March 2021 updates from AEUNA churches and ministries
We keep in close contact regularly with all our union churches. Last year, we asked them to send our community an update after the pandemic closed church doors throughout the AEUNA. Several of our churches have now sent us updates on their activities since those early days of the pandemic. A pdf version of these reports below can be viewed and downloaded here.
First Armenian Church
Physical gathering at sanctuary services were prohibited in Massachusetts early in 2020 and First Armenian Church switched to a Facebook Live virtual Sunday service broadcast from the home of our visiting minister Rev. Dikran Youmshakian. The service was later supplemented with live music from the homes of Music Director, Levon Hovsepian and others.
Once state guidelines for worship were established, church leadership devised COVID-19 protocols with a limited attendance reservation system and mask, health, social distancing and cleaning guidelines. The Church Council voted to resume sanctuary services with parishioner attendance in the fall of 2020. Protocols are met every Sunday. Parents and the Christian Education Committee (CEC) work together to keep students and teachers safe. While open sanctuary windows in the middle of a New England winter can be challenging, Sunday attendance is steady. Our dear Badveli Dikran Youmshakian makes all of this possible by faithfully traveling to us on weekends, weather permitting.
Homebound parishioners are included via a special camera and broadcast system called Mevo. Thanks to the dedicated volunteer media team of Berge Ayvazian, Armine Hovhannissian, and Ron Sahatjian, the church service is streamed live from our sanctuary every Sunday morning. Services are later uploaded to the First Armenian Church YouTube channel where they are available throughout the world. We are grateful that the 2020 Christmas Eve and Christmas Sunday services have been viewed over 1,000 times.
Perhaps most exciting is the way God has called so many people to serve during these extraordinary times. The Women's Bible Study led by Nancy Tutunjian Berger never missed a beat and continues with a virtual and in-person hybrid model. "The Gathering," a monthly, in-person contemporary worship service resumed through the diligent leadership of Talin Barsoumian, Nancy Berger and Sabine Keljik. People continue to reach out, including Deacons Lisa Baboian and Nora Orchanian, who faithfully place telephone calls and mail cards offering prayer and encouragement.
Members of the Missions Committee devised pandemic-safe opportunities for the congregation to serve via donation challenges and food collections. Thanks to the leadership of AEUNA Eastern Region Minister of Youth, Sylvia Jizmejian, our CEC, parents, and sister church, Armenian Memorial Church of Watertown, the Joint Youth Group has been renewed through our new Director, James Boyadjian.
We ask you to keep First Armenian Church in prayer as we continue the search for a permanent minister. Please visit us if your post-COVID travels bring you to the Boston area this summer!
– Co-moderator Ron Sahatjian
Armenian Congregational Church
The Armenian Congregational Church is currently having its usual Sunday Service in person and on Facebook live-streaming. Through this Lenten season, we are going through a series of reflections on self, being devoted and committed, prayer and fasting. We hope through these attributes and practices we will come closer to the Lord.
We continue to have our virtual midweek ministries through Zoom, with prayer and fellowship on Mondays, Bible Study on Wednesdays, and Young Adults every other Thursday.
We recently had a virtual Family Night through Zoom: the church came together to have some fellowship, worship, personal testimonies, games, etc. It was nice to be able to use technology to stay in touch with one another as the family of God.
We are doing some missionary work both locally and internationally. Locally we have been working with some non-profit organizations to help the homeless with food banks, clothing, etc. We also have been working closely with Artsakh and Armenia to help them financially, especially those families who have been dispersed due to the outcome of the war.
We are planning to go on a missionary trip to Armenia this coming summer (if conditions permit us to do so), to work at a week-long summer Vacation Bible School for the youth in Yerevan. We also want to reach out to the orphans and those families who were affected from the war.
– Pastor Hagop Haroutunian
Immanuel Armenian Congregational Church
In the Fall of 2019, after my appointment as Senior Pastor, the church organized two “Homecoming” events for the Gasparian and Kazarian families who, at one time, constituted the backbone of the congregation. The response was very positive as the sons, daughters and grandchildren of these large families filled up the sanctuary to its maximum occupancy level. At Thanksgiving, we invited those who had been members of the Immanuel Church Choir to attend a special luncheon to honor their service. More than a dozen people showed up with their spouses and children who actively participated in the worship service.
