AEC 175th Anniversary

The long awaited commemoration of the Armenian Evangelical Church (AEC) is over.

The Opera spectacle, the collective brainstorming, the worship and dedication services are all over. The gala, feasts and fellowships are history, and we have all returned home.

As I ponder our many activities in July, my outlook turns toward the 200th Anniversary of the Armenian Evangelical Church which will occur in 2046.

I will probably not be there. But I know the 175th Anniversary could be the springboard that will take us to our next milestone anniversary.

Many serious questions come to mind.

  • What will the Church look like in 2046?
  • Will the Homeland survive the existential threats it faces today?
  • Where will our communities in the Near East, the West and Armenia be?
  • Who will write the history of the second century of the AE Church?
  • Will the AE Research, Scholarship, Archive and Library in Armenia come to fruition?
  • Will the traditional AE Church in Yerevan pierce its way out of the basement and stand tall?

As believers, the answers to the above questions might not matter. Salvation is paramount. As an institution, however, all of them matter.

We do not live in a vacuum. We have an identity seeded in our historic Homeland, which today perpetuates in the independent Republic of Armenia. We have a mission, which relates to our identity from where it spreads beyond to the ends of the world. Consequently, the questions posed above are organic.

This issue of AMAA News that you hold in your hands is rich with the story of the commemoration and plans for the future. A steering committee diligently working for the past two years successfully delivered the goals set forth by the World Council. Reactions demonstrate that planned events were highly successful, well attended and God pleasing. Several hundred youth and adults gathered in Armenia, thanked God for His faithfulness, looked in a mirror, pondered on the future and committed to hold tight to the faith.

We asked a number of scholars, educators, theologians, ministers, community leaders, and professionals to reflect on the Anniversary. The July/Aug/Sept 2022 issue of the AMAA News carries bilingual opinions. We invite you to absorb the ideas, thoughts, attributes, and failures covered and join to steer the mission forward on the path drawn by the early founders. The church is the body of Christ made up of all believers, not just a select group. It will not survive without the collective piety, support, and faithfulness of believers.

I feel confident in the mission and ministry of the AMAA. It is well structured, well managed, and well administered. It is compact and relatively immune to breakdown and fragmentation.

I am, however, worried about the church. Unrestrained unrest in the East and unbound freedom in the West threatens the dynamics of its composition and expanded theological base that has held it together for many, many years.

Constructive elements who care about identity and mission should continue working hard to preserve the AEC in the framework established by the founders with as little erosion as possible. AMAA will not steer the AEC ship but will passionately support its unified course. AMAA wishes AEC a safe journey toward the 200th Anniversary and beyond to perpetuity.

May the AEC continue to spread the Word, illuminate the nation, and disseminate the Good News of the Gospel.

We hope that you enjoy reading this issue and we thank you for your support.

August 15, 2022
Glendale, California

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