AEWF Western Region celebrates 30th Year at Fresno convention
The AEWF Western Region 16th Biennial convention was held October 4-6, 2019 in Fresno, California and drew 120 women. “Discovering Our Purpose in Christ” was the theme, based on Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails”. Keynote speaker for the weekend was Alina Melkonian Balabanian from Calvary Armenian Congregational Church, San Francisco.
Beginning Friday evening and concluding with a communion worship service on Sunday led by Rev. Jonelle Garo Kazarian, the program featured messages, seminars and worship times. Each participant received a bag filled with goodies donated by National Raisin Company, Caruthers Raisins, Gene Kizirian, Jeffrey Melkian and Dr. Jason Keledjian.
Janine Sagherian offered the opening prayer; Chair Roseann Saliba welcomed the women to the conference; Praise & Worship was led by Anna Shanazarian and Cynthia Ketenjian and accompanied by Sevan Balabanian. AEUNA Treasurer Souzi Baghdikian read a greeting from Minister to the Union Rev. Berdj Djambazian, and shared the purpose and ministries of the AEUNA.
Following the speaker’s message on Saturday, the ladies were divided into discussion groups led by Maria Cardoux, Rebecca Karaminassian and Zepur Geuvjehizian in Armenian; and Lena Garabedian, Karen Jaramishian, Cynthia Ketenjian and Linda Thomas Matoian in English.
Four seminars were offered Saturday: “How to Sing Unto the Lord, an overview of music in the Armenian Evangelical Church” presented in English and Armenian by Sevan Balabanian; “Running for Jesus” in Armenian by Alina Megerditchian; “Inside Out” by Rev. Jonelle Kazarian; and “Property Rights that Affect Women through Every Stage of Life" by Aleen L Khanjian, Esq.
A Fresno Tour, led by commentators Kara & Carole Karabian and Chris Krikorian, was enjoyed by 80 out-of-towners. The tour included Armenian Town and Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church (the oldest Apostolic Church in America), Hye Quality and Lavosh Bakeries, statues of David of Sassoon and William Saroyan, the Vineyards at the California Armenian Home, and stops at the Genocide Memorial, and Simonian Farms.
The ladies of First Armenian Presbyterian Church hosted the Saturday evening banquet. The tables were beautifully decorated with sunflowers, depicting the AEWF logo. Sossy Haroutunian gave an inspiring devotional, followed by a delicious dinner, games and fellowship.
Sunday began with morning devotionals led by Karine Mardirossian (Armenian) and Mariet Shanazarian (English) followed by the worship service. The English message was offered by Alina Balabanian and the Armenian message was offered by Lena Ekmekjian. The weekend closed with Holy Communion offered by Rev. Kazarian and the singing of Park Yev Badeev and God Be With You Till We Meet Again.
Roseann Emerzian Saliba,