Karen Chakoian, Pastor of Granville’s First Presbyterian
GRANVILLE — Growing up, Karen Chakoian had very little idea what she wanted to do with her life.
“My sister Chris felt a call to ministry in high school and majored in religion,” she recalls. “But that was his job, not mine. I really had no idea what I was supposed to do with my life except that I wanted to get married and have kids.
“It wasn’t until I graduated from college that I felt called to work in the church,” she added. “I was active in the campus Presbyterian Church, singing in the choir and teaching Sunday school. And I took a few religion classes out of curiosity. But I thought I would go to medical school or do research.
“I kept praying, ‘What should I do?’ and getting no response,” she continued. “Finally, I changed my prayer to ‘Where should I be?’ And the answer came immediately: the church. Yet I couldn’t imagine preaching (I was too shy!) or leading a church (I didn’t think I was a leader). I thought maybe I could- to be working in Christian education In seminary, I finally realized that I was called to the ministry.
Today Chakoian is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Granville.
“If someone had told me my life would be like this,” she noted, “I never would have believed it. I am incredibly grateful that my love for God and others has brought me to this place.
Karen Chakoian grew up in Mt. Prospect, IL, a suburb of Chicago. After graduating from Prospect High School, she earned a degree (Biology major) from the University of Illinois in 1979, spent two years at Duke Divinity School, then transferred to Union Theological New York Seminary where she earned a Master of Divinity and was ordained in 1984.
“I was kind of a geeky kid,” she recalls. “I was in my own little world of my sister and I, although I was in awe of my older brothers and their mysterious lives. I loved school. Learning came easy. And it was fun .
The church was also a big part of her life, especially in middle school and high school. She was, for example, part of a group that performed Christian musical performances like “Godspell” at churches all over Chicagoland. As a teenager, he was also asked to serve as a “young elder” in his church.
Fast forward. With her schooling behind her, Chakoian worked part-time in a small congregation in Des Moines, Iowa.
“It was time to look for a full-time calling,” she said. “I let a few friends know I was looking for, and three months later I heard from the head of the search committee here. When I read the church information and what they were looking for , I felt like it fit perfectly.
Chakoian came to Granville in 2000.
“It has been a pleasure and an honor to have known Karen for over 20 years,” said longtime church member Sara Sharp. “I can’t say enough wonderful things about her! We have been through a lot together – birth of babies, death of relatives and friends, difficult relationships and family changes, illnesses and lots of learning, love and laughter! »
“She stands beautifully alongside her staff and her congregation through life’s ups and downs,” Sharp added. “She brings scholarly wisdom, spiritual guidance and heart to everything she does.”
“I feel so privileged to do this job,” Chakoian replied. “Every day I see God working in this world through the acts of love of the people around me. I learn the wisdom of the inner struggles and resilience of others as they face life’s challenges with courage and hope. And I have one of the few “renaissance” jobs I have left, which forces me to grow every day. It’s never boring!
Chat box: The First Presbyterian Church is located at 110 W. Broadway in Granville. For more information, call 740-587-0178 or log on to www.granpres.org.
Aces of Trades is a weekly series about people and their jobs – whether it’s unusual jobs, fun jobs, or people who take ordinary jobs and make them extraordinary. If you have a suggestion for a future profile, let us know at [email protected] or 740-328-8821.