Plans were made to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the church with a grand banquet to be held March 22, 2020. A special Anniversary Booklet was prepared for this auspicious occasion but, unfortunately, the event was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The church building was shuttered March 16, 2020, by orders issued by the state and the Downey City Council. To stay in touch with our members and friends, we started live-streaming the Sunday church service from our home and continued to do so until the Spring of 2021, when churches were allowed to conduct religious services within their buildings if they followed certain state-mandated rules.
Currently, around 15-17 people physically attend our Sunday morning church service which is recorded live by two phones and is instantly transmitted to Facebook and gets posted on the church website. The majority of our church members and friends view our religious programs from the comfort and safety of their homes. Through the internet, we are reaching more people across North America, Europe and the Middle East. God is able to transform every misfortune into a blessing and an advantage for those who love Him (cf. Romans 8:28).
In mid-October 2019, we started studying the Book of Revelation on Thursdays, at 7:00 p.m. This study is livestreamed from my home via Zoom and is posted on Facebook and the church website. This Bible study is still going on after a minor interruption during the Christmas and New Year season. Because of the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, people are interested in last-days prophecies.
During the recent war in Artsakh, I produced two 10-minute-long videos about the cause of the conflict with Azerbaijan, and refuted Turkish claims regarding that territory. Each one of the videos was viewed by more than 25,000 people. I discussed some historical facts that the average person would not know. I intend to produce more videos like this because I perceive a great demand for them and they generate positive publicity for the church.
Last year, we were compelled to do some urgent and costly repairs to the physical plant of our church. The roof of our Banquet Hall and kitchen began leaking and had to be replaced before the onset of the rainy season. The aging air-conditioning unit that cooled the sanctuary during the summer stopped working, was deemed to be beyond redemption, and had to be replaced. We incurred an unforeseen additional expense because we had to also change old airducts that were not compatible with the new system. As if all this was not enough, the outside lights of our parking lot stopped functioning. The cause of the malfunction was traced to the underground copper cable that had rusted. It had to be dug out and replaced. We ended up spending $17,460 beyond what had been budgeted for that fiscal year. Nevertheless, we were still able to support Camp AREV, the Merdinian and Sahag-Mesrop Armenian schools, AMAA humanitarian projects and the Anjar Armenian Evangelical High School in Lebanon. We praise God for the generosity of His dedicated people.
Due to COVID-19 related uncertainties and the cancellation of our fund-raising events, the Church Council reduced our annual operating budget from $107,300 to $98,800. We are confident that the Lord will enable us to generate an income that will exceed the amount of this bare-bones budget. Although we have had our share of problems, we also experienced the all-sufficiency of His amazing grace. We have no doubt that the Lord will continue to bless us and use us as we serve Him with an unwavering faith.
– Rev. George Terian
Pilgrim Armenian Congregational Church
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord,
not for human masters…” - Colossians 3:23 NIV
When we go outside and look around us, as the spring season is approaching, our hearts are filled with the warmth of God’s unconditional love. He loves us so much that He sent His only Son as redemption for our sins.
The year 2020 has been a difficult and challenging one. Looking back over the many months of the pandemic experience, we see the evidence of God’s grace and faithfulness to our church during this time. With God’s guidance, we continue our service to the church during these unprecedented days in compliance with the CDC and California state regulations and with the conviction of Proverbs 19:21 “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” (ESV)
We hold Sunday worship services online and in person (indoors or outdoors following the CDC and California State regulations). The Trustees and the Board of Deacons carefully help keep regulations implemented.
Our Sanctuary has been equipped with cameras for recording or steaming purposes.
We continue our Bible Study and fellowship groups via Zoom or in person. We have several weekly Bible studies for different groups: Monday night, Tuesday morning, Thursday night, and Friday morning. We also have a group that meets twice a month and two groups that meet on a monthly basis.
We hold Praise and Prayer Zoom meetings every other Wednesday.
