April 02, 2020
Dear AMAA Members and Friends:
I hope this letter finds each one of you and your loved ones healthy and well. These past few weeks have certainly been emotionally and physically draining for all as new norms have taken root.
As our day-to-day life continues to evolve around COVID-19, the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) is focused on remaining a constant and helping our brothers and sisters in communities both here in the United States, Armenia, the Near East and worldwide.
With thousands of people already unemployed, or battling this virus, an uncertain future lies ahead. The AMAA stands united with the world to combat the unprecedented challenges and anticipated emergency predicament presented by this growing pandemic. Our members’ support is needed now more than ever.
A ‘COVID Response Fund’ has been established and we are asking for you to share your blessings and extend any financial support at this critical time. Your gift will be designated to help alleviate the financial hardships caused by the outbreak, acquisition of medical supplies, food distribution, access to health and social support services and other unforeseen consequences the outbreak may cause.
We remain humbled and thankful by our members’ faith in our ministry. May God bless and grant peace to us all.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
-2 Timothy 1:7
AMAA Executive Director/CEO
Join AMAA’s initial goal to raise $100,000 to support “COVID RESPONSE FUND!” Together, we can lift each other back up again. Below is a list of 3 ways to donate.
Please mail check to:
The Armenian Missionary Association of America
31 W Century Road Paramus, NJ 07652
Check Memo: COVID Response Fund
To make an online donation:
To make a wire transfer:
Please call (201.265.2607) or email for AMAA incoming wiring instructions.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear,
but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7
Dear AMAA members, friends and supporters,
At the time ‘The Constant’ was penned for the latest issue of the AMAA News, see below, a variety of news headlines were at the focus of attention at kitchen tables across America.
Today, literally, the Coronavirus, a source of national and international anxiety and uncertainty, solely reigns at the top of all global concern.
This vicious pandemic has caused an unprecedented disturbance in the lives of the global population, unparalleled in the life of several generations.
The AMAA offices are not immune to this disturbance.
Having the health and safety of our staff at heart, we too have changed our appearance but have not compromised our service.
Considering CDC guidelines, a skeleton crew covers the AMAA Headquarters at 31 W. Century Rd., Paramus, New Jersey, as well as our Glendale, California and Yerevan, Armenia offices.
Despite the appearance, we are in business as usual, working remotely from home, meeting, connecting and communicating visually, electronically or by phone to continue normal operations.
In the light of this global uncertainty and fear, rest assured:
- We have mostly funded AMAA’s annual services and programs across the globe for the current fiscal year.
- We have successfully crossed barriers and obtained a license to fund our mission in Syria and Iran, delivering your heart sprung designated gifts to our embattled communities.
Despite fretful global turmoil, the AMAA remains ‘The Constant’.
Your heartwarming response to our emergency appeal for Near East Relief will reach where it is intended.
- Children will not suffer for unpaid tuitions.
- Families will not miss a hot meal.
- The elderly will not be shunned.
- The sick will not be deprived of medical care.
*Please feel free to call (201) 265-2607 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Amidst all the unprecedented and radical changes evolving around us, AMAA remains to be ‘The Constant’. Utilizing its human and material resources in these tiring times, AMAA will continue to proclaim Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and reach out to the physical needs of our people around the globe to the best of its ability.
- Please pray for divine intervention.
- Please pray for the AMAA.
- Please pray for the good Lord to have mercy.
- Please wash your hands.
- Keep social distancing.
- Stay at home if possible.
- Follow CDC, national and local directives and health guidelines.
Be safe, for God loves you.
Thank you for your continued support of the AMAA.
AMAA Executive Director/CEO
…whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.
By Zaven Khanjian, AMAA Executive Director/CEO
None of you, I suppose, have missed the major news headlines which have recently been the focus of attention at many kitchen tables of American families.
- Impeachment and Acquittal
- Climate Change
- US Primaries and Presidential Elections
and to a lesser degree
- Deal of the Century
- An Unrestrained Turkey Salivating New Imperial Ambitions
- Unrelenting Armed Conflict in the Near East
- Popular Discord and Economic Chaos in Lebanon
Emotions and positions like what we have currently witnessed have not been this radically polarized in American Society for quite a long time.
In fact, the schism within states and societies is not just confined to the United States of America. So much so that the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, recently warned that “A wind of madness is sweeping the globe.”
Tons of ink can flow in the process of validating, explaining, justifying, arguing and defending one view against the other. But it is sad to note that the defining line of these conflicts is the reign of egocentrism, power, greed and narcissism. For man defies the conception of the truth. As we read in scripture, 1 Peter 1:24
“…All men are like grass.
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of the Lord stands forever.”
In its 101 years of history and service, the AMAA has banged the rock and maneuvered through the killing fields of the post Genocide Syrian desert, the great Depression, World War II, bountiful natural disasters around the globe, post-Soviet independent Armenia, the Artsakh liberation war and endless, truly endless wars in the Near East since the end of World War II. Wars that have rocked the foundation of our thriving post Genocide communities in Egypt, Cyprus, Iran, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. Wars, armed conflicts and economic decadence the redemption from which seems to have shared the fate of those ‘waiting for Godot.’
Amidst all this unrest, hopelessness and confusion, the AMAA has maintained one basic ‘constant’, reflecting God’s love and putting faith into action for our brothers and sisters in need. “……whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40
Prior to the healing of wounds in Syria where rockets are still falling in the streets of Aleppo, while missile strikes intermittently continue in Iraq and Iran, a cry for help has once again come from Lebanon where UAECNE President Rev. Mgrdich Karagoezian has issued an ‘appeal for emergency support for the UAECNE ministries in these difficult times’ of increasing layoffs, hundreds of business closures, inflation and liquidity crunch.
AMAA’s ‘constant’ is in full motion. In faith, we answer the clear call for spiritual nourishment, educational support, physical sustenance, health care, social and cultural programs and provisions. The ‘constant’ is in the AMAA’s ability to retain a cup that never overflows. We have and shall continue to respond to the emergency appeal for support by the UAECNE and ask for your help in bringing stability to and injecting hope in our communities in the Near East.
Thank you for your support in shoring AMAA’s ‘constant’ yesterday, today and tomorrow.
As the Coronavirus (COVID-19), a pandemic causing major illness, fatality, closings of schools, work and events, creates fear and panic around the world, we pray for your safety, the safety of our missions, mission partners, institutions all over the globe, and safety of the thousands who are impacted by the AMAA every day. A song in Psalm 131 reminds us to be calm and quiet our soul for God is in control even in difficult situations.
I Have Calmed and Quieted My Soul
A Song of Ascents. Of David.
O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
At AMAA, the health and safety of our staff is priority. Considering CDC Guidelines for COVID-19, AMAA is taking the necessary precautions to prioritize the health of staff and visitors. Limited office hours until further notice. Please feel free to call 201 • 265 • 2607 or email email@example.com for assistance. Thank you and stay safe!
During this time of global emergency, please take necessary measures to protect yourself and others. We have listed links to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention below.
Instability has been the course of the Middle East’s modern history and by all accounts will remain so for the foreseeable future. Daily news reports illustrate harrowing days of unease throughout the region; rockets falling on the streets of Aleppo; increasing layoffs, hundreds of businesses closing, inflation, liquidity crunch are just some of the escalating effects of the economic crisis in Lebanon; missile strikes and demonstrations in Iran and Iraq. These and other ongoing tensions and prolonged conflict have increased pressures and daily struggles for regular citizens.
In the midst of this unrest, the AMAA remains a constant and will not forsake our brothers and sisters who live in the countries we serve -Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran. AMAA will respond to the emergency appeal for support by the Union of Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East (UAECNE) and needs your help in bringing stability to our communities and people most affected.
Yes, times are challenging but these challenges must not overwhelm any hope or solution that could be found. When you make a donation to the AMAA earmarked for Near East Relief, your gift will be put to use across the following areas:
Nurture: In an environment racked with conflict and violence, the effects on childhood are evident. Every child deserves stability. Your contribution supports social and cultural programs that help nurture the children and provide a sense of normalcy.
Education: The basic right to education is not only a cornerstone of AMAA’s mission but a means to long-term development of a community. Armenian Evangelical Schools in Lebanon and Syria have been struggling to operate. Provide a parent with the peace of mind that their child will continue receiving a quality education –make a donation today!
Assistance: All gifts will help uplift an individual or family who has an urgent need but not the financial means. In Lebanon and Syria, the cost of living has made a significant jump, a 30-50% increase in the cost of groceries in the last four months. Your donation could provide vital items such as food, water, blankets, clothing, and rent or business assistance.
Repatriation: AMAA is committed to keeping a LifeLine open for any individual or family who wishes to relocate to the Homeland to rebuild and restore their lives.
Encouragement: A difficult road lies ahead. Your gift is a catalyst of serving the vulnerable and upholding positive change.
Access: In times of crisis, access to healthcare is vital. You donation will help ensure medical and dental clinics remain open and provide much-needed patient support and access to medication.
Spirituality: There is no place in which God is not present. Working with churches in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran, AMAA provides resources to witness the love of Christ, help their vital ministry continue and support local communities.
Tuition: Haigazian University remains a beacon of hope for the future of Lebanon. Support students striving to complete their higher higher education and are working hard, despite interruptions and economic pressures.
Help AMAA focus on the next chapter with a clear vision. Tomorrow will certainly bring new opportunities and fresh challenges. Your support will help us be ready to answer the call!
Years will pass by and today’s Avedisian School students will grow, yet many of them who were in the School’s Auditorium on February 21, 2020 will say, “I have seen and heard the greatest Armenian composer of our time, Tigran Mansurian.” Or, “I personally asked the Maestro a question, and he answered me.” Or, “I held my breath listening to the Maestro,” “I’ll never forget …” and they will recount many other unforgettable memories of the day.
Hosting the great Maestro under the roof of the Avedisian School was truly a memorable event, as the beloved composer, at the zenith of his respectable life, taught a small but invaluable lesson to the students.
What was Maestro Mansurian talking about with the Avedisian students? He advised the students to see only the good and be forgiving; on the path of real victory to know also to be conquered. He Also talked about the freedom of the creative soul; about the character of an intellectual or artist, and many other subjects that touched the soul of the students.
The living legend Maestro Mansurian was engaging. There were more students who wished to ask a question, than those who did. Then he approached the piano, sat down slowly and his fingers touched the keyboard. And the sounds of his famous music from the film “A Little Sky” first spread then began to soar to great heights. Even the air became noble… and the hall held its breath…
At the conclusion of this exciting event, School Principal Melanya Geghamyan presented the Maestro with a book about Komitas “The Magnificent Song of All Armenians” and a book about the Avedisian School. And the students promised to continue their newly formed friendship with the Maestro by sending letters.
The meeting was not yet over as the dear guest, who left the room, continued answering questions, signing autographs and taking pictures with the students outside the Auditorium.
Established in 1988, AMAA’s Khoren and Shooshanig Avedisian School is an educational institution that provides outstanding K-12 holistic, tuition-free education in a modern, environmentally friendly building, using state-of-the-art facilities in the low-income Southwest District of Malatia-Sebastia in Yerevan, Armenia.
Մաեստրօ Տիգրան Մանուսրեանի Այցը Աւետարանչականի Աւետիսեան Դպրոց
Տարիները կ՚անցնին, Աւետիսեանցիները կը մեծնան, եւ Փետրուար 21, 2020-ին Դպրոցի դահլիճը նստողներէն շատեր կ՚ըսեն.- «Ես տեսայ ու լսեցի մեր ժամանակներու ամենամեծ Հայ երաժիշտ՝ Տիգրան Մանսուրեանը»։ Կամ «Ես անձամբ հարց տուի Մաեստրոյին եւ ան պատասխանեց»։ Եւ կամ «Ես շունչս պահած լսեցի Մաեստրոյին», «Ես երբեք չեմ մոռնար…» եւ այս անմոռանալի հանդիպումին հետ կապուած շատ յուշեր կը պատմեն անոնք։
Իսկ մեծ Մաեստրոն Ամերիկայի Հայ Աւետարանչական Ընկերակցութեան Խորեն եւ Շուշանիկ Աւետիսեան Դպրոցի յարկի տակ հիւրընկալելը, իրաւի իրադարձութիւն էր, որովհետեւ սիրուած երաժիշտը իր պատկառելի կեանքի բարձունքէն, մի փոքրիկ բայց անգնահատելի դաս տուաւ այստեղ։
Ինչի՞ մասին կը խօսէր Մաեստրոն Աւետիսեանցիներուն հետ։ Հայրենադարձ հայու հայրենաբաղձ հոգիի ամբողջ ներողամտութեամբ միայն լաւը տեսնելու, յանուն իր ինքնատիպ արուեստի Խորհրդային ժամանակներու տատասկոտ ուղիի վրայ չընկրկելու, իրական յաղթանակի ճանապարհին, նաեւ պարտուիլ իմանալու, ստեղծագործող մարդուն հոգեկան ազատութեան եւ նաեւ անկախութեան, մտաւորականի կերպարի եւ բազմաթիւ այլ նիւթերու շուրջ։
Կենդանի առասպել Մաեստրօ Մանսուրեանը կը խօսէր։ Հարց տուողներէն աւելի շատ էին հարց տալ ցանկացողերը։ Ապա ան մօտեցաւ դաշնամուրին, դանդաղ նսաւ եւ մատները թեթեւակի հպեցին ստեղնաշարը… «Կտոր մը Երկինք» շարժանկարի հոգեհմայ երաժշտութեան հնչիւնները նախ սփռուեցան, ապա սկսան ճախրել ինչ որ տեղ մը վերեւ։ Տեսակ մը «ազնուացած» էր նոյնիսկ օդը… Իսկ դահլիճը պահած էր շունչը…
Յայտագրի աւարտին, Դպրոցի Տնօրէնուհի Մելանիա Գեղամյան բուռն ծափողջուններու ներքեւ Մաեստրոյին նուիրեց Կոմիտասի մասին «Ամենայն Հայոց Երգի Վեհափառը» հրատարակութիւնը եւ Աւետիսեան Դպրոցի մասին Գիրք-Ալպոմը, որոշելով այս նորաստեղծ բարեկամութիւնը շարունակել նամակներով։
Թէեւ կը թուէր հանդիպումը աւարտած, բայց՝ ոչ. Դահլիճէն դուրս եկող հիւրը կը շարունակէր պատասխանել հարցումներու, ինքնագիր տալ եւ լուսանկարուիլ աշակերտներուն հետ։
Հիմնուած 1988-ին՝ Աւետարանչականի Խորեն եւ Շուշանիկ Աւետիսեան կրթական հաստատութիւնը կը հայթայթէ անվճառ գերազանց ժամանակակից ուսում Մանկապարտէզէն մինչեւ 12րդ դասարան, միջավայրային մաքուր շէնքի մէջ՝ օգտագործելով բարձրորակ դիւրութիւններ Երեւանի ամենաղքատ շրջաններէն՝ Մալաթիա-Սեբաստիա թաղամասին մէջ։
A message about St. Vartanantz Day by Zaven Khanjian, AMAA Executive Director/CEO
For I am not ashamed of the Gospel. Romans 1:16
In the history of nations, it is rare to find a reference to holidays that occurred 1535 years ago. Indeed, since 451 A.D., Armenians, without interruption, everywhere and unequivocally have commemorated the martyrdom of the Vartanantz heroes and the freedom of worshipping God secured by their unselfish sacrifice.
A glance at Armenian History since that battle “For Jesus and for the Homeland,” reveals that despite periods of relative sovereignty and freedom we have enjoyed, and despite the existence of prosperous and fertile communities away from the Motherland, we can comfortably cite that today’s Armenian Communities in the United States, have never had their match of religious, linguistic, cultural, economic and political freedoms. We live and enjoy such a blessed and gracious environment of laws, which Armenians living in the Middle East, Europe and not even Soviet Armenia ever enjoyed.
And yet… alas. In this unrestrained atmosphere of freedom, individually and collectively, how loyal have we been to the sacred covenant of Vartan and his cohorts? With the mindset of a slave, how many times have we considered it shameful to confess and proclaim Christ as the Lord and Savior of our lives? Enslaved in the complexity of submission, how many times have we felt ashamed to utter our God graced Mesrobian tongue, fearing that those who speak a different language in our surroundings will consider us less civilized?
Keeping a grudge with solidarity and as lover of divisions, we have opened another trench among us. While some only embracing “For Jesus,” indifferently abandon our God-given identity and the language and culture from where it flows. Others, embracing “For the Homeland,” rebuff that all national pride we cherish, enjoy and care for are the grace of Almighty God, who is worthy of all glory and honor.
Against the treacherous Persian armies armed to their brim and led by fearsome and frightening elephants, Vartan and his comrades were armed with their unshakable faith in the Creator and were filled with endless love for the Motherland. By their selfless sacrifice and ultimate martyrdom, our centuries-old sacred legacy, crowned by the freedom of worshipping Christ, is the key to freedom for chained souls and enslaved minds.
Free from all alien and foreign constraints, to reflect genuinely the character of a true Armenian Christian, do we have the need for new oppressors in our individual and collective lives?
As the Poet penned
“For Christ, For the Homeland,
Onward, cried Vartan’s order,”
The cry is for you and for me.
Let us follow the path of Vartanantz and walk on their track.
Բռնութեան Տակ, Ազատ՝
Ազատութեան մէջ, Ստրո՞ւկ
Վասնզի ես ամօթ չեմ սեպեր Աւետարանը։ Հռովմ. 1. 16
Ազգութիւններու պատմութեան մէջ հազուագիւտ են այն տօները, որոնց յիշտակումի կեանքը կ՚երկարի 1535 տարիներ։ Արդարեւ, 451 թուականէն ի վեր, Հայ ժողովուրդը առանց ընդհատումի, ամենուրէք եւ միակամ կը յիշատակէ մարտիրոսացումը Վարդանանց հերոսներուն եւ անոնց անանձնական զոհաբերութեամբ ձեռք բերուած Աստուածապաշտութեան ազատութիւնը։
«Վասն Յիսուսի եւ վասն Հայրենեաց» մղուած այդ ճակատամարտէն ի վեր եթէ ակնարկ մը նետենք Հայոց Պատմութեան վրայ, պիտի տեսնենք թէ Հակառակ հայրենի հողին վրայ մեր վայելած ինքնիշխանութեան եւ անկախութեան շրջաններուն եւ հակառակ բարգաւաճ եւ բեղուն գաղութներու գոյութեան հայրենի հողէն հեռու, կարելի է հաստատել թէ Ամերիկայի Միացեալ Նահանգներուն մէջ ապրող այսօրուայ Հայ գաղութը չէ ունեցած իր նմանը մարդկային իրաւունքներ եւ կրօնական, լեզուական, մշակութային, տնտեսական ու քաղաքական ազատութիւններ վայելող նման մը։ Կ՚ապրինք ու կը վայելենք օրէնքներու այնպիսի օրհնեալ եւ շնորհեալ մթնոլորտ մը, որու նմանը չէ վայելած դժբախտաբար ոչ Միջին Արեւելքի, ոչ Եւրոպայի եւ ոչ իսկ Սովետական Հայաստանի մէջ ապրող Հայ ժողովուրդը։
Եւ սակայն… աւա՛ղ։ Ազատութեան այս սանձարձակ մթնոլորտին մէջ անհատապէս եւ խմբովին, որքա՞ն հաւատարիմ մնացած ենք Վարդանի եւ իր ընկերներու սրբազան ուխտին։ Ստրուկի հոգեբանութեամբ քանի՜ քանի՜ անգամներ ամօթ սեպած ենք Քրիստոսը մեր կեանքի Տէրն ու Փրկիչը դաւանիլ եւ յայտարարել։ Ստրկութեան բարդոյթին գերին դառնալով, քանի անգամ ամչցած ենք բառբառել Աստուածատուր Մեծասքանչը, վախնալով որ մեր շրջապատին մէջ տարբեր լեզու մը խօսողները նուազ քաղաքակիրթ համարեն մեզ։
Միաբանութեան հետ քէն պահած եւ որպէս բաժանումներու սիրահար՝ խրամատ մը եւս բացած ենք մեր միջեւ։ Մինչ ոմանք փարած միայն «Վասն Յիսուսի»ն անտարբերութեամբ կը լքեն Աստուածապարգեւ մեր ինքնութիւնը եւ անկէ փխած լեզուն եւ մշակոյթը։ Իսկ ուրիշներ փարած «Վասն Հայրենեաց»ին, կ՚ուրանան թէ անոնց գուրգուրացած, փայփայած եւ պահպանած ազգային բոլոր բարիքերը շնորհքն են Ամենակալ Հօր Աստուծոյ, որուն վայել է Փառք եւ Պատիւ։
Թանձրամորթ եւ ահարկու փիղերով առաջնորդուած եւ մինչեւ ակռաները զինուած պարսկական ճնշող բանակի մը դէմ հսկայացող Վարդան եւ իր ընկերները զինուած էին Ստեղծիչին հանդէպ անխախտ հաւատքով եւ հայրենիքի համար ամբարուած անսպառ սիրով։ Անոնց անսակարկ զոհաբերութեամբ եւ գերագոյն նահատակութեամբ դարերով պահուած մեր պապենական սուրբ ժառանգութիւնը, թագադրուած Քրիստոսը պաշտելու ազատութեան պսակով, շղթայուած հոգիներու եւ ստրկացած միտքերու ազատագրման բանալին է։
Ամէն տեսակ խորթ ու օտարամուտ կաշկանդումներէ ազատ՝ Հայ Քրիստոնեայի նկարագիրը հարազատօրէն ցոլացնելու համար արդեօ՞ք նորանոր Յազկերտներու կարիքը ունինք մեր անհատական եւ հաւաքական կեանքին մէջ։
«Վասն Յիսուսի, Վասն Հայրենեաց,
Յառաջ Վարդանի Հրամանը գոռաց»ը
Քեզի եւ ինծի համար է։
Եկէք հետեւինք Վարդանանց ուղիին եւ քալենք անոնց աւիղէն։
The James G. Jameson Essay Contest, sponsored by the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA), runs every academic year starting in October, and is financed from the income of a special fund established by Mr. and Mrs. James G. Jameson of Brookline, MA.
All Armenian and part-Armenian students attending schools in North America are eligible. Only unpublished essays are accepted, which are written in English and have a length of 1,000 to 2,000 words.
The topics of the Contest are required to touch upon some aspect of Armenian heritage and experience, such as religion, history, culture, literature, language, art, architecture, geography, and economics.
Essays are judged on the basis of merit in such criteria as content, style, logic and reasoning, coherence, and usage.
Awards for the Contest are made in two categories: College/University contestants, and High School contestants.
The deadline for entries is May 1, 2020.
Entries and/or inquiries should be directed to: James G. Jameson Essay Contest, c/o of The Armenian Missionary Association of America, 31 West Century Road, Paramus, NJ 07652 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Earlier this year, AMAA’s “Shogh” Children’s Day Center in Vanadzor moved to its new location. The AMAA bought the building last year and renovated and furnished it as the new “Shogh” Center. The children, who attended the Center since 2013 when the Center was first opened, cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony which was held on February 4. The staff welcomed the children to the new Center with applause, smiles and exclaiming “Welcome to the Shogh Center.”
Following the opening ceremony, the staff and families toured the Center where they were delighted to see the new furnishings in the classrooms.
In the new Center, the bee serves as a symbol of diligence, production and punctuality, and the children were welcomed with images of the bee family. The children were happy to learn that they were also members of that bee family. The many types of flowers in their imaginary fairytale garden had conventional names such as a flower of kindness, responsibility and care. They chose the flower nectar from which they will receive and bring their drop of honey into the Center, filling it with a symbolic honeycomb. Each made his/her own contribution by saying: “A drop of righteousness, kindness, faithfulness …” and they posted their bees on the wall as a promise to obey the Center’s rules, each repeating, “I am the Shogh.”
Following the ribbon cutting ceremony, a reception was held which was also a reminder of a hive – organized work of bees, its efficiency and usefulness.
May every child enjoy the fruits of their work and share it with others. That is where our efforts are focused.
(Translated to English by Louisa Janbazian from the Eastern Armenian text written by Irina Chakhoyan, Coordinator of the Center)
AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian recently participated in a Conference entitled “Faith and Works” held in Venice, Italy under the auspices of the Mekhitarist Congregation and the Western European Patriarchal Delegation of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The Conference, held February 7-8, 2020 at the St. Lazarus Monastery, was initiated and organized by the Mother of God Foundation (Yerevan). www.hg-meeting.org
A Press Release from the organizers identifying the purpose, participation and structure follows.
Mr. Khanjian summed up his experience at the Conference as follows.
“I am deeply touched and thankful for the invitation extended by Archbishop Boghos Lévon Zékiyan, spiritual leader of Turkey’s Armenian Catholic Community and the Papal Legate of the Mekhitarist Order in Venice, and Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, former Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America and current Pontifical Legate of the Western Europe, to participate in this Conference. The subject of the Conference is so near and dear to my personal life and to the mission of the AMAA. In fact, it has been the raison d’etre of the Association for the past 102 years. I came out of the Conference with a few laudable impressions.
“I commend the organizers’ visionary choice of a most challenging subject generally impertinent to the masses and yet so vital and redeeming for the human race and our people.
“I applaud the exemplary planning and structure of the Conference, which gave way to the full participation and interaction of most, if not all the participants. With varied degrees, all participants were engaged in the discussions.
“I was touched by the spirituality of all the participants and in particular the faithful youth representatives.
“The Conference uplifted my faith and reinstated my confidence that one day my people will not only pride themselves for being the first nation to accept Christianity as their State religion, but also to pride themselves for being pioneers in living that faith every day.
“Finally, a word of appreciation to the President of the Mother of God Foundation, Vartan Karapetyan, whose exemplary leadership and organizational creativity was capped with the promise of next year’s conference.”
What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? James 2:14
FAITH AND WORKS CONFERENCE, FEBRUARY 7-8, 2020
SAINT LAZARUS ISLAND, VENICE, ITALY
Faith without works is dead. James 2:26
A Conference, entitled “Faith and Works,” was held in Venice, Italy on February 7-8, 2020, under the auspices of the Mekhitarist Congregation and the Western European Patriarchal Delegation of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The Conference was initiated and organized by the Mother of God Foundation (Yerevan).
In the modern world, the expression of faith and exercising it is an almost impossible challenge. The purpose of this Conference was to form a crossroad of ideas, where through comprehensive discussions, the society is presented with a new vision of living and strengthening faith.
