that he had served with Dr. Khanjian in the Haigazian University Board. As the President of AMAA he regarded the success of the Seminary in Armenia very important for him. He was confident that Dr. Khanjian will apply his administrative experience in laying a solid foundation for the Seminary.
Dr. Vicken Aharonian appreciated the fact that his father, Rev. Hovhannes Aharonian, the President of the Near East School of Theology, had assigned Dr. Khanjian to be Youth Leader and Scoutmaster. He recalled a camping trip at the Litany River,where the scouts tried to catch frogs.
Dr. Ara Tilkian said that his father, Rev. Garabed Tilkian, being the Pastor of our church in Beruit was very busy, and he was glad that Dr. Khanjian was helping him by working with the youth. He also reminded us about “Kchag” Summer Camp, located on a beautiful Lebanese mountain covered with pine trees. Christian Endeavor groups held their summer camps and retreats in “Kchag.”
Dr. Ivan Shnorhokian reminded us about an injury to his nose after a scary fall at a campsite. First aid was applied, the wound healed, and no trace of injury remained.
A plaque was given to Dr. Khanjian in appreciation of his services to our organization. He was grateful for the affection shown to him, and he said he still considered his scouts to be adolescent “badani” at heart.
The scouts were thankful to their Scoutmaster for teaching them survival skills, endurance,moral values and to be “always ready” to serve the Lord, the church and humanity.

Source: FORUM, Sept-09 Issue