The first Armenian Evangelical churches in the United States appeared in the last quarter of the 19th century. By the beginning of the 20th century, there were enough churches on the East Coast to form the Armenian Evangelical Union of Eastern States in 1901. In 1908, the Armenian Congregational Union of California was formed, which later was named Armenian Evangelical Union of California. After decades of acting separately, the leaders of these two unions started talking in the 1960s about the possibility of joining together. After extensive talks and preparation of bylaws, in October 1971 during a Constitutional Convention held in Detroit, Michigan, the two unions merged and the Armenian Evangelical Union of North America was created. Since then, more churches have joined the AEUNA, including three churches from South America.
After its creation, the AEUNA churches recognized the month of October as AEUNA month to celebrate the Union and support its ministries. This practice was forgotten for some time. During the last two years, through meetings of the Rebuilding Task Force with AEUNA church leaders and pastors and through visitations, we are trying to reconnect our churches with each other and the AEUNA and learn about their strengths, needs and challenges, with the purpose of serving them properly. In the process, we found out that there are some church members and lay leaders who are not well aware of the AEUNA and its ministries.
We decided to reintroduce AEUNA month to our churches and ask them to set aside one Sunday in October to bring awareness about the AEUNA and pray for the leadership and its ministries. This is also an opportunity for our churches to find ways to raise funds to partner with AEUNA in its mission of uniting, equipping and supporting our churches. This October, let us remember and pray for the AEUNA family: our churches and their leadership, the AEUNA leadership, AEUNA committees and staff. When each one of us does our part, we can become a stronger Union and serve our community and neighbors even better for the glory of God.
In the U.S., the second Sunday in October is Clergy Appreciation Day, and this year October 9 is set aside to celebrate pastors.
In 1 Timothy 5:17 we are taught that “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.” Let us find a way to thank and encourage our pastors as often as possible, specifically during October and on the 9th day of the month.
The Scripture also teaches pastors how to serve our congregations and the community that God has put under our care, not out of duty, but with willingness, not for personal gain, but as a service, not lording over them but setting an example for them (1 Peter 5:2-3). May the Holy Spirit strengthen our pastors and grant them wisdom to serve in humility and for His glory.
- Rev. Hendrik Shanazarian
Minister to the Union