All-Armenian Evangelical Youth Conference: Day 2… Aug. 3, 2018
A moment of prayer and reflection at the eternal flame, Dzidzernagapert (3 Aug. 2018)
The official opening of the conference took place on Friday morning, as the group assembled in the auditorium of the Evangelical Church of Armenia. The youth joined together with heartfelt songs of praise, and Rev. Mgrdich Melkonian’s message challenged them to focus on why God gives his Spirit to believers – so that they know him better.
The orientation portion included words of welcome and greetings from Executive Director Mr. Zaven Khanjian and President Dr. Nazareth Darakjian. The room resounded also, as the youth sang rousing renditions of Armenian patriotic songs. They also got a “crash course” in who the ECA is, and what the ECA does.
A pleasant surprise for the group was the attendance of the Vice-Minister of the Diaspora, Papken Der Gevorgyan at the morning program. Mr. Gevorgyan offered words of thanks and appreciation for the AMAA’s work, and commended the AMAA for this gathering youth from around the Diaspora and the Homeland. In answering questions from the audience, he challenged them, especially after the recent “velvet revolution”, to consider investing their abilities, expertise and lives in Armenia.
The group made its way by bus to the AMAA’s Avedissian School, where they were met by Principal Melania Geghamyan. She described the origins and development of this special school and sent them in smaller groups to see the various aspects of the facility. The French-speaking group had a French-speaking student guide, the English speakers had an English-speaking one, and the remaining two groups heard the tour in Armenian.
By this point the groups from Syria, Lebanon and Germany were arriving, so the rest of the conferees paid a visit to the Genocide Museum and Memorial, pausing for a thoughtful moment of remembrance, and a prayer and a song around the eternal flame.
But the most memorable part of the day was the Armenian folk music group that performed in the open-air courtyard of the AMAA/ECA center, offering a program of traditional troubadour and dance songs. It brought the youth to their feet in no time, clapping and dancing despite the clouds and drizzle.
–Rev. Nishan Bakalian