On November 13, 2021, a glorious “Praise & Fundraising Banquet” took place at the Armenian Evangelical Church of Toronto. The most extraordinary part of the evening was that the event was attended in-person - a truly noteworthy feat in the middle of a global pandemic and the seemingly inescapable virtual age! The Lord is magnificent and generous and He made a way for 130 faithful supporters to gather in one room to praise and worship Him with one voice.
The evening was hosted by MCs Darren and Kamie Getzoyan, and was dedicated to celebrating two momentous occasions - the 61st Anniversary of the inception of the Armenian Evangelical Church of Toronto, and the 175th Anniversary of the Armenian Evangelical Movement and Church.
With a glance to the past, including a salute to the individuals who played a significant role in establishing the Toronto Church in 1960, keynote speaker Rev. Nishan Bakalian, expressed his admiration and respect for the church's rich and fruitful history and its ongoing commitment to its founding beliefs. Looking forward, he imparted key steps to a bright and hopeful future for the Toronto Church and the union within which it sits – the AEUNA. Rev. Bakalian and his wife, Maria (a child of the Armenian Evangelical Church of Toronto), also shared a very moving presentation of the current state of the Armenians in Beirut, and the various outreach ministries implemented to assist those in extremely dire circumstances.
The evening was rounded out with an appetizing and fulsome dinner catered by Lara’s Restaurant. Equally fulfilling were the beautiful artistic offerings from both Sona Hovsepian, who graced the stage with her divine voice, singing two solos, and the church youth who added their angelic voices to the celebration.
In her warm and encouraging closing message, church council chairperson Mrs. Vartouhi Jizmejian, recognized Arpi Khajerian, with heartfelt words and a token of appreciation, in acknowledgment of her retirement after 15 years of dedicated service as the church secretary. Mrs. Jizmejian also extended a sincere and enthusiastic 'thank you’ to the outstanding and tireless organizing committee, the program participants and the attendees of the evening. She gave glory to God for granting the Armenian Evangelical Church of Toronto the opportunity to mark these two milestones. “I will give thanks to you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds”. Psalm 9:1
The final remarks were made by Rev. Yessayi Sarmazian, who concluded the joyous, rewarding and blessed night with a prayer of gratitude.
- Tenny Nigoghossian