Sunday School continues its ministry outdoors and indoors with school age children.
The youth ministry takes place Friday night and Sunday afternoon.
We held a Stay-at-Home Banquet, which raised funds towards renovating the CE building and provided a meal for those who needed a touch of love.
Christmas caroling outdoors.
Regular communication and care by our pastors for the congregation. There has been a great need to support those who are alone, sick or grieving. The Board of Deacons helps the pastors fulfill their shepherding duties.
Despite the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we thank God for giving us many new opportunities to serve Him.
– Edward Saliba, Church Moderator
Armenian Evangelical Brethren Church
We thank God for the joy of serving through the local church. The last several months have been challenging and marked with loss in our families, churches and in the motherland. However, we praise God for changes and unexpected doors the Lord opened for us in spite of the pandemic. Like many churches, our Sunday services moved to an online platform. Our midweek Bible studies also continued online as we concluded a study through Hebrews and started a new study through the Gospel of John which God willing we will finish in March.
Our Women's Bible Study group continued to meet via Zoom. Recently, with in-person Bible Studies resuming, we now have two groups: one meets Thursdays online and the other in-person group on Friday mornings. We are grateful for the use of technology yet we value the in-person interaction while taking all safety precautions. This group was instrumental in coordinating aid through the AMAA to our brethren in Syria, churches in Lebanon and families of fallen soldiers in Artsakh/Armenia. We also aided local families and participated in Operation Christmas Child.
In 2020, we celebrated our 95th anniversary, although not with a traditional banquet. Instead we had several small events including a Bible Giveaway drive-thru event, outdoor services, and a few drive-thru events for children. Our quarterly print newsletter, Pari Lour continued with four issues in 2020. A new prayer garden was also constructed and in future months and years we hope it will bless visitors. We were honored to have guest preachers, Rev. Ariel Babikian and Rev. Soghomon Kilaghbian. Our pastors, Rev. Shanlian and Rev. Matossian visited our sister church in Utah twice in 2020 and God willing will travel there again in March 2021.
We are praying for the strengthening of local churches and their pastors during these uncertain days. We continue to pray for and support the Ararat Church in Utah and especially our churches in the Middle East and Armenia. As limited in-person meetings resume, we prayerfully seek the Lord's will in strengthening our relationships and caring for those in need.
– Rev. Dikran Shanlian
Armenian Martyrs’ Congregational Church
As we began to realize the impact of COVID-19, our church boards met together to determine next steps. By Palm Sunday (April 5, 2020), the possibilities of a virtual service were explored and the congregation was informed of our first (pre-recorded) service, posted on the church’s website. We continued to prepare special services for notable Sundays. Our Pastor Emeritus, Rev. Dr. Peter B. Doghramji, preached during April and May and throughout the summer. A worship team was organized so that our services could continue live on the second and fourth Sundays of each month with a variety of guest pastors from around the United States and overseas. The Christmas Eve service was especially noteworthy. Services can be viewed on amccpa.org.
In the absence of a pastor, the Deacons and Trustees have been diligently looking after the needs of the church. The Trustees established a COVID-19 Task Force to determine best practices and materials needed before opening the church building for worship. The Deacons have worked prayerfully to complete the church’s profile towards finding a Bridge Pastor to lead the congregation.
During this challenging year, many church activities have continued on Zoom. Each Wednesday morning, a Bible study is held for nearly fourteen persons. Once a month, the men gather for Bible study and the women gather to study “Praying Women” by Sheila Walsh. A group also gathers once a month to pray for the church and the congregation. The movie ministry will soon begin again. We hosted a women’s retreat (“Who Is in Your Boat” with Sevan Balabanian, speaker) on Zoom with many women from both coasts and the Middle East in attendance. Our women participated in the first international AEWF virtual conference on February 20. Currently, on Wednesday evenings during the six weeks of Lent, a Lenten study is offered virtually, based on the book, Person of Jesus, by Paul E. Miller.
