Armenian Presbyterian Church Celebrates its 120th Anniversary in New Jersey

L to R: Reverend Dikran Youmshakian, Michael Voskian, D.M.D., and Executive Director/CEO of the AMAA, Zaven Khanjian

Washington Township, NJ– Over 250 members and supporters of the Armenian Presbyterian Church (APC) in Paramus, NJ gathered to celebrate its 120th anniversary banquet at Season’s Catering Hall in Washington Township, NJ on Sunday, November 18, 2018. The theme for this year’s banquet was Living Our Legacy, Sharing Our Future, and was an opportunity to celebrate and recognize The Armenian Presbyterian Church’s accomplishments and its future goals.

The Armenian Presbyterian Church, founded in 1898, was originally led by Dr. Haroutune Toumayan. In 1928, APC dedicated its first place of worship in West New York. To accommodate its growing membership, APC moved to its current location in Paramus, NJ, in 1972. Further expansions were made on the Church grounds in 1988, 1999, 2004, 2014, and most recently in 2017. In the past 120 years, APC has been blessed to have had 18 Pastors serve the needs of our congregation. In addition, members of APC have been community and organizational leaders, both domestically and internationally. The congregation of APC is very proud of their history and even more excited about their future, especially under the guidance and direction or their new Pastor, Rev. Joseph Garabedian. Most importantly, for 120 years, APC has always stayed true to its mission statement:

“To teach people to confess Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. To express our love of God and neighbor as taught by Christ, within our families, Church, and community.”

Lifelong member, Mark Vahig Shnorhokian, served as the Master of Ceremonies for the afternoon, sharing his thoughts on the importance of having a unified Church and working collectively to support projects and programs. “It is not any one individual in the Church, it is all the individuals working together to do whatever is necessary for the good of the Church, to help bring people closer to Christ,” he reflected in his opening remarks. He then concluded his opening remarks by acknowledging certain individuals within the Church community for their tireless efforts, including Banquet Chairwoman Melina Keosayian, whose direction and effort made this banquet possible.

Mr. Zaven Khanjian, Executive Director/CEO of the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA), brought greetings on behalf of the AMAA and congratulated APC on its anniversary, complimenting its ongoing support with AMAA initiatives. Devout church member, Nicholas Aynilian, further explored this year’s theme emphasizing our survival and strength. He reflected that despite persecution and massacres during the 1915 Armenian Genocide, we continue to persevere and turn to Christ in our lives.

In addition, The Sipan Armenian School was recognized for its commitment to teaching Armenian youth for the last 40 years, and honored its beloved principal, Mrs. Arpy Kevorkian, for her dedication and service. Sipan board members, Nayri Gueyikian and Maral Sahagian, recanted the challenges and successes over the last 40 years undoubtedly recognizing many individuals. In her speech, Sahagian stated, “through the years, many generously gave their time and money to make sure that the Sipan Armenian school was realizing its purpose and staying true to its mission…this support and dedication made Sipan blossom.” She furthermore thanked APC and its members for its continued accessibility and ongoing assistance.

Following lunch, the very talented singer and song writer, Marian Pachanian, electrified the room with her upbeat Christian songs “All Will Cry Holy,” and “Havadareem Es.” She spoke about her commitment to the Church and serving her Lord through gifted musical talents. Residing in Los Angeles, California, she has devoted her entire life in service to the Lord and explained how the inspiration of her songs come from prayer and devotional readings.

Keynote speaker, Reverend Steve McClelland, who comes from a long lineage of Presbyterian pastors, has served in ministry for over 32 years. He has served two congregations: The Flemington Presbyterian Church and, for the past 20 years, as Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Hackensack. Despite not knowing what an Armenian was when he first connected with members of APC, he reflected on how quick he was to learn about the rich history of the Armenian people, and how it was the first nation to accept Christianity, and particularly how Armenians led the way for others to follow. In his closing remarks, McClelland commented, “Being a disciple, making disciples isn’t about believing in something vague. It’s not about doctrine or theory. It’s about following Jesus’s way. It’s about learning his truth so that we may have an abundance of life, both now and until the close of this age. It’s about this life’s journey.” Rev. McClelland also shared remarks from Reverend Sam Weddington, the former moderator for APC, who was unable to join that day due to a family obligation.

The event closed with remarks from APC’s new Pastor, Reverend Joseph Garabedian. In his pastoral greeting, he expressed: “We want to reflect on God’s goodness and faithfulness, we want to celebrate the victories and the breakthroughs, and we want to look ahead to the many more increasingly fruitful years of ministry at APC.” The event closed with the unison singing of The Hayr Mer.

For further information about The Armenian Presbyterian Church, please contact the church office @201-265-8585 or via email,

Photo credit: Sarah Hamilton
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