The theme of the Conference was entitled “Faith and Works,” because faith in each person’s life is strengthened and nourished by prayers, and it becomes tangible by works. The suggested location of the Conference was St. Lazarus Monastery, taking into consideration the centuries-old tradition of the latter’s “faith-deed” concept, and the importance of making it sustainable and applicable today.
Representatives of various fields, including clergy, intellectuals, businessmen, as well as representatives of public and charitable organizations, participated in this Conference, and from their own experience presented examples to the issues raised.
The discussions were followed by four thematic sessions, each with its own coordinator, who presented a relevant topic and actively engaged the other participants in. It was proposed that the Venice Convention be held annually.
(Translated from the original Armenian Press Release by Louisa Janbazian)
Join us for an AMAA event, Thursday, February 6, 2020, from 6:30 PM till 8:00 PM! Grab a friend and enjoy snacks and refreshments while you design your own arrangements for your Valentines! You’ll learn about the floral industry, tips and tricks for caring and designing with flowers to last longer and leave with your arrangement to enjoy!
This hour and a half class will be led by Kim Denis, owner of Denis Flowers in New Milford, NJ.
Proceeds will go to AMAA’s Orphan and Child Care Program to help children with their daily needs, after school programs or education. With limited tickets available, purchase your tickets online by Feb. 1, 2020 for your reservation. Tickets are $35 per person.
For more information, visit amaa.org or
contact Christine at email@example.com
For the seventh year, AMAA’s “Stitched with Love” Program, headed by Betty Cherkezian, is sending knitted and crocheted blankets, hats, scarves and gloves to newborn and young children in Armenia.
During 2019, AMAA sent 12 boxes and 8 sacks of knitted blankets, hats, gloves and other knitted items to Armenia. The gifts were distributed through the Aynilian Clinic in Yerevan and through local AMAA-Armenia centers in Vanadzor, Vartenis, Goris, Stepanavan and Artsakh.
On behalf of our beautiful children, we thank our volunteers for being a special part of the “Stitched with Love” family. We are grateful to all for their master craftsmanship, support and dedication to this ongoing and important mission.
As part of the One Village Consortium, AMAA-Armenia was instrumental in obtaining a Belarus tractor for the Navur Village (Tavush Region) near the Azeri border in December 2019. The tractor, donated by the Director of North Hills LLC Arshavir Gevorgyan and benefactors George and Khachik Titizian of Los Angeles, CA, was a much-needed item for the community.
Mher Nikoyan, Director of the Cooperative, expressed his sincere gratitude to the AMAA and the North Hills LLC, as well as to George and Khachik Titizian for this generous donation which will greatly help the Navur Community.
Established in 2014, the non-profit Navur Community Agricultural Consumers Cooperative, which is governed by its members, provides low cost agricultural services to the community.
AMAA-Armenia is one of eleven organizations forming the Consortium: The Armenian Missionary Association of America-Armenia (AMAA-Armenia), “Shen” Charity NGO, Children of Armenia Fund (COAF), Development Principles NGO, Fund for Armenian Relief, World Vision Armenia, Teach For Armenia (TA), World Council of Churches Armenia Round Table Foundation, Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), Armenian Caritas Benevolent NGO and “Diaconia” Charitable Fund.
On January 14 and 15, the Hall at the AMAA Center on Baghramyan Street in Yerevan was crowded with children and their parents who gathered for special New Year’s and Christmas Programs. These Programs, which took place four times each day, were not just visits from Santa Claus, cheerful songs, dances and Christmas presents. They also included the Christmas message which was conveyed from the stage: Share God’s Love with One Another and Give Unselfish Joy to Others.
Through this year’s Christmas play “Three Baskets,” presented by AMAA-Armenia’s “Hayasa” theatrical group, the young actors successfully brought Divine Love to the audience. In the play, written by Director/Screenwriter Nune Abrahamyan, school children tell about their cherished dreams on Christmas Eve and realize that even material dreams can come true if there is a desire and willingness to help others with an endless compassion. At the conclusion, the children hug each other and the most important Christmas message echoes: “Because I came that they might have life and have more.” (John 10:10)
Before each presentation, the Evangelical Church of Armenia’s Christian Education Director Rev. Avetik Khachatryan and AMAA Armenia Representative Harout Nercessian greeted the audience and welcomed them to the Program.
AMAA Armenia and the Evangelical Church of Armenia jointly organized these festive Christmas and New Year’s events in 45 towns and villages in Armenia and Artsakh. Over 11,000 children received not only Christmas Joy Packages and visits from Santa but heard about God’s Divine Love to give unselfish joy to others.
We thank all our donors who supported our children in Armenia and Artsakh by donating to our Christmas Joy Program.
The Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) has the distinct pleasure to share the news of its Board Member and Armenia Committee Chair Dr. Ann R. Karagozian Sarafian’s appointment as Inaugural Director of Promise Armenian Institute, which will include the new Armenian Studies Center. Dr. Karagozian will be involved in the selection of its first Director.
As stated in the official announcement by the UCLA International Institute “The Promise Armenian Institute is a groundbreaking new entity within the UCLA International Institute. The new institute will be the hub for world-class research and teaching on Armenian Studies, and for coordinating new and ongoing research and public impact programs across UCLA, from social sciences to health sciences; from humanities to music, the arts and engineering; and from public policy to management. The Promise Armenian Institute’s size, scope and interdisciplinary approach make it the first of its kind in the world.”
Dr. Karagozian received her bachelor’s degree in engineering from UCLA, graduating summa cum laude. She received her master’s degree and doctorate from Caltech and joined the UCLA faculty in 1982. Dr. Karagozian currently is the head of UCLA’s Energy and Propulsion Research Laboratory and the director of the joint UCLA-Air Force Research Laboratory Collaborative Center for Aerospace Sciences. In 2018, she was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering.
The AMAA extends it congratulations and good wishes to Dr. Karagozian for a successful leadership role at the “Promise Armenian Institute.”
The Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) is now accepting applications for the 2020-2021 academic year for full-time undergraduate students of Armenian descent studying in North America.
Students interested in applying for scholarships should personally request the Application Form by calling 201-265-2607 or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous recipients must reapply each year. It is the responsibility of the student to request an application form.
Incomplete items and/ or missing documents will automatically disqualify an applicant.
All completed application forms must reach the AMAA Headquarters postmarked no later than May 01, 2020.
Awards are made by the Scholarship Committee, which takes into consideration the applicant’s grades, financial need, the tuition cost of the college he/she will attend, accomplishments, future leadership potential and good character references. Please note, Scholarship Grant checks are issued only to academic Institutions and not individuals.
Lord, please provide strength and protection for those fighting to put out the fires and rescue lives.
As the Australian bushfires continue to blaze past the 20-million-acres mark, the AMAA, alongside the rest of the world, remains heartbroken by the destruction in the beautiful states of New South Wales and Victoria. Yet, the impact of this disaster have not remained confined to just those two states, as smoke and poor air quality have spread throughout Australia and affected residents as far as 1,200 miles away.
Rev. Dr. Krikor Youmshajekian, President of the Armenian Missionary Association of Australia reports: “After several weeks we have at least two dozen registered deaths, including volunteer firefighters, young and old, and still there are many who are unaccounted. Thousands of homes have been completely perished, many towns have been completely destroyed, tens of thousands of families have been stranded, holiday plans not only cancelled, but turned into nightmare, with roadblocks and immediate danger to commuters. Sadly, millions of natural habitat, including Australia’s iconic Kangaroos, Koalas, Emus, and so many different species, as well as natural Australian plantations have been scraped from the landscape.
I don’t have the words to present the full scale of the disaster. Gladly the major cities and people living there are safe. Fortunately the majority of the Armenian community lives in those safe places and we are spared from the catastrophic and horrific disaster. We, with all the churches in Australia and the world have been praying for the prevailing sad situation, which is the least we can do.”
While people are suffering and thousands and thousands of homes being perished, hundreds of people displaced and lacking the basic needs, it is our duty and responsibility with our prayers to contribute. Through our locally registered charity, the Armenian Missionary Association of Australia, we are doing our best to raise funds to support the suffering people along with other charities and the local and federal governments. Please consider lending your support today.
Click the button below to donate to Australia’s Natural Disaster Emergency Relief. All funds collected will be forwarded to AMA-Australia who will ensure they are channeled to local government and charities who are in-need.
Thanks to Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and all those who have pursued a long path towards justice for the 1.5 million innocent Armenian martyrs and other Christian victims in the Ottoman Empire, the US Senate has today recognized the Armenian Genocide!
According to Armenian National Committee of America, “the U.S. Senate adopted the Armenian Genocide Resolution (S.Res.150) by unanimous consent.”
“The resolution, identical to a measure (H.Res.296) adopted 405 to 11 in the U.S. House in October, officially rejects Turkey’s denials of its genocide against Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Arameans, Maronites, and other Christian nations. Passage of the resolution – spearheaded by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) – marks the first time that the Senate has recognized the Armenian Genocide.”
“Adoption of this bill is especially fitting today given that this week marks the anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, as well as Human Rights Day,” which was stated in a press release by the Armenian Assembly of America.
Grant us, Lord God, a vision of your world as your love would have it: a world where the weak are protected, and none go hungry or poor, a world where different races and cultures live in harmony and mutual respect; a world where peace is built on justice, and justice is guided by love. Amen.
To read full articles, click on the links below!
The Christmas Season is once again upon us. One word we will be hearing a lot during this beautiful season of the year is PEACE.
We will hear it proclaimed in the Gospel, we will read it on our Christmas cards, we will hang ornaments that say it on our Christmas trees, and we will sing it over and over again in our favorite Christmas carols.
While we all want and pray for peace on earth, we all know just how difficult it is to achieve. For centuries, mankind has been fighting and has been at war over land, water, religion, food, power, oil and many other commodities. It seems that there’s no peace in sight.
Today, as we prepare for the coming of Christ, the world is full of conflict. Our world is once again shaken with turmoil by the recent tragic events in Syria. Lives have been tragically lost and many of our brothers and sisters have been forced to quickly leave their homes and flee to safer grounds with nothing but the clothes on their backs. As the crisis deepens in Lebanon, for many members of our AMAA Communities, lives and daily routines are being disrupted. The future remains uncertain.
The AMAA has again been called upon to carry forth the promise of peace, joy and hope to our people who are so desperately in need. We need your help. Your generous support of our annual Christmas Appeal will not only help our people the Near East, but will also support our Mission which includes education, churches, camps, medical clinics, sponsorship programs, infant formula distribution and day centers in 24 countries around the world.
Please continue to pray for the refugees that peace will one day prevail in Syria and for others who will need our help during the coming year. We truly appreciate your generosity in the past and for all you do throughout the year to help those in need.
May God’s blessings flow to you and your family during this Christmas Season and may you all have a New Year filled with peace and the love of Christ.
Քրիստոս ծնաւ եւ յայտնեցաւ. ձեզի, մեզի Մեծ Աւետիս!
Krisdos dzenav yev haydnetzav, tsezee, mezee Medz Avedis!
(Christ is born and is revealed, good tidings to you and to us)
AMAA Executive Director/CEO
The Armenian Missionary Association of America wishes Armenia Tree Project (ATP) a Happy 25th Anniversary. This past summer, AMAA’s Summer Internship participants visited ATP in Armenia to plant trees and tour their nursery. Digging out rocks, watering, and planting on a hot summer day isn’t as easy as it looks. ATP has planted hundreds of trees at Avedisian School and has a long history of working with them on environmental education programs. AMAA’s Shogh Center children have visited ATP in Karin Nursery and ATP has also done environmental education programs at Shogh Center in Vanadzor. Thank you for bringing our land back to life! To many more years!
On November 8-9, the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute (AGMI), sponsored by the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA), and with support of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, organized a two-day International Conference titled “The Rescue of Armenians in the Middle East 1915-1923.”
The Conference officially opened at the AGMI Conference Hall. Father Asoghik Karapetyan, a Representative of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and Director of Museums and Archives, conveyed greetings from His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians. “We should always raise the question that humanity and self-sacrifice have been a guiding principle for Armenians in our lives today and at all times as an important assurance of national existence. Although our people have been brutally massacred in their Homeland, they were able with their unique ability of resurrection to continue to create and to build, and the role of the devotees is great in that process.”
In his remarks, AGMI Director Harutyun Marutyan mentioned that the idea of this Conference was born out of a bilateral collaboration between the AGMI and the AMAA. “The purpose of this Conference is to present the fate of those displaced due to the Armenian Genocide, and to highlight the activities of Armenian and international organizations and individuals who played a great role of rescuing Armenian refugees, particularly children and women.”
“Why in 2019?” questioned Mr. Marutyan. “Because exactly 100 years ago the ‘One Armenian, One Gold’ movement started, when thousands of Armenian orphans were in captivity and on the brink of Islamization. Armenian intellectuals realized that the future of the Armenian nation is greatly dependent on these orphans and they need to do everything possible to save these children who will become the citizens of tomorrow’s Armenia.”
AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian welcomed Conference participants with a video message where he said: “It is the irony of history that we are experiencing today. While we are here at the opening of this Conference, for the last seven years we have been witnessing new atrocities in Syria by the same brutal power whose victims today are the progeny of those rescued in the post Genocide era. The perpetrator and the crime have not rested. It is necessary to be watchful and to expect evil. Therefore, as a nation we must be ready for the task of salvage.”
Samvel Karabekyan, Advisor to the RA Ministry of Education and Science, and Raymond Harutyun Kevorkyan, Chairman of the AGMI Foundation Board of Trustees, also welcomed participants to the Conference.
On the first day of the Conference, the Exhibition titled “From National Unity to Revival,” exclusively featured Armenian contributions to the salvation of Genocide survivors. AGMI Academic Secretary Dr. Narine Margaryan considered this Exhibition unique and the success of various operations organized for the rescue of Armenian orphans was conditioned by their national and ideological unity. “In this work there were apostles, men who clearly understood the seriousness of the moment and were steadfast in their work. Some came in the form of donations, others gathered Armenians from the wilderness, and others took care of them in orphanages,” she said inviting the audience to be acquainted with the materials about these people and organizations.
Other themes throughout the Exhibition included the activities of Armenian religious institutions and other organizations – the Armenian General Benevolent Union, Armenian National Union, Armenian Orphans Care of Egypt, Armenian Organization of Mesopotamia, Armenian Red Cross, the works of Armenian Evangelicals and Catholics, as well as orphanages from the governments of the Republic of Armenian and the Armenian SSR. The Exhibition also included unique archival materials, such as documents, photos and exhibits mainly from the collections of the AGMI, and collections from the National Archives of Armenia, Yerevan History Museum and AGMI staff member Mihran Minasyan. Orphanage memories, which included photos, migration routes, orphanage items and handiwork items from the orphans, which until now were never seen, proved very interesting to those in attendance .
Director of the Armenian Studies Program in Modern and Classical Languages and Literature at the University of California, Northridge Dr. Vahram Shemmassian delivered a report about the pro-Armenian activities of Rev. Aharon Shirajian who forcibly rescued kidnapped Armenian women and children in Syria during the Armenian Genocide. Rev. Shirajian had been the Superintendent of the Karen Ephesus Shelter of Britain’s Friends of Armenian Organization and he continued the work of that organization beginning in 1922. Until 1933, Rev. Shirajian and his wife assisted women and girls who survived the massacres. As time and circumstances dictated, they gave the orphaned children new names, opened a school for them to learn languages, receive religious education and be re-Armenianized. They also took great responsibility to help the girls get married. They carefully chose suitable mates for them to form happy families and have good Armenian children.
The theme of AGMI Academic Secretary Dr. Narine Margaryan’s presentation was “The Armenian Orphanage in Aleppo from 1915 to 1924.”
Dr. Margaryan presented the history of the Armenian Orphanage, launched in July 1915, and the role of the institution in rescuing orphans. She detailed the activities of the Orphanage in the areas of education, health, finance, artisanship, caregiving, as well as the issues the Orphanage faced and how they were resolved. Dr. Margaryan also touched upon the regional political events of this period which had a direct impact on the Orphanage.
“The Armenian Orphanage in Aleppo started its activities on July 31, 1915 under the leadership of Rev. Aharon Shirajian who was born in Marash. He received his education at Central Turkey College in Aintab and attended the Marash Theological Seminary. In 1912 he went to Edinburgh to continue his theological studies. He witnessed the brutal politics of the Hamidian, Young Turk and Kemalist periods. He came to Aleppo after he was deported from Marash, where he founded the Orphanage. This was the period when the Ottoman Empire consistently pursued the policy of exterminating the Armenians. Doctor Assadour Altounian and his daughter, Nora Altounian, played an important role in the establishment of the Orphanage. They used their personal connections and tried to solve the health and wellbeing issues of the orphans.”
Director of the Center for Armenian Diaspora Studies of Haigazian University of Beirut Dr. Antrang Dakessian’s theme was “Navigation Between Dreams, Competing Postures, and New Life: HAYASDANI GOCHNAG 1919-1923.”
In January 1919, the 20-year-old GOCHNAG was renamed HAYASDANI GOCHNIAG. This renaming was related to the mission of the proclamation of the Republic of Armenia, the belief in the emergence of a new Armenia, and the mission of the newspaper to summon Armenian pilgrims to Armenia. The articles, reports and call for Armenian national sentiments published in HAYASDANI GOCHNAG gave their results. As a way of public advice, the GOCHNAG’s mission was to inspire Armenians with new vigor, new faith and dreams. In his report, Dr. Dakessian summarized editorials from the 1919 GOCHNAGS (over 150 editorials) and their main opinions.
Following the first session of the Conference, participants visited the Armenian Genocide Monument of Dzidzernagapert and laid flowers near the eternal flames.
The second day of the Conference was held at the KAREKIN I Educational Center of Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. Twenty-three scholars from Armenia, France, Germany, Lebanon and the United States addressed details of the rescue missions for those who survived the Genocide.
Researcher at Yerevan State University, Genocide Scholar Dr. Hilmar Kaiser’s report, “Religious Activities of the Protestants in the Ottoman Fourth Army from 1915 to 1917,” touched upon Evangelical figures such as Koundakjian, Mhudian, Haidostian, and Revs. Eskidjian and Shirajian, who undertook the task of rescuing those displaced by the Armenian Genocide in Hama and Aleppo. During these rescue missions, Evangelicals also suffered casualties.
Dr. Kaiser particularly remembered Araksya Jebejian and Beatrice Royer and was the only reporter who also touched upon Turkish individuals who opposed the massacres and helped the displaced. In particular, he presented the charitable actions and assistance provided to Armenians by the Ottoman Fourth Army. He told a noteworthy story of an Ottoman person who oversaw one of Aintab’s shelters. At the beginning of World War I, he expressed a desire to become a Christian and after the end of the War, he left the Army and Turkey with an Armenian woman and eventually lived in Syria in an Evangelical community.
Other participants of the Conference also presented the fates of the displaced, as a result of the Armenian Genocide, highlighting activities of additional Armenian and international organizations and individuals involved in the rescue mission of Armenian refugees, children and women.
At the conclusion of the Conference, Director of the AGMI Foundation Harutyun Marutyan summarized the work done and highly appreciated the fact that “if until now we have always emphasized the role of the foreigners in the rescue mission of the Armenians, this two-day Conference emphasized the role of Armenians in the rescue mission. Moreover, these Armenians were both individuals and large and small organizations, which in today’s terminology have taken on the role of the Ministry of Refugees and have accomplished great organizational work.”
The Conference also revealed many issues that still need to be researched. “The second century of the Armenian Genocide Study is commencing, and old questions require new answers. There are also new questions that require timely answers,” said Mr. Marutyan. He also mentioned that three international conferences and two exhibitions are planned for next year. “I would like to thank the AMAA and in particular Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian and the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin for their support of this two-day Conference” said Mr. Marutyan, who expressed hope that they would be ready to support their further plans.
AMAA Armenia Press
(Translated from Armenian into English by Louisa Janbazian)
You may read the article in Armenian at https://amaa.am/am/նորություններ/item/1282-միջազգային-գիտաժողով՝-«հայերի-փրկության-գործը-մերձավոր-արևելքում-1915-1923-թթ-»
“Do your best when fulfilling anything; live having self-respect and remember that failure is not defeat yet; moreover, it is a lesson for not stumbling on your path ahead”, said Historian Vartan Gregorian in his address to the Avedisian School students and Teachers. Mr. Gregorian, “Aurora” Global Humanitarian Award Co-Founder and Selection Committee member, and President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, visited the AMAA Khoren and Shooshanig Avedisian School in Yerevan on October 23 accompanied by School Benefactors Edward and Pamela Avedisian.
After giving a brief overview of his respectable scientific and public path in the past, Mr. Gregorian answered the audience’s diverse questions, such as his views on school, education, philanthropy, and volunteering. Some of the questions were about his Armenian childhood and family and his ties with the Homeland.
“You owe it to yourself to make Armenia become the strongest country in education, banking, new technologies, medical and other priority areas. So, whatever you do in life, do your best. Live in self-respect; accept any failure not as a defeat but as a lesson on your path. Learn and enjoy the opportunities you have. And, remember that the future of the Armenian people is in your hands,” said Mr. Gregorian in his closing remarks.
Following the difficult selection by the organizers of the “Aurora” Prize this year, three of the volunteers selected to assist the ceremony represented the Avedisian School. Two School twelfth graders Gohar Varderesyan and Aleksander Mnatsakanyan as well as alumna Milena Galstyan were chosen for performing their noble and responsible volunteer work honorably and with excellence.
On Thursday morning, November 7, AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian visited the C & E Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School in Sherman Oaks, CA. The students greeted him in the Chapel singing the Anthem of the Republic of Armenia as well as two hymns. They were accompanied by Music Teacher Alice Derkevorkian on the piano. Principal Lina Arslanian welcomed Mr. Khanjian and introduced him as one of the School’s founding members who served on the School’s Board of Directors as a member and as Chair for many years and as a big supporter of Merdinian School.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Khanjian said he felt at home at Merdinian, which is the only Armenian Evangelical School in North America under the auspices of the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) and the Armenian Evangelical Union of North America. He then addressed the students with a beautiful message, emphasizing the importance of smile, which he said, is a symbol of inner contentment, while laughter is the result of a humorous story or a funny incident.
He then shared the story of Jesus calling the little children to Him and blessing them (Mark 10:13-16). He related his message to the great Armenian poet Jacque Hagopian, who passed away just two days earlier, and expressed his contentment for having a poet who lived such a long life and who dedicated his writings to Armenia, to our nation, and to God. Mr. Khanjian shared a few verses from two of Mr. Hagopian’s poems with the students and teachers. He concluded his message with a prayer.
Following the chapel service, Mr. Khanjian met with the Principal Arslanian and a few teachers in the faculty room and discussed various matters pertaining to the School.
Established in 1982 by the Armenian Missionary Association of America, the Armenian Evangelical Union of North America and the United Armenian Congregational Church of Los Angeles, Merdinian School, located in Sherman Oaks, CA, is the only Armenian Evangelical School in North America. The School offers a broad-based curriculum that fosters academic excellence, high moral values, and spiritual enrichment in the Armenian Evangelical tradition. Merdinian strives to create a safe and nurturing environment where every student receives personal attention to become a successful and responsible individual. For more information, please contact the School directly at 818.907.8149.
Four Haigazian University Board of Trustees members were honored for their long years of service during the Annual Banquet organized by the Board of Trustees and the Alumni Association on Sunday, November 3, 2019 at the La Cañada Country Club. The Banquet was the culmination of several days of meetings in Los Angeles, bringing together Trustees from across the U.S. as well as Beirut.
The evening began with the opening prayer by former Haigazian University President Rev. Dr. John Khanjian and the audience singing the Alma Mater. Haigazian President Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian, having just arrived from Beirut, shared: “The real wealth of Haigazian University is its people, past and present, be they Board members, students, faculty, administrators, alumni, supporters, or Women’s Auxiliary groups.”
Each honoree was presented with a plaque by Board of Trustees Chair Dr. Hasmig Baran. The four honorees, Dr. H. Steven Aharonian, Louis Kurkjian, Herair Mouradian, and Dr. Vahe Nalbandian, were introduced by Trustee Dr. Barkev Kassarjian and AMAA President Dr. Nazareth Darakjian. Their comments clearly spoke of being privileged to serve such a remarkable endeavor.
Concerning the impact Haigazian has on many levels, President Haidostian commented: “In addition to the regular academic programs, our teacher training workshops, publications, international conferences, internships for young officials from Armenia and Artsakh, and partnership with global educational centers, take us beyond the limits of the Beirut campus.”
“My gratitude is to all who have made this day possible,” continued President Haidostian, “especially raising funds for scholarships. Being that the annual scholarship budget is 1.5 million dollars, annual tuition is $9,000, and the average annual household income not exceeding $15,000, one may understand each recipient’s gratitude. Special thanks to the AMAA, the Philibosian Foundation, and other partners for their continued commitment and generosity.” Noting the coming celebratory year, President Haidostian said, “2020 is our 65th anniversary, with events being planned throughout the year in Beirut, Los Angeles and Yerevan!”
With their hearts and minds on the current problems occurring in Beirut, the evening highlighted the understanding that Haigazian University, with its diverse student population, will indisputably continue to be a vibrant institution, as its graduates continue to use their newly gained knowledge and expertise as leaders in their chosen fields to enrich Lebanon, the surrounding countries, and the Armenian Diaspora.
Banquet Co-Chairs Katia Kermoyan-Khodanian and Raffi Kendirjian and their dedicated Committee are to be highly commended for organizing this exceptional event to bring hope and encouragement to young people in the Middle East aspiring to a brighter future through this unique University.
Founded in 1955 under the auspices of the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East and the Armenian Missionary Association of America, and notably the only Armenian University outside Armenia, Haigazian University, with a motto of Truth, Freedom, Service, has served Lebanon and the region by empowering valuable human resources as a beacon of learning for a diverse community, and for a better life and service.
OPENING OF AN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE AND TEMPORARY EXHIBITION
The Rescue of Armenians in the Middle East, 1915-1923
The Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute Foundation is organizing a two-day conference on 8-9 November 2019 titled “The Rescue of Armenians in the Middle East, 1915-1923”. The first day of the conference will take place in the AGMI Conference Hall, with the second continuing at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.
The conference aims to present the fate of the Armenians who were displaced as a result of the Armenian Genocide and to highlight the activities of Armenian and international organizations and individuals that were involved in the rescue of Armenian refugees, particularly of women and children.