– Vicken Keshishian, Moderator
Los Angeles, CA
United Armenian Congregational Church
United Armenian Congregational Church moved quickly to augment its existing online ministry as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic closures were announced in March of 2020. During the weekdays, UACC sends its members via email links to daily devotional messages that are posted online on YouTube. Sunday services are streamed on YouTube as well and the church’s Bible studies, fellowship programs, missions outreach and Sunday School lessons moved to Zoom.
The church has now resumed in-person worship services, which people can attend by making an advance reservation in order to not exceed distancing protocols.
The church continues to promote AEUNA activities, including Camp AREV virtual and now in-person camps, Armenian Evangelical Women’s Fellowship’s first virtual conference, the Women’s World Day of Prayer, and AMAA Artsakh and Armenian relief programs.
– Rev. Dr. Ron Tovmassian
Saint Nareg Armenian Church
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We are staying faithful by the grace of our Lord to His noble command to proclaim the gospel by being a witness in our Jerusalem/community and to the ends of the earth. God has been blessing us during these difficult COVID-19 pandemic times by giving us new vision in proclaiming the gospel and ministering to the community locally and abroad.
Yes, we had to shut down our church building for a few months over the past year to comply with state regulations, but we did not stop proclaiming the Word of God and encouraging our community. We were able to broadcast our worship services via Facebook Live every Sunday from the pastor’s home and we have been attracting viewers from all over the world. They are commenting and sharing the blessed worship service with others in great numbers. All glory to God!
Our youth and adult Bible studies are continuing via Zoom on Thursday evenings at 7:00PM. We are inviting guest pastors from other AEUNA churches to conduct a Bible study once a month so our members will be encouraged by the Word, stay connected with other churches, and pray for each other.
Our church has been active in helping our brothers and sisters in Lebanon and Artsakh as there was a plea to the union churches from AMAA to help out financially. We did help out by God’s grace! Just recently, AMAA sent out a plea to support and sponsor a family in Artsakh and our church mailed $5,000 to sponsor two families for one year. Once again, all glory to God!
I, Pastor Joe Garabedian, am about to finish my Masters in Divinity program by God’s grace and graduate this Spring 2021 after short eight years of studying part-time. I thank God for AEUNA, AMAA, and ATSA for helping me and supporting our church in making sure that the gospel continues to reach people’s hearts and change lives. Special thanks to Minister to the Union Rev. Berdj Djambazian for his prayers, phone calls, and encouraging words in these difficult times.
– Pastor Joe Garabedian and the St. Nareg Armenian Church Board
First Armenian Evangelical Church
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We thank God for His power and presence to sustain us during these turbulent seasons. Our church, like many others, has been affected by the pandemic, and we have adapted our programs and activities according to the environment and the spiritual needs of the people. The Pastor, the committee, and the ministry team were very creative in creating teaching/sharing opportunities and reaching the church family at this time of need. When government forbade meetings in the church, Zoom meetings and Facebook were the primary meeting place with our people. As bad news continued, so the church prayer groups continued. They met even more frequently and prayed fervently.
Sunday morning preaching continued in French and Armenian every Sunday. During the months when we had permission for 50 people at a time to attend, we had two services. People registered and filled the church to capacity. But many were left out, waiting for the next available space to worship at church. Church meeting capacity went down to 25 people during Christmas. Our pastor, the worship and pastoral team worked around it. We were able to hold 5- 6 meetings to accommodate more than 150 people to worship the Lord on site! Presently, Sunday worship is only by Facebook, and we praise God for people hearing the message all over the world and being transformed by the Word.
Our food bank continued serving more than 270 families every month even through the pandemic and in cold winter weather. We praise God for the 30+ dedicated and faithful volunteer team members. We also had an evangelistic team who shared the gospel during food distribution, and we trust God for the result.
Our highlight was the October rally “Backpacks to Artzakh” where we filled a big truckload of children’s backpacks with warm clothing, toys and school supplies and sent it to Armenia. We are praying that as children receive these gifts, they will be filled with joy and feel the warmth of Jesus’ love.
Every week, almost every two days a person from the pastoral team and/or committee sends encouraging words and testimonies to the church community. We have numerous prayer groups and different small groups that meet via Zoom to encourage and meet people in their need. We have a prayer chain that is active throughout the day, and people ask and receive prayer. Tuesday night Bible studies led by the pastor and by guests continue. Women’s meetings met a few times via Zoom, and also once on site.
