AMAC Retreat Celebrates 175th Anniversary of Armenian Evangelical Church
Updated: Sep 2, 2022
The Armenian Missionary Association of Canada (AMAC) held a one-day retreat Saturday, July 16, 2022, to celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the Armenian Evangelical Church. It was the AMAC’s first retreat in three years due to restrictions from the COVID pandemic.
The retreat was held at the Grace United Church in beautiful Gananoque, Ontario. Congregants from the four Armenian Evangelical Churches of Canada were excited to once again travel and be part of this long awaited post-COVID gathering.
Participants began the day with fellowship over coffee and sweets and were invited into the church sanctuary. Rev. Takouhi Demirdjian-Petro, Pastor of the local church, welcomed the attendees, then Raffi Shnorhokian, AMAC President, offered his welcoming greetings and led the congregation in a worship service. It was beautiful to see the participants wholeheartedly praising the Lord, with Armenian hymns and worship songs.
Rev. Georges Dabbo of First Armenian Evangelical Church of Montreal invited the attendees into prayer and presented the guest speaker, Dr. Setrag Khosafian, from Boston, MA.
Dr. Khoshafian’s presentation was titled: “Armenian Evangelical Movement - Blessings and 21st Century Challenges. The journey continues…” He gave a glimpse into the history of the Armenian Evangelicals and their contributions to the world. He then described the timeline of the different emerging trends throughout the years, to the new challenges we are facing in our modern era. He concluded with examples of ways to rekindle and revive who we are as Armenian Evangelicals. Solutions included Bible studies, new songs, and new Christian literature, reaching out to new generations, and preaching the Gospel to different nations (even Muslims). Let us all take what we learned and discovered here at heart, and go back to our churches, revived, and replenished, ready to do even more for God’s kingdom.
Having filled our minds and hearts, it was now time for filling our appetites, in true Armenian fashion. What better way to do so, than with some delicious Montreal lahmajoun and chikoefte? Afterwards, some of the attendees went on a sightseeing tour or a boat cruise of the 1000 Islands, while others stayed back and enjoyed fellowship time with friends they hadn’t seen in years. After the leisurely time, all headed back to the church basement, to enjoy coffee and desert, and to celebrate a birthday.
Following the coffee break, everyone returned to the church sanctuary to participate in the AMAC Member’s meeting, headed by Mr. Shnorhokian. He presented the work that AMAC is involved in, whether it be in Armenia/Artsakh, Lebanon, Syria, or Canada. True to its mission, AMAC helps with Child Sponsorship programs, as well as Kindergartens, Scholarships and other programs.
AMAC was created 38 years ago. Some of the founders of AMAC, for example Hagop Basmadjian and Mihran Jizmejian, are still part of the committee today. Mr. Jizmejian had requested to officially retire from the AMAC Board, and he was awarded with a commemorative plaque for his many years of dedicated service to the AMAC. Mrs. Jizmejian was presented with a bouquet of flowers and new committee members were presented to the congregation and prayed over by Rev. Dabbo.
The afternoon continued with a communion service and ended with worship songs. All participating families received a parting gift consisting of Rev. Demirdjian-Petro’s book, The TRUE Gift Lives ON…, as well as “The Thousand Islands” souvenir book.
What a nice conclusion to an amazing and beautiful day. We all departed and returned home with new memories and a newfound zeal to pursue our individual and collective mission to follow God, and to love and serve wholeheartedly.
- Lara Kassardjian
Board member, First Armenian Evangelical Church of Montreal