Minister to the Union Visits with Churches across North America
Interim Minister to the Union Rev. Hendrik Shanazarian started his ministry on October 1, 2021. He made it his goal to visit all the churches in his first year of service, to get acquainted with the leaders, to hear from them, to learn about churches’ situations and find ways to support churches and ministries and equip those involved in ministries. Travel conditions improved recently, and the MTTU visited four Union churches in Canada, the Ararat Church in Salt Lake City, and the five churches in the New England area.
During these visits he had the opportunity to worship with some of those churches. On different occasions, he also preached and taught. He met with board members and different lay leaders of the churches, and was able to spend quality time, fellowship and prayers with pastors and their wives, leaders and teachers of those churches.
While the Interim MTTU had general information about the leadership teams and situations of different churches, these visits created the opportunity for him to get to know many of them personally, and to hear personal stories. The number of dedicated volunteers serving in different places was encouraging. These visited helped him learn about needs and challenges that individuals and churches face, how to pray for them, and how to think and plan for the next steps to serve and support them better.
In mid-May, Minister to the Union Rev. Hendrik Shanazarian traveled to spend a weekend with New England area AEUNA churches. He joined the Armenian Memorial Church of Watertown, MA, annual Food Fair on Friday and Saturday, and also met with church leaders, two pastors and their families, and attended the Sunday worship service at Armenian Church of the Martyrs, Worcester, MA. This was a great opportunity to meet with church members and leaders personally and to witness their dedicated service, cooperation and support of each other.
At the beginning of May, Rev. Shanazarian visited the Ararat Evangelical Church, Salt Lake City, UT, and Rev. Gevork and Mrs. Anoush Paronyan. He participated in the church's Friday night Bible study, Sunday worship service, and Mothers' Day luncheon.
During Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter Sunday, Rev. Shanazarian visited the four AEUNA churches in Canada. He started his visit with a short visit to Armenian Evangelical Church of Toronto, led a youth Bible study, and the next morning moved to Montreal. On Palm Sunday, he worshiped with the Armenian Evangelical church of Montreal. Later that day he joined the First Armenian Evangelical Church which had organized their first post-COVID luncheon. Attendance at both events was very encouraging. On Tuesday and Wednesday, he preached at Holy Week services of these two churches, one night in each church. During his five days stay in Montreal, he had multiple meetings with pastors, lay leaders and committee members, and also visited some elderly church members.
On Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, Rev. Shanazarian preached at the Armenian Evangelical Church of Toronto, and Armenian Evangelical Church of Cambridge. On Saturday night the Toronto church leadership had organized a special gathering where all the committee members and people involved in the ministry of the church were present. It was a great opportunity to see many enthusiastic people involved in ministry and to learn about the scope of the ministry. Easter Sunday started with a Sunrise breakfast prepared by the youth group of the Toronto church.
After a well-attended and well-organized Easter service at Armenian Evangelical Church of Toronto, Rev. Shanazarian traveled with Badveli Ara Balekjian, who serves at the Cambridge church, to attend the Easter service at that church, which was very well attended as well.