We praise God for our youth leaders, who call and encourage the youth and meet every week on Zoom. Sunday school ministry met for a couple of months with certain restrictions, and also held Zoom activities. Our aim is that children will love the Lord fervently no matter what. Overall, we have grown in deeper fellowship with the Lord. Now, we appreciate our church family even more, and wait to meet and fellowship in the church.
Our prayers are with all our union churches. May God continue guiding and directing us all into the eternal purposes and mission God has in mind for this world.
– Rev. Georges Dabbo
Armenian Presbyterian Church
We praise God for His love and mercy in Jesus Christ, as we report to you His deeds among us and His continued Presence in our walk as Christ-followers.
We as the Armenian Presbyterian Church (APC) have been challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic just like all of our sister churches, and we have responded by adjusting our ministry styles to suit the indispensable need for the spiritual sustenance of our congregation. We continued various forms of ministry online: English and Armenian language Devotionals via social media, our Agape Women’s Bible Study, Youth Group, Young Professionals, as well as individual counseling, both remote and safe/in-person.
Of course we also provided Sunday bilingual worship, and this included contemporary music in some of the services, providing for varying styles of worship for those who connect to God better with contemporary music. We’ve done Christmas concerts with both sacred and secular music, both online and with state-mandated limited in-person attendance. We’ve done outreach through care packages dropped off at shut-ins’ doors, and we’ve even had safe and socially distanced coffee gathering outdoors as well as prayer walks. We are doing well in the Lord but are earnestly looking forward to the day when restrictions will be completely lifted and we can welcome all of our members back, ready to worship in person, with no more pandemic to worry about.
We are praying about how to continue our teaching ministries and engage more people via different tools, and we have been studying various topics in our ministries in this latest season. For English language devotionals, we’ve been studying Philippians, while our Armenian study is exploring the Letter to the Roman church and its fundamental doctrines. The women of the church have been studying the topic of “Growing in Christ”, while the Sunday School theme has been about “Letting your light shine.”
We rejoice in the mercy of God that He has allowed alternative means to minister while we await the return to “normal” after this pandemic is sufficiently defeated. We covet your prayers for physical health for all of our church, for wisdom in ministry for our leaders, and for faithfulness to Christ in our words, programs, and our witness to our sphere of influence as a church in the Mid-Atlantic region. Praise the Lord!
– Rev. Joseph Garabedian
Armenian Cilicia Evangelical Church
Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the nation and the world, we started streaming our Sunday worship services and Wednesday’s Bible studies “live” via Zoom, Facebook and YouTube. At the same time, Alina, my wife, continued Women’s Bibles studies, twice a week, through Zoom, one in Armenian and the other one in English Language.
Let’s count some of God’s blessings, during the pandemic:
Beside Facebook and as an outreach ministry, we continued the ICFN TV Ministry, once a week and as of February 2021, twice a week with two different programs.
As a part of our church’s mission, during this year (a) The church collected 67 boxes of new clothing (more than 1500 pounds) and shipped it to Armenia and Artsakh, to help our needy sisters and brothers, especially, widows, elderly and orphans that suffered from war, and (b) The church raised funds for financial assistance to our sisters and brothers in Beirut, Lebanon, because of the explosion of August 4, 2020.
During the pandemic year, the church received 13 new members and God willing, will receive another 14 new members in March.
As of the end of February, this year, we started Sunday school with 12 children and now the number is 22. God willing, during Palm Sunday, the Sunday school with twenty-two children will participate during the worship service.
During Lent, every morning, from 8-9AM, we hold a “prayer hour” at the Sanctuary. People are reaching us by phones and social media and asking for prayers.
Praise The Lord for His blessings. Let’s continue our prayers for His will. Amen.
– Rev. Serop Megerditchian
São Paulo, Brazil
Igreja Central Evangélica Armênia de São Paulo
Brazil is being deeply affected by the pandemic. Since 2020, we have not resumed our services. As the church pastor, I have been preaching Sunday sermons via YouTube, and our music department has been preparing worship songs and hymns using the internet.