Twenty three scholars from Armenia, France, Germany, Lebanon, and the USA will participate in the conference, making references to, and presenting details of, the rescue of Genocide survivors. The conference will focus mainly on the roles played partly by international organizations and by religious and national preservation organizations such as the Armenian General Benevolent Union and the work carried out by those in Mesopotamia. The experts will present the Armenian-gathering initiatives undertaken in the provinces of Western Armenia and references to the activities of separate orphanages will be also made. The conference will also address the issues that existed during the fulfillment of the salvation mission. Self-help practices, data relating to orphans, the salvation of Armenian women and children in the context of the development of international law, as well as a range of other topics on these themes, will be discussed. The working languages of the conference are Armenian and English.
In the framework of the conference, the temporary exhibition “The Rescue of Armenians in the Middle East, 1915-1923: from National Unity to Revival” will be opened on November 8, at 10:00 am in the Armenian Genocide Museum’s temporary exhibitions hall.
The event’s opening speeches will be delivered by the Director of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute Foundation, Dr. Harutyun Marutyan and Dr. Narine Margaryan, the AGMI Scientific Secretary, who is the coordinator of the conference and exhibition.
The exhibition will focus exclusively on the Armenian contribution to the salvation of Genocide survivors. Separate sections will clarify the roles of Armenian religious organizations. Activities carried out by the AGBU, Armenian National Union, Armenian Orphan Relief of Egypt, Armenian Organizations in Mesopotamia, Armenian Red Cross, as well as orphan care initiatives made the governments of the Republic of Armenia and the Armenian SSR will be presented.
A large section will be dedicated to individuals who were engaged in orphan seeking activities in the Mesopotamian deserts and the territory of Western Armenia by providing women and orphans with shelters.
The exhibition will show unique archival materials such as documents, photos and exhibits mainly from the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute, as well as from the National Archives of Armenia, Yerevan History Museum and AGMI staff member Mihran Minasian’s personal archive. Statistics concerning the number of orphans will also be presented. Orphans’ memories and photographs which never been seen until now will be displayed, as will items from deportation routes, objects from the orphanages and embroideries made by the orphans.
The purpose of the exhibition is to highlight the important role played by the Armenian people during the Genocide years. This salvation work was realized thanks to the unity of the Armenian people and by it being guided by a single idea: the restoration of national identity which laid the foundation for a national revival.
Organizer of the conference and exhibition: Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute
Conference Associate: Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin
Sponsor of the conference and exhibition: Armenian Missionary Association of America
Coordinator of the conference and exhibition: Narine Margaryan Ph.D., (AGMI Academic Secretary)
Peter Kougasian, Esq., former AMAA Board Member and Vice President and a long-time active member of the Armenian Evangelical Church in New York City, was honored on September 27 by the New York City District Attorney’s Office at a celebration of Peter’s 40 years of service as an Assistant District Attorney and as “an extraordinary human being.”
Peter was an elected member of the AMAA Board since 1996 serving during that time as Vice President and as Chairman of the Armenia Committee. He also served as Moderator of the Armenian Evangelical Church of New York for many years. He is a long-time member of the New York City Bar Association serving as former Vice President, former Chair of the Executive Committee and former Chair of the NYC Bar Association delegation to the House of Delegates of the New York State Bar.
“We congratulate our dear friend Peter on this very prestigious honor,” said Zaven Khanjian, AMAA Executive Director/CEO. “His service to the AMAA is founded on the same principles that he has come to be known for in his profession – loyalty, dedication, devotion, service and commitment.”
The standing room only crowd of Peter’s former colleagues and many friends was present at the celebration to unveil a bronze plaque that will hang outside of the Manhattan DA Office Training Center, which has officially been named after him. The plaque reads:
“The Peter M. Kougasian Training Center – Dedicated to Peter M. Kougasian, Assistant District Attorney 1979-2018. Executive ADA and Counsel to the Special Narcotics Prosecutor, Senior Trial Counsel, Bureau Chief, Director of Legal Training, Co-Founder Diversity Program, Conviction Integrity Committee, Ghostwriter Extraordinaire. In each position held during his 40 years as a prosecutor, Peter committed himself to justice, improving the institution that he revered, and serving the city he loved. He taught us the practice of law through his brilliance of words, his kindness of heart, inventive humor, and a touch of magic.”
The dedication ceremony, presided over by current District Attorney of New York County Cyrus Vance, Jr. Esq., featured several notable speakers, including Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a friend and former colleague who, by video, praised Peter for his long career. Speakers also cited his friendship, mentoring, loyalty, wisdom, leadership, dedication, humor, generous heart, faith, pride of his Armenian heritage and his love of magic.
A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Princeton University and a Yale Law School graduate, Peter has been “a friend for all seasons, a forever friend, a formidable public lawyer by day and a magician by night,” according to Judge Robert Katzmann, Chief Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and a forty year friend and former Yale classmate. “Peter found a love for magic in college and performed whenever and wherever he could, even once before fellow amateur magician Johnny Carson. He has been called the ‘Amazing Kougasian’ and ‘Uncle Peter’ performing at many clubs in New York as well as internationally. Peter is a person of profound faith and has been proud of his Armenian heritage. He makes all of us better and brings out the best in all of us. As we celebrate Peter’s life today, we also celebrate his wife Beth and son Alex who are at the center of his life.”
“Peter’s retirement is a loss for all of us,” said Peter’s former boss, District Attorney Vance. “His gift to me was to share the magic of his gift of writing. I am forever grateful for your years of friendship, Peter. I love you. We all love you. I thank Peter for being in our lives; you are someone we’ve all looked up to. The plaque will now hang outside of the Training Room. In the days and years ahead, feel free to touch the plaque and get a touch of Peter’s magic.”
Bridget Brennan, Esq., Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York, said that “Peter guided many colleagues with their careers and was a sounding board, trusted friend and advisor for us. His guidance has been invaluable, and it is fitting that this Training Room is named after Peter as he has trained and educated so many of us who are here today. You shaped our outlooks and our careers.”
“Peter, you are a man of integrity, honor and valor,” said Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor, who was a classmate of Peter’s both at Princeton and Yale and worked with him under the late Robert Morgenthau, Esq. in the DA’s Office. “I hope that every young ADA who visits this Center will realize the very high bar you’ve raised for us in learning and mastering our skills as lawyers and as human beings. It is fitting to name the Training Center in your honor, Peter, as your words, heart, humor and magic have touched so many. Your epic struggle with ALS has been an example for all of us. You have told me that your faith has buoyed and sustained you. I know that is true, but I see much power in your indomitable spirit. The Training Center is lucky to have that spirit at its heart.”
In a touching moment, from his New York City hospital room where he has been treated for ALS since November 2018, Peter spoke on camera to his assembled friends with the assistance of an electronic device.
“I am truly humbled and touched by this honor,” said Peter. “You know that I am passionate about training because it is through training that we convey the value of our greatest assets. Your friendship sustains me, and I am thankful to everyone who has made this ceremony possible.”
To see the entire video of the dedication ceremony, please visit: https://www.manhattanda.org/peter-m-kougasian-training-center-dedication/
100-ամեակի առիթով տեղի ունեցող որեւէ համախմբում իսկապէս մեծ դէպք մըն է։ Այս առումով ուշագրաւ էր Հոկտեմբեր 18-20-ի օրերուն Պոսթոնի մէջ տեղի ունեցող Ամերիկայի Հայ Աւետարանչական Ընկերակցութեան (ԱՀԱԸ) 100-րդ Տարեժողովը եւ այդ առիթով կազմակերպուած յատուկ Ճաշկերոյթը՝ նուիրուած Հայ Աւետարանական Եկեղեցիին ու անոր հիմնադրութեան 173-րդ տարեդարձին։
ԱՀԱԸ-ի այս ճաշկերոյթը յատկանշական էր Ընկերակցութեան հարիւրաւոր անդամներու ներկայութեամբ, որոնք երկար հեռաւորութենէ եկած էին՝ ինչպէս Աւստրալիա, Գանատա, Հայաստան, Յունաստան, Լիբանան, Սուրիա, Ֆրանսա եւ Միացեալ Նահանգներու Արեւելեան եւ Արեւմտեան ափերէ։
ԱՀԱԸ-ի Տարեժողովի օրերու կարեւորագոյն իրադարձութիւններէն մէկը Շաբաթ, Հոկտ. 19-ի երեկոյան տեղի ունեցող ճաշկերոյթն էր՝ Պոսթոնի Westin-Waltham պանդոկի շքեղ սրահին մէջ։ Տիկին Միշէլ Սիմուրեան՝ Ճաշկերոյթի համա-ատենապետը՝ ջերմօրէն ողջունեց ներկայ գտնուող 300-է աւելի հիւրերը։ Ճաշկերոյթի հանդիսավար եւ համա-ատենապետ՝ Ճան Սիմուրեան ձեռնհասօրէն վարեց յայտագիրը՝ ներկայացնելով օրուան պատուոյ հիւրերը, որոնց շարքին էին Ամերիկայի Միացեալ Նահանգներու (ԱՄՆ) Հայաստանի Հանրապետութեան Դեսպան Վարուժան Ներսէսյանը եւ Հայր, Տ. Անդրանիկ Աւ. քհնյ. Պալճեանը, որ կը ներկայացնէր ԱՄՆ Արևելեան Թեմի Առաջնորդ Գերաշնորհ Տ. Անուշաւան Արք․ Դանիէլեանը։
Ազգային օրհներգներու երգեցողութենէն եւ Ուաթըրթաունի Հայ Աւետարանական Նահատակաց Եկեղեցիի Հովիւ՝ Վեր. Դոկտ. Աւետիս Պոյնէրեանի աղօթքէն ետք բեմ բարձրացաւ Դեսպան Ներսէսյանը իր ողջոյնի խօսքը ուղղելու ներկաներուն։
Պր. Դեսպանը յիշեց Աւետարանչականի հիմնադրութիւնը 101 տարիներ առաջ՝ Վուսթըրի (ԱՄՆ) մէջ՝ Հայոց Ցեղասպանութենէն անմիջապէս ետք «երբ հարիւր հազարաւոր թափառական Հայ մարդիկ, կանայք եւ երեխաներ տակաւին կը շրջէին Սուրիոյ, Լիբանանի եւ Մերձաւոր Արեւելքի անապատներուն մէջ, տառապելով անօթութենէ, աղքատութենէ եւ կեանքի նուազագոյն պայմաններու բացակայութենէ»։
Ան նաեւ մատնանշեց ԱՀԱԸ-ի հսկայական ներդրումը վերջին 100 տարիներու ընթացքին, ի միջի այլոց 1988-ի Հայաստանի աւերիչ երկրաշարժի ընթացքին, անկախ Հայաստանի Հանրապետութեան ծննդեան ժամանակ, Արցախի ազատագրման պայքարի օրերուն եւ անոր աւելի լաւ ապագայի ստեղծումին ի նպաստ, եւ ապահովելով ապաստան, սնունդ եւ կրթութիւն աշխարհացրիւ 24 երկիրներու մէջ ապրող հայորդիներու»։
«Եւ վերջերս Սուրիոյ մէջ տեղի ունեցող ողբերգական պատերազմի ընթացքին, Աւետարանչականը պատրաստակամ եղաւ աջակցելու այն հայորդիներուն՝ որոնք ցանկացան բնակութիւն հաստատել Հայրենիքի մէջ» ըսաւ Դեսպանը։
Այս բոլոր գործունէութիւնները ցոյց կու տան, որ ԱՀԱԸ-ը «եզակի եւ խորապէս ազգային եւ հայկական հաստատութիւն մը է», ըսաւ ան։ «Նման մեծ ժառանգութեամբ եւ խիստ վճռակամութեամբ, Աւետարանչականը վստահօրէն իր առաքելութիւնը պիտի շարունակէ 21-րդ դարուն» եզրակացուց Դեսպանը որոտալի ծափողջոյններու ներքեւ։
Աւետարանչականի Նախագահ Տօքթ. Նազարէթ Տարագճեան յուզումով յիշելէ ետք «Լիբանանի քաղաքացիական պատերազմի սարսափներուն» որպէս հետեւանք՝ 43 տարիներ առաջ իր Ամերիկայի Միացեալ Նահանգներ հաստատուիլը, խօսեցաւ ԱՀԱԸ-ի հզօր պատմութեան մասին՝ որ այսօր կը ծառայէ աշխարհացրիւ 24 երկիրներու մէջ բնակող հայորդիներուն, տարեկան 10 միլիոն տոլարի ելեւմտացոյցով։
Ներկայ նոր սերունդը, որ հնարաւորութիւնը ունի շատ աւելին ընելու բաղդատած 1918 թուականին, «մեր աշխատանքը չէ վերջացած այնքան ատեն որ տակաւին մարդիկ կան որոնք սոված են Աստուծոյ Խօսքին, երեխաներ՝ որոնք ծարաւ են կրթութեան, ընտանիքներ եւ անհատներ, որոնց համար օրական հաց գտնելը ամէնօրեայ մարտահրաւէր է։ Թող Աստուած մեզ արժանի ընէ այս առաքելութեան» ըսաւ ան։
Ապա ցոյց տրուեցաւ տեսահոլովակ մը Երեւանի Մալաթիա-Սեբաստիա շրջանին մէջ գտնուող Խորէն եւ Շուշանիկ Աւետիսեան Աւագ Դպրոցին մասին, որ ամբողջութեամբ նիւթապէս կը նպաստաւորուի ԱՀԱԸ-ի կողմէ, եւ ուր աւելի քան 580 ուսանողներ լաւագոյն ուսում կը ստանան՝ անվճառ։
Տօքթ. Տարագճեան բեմ հրաւիրեց Աւետիսեան դպրոցի շրջանաւարտներէն՝ Լուսինէ Մնացականյանը՝ յանուն դպրոցի բարերարներ Եդուարդ եւ Բամելա Աւետիսեաններու՝ որոնք քաղաքէն դուրս ըլլալով ներկայ չէին ճաշկերոյթին, ընդունելու դպրոցին տրուած «Առաջնորդութիւն՝ էներգետիկայի և բնապահպանական նախագծման մէջ » (LEED) վկայականը և ապակիէ ցուցանակը (plaque)։ Աւետիսեան Աւագ Դպրոցին նաեւ շնորհուած է LEED Earth Designation մրցանակը, որ կը տրուի իւրաքանչիւր զարգացող երկրի առաջին բնապահպանական շինանախագիծին՝ Միացեալ Նահանգներու Կանաչ Կառոյցներու Խորհուրդի (USGBC – The United States Green Building Council) LEED չափանիշները բաւարարելուն համար։
Լուսինէ Մնացականյան, որ ներկայիս Հայաստանի Ամերիկեան Համալսարանի երրորդ կարգի ուսանող է, անդրադարձաւ Աւետիսեան Վարժարանի գլխաւոր յատկանիշներուն ըսելով՝ «Մենք դաստիարակուեցանք որպէս ճշմարիտ քրիստոնեաներ, լաւ քաղաքացիներ եւ ստացանք օրինակելի կրթութիւն բոլոր մարզերու մէջ»։
Ներկայ հիւրերը մեծ հաճոյքով ունկնդրեցին հայկական եւ միջազգային սիրուած երգեր՝ կատարողութեամբ համաշխարհային ճանաչում ունեցող երկու երաժիշտներու՝ Թենոր Եղիշէ Մանուչարյանի եւ Մեցցո Սոփրանո Վիքթորիա Աւետիսյանի, որոնք նաեւ ճաշկերոյթի սկիզբը կատարեցին Ամերիկեան եւ Հայկական օրհներգները։
ԱՀԱԸ-ի Փոխ Նախագահ Տօքթ. Մայքլ Ոսկեան, յարգանքի տուրք մատուց Հայ Աւետարանական Եկեղեցիի պատմութեան, ըսելով որ ան տարիներու ընթացքին աճելով ներկայիս կը բաղկանայ 124 եկեղեցիներէ եւ հինգ միութիւններէ՝ Հայաստան, Հիւսիսային Ամերիկա, Մերձաւոր Արեւելք, Ֆրանսա եւ Եւրասիա։
Տօքթ. Ոսկեան բեմ հրաւիրեց Հայ Աւետարանական Համաշխարհային Խորհուրդի Նախագահ Վեր. Ժոէլ Միքայէլեանը՝ որպէս ներկայացուցիչը Հայ Աւետարանական Համաշխարհային Խորհուրդին։ Բեմ հրաւիրուեցան նաեւ Վեր. Սթիվըն Քարլայլ՝ Հովիւը Վուսթըրի Հայ Մարտիրոսաց Եկեղեցիին՝ առաջին Հայ Աւետարանական Եկեղեցին հիմնուած Միացեալ Նահանգներու մէջ, եւ Վեր. Դոկտ. Աւետիս Պոյնէրեան, հովիւը տեղւոյն հիւրընկալ եկեղեցիին։ Տօքթ. Ոսկեան անոնց ներկայացուց յատուկ վկայագիր եւ փայտի վրայ փորագրուած ցուցատախտակներ։
Խորին գնահատանք յայտնելով Ճաշկերոյթի յանձնախումբին, Աւետարանչականի աշխատակազմին եւ բոլոր անոնց որոնք իրենց բաժինը բերին ճաշկերոյթի յաջողութեան, ԱՀԱԸ-ի Գործադիր Տնօրէն Զաւէն Խանճեան բեմ հրաւիրեց Վուսթըրի Եկեղեցիի Հոգաբարձական Խորհուրդի Ատենապետ Սթիվըն Փափազեանը եւ անոր յանձնեց Լինտա Խաչատուրեանի նուիրած «Շաքարէ Քանդակը»։
Անդրադառնալով իր աշխատանքի մարտահրաւէրներուն, Պր. Խանճեան ըսաւ.- «Մարտահրաւէր մը որ ես կը պայքարիմ արժանի երախտագիտութիւն փոխանցելու արդար մարդկանց եւ կանանց, որոնք կը թռչին կեանքի բարութեան թեւերուն վրայ, եւ որոնք փոխարէնը հաւատարմօրէն կ՚ուղղեն զայն Աստուծոյ»։
Պր. Խանճեան նաեւ յայտնեց որ Հայաստանի մէջ տեղի պիտի ունենայ «Սիմբոզիում» մը՝ յետ Ցեղասպանութեան վերապրողներու մնացորդացը փրկելու ջանքերուն վերաբերեալ։ «Սիմբոզիում»ը կը կազմակերպուի Հայոց Ցեղասպանութեան Թանգարանի Հաստատութեան Հիմնադրամին կողմէ՝ հովանաւորութեամբ Ամերիկայի Հայ Աւետարանչական Ընկերակցութեան։
«Սիմբոզիում»ը իր յարգանքի տուրքը պիտի մատուցանէ եւ լոյս աշխարհ պիտի բերէ այն բազմաթիւ հերոսները, որոնք մեծ սիրով ողջագուրեցին որբացած հայ երեխաներն ու այրիները, անոնց տալով ապաստանարան, սնունդ, կրթութիւն, եւ բուժելով ու պաշտպանելով զանոնք Տէր Զօրի մահասփիւռ դաշտերէն։
Պր. Խանճեան յիշեց նաեւ այս օրերուն Սուրիոյ քաղաքներու եւ գիւղերու մէջ տագնապող քաղաքացիները ու անոնց բռնագաղթը՝ անգամ մը եւս թողելով ետին այն ամէն ինչը որ ունին։ «Բայց պարզ զոհը Սուրիացի ժողովուրդն է, ներառեալ Ցեղասպանութենէն վերապրոպ սերունդները» ըսաւ ան։
«Աւետարանչականը անգամ մը եւս մարդասիրական մարտահրաւէրներ կը դիմագրաւէ, եւ մենք հաւաքականօրէն եւ դրական կերպով պատասխանելու ենք այս կոչին։ Եւ ձեր նուիրաբերութեամբ պիտի շարունակենք իրականացնել այդ բոլորը» եզրակացուց ան։
Վեր. Ժոէլ Միքայելեան մատուց փակման եւ օրհնութեան աղօթքը եւ յոտնկայս «God Bless America» երգով այս բացառիկ եւ ոգեշնչիչ Ճաշկերոյթը հասաւ իր աւարտին։
(Քաղուած Ֆլորէնս Աւագեանի Անգլերէն բնագրէն՝ հայացուց Լուիզա Ճանպազեան)
By Florence Avakian
The 100th Anniversary of any gathering is a magical event. The weekend of October 18 to 20 in the Boston area of the Armenian Missionary Association of America’s (AMAA) 100th Annual Meeting Banquet was especially noteworthy as it celebrated the Armenian Evangelical Church and the 173rd Anniversary of its founding.
Its significance was marked by the presence of hundreds of members, friends and faithful who came from as far away as Australia, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, Greece, France, and the East and West Coasts of the United States.
The highlight of the extraordinary weekend was the grand Banquet on Saturday night, October 19, which began with a cocktail reception, followed by a delicious dinner in the elegantly decorated ballroom.
The more than 300 guests present were warmly welcomed by Banquet Co-Chair Michèle Simourian both in English and Armenian. Skillfully running the program was Master of Ceremonies and Banquet Co-Chair John Simourian, who with the right touches introduced the prominent individuals present, including Armenia’s Ambassador to the U.S. Varuzhan Nersesyan, and Rev. Fr. Antranig Baljian, representing the Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America, Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian.
Following the singing of the National anthems, and the invocation delivered by Rev. Dr. Avedis Boynerian, Pastor of the Armenian Memorial Church in Watertown, MA, Ambassador Nersesyan was introduced.
100 YEARS OF ENORMOUS CONTRIBUTIONS
The Armenian diplomat recalled the founding of the AMAA in Worcester 101 years ago following the Armenian Genocide when “hundreds of thousands of Armenian men, women and children were still roaming in the deserts in Syria, Lebanon and the Middle East, suffering from hunger, poverty and the lack of any minimal conditions of life.”
He pointed out the enormous contributions of the AMAA in the last 100 years, including during the devastating 1988 earthquake, during and after the birth of the independent Armenian republic, the time of Artzakh’s fight for liberation, and its creation for a better future providing shelter, food and education in 24 countries.“And during the recent tragic war in Syria, the AMAA has been ready to support any Armenians willing to settle in Armenia in the aftermath of Turkey’s recent attack on the north of Syria,” the Ambassador explained.
All these activities demonstrate that the AMAA is a “unique and deeply national Armenian institution,” the Armenian diplomat stated. “With such a great heritage, and rigorous determination, the AMAA will continue confidently in its mission in the 21st century,” he stated to thunderous applause.
24 COUNTRIES WITH 10 MILLION DOLLARS ANNUALLY
AMAA President Dr. Nazareth Darakjian who emotionally relayed coming to the U.S. 43 years ago following “the horrors of the Lebanese civil war,” spoke about the AMAA’s powerful history which today serves the Armenian Community in 24 countries with a yearly budget of more than 10 million dollars.
This generation has capabilities that far exceeds those in 1918, he stated. “Our work is not done as long as there is hunger for God’s work, as long as there are children who are thirsty for education, and as long as there are families or individuals for whom finding daily bread is a daily challenge. May God make us worthy of this mission.”
A video of the Khoren and Shooshanig Avedisian High School in Yerevan’s Malatia-Sebastia district was shown, a School totally funded by the AMAA that has been tuition-free for more than 580 students.
One of the graduate students of the Avedisian High School, Lucine Mnatsakanyan was invited by Dr. Darakjian to come forward, and accept the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certificate and the glass plaque for the Avedisian High School in honor of the Avedisians who were not present. Avedisian High School is the first building in the Republic of Armenia to achieve such an award and was also awarded the LEED Earth Designation, given only to the very first building project in each developing country to satisfy the USGBC LEED criteria.
Ms. Mnatsakanyan who is now a third-class student at the American University of Armenia, paid tribute to the great attributes of the Avedisian High School, saying, “We are raised to be true Christians, and citizens, and have been exposed to all the studies of an exemplary education.”
Delighting the audience, two acclaimed world class musicians, tenor Yeghishe Manucharyan, and mezzo soprano Victoria Avetisyan, who had started the Banquet Program with the American and Armenian anthems, sang several Armenian and international favorites, including the soul stirring “Pari Arakil”, “Habanera”, “Solo Mio”, and “Hayastan”.
Tenor Manucharyan who has sung at the renowned Metropolitan Opera in NY, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and other concert halls in the U.S., Italy and Ireland, brought the house down with his rendition of “Pari Arakil” dedicated to Armenia’s symbolic beloved bird (the crane). The couple’s dramatic singing of “Hayastan” was another crowd pleaser.
AMAA Vice President Dr. Michael Voskian paid tribute to the history of the Armenian Evangelical Church which he revealed has grown and consists of 124 churches and five unions in Armenia, North America, the Near East, France and Eurasia.
Representing the Armenian Evangelical Churches around the globe is the Armenian Evangelical World Council, with its President Rev. Joël Mikaélian who was asked to come forward by Dr. Voskian.
Also honored were Rev. Dr. Avedis Boynerian, host of the Armenian Memorial Church, as well as Rev. Stephen Carlyle of the first Armenian Evangelical Church in North America established on January 1, 1892 – the Armenian Church of the Martyrs in Worcester, MA. All were presented with special plaques.
HEALTH CRISIS BRINGS ON AN ACTION OF TRUE FAITH
During the joyous evening, a female guest suddenly passed out, and was immediately attended to by attending doctors until the ambulance came. As this was happening, several small groups of badvelis (pastors) spontaneously rose making small circles with their arms on each other’s shoulders, bending their heads, and silently praying for the ill woman.
For this journalist who had never witnessed such a powerful action, it was both inspiring and for many an action of true faith.
Expressing deep appreciation to the “ingenious and hard-working” Banquet Committee, the AMAA staff and all involved individuals for the successful weekend and Banquet, AMAA Executive Director and CEO Zaven Khanjian asked Stephen Papazian, the Moderator of the Armenian Church of the Martyrs of Worcester, to come forward to receive a “Sugar Sculpture” donated by Linda Khachadurian.
Revealing the main challenge of his position, Mr. Khanjian stated “a challenge that I struggle with is the difficulty in conveying a well-deserved gratitude to righteous men and women who fly on the wings of goodness in life, and who instead, faithfully direct it to God.”
The AMAA Executive Director also announced that a symposium will soon take place in Armenia on the Post Genocide endeavor to save the remnants of the survivors. It is being organized by the Armenian Genocide Museum Institute Foundation, and sponsored by the Armenian Missionary Association of America.
“It will honor and bring to light the many heroes who miraculously embraced the orphaned Armenian children and widowed mothers with shelter, healing, food, education and lovingly shielded them from the killing fields of Der El-Zor.”
