Armenian Evangelical World Council
By Rev. Dr. Vahan H. Tootikian
Armenian Evangelical World Council (AEWC) is a representative body of the Armenian Evangelical Union of North America (AEUNA), Armenian Evangelical Union of France (AEUF), Union of Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East (UAECNE), Evangelical Church of Armenia (ECA), Armenian Evangelical Union of Eurasia (AEUE), Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) and Stephen Philibosian Foundation (SPF).
AEWC is the offspring of the First World Conference of Armenian Evangelicals, jointly sponsored by the AMAA and AEUNA at Haverford College, Pennsylvania, June 25-28, 1978. The conference tried to evaluate the Armenian Evangelical Church in its various fields of endeavor. Its findings were turned over to a Master Plan Committee. The recommendations of this committee led to the founding of AEWC in 1987.
The purpose of AEWC is to bring all Armenian Evangelicals together to reaffirm the essential unity of their faith in Jesus Christ, and, in obedience to their calling as Armenian Evangelical churches and organizations, to enhance the furtherance of their common mission through study, consultation and corporate action.
The Council studies the common concerns conveyed by member organizations and churches and makes recommendations to them; provides channels of communication and means of cooperative action; elects its officers and appoints task forces to implement its decisions; periodically calls and organizes AEWC conferences; and on special occasions, speaks and makes public pronouncements on behalf of the Armenian Evangelical unions and churches.
The Board of Directors of AEWC is composed of two representatives from each of its seven-member organizations. The term of the officers is for two years commencing January 1 and ending on December 31. The Board has its Executive Committee whose terms of office coincide with that of the Board members.
Since its inception, among scores of AEWC’s accomplishments, the following are the most noteworthy:
It played an important role in providing massive aid to Armenia in the aftermath of the 1988 earthquake, and organized new Armenian Evangelical churches in Armenia, in cooperation with the AMAA, in the late 1980’s and 1990; coordinated with the AMAA relief aid for Armenia and Lebanon in late 1980’s and early 1990; created an Armenian Evangelical Archive at the AMAA Headquarters in 1994; celebrated the 150th, 160th, 170th anniversaries of the founding of the Armenian Evangelical Church worldwide; participated in all Armenia/Diaspora conferences; co-founded with the AMAA the Evangelical Seminary of Armenia and provided lecturers and other resources; sponsored and published a dozen of books on Armenian Evangelical Church; adopted a common “Statement of Faith” and prepared a “Pastors’ Manual” for the Armenian Evangelical pastors; established new churches in Europe in cooperation with AMAA; organized All-Armenian Evangelical Pastors’ retreats and seminars; organized leadership training programs; established a dialogue with the Holy See of Etchmidzin; participated in major milestone celebrations, such as 1700 Anniversary of Armenia’s proclamation of Christianity as state religion, 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, 500th anniversary of the Armenian Book printing, Centennial Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and 100th Anniversary of Armenia’s independence; It also plays the role of information bureau of Armenian Evangelical churches and disseminates important information to all.
In the absence of a centralized church structure, the AEWC endeavors to cement all Armenian Evangelical Unions and organizations for the common purpose of sharing in the needs and deeds of each other’s life. It strives to become an instrument of mutual assistance in serving the Unions, rather than independent Unions working in isolation. It aspires to bring all Armenian Evangelicals together to deepen and strengthen their commitment to the Kingdom of God, to evaluate, plan and act upon ways and means of making their testimony more effective.