In Memoriam: Rev. Jirair Sogomian
It is with deep sorrow that we share the sad news of the passing of AMAA Former Executive Director (2001-2003) Rev. Jirair Sogomian of Huntington Beach, CA. He was born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1937 and passed away on March 11, 2018.
Memorial service on Friday, April 13, 2018 at 11:00 am
Immanuel Armenian Congregational Church
9516 Downey Avenue, Downey, CA 90240
A memorial luncheon to follow
Badveli Jirair felt the call to ministry during his youth in Egypt, ministered in the Near East, at AEUNA churches, through the AMAA, and in ecumenical missions here in the U.S.
Rev. Sogomian began his pastoral ministry at the United Armenian Calvary Congregational Church in Troy, NY, where he was ordained. He pastored the Armenian Congregational Church of Detroit for five years. During his tenure, the Church hosted the 1971 convention at which East and West Coast Unions merged and established the Armenian Evangelical Union of North America (AEUNA.)
In 1975, he became chaplain of Haigazian College. He returned to the U.S. and pastored Immanuel Armenian Congregational Church during the time that Church purchased its Downey property. Badveli Jirair was one of the organizing committee members of the AMAA-sponsored Armenian Evangelical Social Service Center in Hollywood.
In 1979, he accepted the challenge of ministering to a mission church of the United Church of Christ in Simi Valley, CA, bringing that congregation to self-sufficiency in three years. During those years, he helped organize several ecumenical ministries, serving the homeless, the hungry, those in need of medical care or mental health care. He became an ecumenical leader in the area, organizing conferences as well as pastoral retreats.
In 1990, he moved to Havertown, PA, to pastor the Armenian Martyrs’ Congregational Church. During his pastorate, the Church sponsored four Armenian refugee families from Armenia and Baku, assisting them until they became well-established. During his years in the Philadelphia area, Badveli Jirair led Armenian ecumenical programs such as joint Vartanantz celebrations and Armenian Martyrs’ Day commemorations. He also worked on the AEUNA Stewardship and Theological Education Committees, and led his church to make a significant commitment to the AEUNA Theological Education Endowment Fund.
Badveli Jirair was called by the AMAA to be its Executive Director in 2001. Multi-lingual and known for his for goal-oriented administrative skills and organizational leadership, Badveli served with his position faithfully until 2003.
In 2003, Rev. Sogomian and his wife Lorraine “retired” to Huntington Beach, California, to be close to their children and grandchildren. His retirement was interrupted by a call to serve as Interim Pastor of the Immanuel Armenian Congregational Church in Downey, California, where he served for six years until his final retirement in 2011.
Badveli Jirair was a genuine, honest and compassionate servant of God. Very often, in short phrases, he delivered crucial messages. He was a great contributor and investor into the life and ministries of the AMAA and AEUNA. While his earthen vessel was getting weaker, his spirit was getting stronger.
AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian, Mrs. Sona Khanjian, Dr. Hrag Marganian and Dr. Arthur Salibian visited with Badveli Jirair on March 7th. They enjoyed singing hymns Rev. Sogomian liked and spent some time in prayer with him.
Our condolences to his wife Lorraine, their children Mark Sogomian (Daria), Sharon Mequet (Brian), Michael Deovlet (Carol), Sheri Olson (Scott), Allison Vamvas (Sterling) and grandchildren, sister Marie Galustian & Rev. Vigen Galustian and extended family and friends.