He remembered that today anguished civilians in the towns and villages in Syria, deportation is once again taking place, leaving behind all they possess. “But the clear victims are the Syrian people, including the progeny of the Genocide survivors.
“The AMAA has faced the spiritual and humanitarian challenges of our people, and we have collectively and positively answered the call, and through your righteous giving will continue to make it happen,” he said in conclusion to a standing ovation.
The closing prayer and Benediction by Rev. Joël Mikaélian, and the singing of “God Bless America” brought an extraordinary and inspiring Banquet and weekend to a glorious close.
Ամերիկայի Հայ Աւետարանչական Ընկերակցութեան (ԱՀԱԸ) 100րդ տարեկան Համաժողովը տեղի ունեցաւ Ուաթըրթաունի Հայ Աւետարանական Նահատակաց Եկեղեցիին մէջ՝ Մէսէչուսէց, Շաբաթ Հոկտեմբեր 19-ին։ Համաժողովին մասնակցեցան աւելի քան 60 անձիք՝ ԱՀԱԸ-ի Վարչական Խորհուրդի անդամներ, հովիւներ, ինչպէս նաեւ ներկայացուցիչներ Հայ Աւետարանական եկեղեցիներէ, միութիւններէ եւ կազմակերպութիւններէ, որոնք ներկայացուցին իրենց տարեկան տեղեկագիրները։ Համաժողովի բացման աղօթքը մատուց Վարչական Խորհուրդի անդամ՝ Վեր. Արա Կէօքկէօզեան իսկ փակման աղօթքը մատուց Աւստրալիայի Հայ Աւետարանչական Ընկերակցութեան Նախագահ՝ Վեր. Դոկտ. Գրիգոր Եումշաճըքեան։
Տարեկան Համաժողովի աւարտին կարդացուեցան անունները ԱՀԱԸ-ի Վարչութեան նորընտիր անդամներուն, որոնք ընտրուած էին երեք տարուան ծառայութեան համար.- ԼինտաՔէյ Ապտուլեան, Տօքթ Հրայր Ս. Ահարոնեան, Տօքթ. Ռաֆի Պալապանեան, Ֆիլիս Տոհանեան, Դոկտ. Նուրհան Հէլվասեան, Վեր. Դոկտ. Հայկ Խրլոբեան, Սեդա Լոշխաճեան Նալպանտեան եւ Տօքթ. Մայքըլ Վոսքեան։
ԱՀԱԸ-ի տարեկան Համաժողովին առընթեր, Հոկտ. 17-18 օրերուն տեղի ունեցան նաեւ ԱՀԱԸ-ի Վարչական Խորհուրդի Ժողովը, Աշխատանքային Ծրագրումի Նիստը եւ Հայ Աւետարանական Համաշխարհային Խորհուրդի ժողովը։
Կիրակի, Հոկտեմբեր 20-ին տեղի ունեցաւ ԱՀԱԸ-ի տարեկան Համաժողովի Պաշտամունքը Ուաթըրթաունի Հայ Աւետարանական Նահատակաց Եկեղեցիին մէջ։ Օրուան պատգամաբերներն էին Վեր. Մկրտիչ Գարակէօզեան՝ Մերձաւոր Արեւելքի Հայ Աւետարանական Եկեղեցիներու Միութեան (ՄԱՀԱԵՄ) Նախագահ, եւ Վեր. Ճէրէմի Թովմասեան՝ Հիւսիսային Ամերիկայի Հայ Աւետարանական Միութեան Ատենապետ։ Պաշտամունքի Ընթացքին յատուկ աղօթք մատուց Սուրիոյ Հայ Աւետարանական Համայնքի Նախագահ՝ Վեր. Յարութիւն Սէլիմեան, յիշելով այն բոլոր ԱՀԱԸ-ի անդամները որոնք անցնող տարեշրջանին այս կեանքէն անցան յաւիտենականութեան։ Իսկ ԱՀԱԸ-ի Վարչական Խորհուրդի անդամներուն պաշտօնակոչութեան արարողութիւնը կատարեց Վեր. Դոկտ. Ռան Թովմասեան՝ Հովիւը Լոս Անճելոսի Հայ Աւետարանական Միացեալ Եկեղեցիին։
ԱՀԱԸ-ի 100-րդ տարեկան Համաժողովի շաբաթավերջի աւարտին, Կիրակի, Հոկտեմբերի 20-ի կէսօրէ ետք տեղի ունեցաւ յատուկ հաւաք եւ Ոգեկոչման Պաշտամունք Վուսթըրի Հայ Աւետարանական Մարտիրոսաց Եկեղեցիին մէջ (Մէսէչուսէց)՝ Միացեալ Նահանգներու մէջ հիմնադրուած առաջին Հայ Աւետարանական Եկեղեցին՝ 1 Յունուար 1892-ին եւ ԱՀԱԸ-ի ծննդավայրը՝ 1918-ին։
Պաշտամունքը առաջնորդեց Եկեղեցիի Հովիւ՝ Վեր. Սթիվըն Քարլայլ։ Վեր. Քարլայլ ողջունեց ներկաները եւ կոչ ուղղեց վերանուիրուելու Յիսուս Քրիստոսի՝ որպէս հաւատքի մարդիկ աշխարհի մէջ ամէնուրէք եւ միասնականութեամբ ծառայելու Տէրոջ։ Անցեալի, ներկայի եւ ապագայի Յոյսի արտացոլացման պատգամներ փոխանցեցին ԱՀԱԸ-ը Գործադիր Տնօրէն՝ Զաւէն Խանճեան, ՄԱՀԱԵՄ Նախագահ՝ Վեր. Մկրտիչ Գարակէօզեան եւ Վուսթըրի Եկեղեցիի անդամ՝ Թալին Աւագեան Պէօրէքճեան։ Պաշտամունքի ընթացքին փառաբանութեան երգեր երգուեցան եւ յատուկ աղօթքներ բարձրացան առ Աստուած գովաբանելով զԱյն ԱՀԱԸ-ի անցնող 100 տարիներու հաւատարիմ ծառայութեան համար եւ խնդրելով Անոր առաջնորդութիւնը ապագայի համար։
Յատուկ շնորհակալութիւն Ուաթըրթաունի Եկեղեցիի հովիւ՝ Վեր. Դոկտ. Աւետիս Պոյնէրեանի եւ Եկեղեցիի անդամներուն՝ ԱՀԱԸ-ի 100-րդ տարեկան Համաժողովի օրերուն իրենց ցուցաբերած ջերմ հիւրընկալութեան եւ պատրաստած համեղ ճաշերուն համար: Թող Աստուած շարունակէ օրհնել այս Եկեղեցին Իր փառքին համար։
The 100th Annual Meeting of the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) was held at the Armenian Memorial Church of Watertown, MA on Saturday, October 19, 2019. AMAA President Nazareth Darakjian, M.D. presided over the meeting. Board member Rev. Ara Guekguezian offered the opening prayer and Rev. Dr. Krikor Youmshajekian, President of the Armenian Missionary Association of Australia offered the closing prayer.
During the Annual Meeting AMAA Officers, Directors and Committee Chairs, as well as delegates of the Armenian Evangelical Unions, the Armenian Evangelical World Council and affiliated organizations presented their annual reports, shared their joys and concerns and praised God for another successful year.
The general membership of the AMAA elected the following eight members to the Board of Directors Class of 2022 for a term of three years: LindaKay Abdulian, Hrair Steven Aharonian, M.D., Rafi Balabanian, D.D.S., Phyllis Dohanian, Nurhan Helvacian, Ph.D., Rev. Haig Kherlopian, D.Min., Seta Loshkajian Nalbandian and Michael Voskian, D.M.D.
In conjunction with the AMAA Annual Meeting, on October 17 and 18, the AMAA Board held a Strategic Planning Session and a Board meeting, and the Armenian Evangelical World Council held its meeting.
On Sunday, October 20, members and guests joined the congregation of the Armenian Memorial Church of Watertown, MA for Sunday Morning Worship Service. Rev. Jeremy Tovmassian, Pastor of the Armenian Evangelical Church of greater Chicago preached in English and Rev. Megrditch Karagoezian, the President of the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East (UAECNE), preached in Armenian. A special prayer was offered by Rev. Haroutune Selimian, President of the Armenian Evangelical Community of Syria in memory of AMAA members and friends who made the transition from this life to life eternal during the past fiscal year. Rev. Dr. Ron Tovmassian, Senior Pastor of the United Armenian Congregational Church of Los Angeles, CA officiated at the installation of the newly elected members of the AMAA Board of Directors.
At the conclusion of AMAA’s 100th Annual Meeting weekend, a special gathering and Commemorative Worship Service was held on Sunday, October 20 in the afternoon, at the Armenian Church of the Martyrs, Worcester, MA – The first Armenian Evangelical Church established in the USA in 1892 and the birthplace of AMAA in 1918. The Service was led by the Pastor of the Worcester Church Rev. Stephen Carlyle who welcomed the guests and charged them to recommit to Jesus Christ as people of faith from all around the world, and to serve the Lord together in Unity. Messages of Reflections of the past, current and hope for future were delivered by Zaven Khanjian, AMAA Executive Director/CEO, Rev. Megrditch Karagoezian, President of UAECNE and Taline Avakian Borekjian, a member of Worcester Church. During the Service hymns of praise were sung and special prayers were offered praising God for the past 100 years of faithful service of the AMAA and asking God’s guidance for the future.
The AMAA thanks Rev. Dr. Avedis Boynerian, Pastor of the Armenian Memorial Church of Watertown and its members for hosting its 100th Annual Meeting and for welcoming all with great warmth, hospitality, delicious meals and enthusiasm. May God continue to bless this congregation and their ministry.
Avedisian School Alumna Lusine Mnatsakanyan’s Speech at the AMAA’s 100th Annual Meeting Banquet in Boston
Good evening everyone. I am Lusine from Armenia. I am one of the first graduates of Avedisian School, and I currently study at the American University of Armenia. I am very honored to be here today. Thanks for the opportunity to speak about my beloved school.
I have spent my high school years at Avedisian School. Those three years have been full of opportunities, challenges and lifetime memories.
Avedisian School has taught us to be environmentally responsible. To have a greener impact on the environment, we always recycled waste and used water efficiently. We also have solar panels which help us save electricity. More interestingly, we have trash museum, where we exhibit our artworks made from garbage. I was very excited when I found out that we have received a LEED certificate. I had the feeling that whatever we are doing is right and also rewarded. Now, I feel very honored to receive the certificate on behalf of Avedisian family and my school.
Moreover, my school taught me to be kind and responsible. It also helped me act based on Christian values in different stages of my life. I am sure I would not be the same person without Avedisian School.
The impact my school, teachers and principal had on my development is immense. I would not be able to speak English, study at my dream university, reach many goals that, if I did not attend Avedisian School. The knowledge, I got from AHS still helps me at AUA. The values and life lessons will always guide me in my life.
In short, I will always be thankful to my school, teachers, principal, staff, benefactors and founders. I am sure all my classmates and other students will share the same feelings and thoughts about Avedisian School.
AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian’s Message at AMAA’s 100th Annual Meeting Banquet held at Westin Waltham Boston Hotel on Saturday, October 19, 2019.
Good Evening Massachusetts.
It is such a pleasure to see the larger family of the AMAA from coast to coast and our esteemed guests from around the globe gather here tonight, in this great State of Massachusetts, where 100 annual meetings ago, the AMAA was lovingly and by the grace of God, delivered into existence by the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches of the East Coast.
For a long weekend, we enjoyed the warm hospitality of two amazing committees, Host and Banquet.
Since early 2019 and under the direction of Co-Chairs John and Michele Simourian, an ingenious and hard-working Banquet committee has been diligently planning, toiling and preparing this beautiful evening for us to enjoy.
Thank you John and Michele. Thank you every single member of the committee. May God abundantly bless you.
A special ‘thank you’ to John Simourian for masterfully delivering the warm and pleasant atmosphere experienced and shared by all this evening.
Thank you Armenian Memorial Church Host Committee and Badveli Avedis Boynerian. In the warm, colorful and boundless spirit of the Boston Common, you embraced us in your midst with love, care and attention, extending every imaginable door to door service. May God bless your ministry.
Thank you Badveli Stephen Carlyle and the Armenian Church of the Martyrs. I know you are prepared to welcome us, the pilgrims of the 100th annual meeting, who will head tomorrow to Worcester, to remember, reminisce and praise the Lord for the birth of the AMAA. May God bless the memory of the visionary founders and your ministry at the Armenian Church of the Martyrs.
I salute and thank our globally dispersed staff and partners in the Mission who have traveled the Oceans to join us today.
I salute and thank the AMAA staff in Paramus, Glendale and Armenia who graciously stand behind every effort made to advance every AMAA event, activity, service or program. Thank you staff.
It should not be taken granted. I like to a take a moment and thank my wife Sona, whose un-wavered support and encouragement is what makes this ‘energizer’ going, going and going. Thank you Sona and thank you all spouses, men and women, who are equally in the position of support and encouragement.
I am often asked the question of what my challenges are on the job.
A challenge that I struggle with is the difficulty in conveying a well-deserved gratitude to righteous men and women who fly on the wings of goodness in life. It is humbling to hear these Good Samaritans shrug off such attempts, rejecting ownership of the goodness and the extended honor that follows, faithfully directing it to God, the spring of eternal goodness.
A challenge that leaves me speechless.
In two weeks a symposium on the Post Genocide endeavor to save the remnants of the survivors will convene in Armenia.
Organized by the Armenian Genocide Museum Institute Foundation and sponsored by the Armenian Missionary Association of America, the Symposium will honor and bring to light the many heroes who miraculously embraced the orphaned Armenian Children and widowed mothers, sheltered, healed, fed, educated and lovingly shielded them from the killing fields of Der El-Zor.
Standing tall among them were Rev. Aharon Shirajian and Rev. Hovhannes Eskijian the products of Armenian Evangelical colleges and seminaries in Turkey.
It is a historical irony that at the threshold of this symposium, the region witnesses yet another aggression by the same unabated power in the Near East, causing death and destruction behind.
Once again, anguished civilian masses, including our kin in Tel Abyad, Ras al-Ayn, Kamishli and other towns and villages in North Eastern Syria hit the road of deportation leaving behind, homes, orchards, acreage and belongings.
The plot to dismember Syria is beyond us. The clear victim is the Syrian people including the progeny of the survivors of the Genocide saved by Reverends Shirajian and Eskijian.
Despite serious obstacles the AMAA will reach out.
We will embrace our people, move the willing to the Homeland, Armenia and while Turkey destroys we shall build where they are.
God has called on the AMAA to face the spiritual and humanitarian challenges of our people and assume a leadership role.
We have collectively and positively answered the call.
And through your righteous giving you continue to make it happen.
You are an integral part of the legacy of Love, Faith and Service
As our eyes look up at the Great Commission of “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” Mark. 16:15, the march goes on.
THANK YOU FOR SHARING THIS EVENING WITH US.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT and May God bless you all.
H.E. Mr. Varuzhan Nersesyan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to the United States of America
Remarks at AMAA 100th Annual Meeting Gala
Boston, October 19, 2019
AMAA Executive Director Mr. Khanjian,
Distinguished members of the Board of Directors,
Dear members of AMAA,
I am very glad to be here with you tonight and to share the joy of the celebration.
- AMAA is one of the unique Diaspora organizations. 101 years ago when AMAA was founded in Worcester, Massachusetts right in the aftermath of the Armenian Genocide, hundreds of thousands Armenian men, women and children were still roaming in the deserts of Syria, Lebanon and different parts of Middle East suffering from hunger, poverty and the lack of any minimal conditions of life.
- 101 years ago when the founding fathers of AMAA came together in Worcester (Vuster), Massachusetts they knew that it was not going to be easy. It was not going to be easy to extend help to their suffering compatriots. But nothing could stop them. And they started this inspiring journey called AMAA. They did so and they succeeded because they had a determination and vision.
- Also 101 years ago these people came together because they were united in their faith, in their Christian faith. And they proved the Bible not only in prayer but also in their deeds.
- Thus throughout this wonderful journey AMAA has done tremendous amount of job to rescue and to help the survivors of the Armenian genocide.
- But the AMAA has redefined its mission when the independent Armenian Republic was born. Even before that. Back in 1988 when the devastating earthquake struck and destroyed the entire north of Armenia, AMAA was one of the first to reach out its compatriots.
- The AMAA stood firmly behind the independent Armenian Republic and the fight for Nagoro Karabagh liberation movement, by reaching out those in need and desperate conditions. And AMAA has created better future for Armenia by the principle of changing the world through education. I looked at AMAA map and saw that it carries out its mission in 24 countries. This is amazing.
- AMAA never rests and is always faithful to its mission. As recently as last week I received a message from Mr. Khanjyan saying that AMAA is ready to support any Armenians willing to be transferred to Armenia in the aftermath of Turkey’s recent attack on the north of Syria.
- This is deeply appreciated by the Government of Armenia. Last but not least, I would like to express my gratitude to AMMA for its support to the Embassy of Armenia and to the Permanent Mission of Armenia over the years. We deeply appreciate this.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
- All of these demonstrates that AMAA is a unique and deeply national Armenian institution, an institution that we need to be proud of. I am confident that with such a great heritage and with such a rigorous determination AMAA is going to continue confidently its mission in the 21st century.
The dedicated volunteers of AMAA have already begun preparations to bring ‘Christmas Joy’ to children in Armenia and Artsakh!
Every Christmas, the AMAA’s Christmas Joy Program brings many smiles and fun celebrations to thousands of children and their families throughout Armenia and Artsakh. From music and dancing, to Christmas plays and visits from Santa, Christmas is a happy and blessed time of the year. Please join us and be a part of sharing God’s love and helping to bring Christmas Joy to our precious children in the Homeland. For some, the toys and gifts may be the only Christmas presents they receive, as their families cannot afford to spend what little income they have on these items.
For as little as $15 you can help the AMAA continue bringing the spirit and joy of Christmas directly to these children.
Աւետիսեան Դպրոցի աշակերնտներու ծառատունկը
Հայաստանի անկախացումէն ի վեր, Ամերիկայի Հայ Աւետարանչական Ընկերակցութեան (ԱՀԱԸ) բազմաթիւ հայրենաշէն առաքելութիւններէն մէկը դպրոցաշինութեան ծրագրի իրականացումն էր Մայր Հայրենիքի մէջ:
20 տարի առաջ, ամերիկահայ բարերար Էտուարտ Աւետիսեանի հովանաւորութեամբ Երեւանի ՀԱԹ-ի մէջ (Հարաւ-արեւմտեան թաղամաս) ԱՀԱԸ-ի հիմնադրած Խորէն եւ Շուշանիկ Աւետիսեաններու անուան կրթահամալիրը իր յարկին տակ ընդունեց թաղամասի անապահով ընտանիքներու երեխաները, ապահովեց անոնց անվճար եւ որակեալ ուսուցումը: Կարճ ժամանակի մէջ ան դարձաւ սիրուած եւ գնահատուած կրթօճախ՝ իր մասին վկայելով գործով, իր փայլուն շրջանաւարտներով եւ հեղինակութիւն վաստակած անձնակազմով:
Կրթօճախի այդպիսի սրընթաց վերելքը ոգեշնչեց ամերիկահայ բարերարները եւ ԱՀԱԸ-ին՝ գերազանցապէս բարելաւելու դպրոցի շէնքային պայմանները: Եւ 2014 թուականին արդէն դպրոցը տեղափոխուեցաւ 21-րդ դարի շունչով կառուցուած սեյսմակայունութեամբ գերարդիական շէնք: ԱՄՆ «Կանաչ շինարարական խորհուրդի» (USGBC – The United States Green Building Council) հեղինակաւոր LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) վկայագրման պահանջքներուն համապատասխան բնապահպանական նախագիծով կառուցուած կրթահամալիրը իր 7 յարմարաւէտ մասնաշէնքերով Հայաստանի առաջին eco կառոյցն էր: Եւ բնական էր, որ շուտով ան դարձաւ «դպրոց եւ համայնքային կեդրոն»:
Առնօ Բաբաջանեանի 42/7 հասցէի մէջ գտնուող «կանաչ դպրոցը» յագեցած է արեւային ջրատաքացուցիչներով, «դալար տանիքի» շնորհիւ իրականացուող ջրապահպանութեամբ, տեսակաւորուած աղբահանութեամբ, ենթակառուցուածքներու մատչելիութեամբ, սեփական «արտադրութեան» պտուղներով: Դպրոցի աշխատակազմը թեւ-թեւի տուած բնապահպանական անխոնջ աշխատանք կը կատարէ, պետական, հասարակական, միջազգային կառոյցներու, հիմնադրամներու, «Հայաստան ծառատունկ ծրագրի» (ATP) հետ, իսկ ամառնային ճամբարի առօրեան նոյնպէս հիմնուած է բնապահպանական կրթութեան սկզբունքներուն վրայ:
Այդ բոլորը, անշուշտ թերի կ’ըլլար, եթէ չ’ըլլային ուսման հոյակապ պայմանները դիպուկ, տեղին եւ խելացիօրէն օգտագործող մանկավարժներն ու մասնագէտները: Անոնց շնորհիւ է, որ այսօր Աւետիսեան դպրոցի մէջ ուսանիլը պատիւ կը համարուի: Աւետիսեանի շրջանաւարտներուն դիմաց փակ դռներ չկան, եւ դպրոցի աշակերտութեան քանակն ընդամէնը քանի մը տարուայ ընթացքին հնգապատկուեցաւ, ինչպէս կ’ըսեն՝ կրթահամալիրի «դալար տանիքի սիզամարգը» կը գրաւէ մարդոց:
Աւետիսեան դպրոցը սոսկ կրթարան չէ: Ան մեծ, համերաշխ, հայաշունչ ընտանիք է, որ ստանձնած է հայրենաշինութեան եւ հայրենիքի բարեկարգման գործի իր բաժինը:
Avedisian School students planting trees
The Khoren and Shooshanig Avedisian School and Community Center, located in the Malatia-Sebastia District of Yerevan, Armenia and operated by the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA), has been awarded a Silver LEED Certification – the FIRST building in the Republic of Armenia to achieve such an award. The School was also awarded the LEED Earth Designation, given only to the very FIRST building project in each developing country to satisfy the USGBC LEED criteria.
LEED, (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an ecology-oriented building certification program run under the sponsorship of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), headquartered in Washington, DC. According to Mahesh Ramanujam, President and CEO of the USGBC, “the LEED Certification identifies the AMAA Avedisian School as a showcase example of sustainability and demonstrates the AMAA’s leadership in transforming the building industry. The USGBC congratulates the AMAA Avedisian School on earning the LEED Certification and thanks you for your commitment to our common goal of building a healthy, sustainable future.”
The Avedisian School was founded in 1998 as a tuition free Kindergarten for students from economically disadvantaged homes. The new K-12 School complex includes a Community Center and the Krikor and Beatrice Bilezikian Building and opened on September 1, 2014. It was the dream of AMAA Benefactor and Board Member Edward Avedisian of Lexington, MA to build a school to honor his Genocide survivor parents, Khoren and Shooshanig Avedisian, who had placed an extremely high value on education throughout their lives. The School, with a current enrollment of 552 students and 50 Kindergarten students, provides a free education for economically disadvantaged children from the Malatia-Sebastia District. It is operated by the AMAA and conforms to the standard of education as set forth by the Armenian Ministry of Education.
“The idea of the Avedisian School and Community Center came from the American and German Missionaries working in Western Armenia who provided free tuition and board for students during the mid-19th and 20th centuries,” said Mr. Avedisian. “My mother was one of those fortunate enough to receive this education. We decided to bring that same concept to the present but with an ultra-modern building based on sustainable energy in the Yerevan Valley where pollution was out of control and high incidences of cancer had been noted for many years. After being invited to a meeting with the United Nations Development Program in New York, our sustainable energy expert, Armen Gharibyan, and I were provided funding to visit the new UN European Headquarters Building in Copenhagen to see if we could get some new ideas from their massive ecological masterpiece. As it turned out, Armen knew at least as much as their experts and we returned to Yerevan with renewed confidence in the project. Today, the Avedisian School’s new approach to building using sustainable energy has captivated both the government and the public so much so that an entire industry is growing rapidly and providing many good paying jobs for those working in the industry. What started as a small step to the future, combined with over 300 sunny days a year in Armenia, provides the catalyst for Armenia to achieve over 50% of its energy needs in the next ten years. That, I am confidant, will be another first in the world. A major benefit will be a great reduction in cancer rates since the CO2 reduction will provide for much reduced pollution. Add to that the joy of seeing Ararat for most of the daylight hours will make my day and yours for sure.”
Joseph Zeronian, Ed.D., former President of the AMAA Board of Directors during the building of the Avedisian School in 2014, said, “It is gratifying to see the Avedisian School gaining honors in the Motherland. The School has met and exceeded the hopes and dreams of its founders and the Board of the AMAA that endorsed its establishment.”
The Avedisian School’s building team included Senior Technical Advisor/Architect Ronald Altoon, Architect Isahak Nersisyan, Construction Manager Faraj Yeretsian, LEED Consultant/Solar Energy Design and Implementation Consultant Dr. Armen Gharibyan, LEED Consultant AJB Inc., Conservation Advisor Dr. Kenell Touryan, AMAA, LEED and USGBC Liaison Richard Youatt and Legal Counsels Peter Kougasian, Esq. and Jeanmarie Papelian, Esq.
“From start to finish, this was a concerted team effort,” said Mr. Altoon. “Every role was essential, every challenge met head on. Armenia, under the Soviet system, was unaccustomed to addressing environmental or sustainable design issues so we were faced with many challenges. When Mr. Avedisian approached me about working on this project, I suggested that we accept the challenge to design the School to become LEED Certified. This was not an easy task to be sure. Mr. Avedisian became the champion of the LEED Certification goal. He advocated for this to the AMAA Board and sustained his commitment throughout the process. After our very challenging LEED journey, we have fulfilled our original vision. Not only have we achieved LEED Silver, but also LEED Earth.”
“The LEED Certification shows how the Avedisian School fits into the global sustainability movement and how the AMAA is an important innovator and leader not only within Armenia but within the region and globally,” said Mr. Youatt. “Mr. Avedisian played a very important role in the transformation from the immediate post- Soviet era to the present. His broad vision for rebuilding Armenia’s entire educational system and his early focus on LEED Certification were visionary at a time when Yerevan was ‘on its knees’ with water and energy shortages.”
