Rev. George Kevork Terian
George Kevork Terian was born in 1940 in Jerusalem to Hagop and Satenig Terzbashian. George abbreviated his surname when he became a naturalized citizen of the United States. From early childhood, his parents instilled in him the Christian faith.He attended the local Armenian Community School (Serpotz Tarkmanchatz) from 1948 until 1960, when he graduated. There he had the privilege to study Classical Armenian (Grapar) under the tutelage of Archbishop Norayr Bogharian who was recognized as one of the most prominent scholars in the study of ancient Armenian manuscripts.
After being overwhelmingly convinced that Jesus was calling him to the Gospel ministry, he received a partial scholarship from Middle East College in Beirut, Lebanon, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in theology and history in 1967. At that time Middle East College (now University) was affiliated with Loma Linda University of Loma Linda, CA.
As fate would have it, in June of 1967, the Six-Day War broke out, and the Israelis captured East Jerusalem from Jordan. George became stranded in Lebanon because he could not return to his birthplace, Jerusalem. The Israeli government decreed that all non-Jews, who were not physically present in the Holy City at the time of its conquest, would not be allowed to return as permanent residents. That meant that George was now a refugee who was not allowed to seek employment in Lebanon; furthermore, he did not have sufficient funds to pursue graduate studies in the United States.
According to God’s providential arrangement, George was invited to serve as a Christian missionary in Tehran, Iran, where he taught English to Iranian students and businessmen by using the New Testament as the main textbook. The English Language School, operated by American Missionaries, was a highly effective tool to communicate the Gospel message to Shiite Muslims. George’s mastery of the Arabic language enabled him to acquire a working knowledge of Farsi within six months, and that facilitated his interaction with the natives. It was in Tehran where George met his future life-partner, the former Alice Hovsepian, whom he married in 1970. George and Alice celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary on July 15 of this year.
During the year 1973-74, George enrolled at Andrews University in Michigan, where he received a Master of Arts degree in Biblical Languages. After his graduation, he was invited by his alma mater to teach Hebrew and Koine Greek for two years. Due to the civil war in Lebanon, George decided to immigrate with his family to the United States.
In 1977, Rev. Terian was invited to pastor a church in Bloomington, IN, where he served for eight years. Bloomington being a University town, gave Alice the golden opportunity to earn a B.S. degree in Computer Science and support her husband’s ministry.
In 1984, Rev. Terian and his family moved to the Kansas City Metropolitan area where his wife worked for Trans World Airlines as a computer programmer, and he served as a pastor-evangelist in both Kansas and Missouri. Between 1990 and 1998, in addition to his pastoral duties, he also published a quarterly publication called, “The Living Word” which explained Christian doctrines to the unchurched.
In April 1988, Rev. Terian was one of ten people who established the Armenian Cultural Society of Greater Kansas City which raised $60,000 to help the victims of the disastrous earthquake that rocked northwestern Armenia on December 7, 1988.
In 1998, he and his family moved to Southern California, and on April 1, 2000, he was installed as Senior Pastor of the Armenian Cilicia Evangelical Church in Pasadena, CA where he served for 18 years until his retirement on April 15, 2018. It is worth mention-ing that at the start of Rev. Terian’s pastorate, the Cilicia Church had a debt of $50,000, however, at the time of his retirement, the congregation had over $350,000 in their bank account.
In 2002, Rev. Terian was elected to be the editor-in-chief of the “Forum” magazine which was published quarterly. He held that position for six consecutive years. He also served as Chairman of the AEUNA Publications Committee for four years (2004-2008). The most surprising event of his term of service was when the librarian of Harvard University asked for the back issues of the “Forum” to include them in the Library of Near Eastern Studies.
On March 31, 2019, Rev. Terian was pulled out of his retirement when the Immanuel Armenian Congregational Church of Downey, CA invited him to be their Interim Minister. Then on September 22, 2019, at a duly called Congregational Meeting, it was unanimously voted to appoint him as their Senior Pastor.
Rev. Terian believes that God has endowed him with good health to let him continue planting the seeds of truth “in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2).