The members of Church phone each other and put their needs in WhatsApp groups. We pray for each other's needs and ask our Lord to keep us in His mercy.
We hope in some months this situation will be resolved and we will happily praise our Lord Jesus Christ with joy in our hearts. To God be the glory forever!
– Rev. Roy Abrahamian
Armenian Evangelical Church
Church services are streamed virtually every Sunday and the Deacons reach out to the congregation with prayers and support. The Youth Group holds a well-attended virtual Bible Study on Friday nights. They surprised the church community with a virtual Christmas Carol singing, bringing joy to many. Virtual Sunday School continues to be a blessing for about 65 kids.
We are thankful to God that when COVID-19 restrictions were relaxed, we were able to hold a drive-through celebration for our beloved Mr. Yeghia Sumbulian on his 100th Birthday. The Ladies Ministry organized an exceptionally successful Food Drive for Artsakh.
Our congregation is grateful to the AEUNA and Minister to the Union, Rev. Berdj Djambazian, for his support. The church is fervently praying for a permanent minister to shepherd our flock. Please keep our vacant pulpits in your prayers.
– Vartouhi Jizmejian, Moderator
Armenian Memorial Church
God, as always, was good to us in 2020. Beginning in March 2020, first, we broadcast our Sunday services online and then, resuming in September, we held in person services and also livestreamed them on the church Facebook page.
In 2020, we had daily prayer meetings (currently it’s once a week) and Bible study sessions once a month. Presently, we are studying the Letter to the Philippians. All through the COVID-19 pandemic, = church meetings took place and are still taking place online via Zoom.
The Sunday school continued to meet every other week. The teachers continued their teaching through zoom. Interestedly, the older children had a great desire to reach out and help those in need in these uncertain times. The children bought non-perishable grocery items from their own money and organized a trip to the Watertown food pantry to support those in need.
The good news is: together with our sister church of Belmont, we hired James Boyadjian as the Joint Youth Group youth leader.
We were also able to raise funds and serve dinner twice to the staff of the Armenian Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center and lead worship services for the morning staff.
The congregation has been engaged in a multi-step program of discernment. The program called “Churches Alive” is offered through United Church of Christ to help its members address the many challenges facing churches in today’s culture and society, and to help congregations through the process of discerning a God-given vision to ensure a faithful future. Ultimately, the goal of the program is to put our church family on a path forward that is faithful, healthy, effective and transformative, thus ensuring the church will thrive for future generations.
Due to the recent devastating war, our homeland Armenia and Artsakh is in dire need of humanitarian aid. Our church joined efforts with the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) and has created a fundraising effort called “The AMC - AMAA All For Artsakh Campaign.” The church is pledging to match the first $25,000 of individual donations, all of which will go to the AMAA. By combining the funds raised with our matching amount, we can send $50,000 or more in aid to our Armenian brothers and sisters.
We pray and hope that God may continue to support us to navigate in these turbulent and uncertain times, as we continue to trust Him for His provision, care and guidance.
“Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” - Psalm 103:1-2
– Rev. Dr. Avedis Boynerian
Armenian Church of the Martyrs
We began the New Year of 2021 with a special Armenian Christmas Service at Armenian Church of the Martyrs with much music and a charge of hope for our people. The sermon of the special service is titled "My Peace I Give to You," and is available online to view here.
One of the biggest challenges is doing hard sermons, ones which many are hesitant to tackle. We began going through the Book of Malachi which is a challenging look at life and calls for self-reflection. “Why Malachi”, “Do We Give God a Tip or a Tithe?” (which begins with the text of a letter from Rev. Dr. Vahan Tootikian, Executive Director of the Armenian Evangelical World Council), and “Share Life” are all part of this series.
I encourage people to watch them all the way through (they are available on this YouTube channel), even when it is hard, and to pray how God would have us all address such issues.
Our time of Lent is particularly meaningful this year, as we travel the road to the cross, and look forward to Resurrection Sunday. This spring we will continue going forward with a sermon series on the Letters to the Seven Churches in John’s Book of Revelation.