The School’s construction process introduced a new construction culture in Armenia by keeping all of the local and international environmental laws and standards. The School achieved LEED credits for meeting requirements of applying efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, introducing a unique system of solar hot water, using proper polyurethane thermal insulation levels, applying efficient LED lighting and a proper architectural design with correctly selected windows and walls. The School also used light colors on the roof, developed lots of green areas around the School which reflect the solar irradiation as nature, installed rainfall collection areas underground, recycled concrete waste to make concrete tiles, and used environmentally friendly materials for finishing, indoor air quality and natural lighting.
“The Avedisian School is a source of great pride for the AMAA in Armenia for many reasons,” said Dr. Nazareth Darakjian, President of the AMAA’s Board of Directors. “The standard of education is very high in comparison to other schools in the area and the School provides an education tuition free in an area that houses families with modest means. Almost all of the graduates have pursued higher education in the local colleges and universities. At the same time, the Avedisian School building serves as a lesson to Armenia’s architects and designers on how to build a structure that is beautiful and yet efficient in the use of energy and natural resources. This is of utmost strategic importance for a country that must import sources of energy from other countries. Our congratulations and special thanks to Ed Avedisian and Ron Altoon for this accomplishment.”
Funding for the LEED Certification process was generously provided to the AMAA by the John Mirak Foundation of Massachusetts. The Mirak family’s Foundation has committed to preserving Armenia by funding organizations that focus on issues surrounding the environment, the welfare of children, autism, poverty reduction and education at all levels.
“When we were approached by Ed to help fund the new School, he gave us several naming opportunities,” said Julia Mirak, Trustee of the John Mirak Foundation. “Many of them involved funding infrastructure or playing fields, but the idea of funding the LEED Certification process was immediately attractive to us. Not only would it help the current students and faculty by providing a more inviting atmosphere in which to learn and teach, but the systems that were being proposed would enhance the neighborhood for generations to come. Our family is proud to have been able to help make the School a beacon in Armenia for sustainability, energy conservation, pollution control and environmental education and responsibility.”
The Armenia Tree Project (ATP), an organization headquartered in Watertown, MA that has been working to protect Armenia’s environment since 1994, also collaborated on the environmental education curriculum at the Avedisian School which helped secure the LEED Certification. One of the School’s projects, funded by the ATP, has been the green roof gardens which feature grasses, trees and vegetables planted atop the building which provide insulation, lower heating and cooling costs. It is also used as a hands-on teaching tool for conservation as the students help care for the plants and observe their growth.
“My first visit to the Avedisian School was in 2009 when I visited the old campus in Malatia-Sepastia,” said Ms. Papelian. “Despite the challenges posed by the unfortunate state of the building, Avedisian School Principal Melanya Geghamyan ensured that the students excelled in every area. I also learned on that trip that one of the School’s science teachers had received training on environmental education from the Armenia Tree Project and was incorporating it into her lessons. When I was an AMAA Board member, I was involved with plans for the new campus and we had many discussions on how to develop a green school. The building itself is a huge component – it had to be environmentally friendly of course, but Mr. Avedisian and Principal Geghamyan also felt that the students should be engaged in learning to preserve and protect the environment.
Today, five years after the new campus opened its doors, we can observe that it truly is a green school. More than 400 trees and shrubs surround the campus, many planted by the students with support from the ATP. Students plant and care for vegetables on one of the School’s green roof areas. They also create compost from cafeteria scraps, recycle paper, and compete to see who can make the most creative art from discarded items. The ATP recognizes the Avedisian School as a prominent partner school – whenever ATP wants to pilot a new program or project in its environmental education curriculum, Principal Geghamyan welcomes our educators. And, it is great fun for students to visit ATP’s nursery in Karin Village and plant trees each spring. It is fitting that the Avedisian School has received the first LEED Certification in the region. It sets the example for how schools can help develop the next generation of environmental stewards. Congratulations to the team who made this certification happen. I am proud to be associated with such a fine institution.”
“The United Nations Development Committee (UNDP) was also impressed by the Avedisian School,” added Mr. Youatt. “A site visit by a UNDP representative during the School’s construction and a meeting with Mr. Avedisian left the representative with a very positive impression of the visionary, yet practical, energy efficient design of the Avedisian School. The UNDP subsequently provided some material support for the construction and saw the project as inspirational for other countries and cities addressing similar challenges as those faced by the School.”
The students at The Avedisian School have greatly benefitted from the healthy and sustainable environment at the School, where they attend classes in math, language, science, geography, computers, art, music, crafts and physical education. They have exceled in many areas helping the School win many awards, including national chess and debate competitions. The School has also won several prestigious awards including 1st place in Nationwide Russian Language Competency, 1st place in Nationwide French Competency and a Gold Medal for Best School Administration. Since 2015 the Avedisian School has had 62 students graduate from the high school. This year all of the 31 graduates have been admitted to higher educational establishments including American University of Armenia, French University of Armenia Foundation, University of Foreign Languages, Pedagogical University of Armenia, Engineering University of Armenia, Armenian State University of Economics, Armenian Medical University, Armenian Conservatorie, Yerevan State University and Russian-Slavonic University.
“The Avedisian School has also benefitted from the LEED Certification in terms of being the most unique environmentally friendly building not only in Armenia but also in the whole South Caucasus Region,” said Melanya Geghamyan, Principal of the Avedisian School. “The whole building is an environmental laboratory. The students have been taught how to differentiate between litter and recyclables, classify garbage into special bins for paper, plastic and litter, how to save water, and plant and care for trees and plants due to the green roofs. Because of the LEED Certification and the Eco Project implemented at School, the students learn about composting and how significant it is to take advantage of enriching the soil with the principle of ‘zero waste.’”
AMAA-Armenia Representative Harout Nercessian added that “as a Christian organization, the AMAA cares deeply about the environment and protecting God’s land and resources. The Avedisian School and Community Center educates our students about environmental issues both academically and practically and encourages them to adopt eco-friendly habits and promote them among their families and friends. The AMAA’s trailblazing efforts at the Avedisian School have helped promote environmental awareness among the students and serves as an inspirational model to other schools and organizations throughout Armenia.”
“The AMAA salutes the pioneering insight of a remarkable group of project owners and professionals who rose above the cost and construction considerations to be the good stewards of the Creator in securing the LEED Certification and the LEED Earth Designation for the Avedisian School,” said Zaven Khanjian, Executive Director/CEO of the AMAA. “We have been entrusted with the welfare of our planet. The Benefactors, the AMAA Board and Administration and the faculty and students of the Avedisian School are taking good care of Armenia’s ecology while they toil to provide an environmentally sustainable Homeland for the enjoyment of generations to come.”
The Interns at Yeraplour
“Your Young Shall See Visions” Acts 2:17
By Rev. Serop and Alina Megerditchian
We were pleased to be asked and were blessed to plan, organize and lead this year’s AMAA Summer Internship to Armenia, July 4-19.
The theme of the Internship “Vision for Mission,” was based on Acts 2:17 “Your young shall see vision.” The purpose and the aim of this year’s Internship was to provide the youth of our churches from different parts of the world – the United States, Canada, Australia, South America, Europe and the Middle East ̶ the opportunity to learn about and appreciate many ministries of the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) and the Evangelical Churches of Armenia (ECA) in the Homeland, to be a time of personal spiritual growth through daily Bible study, discussion, prayer and evaluation sessions and to discover our rich Armenian heritage, roots and legacy through exposure to some significant historical, religious and key cultural sites of our beloved Homeland. The Interns accomplished these goals by serving and helping through different types of services, such as visiting, cleaning houses, cooking and having prayer time and lunch with the lonely, elderly and needy families in Vanadzor and Shiragamout, assisting at Vacation Bible School for children and children with special needs in Vanadzor, making jam (Mourabba) for Shogh Center’s kids in Vanadzor and working with children at AMAA’s Sheen Shoghig Camp in Hankavan.
Fifteen interns from eight countries bonded with each other very quickly and very well, as one family, and each day actively participated in the program and praised God for witnessing AMAA’s and ECA’s ministries for the children, youth, adult, elderly and needy of Armenia.
Interns toured significant AMAA ministries such as AMAA’s Avedisian School and the Shogh Day Centers. They met with local church pastors and congregations supported by the AMAA through the network of the Evangelical Church of Armenia (ECA). They had the opportunity to spend two days working alongside leaders at AMAA’s Sheen Shoghig Camp in Hankavan. They spent five days doing mission projects in Shriagamout and Vanadzor and they also visited cultural sites to discover their rich, Armenian cultural roots.
We would like to commend the interns for having the vision and implementing it through mission and, with their own money, sponsoring a child at Shogh Day Center in Vanadzor.
Also, we would like to commend the interns for sharing their pictures and writing their thoughts, reflections and daily activities and ministries on AMAA’s Intern’s Blog page at https://amaainterns.wordpress.com/
The following are excerpts from the interns’ experiences.
For me the Internship was such a great experience. I was able to meet new people and become closer with them. I loved the time spent with the kids at Sheen Shoghig Camp in Hankavan. I also liked visiting with the people and to put a smile on their faces just by talking to them. Overall, I learned I should be grateful for what I have and not complain, because there are a lot of people who are happy with what they have even though it’s not much. I want to thank all who prepared this Internship Program for us. It was an incredible experience, and I think everyone should experience this amazing trip and learn new things like I did. Thank you for everything.
During the Internship, I was so impressed by what AMAA ministries accomplish in Armenia, as well as by how the churches, against all odds, strive to serve the Lord using every resource no matter how small. I learned that unity is surely power, especially when it comes to prayer. A good team will always lead to great work and hence to great friendships and this is exactly what happened. I pray that God may strengthen us for further missions. We are called to feed His sparrows!
George Al Sahili
Over the two weeks, we witnessed both the tourist version of Armenia and the real cities of Armenia. I saw how terrible the living conditions were for many people and how happy and joyful these people were knowing that God is there with them. This trip also made me realize how fortunate I am to be born and raised and to live in Canada. It allowed me to reflect and be grateful for everything that I have, and it showed me what a big difference we can make. I learned about the different AMAA services. They support many churches, schools, and childcare centers. They also provide a lot of support for families who cannot support their children in a safe home. It was an experience that I’ve never had before, and I am already recommending this trip to others so they can experience what I have seen.
The Internship was truly enriching and life-giving. The balance between sightseeing, socializing and serving was excellent. I left the internship with a sense of fulfillment, being blessed spiritually and relationally. Three things I’ve learned. One, that I have a true family in Christ in my Evangelical Church in Armenia. Two, how proud we should all be of our Armenian Evangelical legacy and heritage. Three, how glad I was to see the good work done by the AMAA in Armenia. I am looking forward to seeing how I can be a part of that.
I participated in the AMAA Summer Internship 2019 for two main reasons: first to see my Homeland, and second to serve God in my Homeland. As a first-time visitor of Armenia, I had mixed emotions. I was amazed by the beauty and modernity of Yerevan and heartbroken by the plate houses of Shiragamout. But if you ask me if I would ever visit Armenia again, I sure would. The best thing about Armenia is the people. Their kindness, generosity, hospitality and faith are unmatched by any other nation. In our short two weeks of living and communicating with the people of Armenia, I learned a lot about how to be a better version of myself and invite others to be better by serving God through the people and strengthening my faith. I miss every single intern already and hope to reunite with them again in our Homeland. I’m forever grateful for this opportunity.
I had an amazing experience during AMAA Summer Internship 2019. We had the chance to visit some of AMAA offices/centers and churches in Armenia. And I’ve learned so many lessons during the Internship, that no matter what our situation in life, our faith and hope gets stronger by believing in God, because He will be with us every time we need Him. As for my impression? What we saw outside of Yerevan, for me it’s the reality, what we saw in Yerevan for me it’s a fake city.
Jack Mousa Oghli
The AMAA Summer Internship 2019 was a well-planned mission project. It was strategically designed to begin the trip by touring the beautiful areas of Armenia, display Armenia’s reality through missionary work in the middle, and end with a fun cultural education. Whether we had a tour guide or not, Rev. Megerditchian and Dr. Alina always prepared us by giving a little history lesson on where we were and why we were visiting. We learned about the Word of God and how it applies to us each day during our daily devotions, about local foods, the songs and dances, and the prayers sung throughout the trip. We learned how much the AMAA is doing for the Armenian people through educational, evangelical and humanitarian programs. No matter what family we visited during our missionary work, even in the poorest conditions of the real Armenia, God showed each of us lessons; lessons to complain less, to never take life and God for granted, to always put a smile on because there is much to still be grateful for, to work as a team, and to be giving. There is much that needs to be done now that we have learned our lessons and as we do our best to help our brothers and sisters in Armenia, we need to be disciples and teach those around us what we have learned through the AMAA Summer Internship 2019.
Since I came to the Armenian Evangelical Church in Buenos Aires, every day I dreamed to see Armenia with my own eyes. And now, after 15 years, I can say this dream has come true. When I heard about the AMAA internship, I said “yes!” after praying and finding God’s will. For years I read a lot about Armenia, its culture and habits, learned about its language and unique alphabet, its music, and I fell in love with all these. And when I arrived in Armenia all that was true! But it’s not only that…In Armenia there are cities devastated by earthquake, families living in ‘caravans’, people without jobs, without water or food, children with divorced or absent parents, or helpless elders. And that part of Armenia I didn’t find in articles, touristic books or newspapers. It’s the same country but seems to be not important to show to the world. I give thanks for enjoying the amazing and ancient culture of Armenia and at the same time to share and spend time with those who need company, a piece of bread, or even a smile. During these weeks we learned a lot of things, but overall that no matter the situations we are going through we must know that God is always present. If we have something to share with others, let’s not keep it to ourselves. God blessed us, and we must be a blessing for those who in need.
When I first arrived in Armenia for AMAA’s Internship, I was nervous for who I would be spending my time with and if I would enjoy my time serving in Armenia. I quickly became close friends with everyone in the group and knew that our time spent serving the Lord together would be fruitful. Seeing the condition of people’s lives, and what work the AMAA does, I was really affected and wanted to do more for these people when I returned home. I enjoyed spending time with needy children and families, especially knowing that I was helping and making them happy. I came back from our Internship learning so much about myself, life in Armenia, and the work of the AMAA. I’m so happy that I had the opportunity to come on this mission’s trip, made new life- long friends and learned so much.
I’m very thankful to God for giving me this special opportunity to visit Armenia and serve the Lord through various missions and activities. I’m also glad to meet new friends from different countries and feel like a family. In this internship I learned to always be thankful to God for what I have. I also learned to be a humble, loving and caring person. AMAA’s ministries and this year’s Internship will always be in my memory and I will practice what I learned in my daily life.
The two fruitful weeks of this year’s AMAA Summer Internship in Armenia were one of the best two weeks of my life. I saw and learned many things about myself, my Homeland, culture and people. Before the trip I knew very little about life in Armenia. I never thought that there are people who live in very bad conditions and are in need of help. I am very thankful that the AMAA gave me this opportunity to participate in this trip. I never knew how much they do for these people. This trip inspired me to be a better person and always be grateful of what I have. The Armenian people showed me what it is like to have God’s love. In their very sad living conditions, they were very thankful and happy praising God continuously and that amazed me, also inspired me to be like them. I feel very blessed and thankful to be part of a culture that puts God first in everything. It is truly amazing to know that an organization like this exists because it makes me think that there are still people in this world that do good.
During the Internship in Armenia, I was very happy for our successful mission. I visited a lot of families that were very nice and welcoming despite their problems and their situation. It was a wonderful experience that I was able to share my testimony with them, talk about God and His love for us and have prayer time together. I’m glad that I met and spent time with the kids. They were surprisingly very joyful meeting us and very respectful to us. During the two weeks, I learned that we can be happy at all costs even in very bad situations. This Internship was amazing for me, I met a lot of people, and I made new friends and had the opportunity to visit my Homeland Armenia. I want to thank the AMAA for everything they did for us and for every single project they have to help our people. I also want to thank Rev. Serop Megerditchian and Dr. Alina for leading this Internship.
AMAA Summer Internship 2019 was a very good experience to see the love of God by serving and helping as one body in Christ. I learned what the AMAA is doing in Armenia. We visited Shoghig Camp in Hankavan where the leaders were committed to teach the kids the Word of God by doing several Bible lessons. We also visited houses that the families were less fortunate, but they blessed us with the joy in their hearts and the faith that they had toward God that He is the eternal life. I learned to not take God and life for granted. Many thanks for this opportunity.
I am grateful I had the opportunity to be part of the AMAA Summer Internship 2019. These two weeks were two of the best and amazing weeks of my life. I learned many new things about my Homeland Armenia, people and their lifestyle. In Vanadzor and Shiragamout I was very surprised to see the way people live and how they struggle. But after seeing their situation I learned that I should always be grateful of what I have and never complain because some people don’t have a quarter of what I have. I was so inspired by these families’ strong faith in God even though they were not living in a great place. I want to thank the AMAA for this trip and for giving us the opportunity to see Armenia and for the work they do because it’s truly amazing and unbelievable.
The success of the AMAA Summer Internship relies heavily on the support, prayer, help and insight from the leadership at the AMAA Offices both in Paramus, New Jersey and Armenia. Special thanks go to AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian, AMAA-Armenia Representative Harout Nercessian, Senior Pastor Evangelical Church of Armenia Rev. Mgrditch Melkonian, Associate Pastor of Evangelical Church of Armenia in Yerevan Rev. Hovhannes Hovsepyan, AMAA-Yerevan Headquarters Office Administrator Anna Ohanyan, Vanadzor AMAA Office Manager Janna Danielyan and AMAA’s PR/Communication’s Coordinator Louisa Janbazian for their continued willingness to make this program thrive for the benefit of our young Armenians all over the Diaspora.
In conclusion, let’s continue our prayers that the good seeds planted in our interns’ lives, by God’s grace, may grow and bear fruits of lifelong “Vision for Mission.” May God continue to bless the AMAA and the Armenian Evangelical Church for His glory.
* Rev. Serop Megerditchian is the Senior Pastor of the Armenian Cilicia Evangelical Church of Pasadena, CA..
In 2014, on the eve of the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide, a Consortium was formed between six organizations to reach out to the children of the Martuni Community in the Chambarak Region. The Consortium has now expanded to eleven organizations to include The Armenian Missionary Association of America-Armenia (AMAA-Armenia), “Shen” Charity NGO, Children of Armenia Fund (COAF), “Development Principles” NGO, Fund for Armenian Relief, World Vision Armenia, Teach for Armenia (TA), World Council of Churches Armenia Round Table Foundation, Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), “Armenian Caritas” Benevolent NGO and “Diaconia Charitable Fund.”
In the first phase of the Consortium and in cooperation with Teach For Armenia, AMAA-Armenia sponsored a well-trained teacher to teach IT courses in the Martuni community of Chambarak Region for two years, both at the school level and at extracurricular and community level programs.
On July 26, 2019, the two Consortium member organizations solemnly signed their agreement to cooperate in the Kirants Community of Tavush Province, where AMAA-Armenia and TA will implement this program in the Primary School of the Community and will actively initiate community development and impact programs.
Peter Kougasian, Esq. Former AMAA Vice President and Robert M. Morgenthau, Esq. at AMAA’s 91st Annual Meeting Banquet at Hackensack Golf Club in Oradell, NJ
he Armenian Missionary Association of America is saddened to learn of the recent passing of Robert M. Morgenthau, Esq., United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York for nine years and Manhattan District Attorney for 35 years, and longtime friend and boss of AMAA Board Member and Vice President Peter Kougasian, Esq. Mr. Morgenthau, part of a prominent New York political family for many generations, passed away on July 21, 2019 in New York City, a few days away from his 100th Birthday.
“In the 40 years of our acquaintance, I got to know Mr. Morgenthau very well, and I can assure you that he was a very, very great man, was passionately devoted to the Armenian people and spoke at many Genocide commemorations over the years,” said Mr. Kougasian. Mr. Kougasian, who served as an Assistant District Attorney under Mr. Morgenthau, was instrumental in securing Mr. Morgenthau as the guest speaker for the 91st AMAA Annual Meeting Banquet, held October 17, 2010 at the Hackensack Golf Club in Oradell, NJ.
Mr. Morgenthau was the grandson of Henry Morgenthau Sr., a lawyer and businessman, who became President Woodrow Wilson’s Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1913-16. He came to be identified as the most prominent American to speak out about the Armenian Genocide and his book “Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story” remains one of the most historical documents about the Genocide and is still frequently cited by Genocide scholars. Henry and several other Americans formed a public fundraising committee to assist Armenians called the Committee on Armenian Atrocities (later renamed Near East Relief) which raised over $100 million in aid. Through his friendship with the publisher of The New York Times, he ensured that the Genocide received prominent coverage in the paper; The Times published 145 articles about the Genocide in 1915 alone. Countless Armenian families recall how their “Uncle Henry” personally intervened to provide for their ancestor’s safe settlement in America. Henry’s image appeared in a 2015 Armenian postage stamp series called “Centennial of the Armenian Genocide.”
Mr. Morgenthau’s father, Henry Jr., served as President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Treasury Secretary for much of the Depression and World War II. His biggest success was the Social Security Program; he reversed proposals to fund it from general revenue and insisted that it be funded by new taxes on employees.
Mr. Morgenthau served as a mentor to generations of public servants in politics and law. Under his leadership many notable Assistant District Attorneys served under him including the Hon. Sonia Sotomayor, Governor Andrew Cuomo, John F. Kennedy, Jr., Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Cyrus Vance, Jr.
Zaven Khanjian, AMAA Executive Director/CEO, and his wife Sona were honored to meet Mr. Morgenthau at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City, which he founded and later became Chairman. “We celebrate the long life of Mr. Morgenthau,” said Mr. Khanjian. “While we are sad to lose such a great man, the bright side is that our Creator gains his company.”
By Dr. Albert and Sue Phillips*
What a blessing it has been to be of service to the people of Armenia for the last eleven years and we thank the Lord for all who have ventured along with us and given of themselves to serve others.
This year the Armenia Medical Mission Team of 43 members and 9 Armenian translators staffed ambulatory clinics in two separate regions of Armenia June 13-23. The North Team returned to Vanadzor and Stepanavan and the South Team traveled to Sisian and Kapan, a new location. We are thankful to God to have had enough medical personnel to be able to split the team this year and thus give care to several regions in Armenia. The Medical Mission Team consisted of 7 physicians, 2 dentists, 2 pharmacists, 5 nurses, 1 occupational therapist and 27 willing volunteers. The clinics were set up in the Evangelical Churches of the towns we visited. Dr. Chris Tashjian, his wife Barbara, and Allison Phillips were the South Team leaders and without their leadership we could have never been able to expand as we had this year.
Patients came from local neighborhoods and many were transported from outlying villages to the clinic by bus. Throughout the course of the week, over 1,000 patients, including adults and children, were seen. Our dentists treated 450 children and educated them on dental hygiene. We witnessed the results of our ongoing treatment by finding less dental disease in the group of children who return each year. Similarly, our adult patients who have received treatments in the past, reported improved health after receiving treatments for diabetes and hypertension. Through the support of the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA), we have been able to give the patients enough medications to last one year.
While patients were waiting to be seen, our nurse educators gave lectures on various medical issues. During the clinic, patients were invited to attend church services where team members shared their testimonies and the Gospel of Jesus Christ was preached. After each visit with the doctor, patients were given an opportunity to have a prayer offered. Many were touched both physically and spiritually. This year, 98 families of young children ages 6 months to 5 years had the opportunity to participate in an Early Childhood Development Assessment administered by Dr. Allison Phillips, OTD. The results of this testing found that 3 of the children had developmental delays and parents were given individual counseling and instruction. We are happy to announce that the AMAA has made a large investment in the Medical Mission ministry. This month, the AMAA hired an Armenian physician employee who will return to our clinic locations to provide follow up and continuity of care.
The Medical Mission Team has committed to return to Armenia for our twelfth year in July 2020. If you have a desire to serve our brothers and sisters in Armenia or are interested in knowing more about the Armenia Medical Mission, please visit our website. The link can be found at AMAA’s website, www.amaa.org under “Projects.” Medical and non-medical, Armenian or non-Armenian speaking volunteers are welcome. We are humbled to see how God has grown the Medical Mission over the years. We can assure you that your generous donations to the AMAA earmarked for the Medical Mission go directly to the Armenian people and are only used for medications and supplies. Jesus during His ministry often met the physical needs prior to addressing the spiritual needs of those He met. We are committed to emulating His love in Armenia.
“The AMAA Medical Mission is an embodiment of both the reflection of Christ’s love poured unto our people and the spreading of the Word of God in action,” said Zaven Khanjian, Executive Director/CEO of the AMAA. “We thank those at the helm of the Medical Mission and the many volunteers who demonstrate their faith in action.”
*Dr. & Mrs. Albert and Sue Phillips are AMAA’s Armenia Medical Mission Team leaders.
On July 9, RA’s Chief Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs Zareh Sinanyan and the Head of the Office of the High Commissioner Sara Anjargolian received 17 Interns of the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) coming from 8 countries – USA, Canada, Australia, Lebanon, Syria, Switzerland, France and Argentina. During their 15 days in the Homeland, the youth will not only get acquainted with their Homeland but will do humanitarian service. They will stay in Vanadzor for five days to help and minister single elderly people, care for them, help them in everyday jobs and clean their homes.
After welcoming the youth, Mr. Sinanyan and Ms. Anjargolian spoke about their repatriation stories, their motivation to return to Armenia, and to live and work in the Homeland. Mr. Sinanyan mentioned that he lived in the US for 31 years, but after the Velvet Revolution in Armenia last year, he decided to return to his Homeland, to live here and to work for the Armenian Government. Ms. Anjargolian said that she had been living in Armenia for the past seven years. She founded the Impact Hub in Yerevan and began helping young starters to be established in Armenia. Referring to Diaspora Armenian youth, Ms. Anjargolian stressed that it is extremely important to keep in touch and share news with each other and to make suggestions.
The leader of the Interns Rev. Serop Megerdithcian, Senior Pastor of the Armenian Cilicia Evangelical Church in Pasadena, CA, spoke about the goal of the Vision for Mission initiative of the AMAA’s 2019 Internship Program in Armenia.
Mr. Sinanyan, commenting on the Interns’ visit to Armenia, said, “If you link your future with Armenia, then we have succeeded. The role of the Diaspora is not just to help Armenia. The Diaspora should also participate in the future of the Homeland.” Ms. Anjargolian urged them to come to Armenia for volunteer work, to work, to establish a business, to engage in tourism, or even work for the government, because the doors are already open.
