How Old is 170?
By Zaven Khanjian, AMAA Executive Director/CEO
Aging is a dual sword. On the bright side, it is added wisdom with earned knowledge and experience. On the other, it bears the risk of chronic fatigue and impaired memory. Whose age is another question. For humans, 170 years are beyond consideration while in the context of history, 170 could be irrelevant and inconsequential.
What remains is the measuring tool used; the impact observed.
In 2016, the Armenian Evangelical Church − Հայաստանեայց Աւետարանական Եկեղեցի – celebrates the 170th Anniversary of its founding.
I am not about to engage in the historical dissertation of its founding. For the inquisitive minds volumes abound on the subject.
Today, as we celebrate yet another milestone anniversary of the AEC, we praise God for the illumination that it has brought to the nation from the historical Homeland to the Near East and all over the Diaspora.
The Armenian Missionary Association of America embraces the grateful notion that the cradle of its glorious century old service rendered to the nation is the founding of the Armenian Evangelical Church in 1846 in Constantinople. It could be argued that the AMAA enjoys a symbiotic relationship of interdependence with the Church where, having been delivered by it has been faithful in its mission of reinforcing, supporting and sustaining the deliverer and its mission.
The legacy of the AEC on the stage of the nation’s modern history has been one of a glowing halo of service in educational, spiritual, cultural, social and physical needs − an esteemed, applauded and glorious journey.
The Church however, at the threshold of any milestone, cannot justify its existence and stall its zest relying on past glories. The living church of Christ, of which the AMAA is an integral part, must be ready and alert to face new challenges that an evolving world breeds every day. Challenges such as:
- global disintegration and decline of moral and spiritual values
- division and discord within the Church that could be obviated in humility and Christian love
- physical threats of extinction to Christians and minorities in the Near East
- existential threat from hostile neighbors to our ancestral homeland
- and, erosion of our mother tongue, the language of the founders of AEC.
Today, more than ever, armed with fervent cheerfulness and invigorated faith, the Church needs to face the future with a solid commitment and iron will to march forward with its mission of spreading God’s love to our people and all mankind. The legacy of the past can only constitute a useful platform for a leap forward.
It is our heartfelt wish and expectation that the Church, faithful to its core mission and hand in hand with the Universal Church, will share the Good News of the Kingdom and preach the Gospel all over the world for a witness to all nations calling man to turn back to the fountain of eternal love and good, God Almighty.
How old is 170?
With perpetual dynamism, age is irrelevant.