A Look in the AMAA Mirror
By Zaven Khanjian, AMAA Executive Director/CEO
Once again, the AMAA is at the threshold of a Centennial. A year after the celebration of our founding, it’s time to convene AMAA’s 100th Annual Meeting in the State where it was founded in 1918, the State of Massachusetts.
Our Board and Annual Meetings on October 18 and 19, 2019 will be hosted by the Armenian Memorial Church (AMC) of Watertown, MA. A celebratory Banquet honoring AMAA’s deliverer, the Armenian Evangelical Church, is under meticulous planning by a Committee masterfully Co-Chaired by John and Michele Simourian. A special commemorative pilgrimage to the Armenian Church of the Martyrs in Worcester, MA, where the AMAA was founded, will follow the Sunday morning installation service at AMC. A milestone celebration is in the works and you are all invited to join us.
All annual meetings are ‘a look in the mirror’ to evaluate goals of the mission, gauging achievements and shortcomings. This hallmark gathering is a time for us to stare in the mirror and evaluate a century of deliverance of what the founding fathers envisioned.
The prominent Armenian Evangelical scholar, minister, author, editor, AMAA founder and Executive Director, Rev. Antranig A. Bedikian summed up our vision at the founding session on June 7, 1918 as follows:
Today, we may not fully understand the significance of the proposed Missionary Association, but in the near future, I am sure, we will see the glory of the panorama of this organization. One of the avowed goals of this Association is to keep alive the Armenian Evangelical Church. God willing, with our material and spiritual support, we shall strengthen our churches in America, as well as those overseas.
One hundred AMAA Annual Meetings later, what do we see in the mirror? I’d like to pass the honor of a response to our AMAA Vice President, Dr. Michael Voskian who delivered this image at a devotional to the AMAA Board at its meeting in Paramus on July 20, 2019.
Has the AMAA Stayed True to Its Mission?
But thanks be to God, who are in Christ always leads us in triumph, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved. And among those who are perishing, a fragrance from death to death. But to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? We are not, like so many peddlers of God’s word: but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, and the sight of God, we speak in Christ. 2 Corinthians 2:14-17
We are now approaching the 100th Anniversary of the first Annual Meeting of the AMAA. I thought it would be appropriate that we reflect upon our mission.
Our mission, according to our website, states the following, “to serve the physical and spiritual needs of our people both at home and overseas. To fulfill this worldwide mission, we maintain a range of educational, evangelistic, relief, social service, church and childcare ministries in 24 countries around the world.
I ask each of us to contemplate these words and to ponder ̶ has the AMAA stayed true to its mission?
For the past 100 years, the AMAA has invested in people. We have invested in the material and spiritual lives of thousands of people, here and abroad. We have invested in thousands of people in the Armenian Evangelical churches. We have invested in the lives of ministers who have kept our churches alive. We have invested in the education of thousands of students. We have invested in the Christian education of our children and youth. We have invested in preparing and supporting ministers and Christian educators throughout the world. And we have invested in the lives of needy families and children.
So, over the past century, the AMAA has invested a lot of time, money, blood, sweat and tears, but have we been true to our mission?
My answer to this question is a resounding YES!
The AMAA has touched the lives and been a blessing to a countless number of people. Over the years, the evangelism, the churches, the mission projects, and the schools have grown. I am honored and proud to be a part of this wonderful organization.
So, if we agree that the AMAA has stayed true to our mission, the next question is, how do we ensure that we continue to be true to the mission?
I would like all of you to think about this…I think that the best way is to be involved. Encourage and promote others to be involved. Speak up at the meetings, volunteer to serve on committees, give of your time, effort, and yes, your money as best as you can.
In the modified words of our late President John F. Kennedy, “Ask not what the AMAA does for you, but what you can do for the AMAA. And may God bless the AMAA!”
Thank you, Dr. Voskian, for your reflection and challenge.
I ask, what do you see in the mirror?
If your answer to the question of loyalty to the mission, like Dr. Voskian, is a resounding YES, we thank you for being a partner and invite you to continue to be true to the mission for the next 100 AMAA Annual Meetings and beyond.
Please join us to look in the AMAA mirror together this October, as we humble ourselves and continue to emulate the Love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ among our people to the ends of the earth.