The Interns then had the opportunity to ask some questions to the Chief Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs. Responding to one of the questions regarding the goals in the relations with the Diaspora, Mr. Sinanyan said that it is necessary first to improve and restore these relations, and to use the potential of the Diaspora for Armenia. One of the Interns asked how important the work of the Armenian government with the Diaspora is. Mr. Sinanyan said that now the goal is to link Diaspora Armenians to Armenia as much as possible, and the ministry’s reshuffling of the Prime Minister’s office has given a higher status to Armenia-Diaspora relations.
The Interns were also interested in the Commissioner’s opinion on the Diasporan-Armenian dividing line. “These divisions are the result of historical events. In reality, we are not different. The moment when we understand that we are Armenians and our Homeland is Armenia, the differences will disappear,” said Mr. Sinanyan.
At the end of the meeting the Interns emphasized that in Armenia people are warm, the Armenian heart is immediately felt and they are ready to share what they have. It felt they have fallen in love with Armenia.
Office of RA’s Chief Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs
Read the Armenian text here.
AMAA TO CELEBRATE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF ITS FOUNDING ON OCTOBER 19 IN BOSTON, MA
By Florence Avakian
“We’ve got to do something,” they said, and they did, and continue to do so, declared Zaven Khanjian, Executive Director and CEO of the Armenian Missionary Association of America, (AMAA).
The “they” are the dedicated couple, John and Michèle Simourian who with “commitment, goodwill and action” took devoted action and inspired the members of the AMAA to help the survivors of the 1988 earthquake in Armenia 30 years ago.
This couple has continued to dedicate their efforts for four decades to the values and work of the AMAA, an outstanding Christian non-sectarian organization.
2018 was also the 100th anniversary of the founding of the AMAA, a very symbolic date for this noteworthy organization that has been the “Good Samaritan” to many needy people – orphans, widows, the poverty-stricken sick and grieving around the world.
Their vital and dynamic work for more than 100 years will be celebrated in grand style at a banquet in Boston, MA, on Saturday evening, October 19. Co-Chairs of the banquet are John and Michèle Simourian.
In a brief telephone conversation with this writer, Michèle Simourian said, “Out of our great respect for its sterling reputation, and what it stands for during the past 100 years, it has been a privilege to be involved with the AMAA. Also our intense love for our Armenian ancestry has played a huge role in working for our people.”
The AMAA Orphan and Child Care Program, “a birth-child of the earthquake,” has continued to serve the impoverished children of Armenia and Artzakh,” stated Mr. Khanjian.
Michèle Simourian, an AMAA Board member, and founding Co-Chair of the Program, has “vigorously led and served it” for more than 25 years.
AN AMAA CELEBRATION IN ARMENIA
Last year the AMAA celebrated its Centennial in Armenia by inaugurating the new AMAA Community Center and Sanctuary in Gyumri which was the epicenter of the earthquake. “It celebrated the revival of Armenia’s historical epicenter of cultural heritage and intellectual treasure,” declared Mr. Khanjian.
The Center “will bring joy, add a smile on the faces of its children, and bring honor to God,” he added.
John Simourian who has been a long-time member of First Armenian Church of Belmont, MA and past trustee, will serve as Master of Ceremonies of the banquet. He revealed that he had become involved with the AMAA through association with his “wife’s leadership.”
This is “a wonderful and far-reaching organization, going strong for more than 100 years. It responds to the physical and spiritual needs of the helpless and the homeless,” he commented.
He said he was “looking forward” to his role as banquet MC, working with the Banquet Committee members and developing an interesting program for the October 19 celebration.”
With obvious emotion, Zaven Khanjian declared, “Our task as the blessed recipients of those who walked before us is set, and we are ready to embrace the future. With added resources, expanded services and multiplied vigor, a brighter future is on the horizon of the mission of the AMAA.”
The Thirty-Year Genocide, Turkey’s Destruction of its Christian Minorities 1894-1924
By Benny Morris and Dror Ze’evi. 656 pages, Harvard University Press
Published April 24, 2019
A Non-Review by Gilbert Bilezikian, Th.D., Professor Emeritus, Wheaton College
We Armenians have reached a point in the history of our nation when the survivors of our Genocide, our parents and grandparents, have left us for their eternal destiny, taking with them their sufferings, their sorrows and their secrets. We, their children, have often deplored the conspiracy of silence which, for whatever reasons, caused them to conceal from us the atrocities they had witnessed and suffered during the Armenian Genocide.
I must confess here how I cheated on my parents to learn what I had never been intended to know. The following excerpt from another book conveniently relates the story:
“Little boys are supposed to sleep soundly. I never did and, as an old man, I still don’t. The only place available to go to bed in the tiny apartment of the Montmartre neighborhood in Paris where our small family lived was the sofa in the front room. My parents were survivors of the Genocide inflicted upon the Armenian religious-ethnic minority while the world was busy doing war during the early part of the last century. World War I had become the occasion for the first occurrence of ethnic cleansing in modern times as it was perpetrated with consummate efficiency while the Western nations were busy destroying each other. A million and a half Armenian Christians were systematically massacred while the rest of the population managed to flee their bloodied Homeland. My parents escaped the carnage and made it to Paris where I was born and raised.
One of my earliest memories has me trying to conceal under my blanket the fact that I was awake when my parents and their guests thought that I was safely asleep. They met around the table, under a hanging bulb that cast a weird orange light reflected from the lampshade above it. They gathered periodically and, unaware that I could hear them, they whispered among themselves the horrifying stories of the depredations they had suffered during the Genocide as families, towns and villages. When they were all gone, I kept staring in the dark, eyes wide open, teeth chattering, tight little body, shaking irresistibly, deep into the night.
It is a documented fact that the survivors of the Armenian Genocide, now practically extinct, have not spoken to their children about it. Their silence has been explained as an attempt to spare their progeny the trauma they themselves experienced, or as their inability to come to terms with the magnitude of the devastation they suffered. But they spoke about it freely among themselves, as if attempting to glean from each other an understanding of what happened to them.
Frozen with terror, I strained to hear every word they spoke. While simulating sleep, I clenched my teeth on my blanket to prevent them from chattering and thus betraying my awareness. I remember hearing sobbing accounts about fathers being tortured to death in front of their families, of women and children forced out by the ten thousands on one-way death marches into the Syrian desert of Der-Zor, of churches set on fire with hundreds of refuge-seeking innocents trapped inside, of my maternal grandfather Garabed Kupelian, a beloved pastor, killed with eighteen Christian leaders on their way to a church convention in the city of Adana.”
(How I Changed my Mind about Women in Leadership by Bilezikian in Alan Johnson ed. pp. 50-51)
And now, decades later, this newly published book makes a thunderous landing on my desk. Hardly cracked open, it forces me to re-examine my understanding of the Armenian Genocide. Instead of the formal academic book review I was assigned to turn in, here are a few observations thrown together which I hope will motivate readers to grapple themselves with the story.
The Thirty-Year Genocide was written by a team of two Jewish professors at the Ben Gurion University in Israel for the purpose of transforming “how we see one of modern history’s most horrific events.” At first thought, the available Armenian Genocide literature is so extensive that it does not seem that much can be added to its understanding. However, the reader quickly discovers that the thoroughness and the minute attention given to the research challenges traditional insights and breaks new ground in several areas of Genocide theory. It is generally agreed that the designation “Armenian Genocide” refers to the campaign of spasmodic destructive frenzy that caused the Ottoman government to decimate the Armenian population that had occupied the land of Anatolia long before the Turkish hordes from central Asia had invaded it during the eleventh century. This book makes a persuasive case for the proposition that the Genocide was not primarily a systematic program of ethnic cleansing aimed at eliminating the Armenian population in one massive strike under the rule of Sultan Abdul Hamid. More accurately, it unfolded in three stages that led to the horrors of extermination inspired by the anti-Christian jihadic expressions of religious fanaticism that found their fulfillment in the policies of Mustafa Kemal. The book chronicles the evidence that the Armenians in Turkey suffered a protracted agony of extinction that stretched over three decades which culminated with the ascent to power of the founder of the Turkish Republic.
By cleverly exploiting the disarray of his country’s government, Kemal, the victor of the battle of Gallipoli, was able to exploit to his own advantage the turmoil of his time to secure a position of dominant military and political power. I remember sitting in class during the 1940s in my Parisian public school where he was depicted with reverence as the iconic revolutionary hero who delivered the Turks from the colonial ambitions of the Great Powers to lead his people from backward medieval conditions into the magic and the wonders of the modern world. Again, this book comes to our help by providing the elements of a realistic profile for Kemal that depict him as a somber, calculating, perfidious opportunist who manipulated the jihad option to bring the thirty-year Genocide to a climactic conclusion that was extended to include the Christian Greek and Assyrian minorities, and that surpassed in cruelty and savagery what had already been inflicted on the Armenians.
The existence of the Armenian Missionary Association of America bears witness to the emergence of a missionary movement among churches and denominations a century or more ago. Once the task of nation-building had been achieved in the Western countries, the eyes of Christians, especially Protestants, turned beyond their home-shores toward the spiritual, educational and medical needs of peoples on all continents that were devoid of the Christian message. As a result, missionaries from America and Europe were already present and active in Turkey when the Armenian massacres began in 1894. The authors of our book have taken time to describe and carefully reference scores of stories of interventions by dedicated Christian foreigners who reached out to harassed Armenians as protectors, intercessors, conciliators, providers, rescuers, first-responders, caregivers, doctors, nurses, guardians of orphans, chroniclers and gravediggers. This witness to the self-sacrificing dedication of the apostles of mercy gains credibility in consideration of the fact that it is borne in this book by two objective non-Armenian and non-Christian distinguished Jewish scholars. As a matter of fact, some of the readers who are holding this book in their hands at this instant, whether they know it or not, owe their existence to the altruism of those heroes who have now passed away in anonymous obscurity—many of them buried in nameless graves in the faraway land where they served. The authors of the book are to be congratulated for this tribute to the missionaries, carriers of mercy caught in a monstrous nightmare of rampaging inhumanity.
But primarily, the authors are to be congratulated for the inception and, after many years of meticulous research and writing, for the publishing of this book. It will stand in both the historical records of nations and in the field of Genocide studies as a monumental marker of excellence. The incentive for the commitment to this task could have naturally devolved from the chronology between the Armenian Genocide and the Jewish Holocaust. Indeed, the spacing in time of the two events calls for the comparative study of historical contexts and causality which is available in the book. But there may be more to it. It is well known that a number of Israeli intellectuals view the present policies of their government critically, as if calculated to build a capital of hatred so intense that it may not be containable through diplomacy. Like the Armenians were in Turkey, they realize that they constitute a tiny religious and ethnic minority surrounded by Muslim nations committed to their annihilation. They consider that their leaders’ policies of colonization through territorial expansion and military oppression do not bode well for the future of their country. They also realize that their reliance on American power and nuclear weapons would not withstand the attack by the dozen surrounding, equally armed nations, numbering half a billion Muslims tightly gathered together, three circles deep, as a formidable siege fortress with little Israel in the middle. Although its authors do not touch on this notion, it may well be that their book could serve as a cautionary warning to alert their people to the dangers that loom ahead.
Finally, the words at the end of the book may be the most important. Astoundingly, there is no discussion in the book about the multitude of Genocides that have occurred across the planet since the Armenian Genocide and the Jewish Holocaust. No suggestions are made for possible recourse to international agencies to adjudicate conflicts that become genocidal, for the recourse to sanctions and boycotts, and for the intervention of peace alliances. In particular, no instructions to bring to reason those guilty of Genocide except for confrontation with facts in the face of denials and cover-ups, in the hope that the truth can prevail and bring restoration to honor and to good-will in the family of nations. The dispirited mood reflected in this fish-tail ending of the book may find explanation in the last five words of the concluding sentence of the whole volume:
We hope that this study illuminates what happened in Asia Minor in 1894-1924, that it will generate debate and, in Turkey, reconsideration of the past.
Gilbert Bilezikian was born to Genocide survivors who escaped to France from their native town of Marash. His maternal grandfather was Pastor Garabed Kupelian, one of the nineteen ministers and missionaries who were killed on their way to a church convention near Adana in 1909. A native of Paris, he received his B.A. from the University of Paris. He then went to Boston to obtain the M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and his Th.D. from Boston University. Dr. Bilezikian’s professional life began in Paris where he taught seven years at the European Bible Institute while serving as Minister of Christian Education at the American Church in Paris. In 1961 he came to the United States and served for five years as Pastor of the Loudonville Community Church in Albany, New York. In 1967 Dr. Bilezikian went to Beirut, Lebanon to serve as the President of Haigazian University (then College). In 1971 he returned to the United States and taught at Wheaton College for 20 years until his retirement. Currently, Dr. Bilezikian and his wife Maria live in Wheaton, Illinois.
The 2019 Commencement Ceremony of the AMAA’s Khoren and Shooshanig Avedisian School in Yerevan was very emotional. On June 13, teachers, parents, upper grade students, representatives of the AMAA and the Evangelical Church of Armenia, founders of the School, members of the School Board, overseas guests, and representatives of various local and international organizations came together to bid farewell to the School’s 31 graduates.
Principal Melanya Geghamyan greeted the guests and expressed her heartfelt advice to the graduates. She thanked School Benefactors Edward and Pamela Avedisian (who were unable to come to Yerevan this year), the Bilezikian family and other Benefactors, Zaven Khanjian, AMAA Executive Director/CEO, Harout Nercessian, AMAA Representative in Armenia, partner organizations and the parents for believing in the vision of the Avedisian School, for their trust, and for always supporting the School.
The keynote speaker was Doreen Bilezikian representing the Bilezikian family. Her message was profound and encouraging. She spoke about the dangers, difficulties and obstacles in the crossroads of life, and advised the graduates not to fall apart, and to continue their road uninterrupted.
The graduates then stood up along with their Home Room Teachers K. Harutyunyan and N. Margaryan as their names were called one by one to receive their Certificates from School Principal Mrs. Geghamyan, AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian and Benefactor Yervant Chekijian. Then 31 caps simultaneously took off in the air.
The warm atmosphere continued in the School’s lobby, around the refreshment tables. Regardless of their spoken language, place of residence, profession and occupation, those gathered under the roof of the Avedisian School had much to say to each other.
“And let knowledge and love become the compass of your great voyage.”
Melanya Geghamyan, School Principal.
You may see the Armenian text and additional photos at: avedisianschool.am/am/commencement-2019/
Public Radio of Armenia broadcasts about Avedisian School graduation. http://www.armradio.am/hy/16070
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan received AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian on June 14. The newly appointed Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs Zareh Sinanyan also participated in the meeting.
The Prime Minister highly appreciated the mission and service of the Association in the United States and Armenia. Mr. Pashinyan expressed hope that the programs of the AMAA will continue to expand and develop in Armenia.
Mr. Khanjian noted that the Association intends to give a new impetus to the economic, social and educational programs implemented in the Homeland and added that, inspired by the processes taking place in Armenia, they are ready to do their utmost for the sake of preserving the Armenian identity and developing Armenia. Mr. Khanjian welcomed the Prime Minister’s decision to appoint Zareh Sinanyan as High Commissioner for the Diaspora and expressed confidence that with his activities he would substantially contribute to the strengthening of Armenia-Diaspora ties.
In the course of the meeting, Mr. Khanjian briefed the Prime Minister about the ongoing activities of the Association and its upcoming programs. (primeminister.am)
On June 14, Anna Hakobyan, Chairwoman of the Board of Trustees of “My Step” and “City of Smile” received AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian, his wife Sona Khanjian, and AMAA Armenia Representative Harout Nercessian.
During the meeting Mr. Khanjian spoke about his recent meetings in Armenia and his impressions of these meetings.
The group touched upon the role of the media and the fight against counterfeiting. In that context, Mr. Nercessian stressed that after the Velvet Revolution media activity in Armenia has changed. “The media has become freer covering any events and issues,” he said.
“I spend more time in the “Haykakan Zhamanak” newspaper, and journalism professionalism is of great importance to me,” said Ms. Hakobyan. “It is extremely important that the media provide comprehensive information, regardless of who owns that media. The role of free press is also very important as it is conditioned by the democracy and development of the state.”
During the meeting they also discussed the activities of “My Step” and “City of Smiles” and the possibility of cooperation within the framework of the Fund’s programs. (annahakobyan.am)
SUMMER IS HERE
and thousands of children in Armenia and Artsakh are looking forward to their first day of Camp where they will relax, enjoy sun-filled days and participate in fun activities for a little while, away from their impoverished surroundings and daily routines.
Through the kindness and generosity of our donors, the AMAA operates two Overnight Camps, one in Hankavan, Armenia and one in Shushi, Artsakh, as well as over 30 Day Camps in other areas of the Homeland. Besides nutritional meals, sports, arts and crafts, AMAA’s camping mission will also enrich the lives of the children spiritually.
Unfortunately, many children might miss this wonderful and memorable Camp experience without your help.
Please help us give our children some much needed fun again this summer and support the AMAA Camp Program.
A gift of $70 will help one child attend an overnight camp for one week.
A gift of $40 will help a child attend a day camp for one week.
The children in armenia and artsakh will never forget your love, your generosity or the very positive impact that you will have on their young lives.
On behalf of every one of our young amaa campers, thank you…
And have a wonderful summer!
…You are the light of the world…..Let your light shine in front of people.
Then they will see the good that you do and praise you Father in heaven.
Remember Burt Lancaster?
The boys of my generation should.
Burt Lancaster was our early childhood Hero on screen. ‘The Crimson Pirate,’ ‘From Here to Eternity,’ ‘Trapeze.’
We had no TV, no laptops, no iPads, no livestreaming on gadgets. The big screen was the only media where we scrambled to see the Lancaster movies as often as they were shown. And we loved it in the wilderness of our childhood minds. And then… ‘when I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.’
The issue of the AMAA News in your hands is rich covering:
Heroes discovered ‘when I became a man.’
Role Models who are the epitome of ‘train a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it.’
Role Models who have garnered the prize of graduating Sunday School where they learned ‘the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.’
Role Models who not only lived a life guided by the light of Scripture but applied its teachings in their lives.
Growing up, youngsters need a Hero, a Role Model, someone to look up to, someone to emulate, a Leader to follow.
A Leader, with indelible integrity, honesty, sought after and trusted.
A Leader, who despite a towering presence in society and prominent role in life, demonstrates boundless humility and modesty.
A Leader, who practices what he or she teaches and is a shining light of goodness.
A Leader, whose ‘good reputation is more desirable than great wealth.’
Reckoned names in God’s service match the above criteria. As a community in the service of the Lord and humanity we are rich because of the grace of such Role Models who have enlightened our path and whose memorialized or living legacy is what we invest in the lives of our youth in the present.
That is what AMAA’s mission is all about and that is where the focus of your support and the spotlight of our attention is now and forever.
Burt Lancaster and his acrobatic heroism still brings a smile to my face. But the glowing legacy of the late Dr. Mihran Agbabian and the shining light of Rev. Dr. Vahan H. Tootikian and the path they have carved as Role Models has impacted my life and the lives of the multitude.
‘Let your light shine in front of people.’
Thank you for your support and thank you Dr. Agbabian and Rev. Dr. Tootikian.
AMAA is proud to announce happy and joyful news about our long-time Board Member and Major Benefactor, Edward Avedisian
Commencement 2019: University of Rhode Island
Edward Avedisian is one of five men and women who joined 433 esteemed individuals recognized with the honorary doctorate degree; the highest honor bestowed by the University.
Doctor of Humane Letters
The son of Armenian Genocide survivors, Edward Avedisian grew up in an immigrant neighborhood in Pawtucket and graduated from the city’s public schools.
Avedisian was a clarinetist with the Boston Pops for 35 years and the Boston Ballet Orchestra for more than 40. He has performed around the world and was twice appointed a Fromm Fellow for Contemporary Music Performance under the direction of Aaron Copland at Tanglewood.
Avedisian’s artistic achievements are rivaled only by his philanthropy, including a $5 million gift to the University’s College of Pharmacy in 2017 in memory of his brother, Paramaz Avedisian, a 1954 graduate of the College. The pharmacy building bears his brother’s name. In addition to the Endowed Professorship in Organic Chemistry, he has established the Paramaz Avedisian Pharmacy Scholarship.
He also fully funded the Center for Health Studies & Research and the Center for Business Research & Development at the American University of Armenia. He is the founder of the AMAA’s Khoren and Shooshanig Avedisian K-12 School & Community Center in Armenia and was the sole benefactor and chair for renovation of Armenia’s Nork Marash Medical Center.
In 2008 Avedisian (BU’59,’61), was named Boston University Distinguished Alumnus and has contributed to the Boston University School of Medicine and College of Fine Arts. In 2016 he was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. He presently serves as a Board Member of Light Sciences Oncology.
Boston Orphan and Child Care Gala Honors AMAA Orphan and Child Care Committee Co-Founder Michèle Simourian
By Dianne Chilingerian
A perfect evening in early May enticed over 100 guests to the 2019 Armenian Missionary Association of America’s Boston Orphan and Child Care event “Changing Children’s Lives 30 Years and Counting” held at the Wellesley Country Club, Wellesley, MA.
This year’s gala honored the Co-Founder of the AMAA’s National Orphan and Child Care Committee and longtime advocate for Armenian causes Michèle Simourian for her magnificent work to inspire and spearhead not only the National but also the Boston Orphan and Child Care Committee for more than 30 years.
The evening featured a cocktail reception and a walk and talk buffet style dinner that fostered new connections and mirrored the amazing love, enthusiasm and energy of the evening’s honoree. Committee Co-Chairs Susan Covo and Phyllis Dohanian opened the evening by welcoming guests, and Rev. Dr. Avedis Boynerian, Pastor of the Armenian Memorial Church of Watertown, MA, offered a gratifying prayer of thanks.
Following a delicious dinner, AMAA representative Sona Khanjian presided over a special presentation acknowledging Michèle Simourian for her loyalty and faithfulness to the mission of helping children in need, and ending with words from scripture felt deeply by all in attendance, “…Whatever you did for the least of these…, you did it for Me.” (Matthew 25:40).
True to form, Michèle was humbled and overwhelmed, yet nonetheless sure in her expression of thanks to the original co-founding members—Joanne DeAngelis, Nancy Eskandarian, Joyce Janjigian, Sheila Palandjian and Jacquie Stepanian—as well as the many contributing members over the years.
Christine Kutlu and Jeanmarie Papelian presented a touching video that went to the heart of the need, and magically garnered over 30 new Sponsors for children in Armenia. Peter Covo, special guest Auctioneer, brought the laughter during coffee and dessert, as well as the bids on fabulous auction items such as a trip to Paris, Red Sox/Yankees box seats and SRO Boston Pops tickets.
At the end of the evening, silent auction winners were announced over bursts of joy, followed by expressions of warmth and love that seemed to coalesce over the crowd and permeate the long goodbyes.
The Westin Waltham Boston
70 3rd Ave, Waltham, MA 02451
Armenian Memorial Church
32 Bigelow Avenue
Watertown, MA 02472
By Joyce Abdulian
The joyous atmosphere at the Phoenicia Banquet Hall on Sunday evening, April 28, 2019 felt like a family reunion within a Celebratory Banquet. The evening was planned by the Merdinian School Women’s Auxiliary, and Co-Chaired by Ani Hanessian and Louisa Janbazian.
Louisa Janbazian welcomed the full house by quoting former AMAA Vice President, Peter Kougasian, Esq at the 30th Annual Merdinian banquet, “Why Merdinian? What is the purpose of a Christian, Armenian education in this increasingly secular world….? Without the kind of education children receive at Merdinian School, how will our children come to see, that Christian faith is not just tradition, or superstition, or ethics, …but rather that Christian faith is so important, that for its sake, their Armenian forebears went to their death. We are here today, because we want a School where young minds are at least exposed to the idea that right and wrong really are sacred commandments…”
Master of Ceremonies, The Honorable Alice Altoon, created a warm and informative atmosphere as she moved the program along; also sharing the family connections she has with her first cousin, honoree Dr. Daniel Abdulian.
After the singing of the American and Armenian National Anthems by soloists Arpy Aintablian and Raffi Kerbabian, the opening prayer was given by Rev. Hendrik Shanazarian, Associate Pastor of the United Armenian Congregational Church of Los Angeles. Dr. Nazareth Darakjian, AMAA Board President, congratulated the honorees for their many years of dedication to the Merdinian School and AMAA—both having served for years on the AMAA Board.
A full table of Abdulian/Atikian cousins, which included the honoree’s children, Dr. John, Richard, and daughter Diana, were all present to honor their Uncle Daniel and Juliette. Everyone enjoyed greeting the many relatives and friends present, making an evening full of warm exchanges. Juliette’s daughter, Tamara Jabour, of Nashville, Tennessee, was pleased to be at the event. Mr. Aram Boulgourjian, first Principal of Merdinian, as well as many teachers and parents were in attendance.
The booklet message from Dr. John and Linda Kay Abdulian and family is worthy of quoting. “In love and honor of Dr. Daniel and Juliette Abdulian for their long devotion and stewardship to Christian education and the Merdinian School. They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.”
Dedicated Principal, Lina Arslanian congratulated the honorees for their years of devotion to the School. She also shared a poignant account of her appreciation of Dr. Daniel as her personal physician.
Five year old Zoey Atachian, Merdinian Preschool student, brought down the house as she sang the Armenian song Menk Chenk Tzeker Sourp Kirkeh (We don’t leave the Bible) accompanied by her grandmother, Esther Assilian. Enjoying the limelight, she continued impromptu reciting a Bible verse she had learned in school. Vahe Snapyan, a dignified 8th grade student gave an eloquent, emotional recitation of Zarmanali Hye (Amazing Armenian) by Poet Gevorg Emin. Soloists, Soprano Arpy Aintablian and Tenor Raffi Kerbabian, presented a meaningful musical program of Armenian songs, the last of which was Dr. Daniel’s favorite, “How Great Though Art.”
Mrs. Elizabeth Agbabian introduced the honorees, depicting how experiences in their youth formed their life’s actions of dedication and service. She gave an interesting history of the honorees’ family lives in Kessab and Aleppo. She shared her personal and family friendship with both, presenting their life-long love and commitment to the C&E Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School and the AMAA. She also shared how the brothers, Drs. Daniel, Jack, and Misak were a trio of healing hands in the community.
Merdinian Board of Directors Chairman, Dr. Vahe Nalbandian, presented the honorees with a gift and Lifetime Achievement Award—thanking them for their years of generousity, dedication, and service to the School. The honorees graciously accepted the honor bestowed upon them—Dr. Daniel in his usual dignified manner. Juliette expressed her appreciation by personally thanking everyone involved with the planning and execution of the evening. It was evident how much the evening meant to both of them. Well Done Good and Faithful Servants.