We thank God for our new Praise and Worship Leader Matthew Naeger. He brings a variety of talents to our church as an award winning trumpeter. He is creating a beautiful place of worship as he also shares his talents on piano and organ, and has helped create an exciting worship team.
The gift of communication has taken many forms this last year as our church has responded to the pandemic. We have gone from total lockdown and reaching out online from a chapel in our own home, to sharing videos, to re-opening the doors of our church with the faithful and brave, making it possible to create videos and live Zoom church. This is something we never imagined we would do. However, during the 100th AMAA service held at the Armenian Church of the Martyrs, our own guest speaker Talin Avakian Borekjian challenged us all to be equipped, willing to tackle our future by getting on board with technology - yes the internet. She was right. Indeed, we have.
Many churches have learned how to present their services and reach out to their congregation. We have also learned that what matters are the united voices of praise and worship, of the readings, of teaching and preaching the Word of God that becomes a living legacy of faithful pastors and believers. God empowers us to reach the many or the individuals and families locked down in their homes. Well done, good and faithful servants of the most high God!
We are also reaching out by sharing locally and around the world with emails, cards and letters, encouraging all to remain in prayer for one another and His church. Reaching out with phone calls, sometimes tarrying on the phone with beloved members of the church family is a treasure. Serving home communion on a front porch with masks at screen doors still brings the special gift of God’s love to others.
Please pray that Christ’s love will be deep in the hearts of the people and for all provision, participation, and growth for the church. With great love and prayers for all of you.
– Rev. Stephen Carlyle
Armenian Evangelical Women’s Fellowship Coast to Coast Conference
For the first time ever, a joint Armenian Evangelical Women's Fellowship conference was held virtually via Zoom on February 20, 2021. While the conference targeted women ages 18 over from North America, close to 400 women attended from over 30 cities across the world to unite in fellowship and to worship God.
The conference was organized as a joint effort of the AEWF East and West coast regions, chaired by Christine Momjian and Alina M. Balabanian respectively. Committee members were: Mariam Alexanian Lavoie of RI; Mary Ann Janigian of NH; Cynthia Ketenjian of CA; Candice A. Nahigian of CA; and Noelle A. Nightingale of CA.
The conference theme was "Persevere: Fixing our Eyes on Jesus" with the focus on the passage from Hebrews 12:1-2: Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. The conference was a beautiful testament to the unity of the Armenian people across the world, and the strength of Armenian women as a whole.
Through our speakers, who gave their testimonies, we were able to praise God for His holy and perfect plan in the midst of trouble.
Jennifer Abadjian spoke about our need for control and order in our lives and how to patiently wait for the Lord despite many years of seemingly unanswered prayers.
Vartouhi Jizmejian gave us a glimpse of the difficulties of managing disease and sickness not only personally but also within the family. She stressed that it was Jesus that gave her hope and strength to get through every day.
Janine Sagherian encouraged us to run the race well for the Lord and to look for endurance in Jesus, not taking our eyes off of him as our “prize.”
We were submerged in God's word through the Holy Scriptures and through testimonies of Gods' providence, and also spent time in worship and in small groups. This allowed for a close-knit time of community to discuss our responses to the testimonies.
Overall, the conference was filled with joy but also with a sense of longing. Although we could see each other’s faces and talk, the physical aspect of giving hugs and closeness could not be replaced. However, if it were not for this online format, it would not have been possible to gather women from all across the world. For this reason, we praise the Lord for the good He has done and for the blessing of Armenian women in community.
Note: The edited recording is available for viewing and sharing via aeuna.org. Go to the posts tab in the menu bar.
– Catherine Momjian
Camp AREV suspended its in-person camp programs for summer 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and geared up to start a planned renovation of its Lodge. Details were in place, and since no one was using the camp’s lodging, work began in Summer 2020 and proceeded at a rapid rate.
Lodge renovation work is still underway, and a courtyard plan is being developed. The camp has now opened registration for “one day” in-person youth events on Saturdays in April 2021. See camparev.org/one-day-getaways for details. Our regular July summer camp programs are being planned as the pandemic situation improves.
– Rev. Razmig Minassian