Women’s Auxiliary Co-Chairs Ani Hanessian and Louisa Janbazian presented a $20,000 check to Dr. Nalbandian as the Auxiliary’s contribution to the School for scholarships and operations.
Dr. Nalbandian introduced Mrs. Azniv Ghazanian, a long-time parent of three Merdinian students—who will miss the school, now that her children have moved on. She lovingly spoke of her years with the PTO (Parent-Teacher Organization) and the life-long friendships forged. She shared how the Merdinian outstanding education within a Christian environment was of foremost importance to her and her family. Perhaps grandchildren will bring her back.
The “Kessab” element was very apparent. Rev. Serop Megerditchian, Senior Pastor of Armenian Cilicia Evangelical Church of Pasadena, shared how he is a cousin with the late Anush Abdulian. His closing comments and prayer came with a comment directed to Dr. Daniel in their own beloved Kessab dialect.
The devotion to Merdinian, not only by our honorees Dr. Daniel and Juliette Abdulian, but by the entire community, keeps the legacy of the School’s founders Charlotte and Elise Merdinian vital. These two sisters planted the seed for countless children to reap the benefits of their benevolence—and pass it forward.
Established in 1982, Merdinian is the only Armenian Evangelical School in the United States. The School offers a broad-based curriculum that fosters academic excellence, high moral values, and spiritual enrichment in the Armenian Evangelical tradition. The School strives to create a safe and nurturing environment where every student receives personal attention to become a successful and responsible individual.
I shall fear no evil, for you are with me. Psalms 23:4
Zaven Khanjian, AMAA Executive Director/CEO’s Message at Times Square, NYC – April 29, 2019
……Խոցեցին ու ջնջեցին,
Հատեցին հաստ ու բարակ,
Յօշեցին եւ տանջեցին,
Փշրեցին, տուին կրակ,
Ներկեցին ձոր ու բարձունք,
Քանդեցին երկինք մի լուրթ
Մորթեցին մի ժողովուրդ,
Հացառատ մի ողջ աշխարհ,
Սո՜ւրբ նշխար՝ շան բերանում,-
Ուզեցին մի հայ թողել,
Եւ այն էլ…….թանգարանում……..
-Գարուն ա, ձուն ա արել………..
The plan was to keep one soul
Condemned to a museum wall…………………
The Unsilencable Belfry
Well, Thank God, we are not in a museum.
We are here today by the Grace of God, who through the goodwill of Good Samaritans, saved tens of thousands of orphans and widows driven to extinction in the treacherous Syrian desert or on their way to their Golgotha in Deir-al-Zor. Unsung heroes who sacrificed their lives to save the remnants of an indigenous people uprooted from a homeland where their forebears were graced to call home for over four millennia. Heroes, who placed righteousness, or the faith they professed above the shame of adherence to the orders of a heinous Ottoman government set to annihilate a race in a genocidal crime against humanity.
Failing the evil plan, more survivors had secured a place in world museums.
On the Eastern front of our historic homeland, we also saw the merciful hand of God. In 1918, remnants of the survivors, having their back to the wall of annihilation fought the most ferocious and heroic battles against battalions of regular army regiments. Holding back no sacrifice and brevity, they won the battle of survival, creating the first independent Republic in the history of our nation in many, many centuries.
The museums of the world were getting tight for the survivors.
Today, as we commemorate the 104th anniversary of the Genocide, we witness another form of independence in the Homeland. Independence of the mind and soul to a fetterless horizon of creativity, dignity and the pursuit of happiness. Independence that tends to shatter the barriers of social, judicial and democratic inequalities. Independence that will anchor the faith and a conviction that the Homeland equally belongs to all where citizens equitably share rights and responsibilities, collectively soaring towards a promised future that will bring prosperity to the land and happiness to its people.
We reckon that our challenges have not disappeared.
From the existential threat looming on the border of Artsakh to the perpetrator’s continued self-imposed coma of denial to the lack of progress on the front of reparations and restitution and the absence of punitive potency in the slowly expanding wave of recognition, we have a long way to go.
Meanwhile, we’re set to pursue priorities in developing a strong and modern society that will defend the homeland, plow new economic frontiers, keep the faith ablaze, respect tradition while innovating culture, rear generations of alert, accomplished, creative and responsible youth with a strong sense of belonging.
As we vow never to forget the grief of our fathers and the pillaged ancestral homeland, we eye a crimson future that will bring joy to our children, prosperity to the nation and peace to the land where the biblical Noah’s ark rested.
As for the museums, we will eternally confine crime to its walls, never to experience it again as we echo once more Baruyr Sevag.
We are, we shall be, and become many…………
Եւ ինչո՛ւ պիտի չհպարտանանք…
Կա՛նք: Պիտի լինե՛նք: Ու դեռ – շատանա՛նք:
Times Square, NYC, April 28, 2019
Փառք Աստուծոյ թանգարանի մէջ չենք։
Այսօր, այստեղ ենք Աստուծոյ շնորհքով, որ «Բարի Սամարացի»ներու ազնուութեամբ, տասնեակ հազարաւոր որբեր եւ այրիներ փրկեց, որոնք բռնի մղուած էին Սուրիական դժոխալի անապատը եւ կամ իրենց «Գողգոթա»յի ճանապարհը դէպի Տէր Զօր։ Խոնարհ հերոսներ, որոնք զոհեցին իրենց կեանքը՝ փրկելու համար բնիկ ժողովուրդ մը, բռնագաղթուած իր հայրենիքէն, զոր իրենց նախահայրերը աւելի քան չորս հազարամեակ տուն կը կոչէին զայն։ Հերոսներ՝ որոնք արդարութիւնն ու իրենց հաւատքը բարձր դասեցին մարդկութեան դէմ ցեղասպանութեան ոճիրը գործող Օսմանեան հրէշալի կառավարութեան հրահանգներուն ենթարկուելու ամօթէն։
Բնաջնջումի ծրագիրը ձախողեցաւ եւ բազմաթիւ վերապրողներ տեղ գտան աշխարհի «թանգարան»ներուն մէջ։
Մեր պատմական Հայրենիքի արեւելեան ճակատին նաեւ տեսանք Աստուծոյ ողորմած ձեռքը։ 1918-ին՝ վերապրողներու մնացորդացը, ոչնչացման պատը ետին ունենալով՝ հերոսական վայրագ գոյամարտեր մղեցին կասեցնելով թշնամի բանակային զօրամիաւորներու յառաջխաղացքը։ Այդ փրկուած սրբազան հողին վրայ, անոնք ստեղծեցին մեր ազգի պատմութեան բազում դարերու առաջին անկախ Հանրապետութիւնը։
Աշխարհի «թանգարան»ները արդէն նեղ կուգային վերապրողներուն համար։
Այսօր, երբ կ՚ոգեկոչենք Ցեղասպանութեան 104-րդ տարելիցը՝ մենք վկայ ենք այլ անկախութեան մը մեր Հայրենիքէն ներս։ Անկախութիւն՝ մտքի եւ հոգիի, ստեղծագործութեան անծիր հորիզոնի, արժանապատուութեան եւ երջանկութեան ձգտումի։ Անկախութիւն՝ որ կը միտի խախտել ընկերային, իրաւական եւ ժողովրդավարական անհաւասարութիւնները։ Անկախութիւն՝ որ կը խարսխէ հաւատքը եւ վստահութիւնը, թէ Հայրենիքը հաւասարապէս կը պատկանի բոլորին, ուր քաղաքացիներ հաւասարապէս կը բաժնեն իրաւունքն ու պարտաւորութիւնը՝ միասնաբար ճախրելով դէպի խոստացեալ ապագայ, բերելով երկրին՝ բարգաւաճում եւ իր ժողովուրդին՝ երջանկութիւն։
Գիտակից ենք որ մեր մարտահրաւէրները անհետացած չեն։
Արցախի սահմանին ծառացած սպառնալիքէն մինչեւ ոճրագործին շարունակական ժխտումի ինքնախաբէութիւնը, փոխհատուցման եւ վերականգնման ճակատին առաջընթացի բացակայութիւնը եւ ցեղասպանութեան ճանաչման դանդաղ ծաւալման ալիքին ընկերակցող իրաւական ոյժի բացակայութիւնը, մենք դեր երկար ճանապարհ ունինք կտրելիք:։
Միաժամանակ, նպատակասլաց կը հետապնդենք գոյացնելու ուժեղ եւ արդիական հասարակութիւն, որ կը պաշտպանէ Հայրենիքը, կը նուաճէ նոր տնտեսական տարածքներ, կը պահպանէ անեղծ հաւատքը, կը յարգէ աւանդոյթները՝ մշակոյթը նորարար դարձնլու հոլովոյթին, կը կրթէ գիտակից եւ ստեղծագործ սերունդ մը, կը կերտէ հասուն եւ պատասխանատու երիտասարդութիւն՝ ինքնագիտակցութեան ուժեղ զգացումով։
Մինչ կ’ուխտենք երբեք չմոռնալ մեր նահատակներու տառապանքը եւ թալանուած հայրենիքը, մեր աչքերը կը սեւեռենք դէպի պայծառ ապագան, որ կը խոստանայ երջանկութիւն մեր մանուկներուն, բարգաւաճում մեր երկրին եւ խաղաղութիւն այն հողին, ուր պիպլիական Նոյան Տապանը հանգչեցաւ։
Գալով «Թանգարան»ներուն, մենք յաւիտենապէս պիտի դատապարտենք ոճիրը անոր պատերուն, երբեք չվերապրելով զայն, անգամ մը եւս վկայակոչելով Պարոյր Սեւակը՝:
«Եւ ինչո՛ւ պիտի չհպարտանանք…
Կա՛նք: Պիտի լինե՛նք: Ու դեռ – շատանա՛նք»:
Նիւ Եորքի «Թայմզ Սքուէր» հրապարակ,
Ապրիլ 28, 2019
“Wish Upon A Star….” Theme of AMAA’s Child and Orphan Care Luncheon and Fashion Show to Help Children in Armenia and Karabagh Held in Beverly Hills Hotel
The Crystal Ballroom of the Beverly Hills Hotel was the beautiful setting of the Armenia Missionary Association of America’s (AMAA) Child and Orphan Care Luncheon and Children’s Fashion Show on March 23. The theme of “Wish Upon A Star…” signified the important work that is being done by the AMAA to help dreams come true in Armenia and Karabagh. The Luncheon Co-Chairs, Diane Cabraloff, Gina Felikian and Sandra Kalemkiarian worked tirelessly to make every aspect of the Luncheon enjoyable for over 450 guests and supporters who attended. They warmly welcomed the guests and introduced the dynamic emcee for the day, Jacqueline Sarkissian, who is the morning news reporter for Good Day Austin on Fox 7. Before lunch, Sara Kalemkiarian Cipolla delivered an inspiring devotional and prayer about gratitude.
The Ballroom was stunning—the beautiful flowers were generously donated by Zareh David Ghoukasian of David Z Design, who continues to support the event every year. This year’s Silent Auction was spectacular as there were more than 100 items to bid on. Nicole Nishanian and Leslie Shahinian, Silent Auction Co-Chairs, procured many amazing items, including several designer bags, beautiful jewelry, and much, much more. There were many opportunities to help the children by sponsoring a child, providing meals at the day care centers, or by purchasing a Bible for them to read. This effort was coordinated by Maro Najarian Yacoubian and Tina Segel who organized the Child Sponsorship table and encouraged everyone to make a difference in the life of a child in Armenia. Many children were sponsored at the luncheon.
Joyce Stein, National Co-Chair of the Orphan and Child Care Committee, and her daughter Tina Segel introduced a video which showed the continuing need in Armenia and how AMAA’s important ministry has helped dreams come true for thousands of Armenian children and their families.
This year, the Committee was thrilled and honored that the talented Armenian designers of Closh traveled all the way from Istanbul, Turkey to provide the fashions for our first runway show. The Closh designers, Serli Keçoğlu and Selvin Parunakyan Özgül, have deep connections with the Armenian Church and surrounding community in Turkey and have always been dedicated to the Armenian cause. They hand made all of the dresses for the show and donated their time, energy and talent to create a memorable experience for all.
As in previous years, there was a wonderful Children’s Fashion Show which was introduced and coordinated by Aleen Oruncakciel. The Fashion Show was sponsored and produced by Bloomingdale’s Sherman Oaks. The Bloomingdale’s Sherman Oaks team, along with the Committee, worked together to make the Fashion Show a complete success
Sandra Kalemkiarian, who coordinates finances and reservations, works tirelessly every year to efficiently close out the Auction. “We are grateful for the very generous donations we receive each year,” said Sandra, “and especially for all the children who were sponsored.”
The guests left the event with a bag full of goodies, including amazing nail care products donated by Jessica Vartoughian of Jessica Cosmetics, dried fruit from LindaKay Abdulian, cookies from Leslie Kevorkian, devotional books from Sandra Kalemkiarian and bookmarks from Arpi Krikorian. The children each received a gift bag donated by Ani Zakari. The beautiful bags for the goodies are donated each year by Arsine Seraydarian.
In closing, Lori Muncherian and Arsine Phillips, West Coast Child and Orphan Care Committee Co-Chairs, thanked the Chairs, the entire Committee and all the donors for their continued support of this event for the children in Armenia and explained that “We are working to help change lives and give hope for a better future one child at a time.”
Easter is the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. It is an affirmation about life after death—an assurance of eternal life with God. It is also a statement about a quality life here on earth—an assurance of a better life here and now.
Undoubtedly, Easter is a unique historical event which affirms Jesus’ victory over death. That event, however, becomes real, relevant, and meaningful to those who bind their lives with the triumphant Lord. Only after the encounter with the risen Lord, Easter receives a new meaning.
That’s what happened to the disciples of Jesus. Although Christ had risen from the dead on Sunday following his crucifixion, they had a hard time at first to believe in the news of his resurrection. It was not until each in turn had experienced, in his or her own way, the undeniable presence of the living Christ that they were convinced. Each had a so-called “eastering event” in his or her own life. John’s and Peter’s eastering happened when they saw the shroud-littered empty tomb of Jesus. Mary found her eastering event when Jesus spoke to her in the garden. The doubting Thomas had his eastering event when Jesus showed him the marks of his wounds.
Once the early followers of Jesus experienced the risen Lord in their lives, they were completely transformed. Their sorrow gave way to joy, and that joy made them courageous and confident. This little band of once-demoralized people suddenly became brave witnesses of Jesus. Fearlessly declaring the Gospel of the risen Christ, they became a powerful movement challenging the Roman Empire.
As in the past, today also people can experience the eastering event of the new life in Christ if they accept him as Lord and Savior of their lives. Following that a marvelous transformation takes place in their lives. That decisive encounter will give them a new perspective. It will fill their lives with peace, purpose, and power. It will give them faith, hope, and spiritual strength to push aside the stone of self-defeat. They will no more be afraid of dying, nor will they be afraid of living. They will be able to declare with conviction; “Christ has risen from the dead. He is risen indeed!”
Rev. Dr. Vahan H. Tootikian
Armenian Evangelical World Council
Հայ Աւետ. Համաշխարհային խորհուրդի Ս. Զատկուայ Պատգամը
Սուրբ Յարութեան Հրաշքը
Յիսուս Քրիստոսի Յարութիւնը պատմական եզակի դէպք մըն է, որուն վրայ հիմնուեցաւ Քրիստոնէական Եկեղեցին: Եթէ Յիսուս յարութիւն առած չըլլար՝ գուցէ սոսկ կրօնական նահատակ մը պիտի ըլլար, բայց ոչ տիեզերական Փրկիչը մարդկութեան: Հաւանաբար ան պիտի ճանչցուէր իբրեւ հանճարեղ մարգարէ մը, կամ փիլիսոփայ մը, որ իր ուսուցած վարդապետութեան եւ համոզումներուն համար իր կեանքը զոհած էր:
Քրիստոնեայ Եկեղեցին քսան դարերէ ի վեր հռչակած է Քրիստոսի Յարութիւնը իբրեւ պատմական անհերքելի դէպք: Քրիստոսի աշակերտները առաջին վկաներն էին անոր յարութեան: Անոնք երեք տարիներ շարունակ աշակերտած էին անոր, լսած էին անոր պատգամները, տեսած էին անոր հրաշագործութիւնները, հուսկ ականատես եղած էին անոր խաչելութեան, մահուան եւ թաղման: Բնականաբար, 3իսուսի խաչելութիւնն ու մահը խորապէս ցնցած էին իրենց ներաշխարհը: Ահաւոր էր իրենց ցաւը: Վախն ու անոր առթած շփոթութիւնը ընկճած էին անոնց հոգիները:
Երեք օր յետոյ, սակայն, արտակարգ դէպք մը պատահած ըլլալու էր անոնց յուսահատութիւնը, դառնութիւնն ու վախը փարատելու, անոնց վիշտն ու ցաւը ամոքելու եւ անոնց խախտած հաւատքը վերակենդանացնելու համար: Այդ արտակարգ դէպքը Քրիստոսի Յարութիւնն էր: Այո՛, Յարութեան դէպքը, Զատկուայ հրաշքը, Յիսուսի աշակերտներու անձերուն եւ նկարագիրներուն մէջ արմատական փոփոխութիւն մը յառաջացուցած էր: Արդարեւ, իր խաչելութենէն երեք օր ետք, Կիրակի առաւօտուն Արեմաթիացի Յովսէփի դամբանին մէջ, ուր Յիսուս թաղուած էր, հրաշք մը պատահած էր— Քրիստոս յարութիւն առած էր…:
Յիսուսի թափուր գերեզմանը, անոր հրաշափառ Յարութեան դէպքը լիովին յեղաշրջած էր աշակերտներուն կեանքը: Անոնց յոռետեսութիւնը տեղի տուած էր լաւատեսութեան: Անոնք թօթափած էին ամէն անձկութիւն եւ յուսաբեկութիւն եւ խանդով ու աւիւնով, հաւատքով ու վճռակամութեամբ տոգորուած՝ յարուցեալ Յիսուս Քրիստոսի աննահանջ ախոյեանները դարձած էին:
Յարուցեալ Քրիստոսի քառասնօրեայ երեւումները անոր աշակերտներուն եւ հետեւորդներուն աւելի եւս ամրապնդած էր անոնց հաւատքը: Ա’յդ հաւաքական հաւատքէն էր որ ծնաւ Քրիստոնէական Եկեղեցին: եկեղեցին ալ, իր հերթին, ծնունդ տուաւ Աւետարաններուն եւ Նոր Ուխտի միւս գիրքերուն:
Զատկուան հրաշքը, ոչ միայն Յիսուսի աշակերտներուն, այլ ամէն դարու մէջ ապրող քրիստոնեաներուն ներշնչած է, եւ կը շարունակէ ներշնչել յաւիտենական կեանքի անմեռ եւ անմար յոյսը, թէ՝ կեանքը աստենական չէ միայն, այլ նաեւ անդենական: Կա՛յ նաեւ անդրշիրիմեան կեանք մը, յաւիտենական կեանք մը:
Աւելին, Ս. Յարութեան հրաշքը, ոչ միայն Յիսուսի աշակերտներուն, այլ ամէն դարու մէջ ապրող քրիստոնեաները ներշնչած է, եւ կը շարունակէ ներշնչել, ամենօրեայ յաղթական կեանք ապրելու վստահութիւնը: Յարուցեալ Քրիստոսի յաղթութիւնը կը դառնայ քրիստոնեաներուն կենսունակութեան աւիշը, կ’ըլլայ հզօր ուժամղիչը՝ անոնց կեանքերուն եւ կը մղէ զանոնք դիմագրաւելու ամէն տեսակ տագնապներ, դժուարութիւններ եւ խութեր: Անոնք, Առաքեալին նման, իրեն հոգեկան ոգորումներուն մէջ կրնան յայտարարել. «Բայց գոհութիւն Աստուծոյ, որ մեզի յաղթութիւն կու տայ մեր Տէր Յիսուս Քրիստոսի ձեռքով»:
Թող Ս. Յարութեան հրաշքը իր ներզօր ազդեցութիւնը ունենայ ամէն մարդու կեանքին, որպէս զի կարենայ լիաթոք գոչել. «Քրիստոս յարեաւ ի մեռելոց. Օրհնեալ է Յարութիւնն Քրիստոսի»:
Վեր. Դոկտ. Վահան Յ. Թութիկեան
Հայ Աւետարանական Համաշխարհային Խորհուրդի
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15
On Easter, as we praise God and sing “Alleluia, the Lord is Risen!”, we offer our prayers of gratitude for His greatest gift to us and for all things beautiful. Easter is also a time of reflection to consider all the gifts He grants us, many of which we often take for granted. It is fitting to give thanks, on Easter and every day, and remember from where it all began.
At the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) we are blessed to witness the gift of compassion through countless acts of generosity: the act of sponsoring a child in need, a volunteer traveling thousands of miles to administer medical services, a Pastor tending to the needs of a broken spirit, a teacher drawing out a student’s gifts and talents, or a scholarship recipient graduating and attaining success.
AMAA’s programs give witness to the transforming love of God. Our mission is to stand by those living in the humblest of circumstances, provide opportunities to escape the constrictions of poverty, and bridge ministries of education, social services and pastoral care.
Please consider supporting our Easter appeal. All gifts matter! Together, we can express our gratitude for what God is doing in our own lives and in the world.
We pray God’s blessings on you and those you love
Քրիստոս յարեաւ ի մեռելոց։ Օրհնեալ է Յարութիւնը Քրիստոսի։
Zaven Khanjian, Executive Director/CEO
The Armenian Missionary Association of Australia (AMA-Australia) set a goal in 2019 to raise funds to support AMAA’s “Shogh” Educational Day Centers in Armenia and Artsakh, which provide provisional services for underprivileged children. The Centers, located in Gyumri, Vanadzor and Yerevan in Armenia and Askeran and Shushi in Artsakh, support children 6-12 years old who are living in socially underserved families, providing them a safe environment during parents’ working hours. The main objectives of the Centers are to help these children overcome educational difficulties, grow personally, and become part of an educated and healthy society. AMAA Representative in Armenia Harout Nercessian was invited to Australia to share this important work done with the children in these Centers and in their communities.
On Sunday March 24, Mr. Nercessian spoke at St. Andrew’s Uniting Church of Longueville to a combined Worship Service with Lane Cove Uniting Church, where he delivered the message and made a presentation about the Association’s work in Armenia and Artsakh. A Lawn Bowls Fundraising event followed the Worship Service at the Longueville Sports Club. This unique event was the first in a series of events organized for this year’s AMA-Australia Week, which was well attended by young people and enjoyed by all.
Later that afternoon, a cultural event was held at Longueville St. Andrew’s Uniting Church, featuring the Zela Margossian Quintet. Their amazing ethno-jazz performance with a taste of Armenian traditional music was greatly appreciated by all. The group donated all proceeds from the Concert to the “Shogh” Educational Day Centers. The opening of a Photography Exhibition followed the Concert in the Church’s War Memorial Hall, where Raffi Elejian, a new arrival from Aleppo, Syria, exhibited his photos. The Exhibition was opened by the Past President of Uniting Church of Australia (UCA), Stuart McMillan and was open throughout the following week.
On Tuesday, March 26, Manvel Saribekyan’s documentary movie Map of Salvation, about five young European Missionaries who were witnesses to the Armenian Genocide and subsequently founded shelters for Armenian children and women, was screened at St. Andrew’s Uniting Church War Memorial Hall.
On Sunday, March 31, the AMA-Australia Sunday Worship and Praise Service was held at the Armenian Evangelical Church of Sydney in Willoughby. Many dignitaries, UCA clergy, politicians and representatives of Armenian organizations were present. The Service was led by Rev. Hagop Sarkissian, Church Minister. AMA-Australia President and Executive Director Rev. Dr. Krikor Youmshajekian offered the prayer and brought greetings on behalf of the Association. Mr. Nercessian brought the message based on Luke 12:13-21 The Parable of the Rich Fool. He also gave a report on the inspiring work that is done for our children in the “Shogh” Centers and the amazingly transforming impact that has been achieved in their lives and in their families, all for the glory of God. During the Service, talented and famous opera singer Natalie Aroyan performed an aria by Pucini, accompanied by talented pianist Alex Sahagian. At the conclusion of the Service, UCA President Dr. Dierdre Palmer offered prayer, led the Lord’s Prayer Hyre Mer and gave the Benediction.
Following the Service, the AMA-Australia Annual Luncheon was held at St. Andrew’s Uniting Church War Memorial Hall. The Luncheon was well attended and included politicians and UCA leaders. All enjoyed the delicious food and the wonderful entertainment provided by the Lane Cove Delta Jazz Band, led by David Cant, a member of St. Andrew’s Uniting Church. Rev. Dr. Youmshajekian presented a brief audio-visual report about last year’s AMAA Centenary Fundraising for the Artsakh Kindergartens and the completion of the renovations. He made an appeal to continue their support to the AMAA’s projects, especially this year’s fundraising for the “Shogh” Day Centers, including the Sponsorship programs. Mr. Nercessian outlined the work done with disadvantaged children in these Centers. Some beautiful handicrafts, made by the children of “Shogh” Centers, and the bilingual New Testaments were available for purchase. With the generous donations of our supporters throughout the week-long activities, $35,000 Australian dollars net was raised for the “Shogh” Educational Day Centers in Armenia and Artsakh.
During his stay in Australia, Mr. Nercessian also spoke at the Armenian Evangelical Church Ladies Group Worship Service and visited the Armenian Day Schools of AGBU Alexander School and Hamazkaine Galstaun College.
Officially established in 1991 as an independent charitable organization and registered Incorporation in Australia, AMA-Australia is a sister Association of the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA). AMAA-Australia is the brainchild of the former AMAA Executive Director, the late Rev. Dr. Movses Janbazian, who unfortunately didn’t see its fruition. It pursues the same aims as the AMAA, serving the religious, educational and social needs of Armenian communities in the Homeland and Diaspora.
AMAA Boston Orphan and Child Care
Changing Children’s Lives 30 Years and Counting
If you plan to be in the Boston area on Thursday, May 9, 2019, join us for an evening of food, wine, and fun!
The Boston Orphan and Child Care Committee is hosting a fundraiser at the Wellesley Country Club in Wellesley Hills, MA and Honoring
Founding Orphan & Child Care Co-Chair
with a special tribute to Boston area
Original Committee Members
There will be a Live and Silent Auction and Wine Pull! Proceeds go to the children in Armenia
By Dianne Chilingerian
The Boston Area Orphan and Child Care Committee of the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA)will celebrate “Changing Children’s Lives 30 Years and Counting” on Thursday, May 9, 2019 at 6:30 pm at the Wellesley Country Club, Wellesley, MA.
This year’s event will honor longtime advocate for Armenian causes and organizations, and Co-founder of the AMAA’s Orphan and Child Care Committee, Michele Simourian.
The evening will feature a cocktail reception, walk-and-talk buffet style dinner with open serve food stations and drinks bars, as well as silent and live auctions, surprise guest auctioneer, wine pull, and prizes to include international travel tickets, exotic hotel stays, sought-after sports and theater tickets, outstanding dining opportunities, and much more. To join the Committee, donate, or purchase an ad in the program book, kindly contact Dianne Chilingerian at 617-965-8009.
Founded in 1918 in Worcester, MA and incorporated in New York in 1920, the AMAA is a nonsectarian and a nonprofit Christian charitable organization that serves the religious, educational and social needs of Armenian communities in 24 countries around the world.
AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian’s message at the Testimonial Banquet Honoring Rev. Dr. Vahan H. Tootikian on his 60th Anniversary of Christian Ministry
Ամերիկայի Հայ Աւետարանչական Ընկերակցութեան Գործադիր Տնօրէն Զաւէն Խանճեանի պատգամը Վեր. Դոկտ. Վահան Թութիկեանի Հովուական եւ Հանրային Ծառայութեան 60-րդ Տարեդարձին Նուիրուած Յոբելինական Ճաշկերոյթին
Վերապատուելի Վահան Թութիկեան,
Ցնծալի պահ մը կ’ապրինք արդարեւ: Ուրախ եւ ցնծալի:
Հաւաքուած ենք պատիւ ընծայելու իր կեանքը «Տիրոջը այգիին» մէջ ծառայելու նուիրած անձի մը ծառայութեան վաթսունամեայ յոբելեանին: Ծառայութիւն մը՝ որ չէ սահմանափակուած բեմերու վրայ հրամցուած քարոզներու եւ կամ վանականներու հոլովոյթով մեկուսացած կեանքի մը ծիրին մէջ:
Այսօր հաւաքուած ենք գեղերգելու Յակոբոս Առաքեալի նման գործի, աշխատանքի, ծառայութեան եւ արտադրելու նուիրուած կեանք, որ կը հաւատայ թէ «ինչպէս մարմինը առանց հոգիի մեռած է, նոյնպէս ալ հաւատքը առանց գործերու մեռած է»:
Վերապատուելիին արգասիքին նուիրուած նախորդ գրախօսական մը կրկնելու գինով, արդար է աղաղակել թէ ժամանակակից Հայ Աւետարանական եւ այլոց ծառայողներու փաղանգին մէջ ստուար է թիւը այն հոգեւոր գործիչներուն, որոնք իրենց հովուական ասպարէզի կողքին, մշակած ըլլան գիր ու գրականութիւն, եւ սպիտակ թուղթին յանձնած ըլլան միտք ու կարծիք, բան ու բանիւ, գիր եւ դպրութիւն, յուշ եւ պատմութիւն:
Արդարեւ ակնարկ մը Վերապատուելի Թութիկեանի արտադութեան հունձքի ցանկին, ցոյց կուտայ թէ վերջին քառասուն տարիներու ընթացքին Վերապատուելին միջին հաշուով հրատարակած է տարին աւելի քան մէկ գիրք որուն վերջինը նուիրուած է վաթսուն տարիներու վրայ երկարած ծառայութեան եւ արտադրութեան մը ցոլացումին՝ ինչպէս նաեւ մտքի եւ հոգիի նոր ցոլքերու փայլատակման:
Վերապատուելի Թութիկեանի հրապարագրական յուռթի արտադրութիւնը բեղմնաւոր եւ արգասաբեր գրադարան մը հարստացնելու օրհնութիւնն է: Գրադարան մը՝ որ ընթերցումի հաճոյքէն եւ ընկալումէն ետք կը շարունակէ ծառայել որպէս կեանքի փորձութիւններու, մարդակային արժէքներու, եկեղեցական պատմութեան, Աւետարանական Շարժումի ստեղծման եւ հոլովոյթին, Հայ Եկեղեցւոյ Տօնացոյցին, ազգային պատկանելիութեան, Նոր եւ Հին Կտակարաններու սերտողութեան եւ տակաւին բազմազան նիւթերու շտեմարան եւ համայնագիտարան:
Պատմութեան, մամուլի, Աստուածաբանութեան, հոգեւոր եւ աշխարհային կեանքի, ազգային եւ զոյգ հայրենիքներու հանդէպ հաւատարմութեան եւ տակաւին այլազան նիւթերու շուրջ թուղթ մրոտելու լուսարձակումներէն անդին, Վերապատուելին իր վաթսունամեայ ծառայութեան տարիները յատկացուցած է նաեւ ղեկավարութեան եւ առաջնորդութեան մակարդակով, նաւավարելով Հիւսիսային Ամերիկային Հայ Աւետարանական Եկեղեցիներու Միութիւնը, Աւետարանչականը, Հայ Աւետարանական Համաշխարհային Խորհուրդը եւ այլ շրջանային Միջ-Եկեղեցեկան եւ Համազգային կառոյցներ, ձեռնարկներ, ոգեկոչումներ, յոբելեաններ եւ համագումարներ:
Վերապատուելի Թութիկեանի անձին, ծառայութեան եւ արտադրութեան մասին մտածելու մէկնակէտին իսկ, զիս առաջնորդեց մանկութեան, աւելի ճիշդ նախակրթարանի գրասեղաններու վրայ որպէս ոսկէ ապարանջան սորուած հետեւեալ քառեակը:
ԿԱՄՔ, ԱՇԽԱՏԱՆՔ ԵՒ ԿՈՐՈՎ
ԵՐԵՔ ՁԻՐՔԵՐ ԵՆ ՈՐՈՎ
ՄԱՐԴ ԾՈՎՈՒ ՎՐԱՅ ԹԷ ԳԵՏՆԻ
ԱՆՊԱՅՄԱՆ ԿԸ ՅԱՋՈՂԻ
Վերապատուելի Թութիկեան իր կեանքով, կենցաղով, եւ արդիւնաբերութեամբ կատարելապէս կը մարմնացնէ վերոյիշեալ երեք ձիրքերը:
Անոր ԿԱՄՔը կը հպատակի իր ամռակուր համոզումներուն, որոնք հիմնուած են նախ Աստուծոյ Խօսքին եւ ապա անկէ բխած մարդկութեան հանդէպ իր տածած սիրոյն: Վերապատուելին իր որոշումներու ծիրին մէջ կը հիմնուի խորունկ խորհրդածութիւններու վրայ որոնց արդիւնքն է ծանծաղութենէ հեռու եւ հաստատ կամքի վրայ հիմնուած դիրք կամ որոշում:
Վերապատուելի Թութիկեանի ԱՇԽԱՏԱՆՔԱՅԻՆ կարգապահութիւնը եզակի է եւ ներգործիչ: Անոր քունի եւ ֆիզիքական հանգստութեան ժամերը խտացուած են գիշերային չորս ժամերու եւ ցերեկային կարճ հանգիստի մը վրայ: Մնացեալը մեղուաջան աշխատանք է եւ արդիւնաբեր եւ իմաստալից արտադրութիւն:
Եւ վերջապէս ԿԱՄՔն ու ԱՇԽԱՏԱՆՔը տրամադրութիւններ են որոնք անկասկած կարօտ են շարժակի ուժի եւ քաջութեան: Եւ ահա հոս է որ անհրաժեշտ է մտային եւ ֆիզիքական ԿՈՐՈՎի ուժը, կարողականութիւնը եւ կատարելագործելու քաջութիւնը, զոր կ’արժեւորէ ԿԱՄՔի վրայ հաստատուած արդիւնաբերելու ԱՇԽԱՏԱՆՔը:
Ահա Աստուածային կոչումի կողքին Վերապատուելի Թութիկեանի գոհար ձիրքերը որոնց բոլորին գումարը հանդիսացող Աստուածամերձ Քեսապի ծնունդ Աստուծոյ ծառային Վաթսունամեայ ծառայութեան վաստակին առջեւ այսօր սիրով, յարգանքով եւ երախտագիտութեամբ կու գանք խոնարհիլ:
Ամերիկայի Հայ Աւետարանչական Ընկերակցութեան անունով կը գնահատեմ եւ կը շնորհաւորեմ Վերապատուելի Թութիկեանի տարիներու ընթացքին թուղթին եւ կեանքի ալիքներու յանձնուած բազմածաւալ հրատարակութիւններու, խոնարհ ծառայութեան եւ Աստուածահաճոյ կոչումի մը արգասիքը հանդիսացող կեանքը:
Վարձքդ կատար պատուելի:
Մարտ 17, 2019
By Joyce Abdulian
Even though we are about to enter the solemn period of Lent, the Johannes Brahms German Requiem, performed by the Lark Musical Society on Saturday, March 2, 2019, ushered us into the glory of Easter with its “Promise of Hope”—They will enter Zion with singing…Gladness and joy will overtake them. (Isaiah 51:11). God’s word came alive through the powerful, transcendent voices of the Lark Chorus, with the LARK Orchestra under the masterful direction of Maestro Vatsche Barsoumian. Considered his greatest vocal work, Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) intended his famous German Requiem to be for the living instead of the departed—a non-denominational statement of faith.
Following the concert, the audience, at the annual collaboration of the Lark Musical Society and the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA), at the stately Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena, California, was bussing with small gatherings animatedly discussing the majestic performance of the Brahms Requiem with exclamations of: “The soaring music transported our souls to the heavens.”
Soloists: Baritone, Edward Levy, Soprano, Suzanne Waters performed inspiring renditions of Brahms’ message—Your heart shall rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. (John 16:22).
The prelude to the Requiem was two other works by Brahms; Schicksalslied, Op. 54 (Song of Destiny) completed in 1871—is an orchesteral accompanied choral setting of a poem written by Friedrich Holderlin. Alto Rapsody, Op 53 written in 1869 as a wedding gift to Robert Schuman’s daughter, is a composition in a setting of verses from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, performed with a soul-stirring rendition by Mezzo-Soprano, Garine Avakian.
In a pre-concert scholarly lecture, Doris Melkonian shared how Brahms was greatly influenced by Martin Luther’s German Bible. He established his reputation on Ephesians 2:8: For by grace you have been saved through faith; and not of yourselves, it is a gift from God. Doris shared how the theme was drawn from the fourth movement of the Requiem, “And now, O Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in you.” (Psalm 39:7) The Promise of Hope is a greater hope, a hope in God, and the hope of eternal life through Christ Jesus.
The presentation of Brahms Requiem by the Lark singers and musicians, under the direction of Maestro Vatsche Barsumian, was the most moving experience that I have ever had. The music permeated my body and soul. As I sat there listening, I felt as if I were going to heaven on the wings of an angel. With the recent passing of Dr. Mihran Agbabian, a longtime supporter and member of the AMAA, the evening was dedicated to his memory. Ken Kevorkian, Chairman of Concert Organizing Committee.
Lark Musical Society President, Andy Torosyan shares: I am proud of the AMAA and LARK for bringing the community together with a magnificent concert featuring Brahms’ German Requiem. The performance was powerful and made us feel the music came to life and we were a component part of the experience that Brahms intended. Not only was it awe inspiring, but it ended in a peaceful prayer and reminded us of our mission to serve God by serving our fellow mankind. I am grateful to everyone who attended and supported the concert. As you know, nonprofits cannot continue their mission of service to the community if the community does not in fact support the nonprofit. I look forward to next year’s concert and invite everyone to come and celebrate the Lenten season with us.
By Zaven Khanjian
Walls are an integral part of our lives. They are all around us. In our homes, offices, properties, parks, gardens, parking structures.
The dictionary defines wall as ‘a high, thick masonry structure…. chiefly for defense.’
God did not create the wall.
Early man created the necessity as a result of his behavior and need for protection, defense and convenience and thus built the wall. Society evolved to create larger, longer ramparts which surrounded cities and towns.
It is ironic that while walls protect, they also hold an adverse function. Walls separate, block, impede, obstruct and restrict.
Civilization knocked down the walls, inhabiting hills and prairies, liberating imagination, stimulating creativity and confining walls to touristic attractions.
Or so we thought.
Walls do not come in just brick and mortar. They bear many ugly faces. The inhumanity of man has applied mental, psychological and physiological forms of walls. Religious persecution, slavery, poverty, racial discrimination, occupation, oppression, censure, sanctions, blockade, hate and abuse are all ugly faces of walls.
On my home office desk I have a stunning photo of my father at age 14 covered in rags while enrolled as the only Christian Armenian in a Turkish school. Intimidated, bullied and constantly spat at, my father spun out of the persecution walls into the welcoming arms of his Syrian hosts and, like many of his orphaned kin, proudly advanced himself.
A friend of the AMAA has reminded me how much he is agonized, but also greatly inspired, by picturing his father confined to the walls of refuge, orphaned and homeless, and vows to liberate children from the constrains of their miseries.
A dignified professional imprisoned in an open solitude, tortured by the loss of loved ones, passionately cries for the safety of persecuted Christians, generously contributing the means.
A super hero with a golden heart can’t wait to see a Child Sponsorship posting on AMAA’s Donor Shop and then grab the opportunity to dignify a child with improved living conditions.
An angelic anonymous couple, humbled by the love of God, magnanimously contribute to the AMAA and disseminate the Word of God and illuminate lives in all aspects in areas darkened by conditions beyond one’s control.
A family who unselfishly and generously pursue the passion of giving to educate the youth, arm them with a degree in higher education and lead them to independence in the arena of life.
These are true examples of breaking down walls.
Today, in 2019, we are at the dawn of the AMAA’s second century leaving behind a Century of Faith, Love and Service. The legacy of Faith, Love and Service is perpetual.
Our vision during the AMAA’s second century is to demolish walls of poverty, shatter obstructions and hindrance to education, spread the Word beyond limits, emancipate imagination and to thrust our youth into open fields of creativity, soaring high, taking the lead and perpetuating the mission.
We are blessed with your generous support each and every day and pray that there will be no more walls on the path of AMAA’s important mission.
by Rev. Nerses Balabanian Pastor of Pilgrim Armenian Congregational Church, Fresno, CA
Whose Mark Do We Bear?
They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. Rev. 20:4b NIV
The verse you just read is quoted from the Book of Revelation. Apostle John wrote down his vision of the Judgment Day. He described the people who suffered and lost their lives for the witness of their Lord Jesus Christ, who refused to worship the beast or his image, and who did not compromise their faith. This cost them their lives, and they were given the glorious crown.
Today, 1568 years later, we celebrate the memory of Vartan and his friends. Even though thousands fell on that day in the Battle of Avarayr, yet we consider it a feast and not day of mourning. It is a feast because what happened in the Battle of Avarayr was not an end as the Persians thought it would be. It was a beginning, a continuation of what Thaddeus, Bartholomew, and St. Krikor Lousavorich sowed into the hearts of the Armenian people.
There are 150 years between 301 and 451 AD, i.e. between the Armenians accepting Christianity and being ready to die for their faith. They were not willing to bow to the “beast” and accept his “mark.” Christianity had become real in their lives. Martyrdom is a life of testimony. The Armenians were able to worship and read the Bible in their mother tongue especially since the Armenian Alphabet was developed in 405 AD. The Armenians studied their faith and learned that Christ had set them free from sin. They wanted to live in freedom and worship the God they loved.
What do we learn from these martyrs today?
Vartan and his friends bore marks: In his speech, Vartan mentioned,
“each of us carries numerous injuries and scars on our bodies …”
Whose mark do we bear today? Whose impact shows in our lives?
We often meet people who have a tattoo on their body as a sign or a remembrance of something meaningful for them. Some wear crosses as a symbol of their faith. Some wear scars of war. However, Vartan says, “…those courageous acts I count useless because all of them will vanish.” For Vartan, those were useless because they would fade away.
The Christian mark that Vartan and his friends bore was their testimonial life. A life that was ready to say NO to the Persian gods and YES to Jesus Christ.
Today, we Armenians are able to continue worshiping our Lord Jesus Christ and pray to Him because of people like Vartan and his friends who chose to not give up their faith, their Christian values, and the freedom of religion. Our message after more than fifteen centuries is to continue in the same spirit. We need to bear the mark of our Lord Jesus Christ by living our faith boldly and by serving and witnessing for Him.
Փողոցին մէջ եթէ երբեք հանդիպիք,
Լակոտ մը մերկ, սեւ ու խոշոր աչքերով,
Որ կը շրջի սուլելով «Մեր Հայրենիք»,
Բերէք ինձ զայն, Բերէք իմ գիրկըս սիրով։
Հայր Վահան Յովհաննէսեան
«Բերէք Ինձ Զայն» 1936
Հայաստանի Հանրապետութեան Օրհներգը փոխելու նիւթը կրկին սեղանի վրայ է:
Հայաստանի ներկայ իշխանութիւնները քննարկութեան առարկայ դարձուցած են Օրհներգի փոփոխութիւնը կարծիք հայցելով զանազան աղբիւրներէ:
Ահաւասիկ իմ կարծիքս:
Որեւէ մէկուն անակնկալ պէտք չէ թուի այն իրողութիւնը թէ ընդհանրապէս հայութիւնը յուզող հարցերու մէջ երբեմն տեսակէտի տարբերութիւն եւ զանազանութիւն կայ Սփիւռքահայուն եւ հայրենի հողին վրայ հասակ առնող մեր արենակիցներու մէջ: Ահազանգ հնչեցնող երեւոյթ մը պէտք չէ համարել այս, նկատի ունենալով այն բոլոր մտածողութեան եւ կարծիքներու զանազանութիւնը զոր գոյութիւն ունի թէ Սփիւռքեան իրականութեան մէջ ինքնին եւ մանաւանդ աւելիով իսկ ՀՀ քաղաքացիներու մտածողութեան եւ տեսակետներու մէջ:
Անխախտ իրողութիւն է թէ հազարամեայ հայրենիք, երդիք եւ ծննդավայր կորսնցնող սփիւռքահայը, յետ եղեռնեան իր անխարիսխ տագնապին մէջ իր գոյութեան երաշխիքը եւ տոկալու աւիշը գտաւ ազատ եւ անկախ հայրենիքի մը երազին մէջ: Երազ մը, որուն խորհրդանիշը հանդիսացաւ առաջին հանրապետութեան զինն, դրօշն ու օրհներգը: Որբացած «լակոտ»ները եւ անոնց յետնեալ սերունդները չդադրեցան շրջիլ սփիւռքեան «օտար ու խորթ» ափերու վրայ սուլելով եւ երազելով «Մեր Հայրենիք»:
Այսօր՝ երբ հրաշքը կատարուած է եւ մենք որպէս կորսուած Արեւմտահայաստանի ժառանգորդներ, մօտ 28 տարիէ իվեր կը վայելենք ազատ ու անկախ Հայրենիքի մը կատարելագործուած երազը՝ մեզ հայրենի սրբազան հողին, փրկուած շերտ մը Հայրենիքին եւ զայն կերտող բոլոր նահատակ մարտիկներու յիշատակին հետ շաղկապող ոգին խտացուած է այս խորհրդանիշներուն մէջ: Դրօ՛շ, Օրհնե՛րգ եւ Զինանշա՛ն:
Ինչո՞ւ խախտել այս ոգեկան հիմերը: Ինչո՞ւ կտրել հայրենիքի մը հետ մեզ նոյնացնող այս կապը: Ինչո՞ւ զրկել սփիւռքահայը, պատմութենէն ծորող եւ զինք սնուցանող աւիշէն:
Գուցէ «Մեր Հայրենիք»ի երաժշտական կշռոյթը գերազանցող հրաշք յօրինողներ ունի մեր հայրենիքը:
Գուցէ մեր մրրկաշունչ կամ հայրենապաշտ բանաստեղծները հրաշագործ ստեղծագործութիւններ երկնած են, զոր կրնայ փոխարինել «արտասուքով լուացուած» դրօշի օրհներգը:
Գուցէ եւ գուցէ:
Բայց մենք ամէն առիթ եւ պատեհութիւն ունինք վայելելու այդ ստեղծագործութիւնները, հպարտանալու անոնցմով, անգիր եւ բարձրաղաղակ երգելու կամ ասմունքելու զանոնք: Այդ ամէնը, հայրենիքէն սկսած, մինչեւ երկրագունդի ամէն մի անկիւն հաւաքուած Հայկի զաւակներու խմբակի մը հագագէն բարձրացող ձայն է երգի, երկի կամ աղօթքի ամէն օր:
Մեր անցեալէն բխած, մեզ անցեալին հետ շաղկապած եւ մեզ յարատեւօրէն անխարիսխ, անհասցէ եւ անհայրենիք «լակոտ»ի մը հոգեբանութենէն վեր բարձրացնող այս խորհրդանիշ օրհներգը թող շարունակէ համաշունչ հնչել եւ իր քոյր՝ փողփողող եռագոյն խորհրդանիշին հետ հաւաքել իր որդիքը Արարատի լանջերուն վրայ:
Այս բոլորը կ’ուղղեմ մեր Հայրենի իշխանութիւններուն, եղբայրական ոգիով, յարգելով ոմանց խորթ թուող այս մտածելակերպը, առանց արհամարհելու փոփոխութեան տուն տուող ոմանց տրամաբանութիւնը եւ հաստատ գիտնալով՝ թէ մեր բոլորին հայրենասիրութիւնը նժարի վրայ պակաս կշռող պատճառներու փնտրտուքը, կասկածն ու ամբաստանութիւնը անհեթեթ է, անտեղի եւ աւելորդ:
«Մեր Հայրենիք»ի ամէն մի խազ թող շոյէ մեզ իր որդիասէր շունչով եւ ծնողի մը գուրգուրանքով տուն կանչէ մեզմէ ամէն մէկը, հայցելով՝
«Բերէք ինձ զայն, բերէք իմ գիրկըս սիրով»։
Զաւէն Խանճեան, Գործադիր Տնօրէն
Փետրուար 5, 2019
Մեր Հայրենիք, ազատ անկախ,
Որ ապրել է դարե դար
Իր որդիքը արդ կանչում են
Ազատ, անկախ Հայաստան։
Ահա եղբայր քեզ մի դրոշ,
Զոր իմ ձեռքով գործեցի
Գիշերները ես քուն չեղա,
Նայիր նրան երեք գույնով,
Նվիրական մեկ նշան
Թող փողփողի թշնամու դեմ
Թող միշտ պանծա Հայաստան։
Ամենայն տեղ մահը մի է
Մարդ մի անգամ պի՛տ մեռնի,
Բայց երանի՝ որ յուր ազգի
OPEN TO HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE STUDENTS
The James G. Jameson Essay Contest, sponsored by the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA), runs every academic year starting in October, and is financed from the income of a special fund established by Mr. and Mrs. James G. Jameson of Brookline, MA.
All Armenian and part-Armenian students attending schools in North America are eligible. Only unpublished essays are accepted, which are written in English and have a length of 1,000 to 2,000 words.
The topics of the Contest are required to touch upon some aspect of Armenian heritage and experience, such as religion, history, culture, literature, language, art, architecture, geography, and economics.
Essays are judged on the basis of merit in such criteria as content, style, logic and reasoning, coherence, and usage.
Awards for the Contest are made in two categories: College/University contestants, and High School contestants.
The deadline for entries is May 1, 2019.
Entries and/or inquiries should be directed to: James G. Jameson Essay Contest, c/o of The Armenian Missionary Association of America, 31 West Century Road, Paramus, NJ 07652 or by email email@example.com
The Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) is now accepting applications for the 2019-2020 academic year for full-time undergraduate students of Armenian descent studying in North America.
Students interested in applying for scholarships should personally request the Application Form by calling 201-265-2607 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous recipients must reapply each year. It is the responsibility of the student to request an application form.
Incomplete items and/ or missing documents will automatically disqualify an applicant.
All completed application forms must reach the AMAA Headquarters postmarked not later than May 01, 2019.
Awards are made by the Scholarship Committee, which takes into consideration the applicant’s grades, financial need, the tuition cost of the college he/she will attend, accomplishments, future leadership potential and good character references. Please note, Scholarship Grant checks are issued only to academic Institutions and not individuals.
On Thursday, January 24, Artsakh Republic Minister of State Grigory Martirosyan received AMAA-Armenia Representative Harout Nersessian, AMAA Benefactor Bryan Bedrosian, and AMAA-Artsakh Branch Representative Victor Karapetyan.
Mr. Martirosyan values the AMAA’s work in Artsakh and expressed hope that the AMAA’s continuity will contribute to the upbringing and education of the younger generation. “I would like to highlight the role of the AMAA Camps in the daily lives of our children,” stated the Minister.
Mr. Nercessian thanked State Minister Martirosyan for his warm welcome and presented in detail over a dozen AMAA activities in Artsakh, highlighting in particular the role of the “Shogh” Day Centers.
At the conclusion of the meeting all present shared their views on further cooperation in the future.
Rev. Serop Megerditchian escorts Mr. Arayik Harutyunyan, RA Minister of Education and Science
By Louisa Janbazian
On Wednesday, January 16, Mr. Arayik Harutyunyan, Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Armenia visited Merdinian School in Sherman Oaks, CA, accompanied by John Shirajian, President of Armenian Engineers and Scientists of America (AESA), Jirayr Abrahamyan, President of the Alumni Association of the Polytechnic Institute of Armenia, and Dr. Vardan Gevorkyan. The students greeted Mr. Harutyunyan in the Aram and Anahis D. Boolghoorjian Hall of the School singing the song “Dukhov.” After Principal Lina Arslanian’s welcoming words and Armenian language teacher Aline Shirajian’s introduction about the background of the School, Rev. Serop Megerditchian, Merdinian Board member and Pastor of the Armenian Cilicia Evangelical Church of Pasadena, greeted the Minister and the guests and talked about the significance of the educational work and the mission of the Armenian Evangelicals world-wide – in the Diaspora and in Armenia, highlighting Armenian Missionary Association of America’s (AMAA) Khoren and Shooshanig Avedisian School in Yerevan. Minister Harutyunyan addressed the students and answered questions directed to him by some of the students regarding the education and the school system in Armenia, and concluded his remarks emphasizing the importance of the Armenian schools in the Diaspora. The students presented a few patriotic songs dedicated to Yerevan, which was greatly appreciated by the Minister. The program ended with a prayer by Rev. Megerditchian. A reception followed the program in the faculty lounge, where Faculty and Board members continued their conversations with the guests in an intimate atmosphere.