“Style in Motion” was the theme of the fourth annual Christmas Luncheon sponsored by the New Jersey Child and Orphan Care Committee. The event, chaired by Anita Buchakjian, was held at Neiman Marcus in Paramus, NJ on December 5. Over $13,000 was raised to help AMAA sponsored children in Armenia with emergency medical needs.
Over 75 guests were greeted by striking models wearing the newest fashions and enjoyed a special presentation by Elad Yifrach, founder and designer of L’Object, handcrafted pieces for the home.
MJ Hekemian, Chair of the NJ Child and Orphan Care Committee, welcomed Rev. Mgrdich Melkonian, Interim Executive Director/CEO of the AMAA, who led the group in prayer before the program.
Tigran Melkonyan, Manager of the AMAA Child Sponsorship Department, presented the program’s history and announced that 85 children have been helped with their special medical needs since the program’s start. Elizabeth Karalian, Development Department Assistant, shared one of the special cases that the AMAA has been able help due to the support of this fund.
The AMAA would like to thank all of those who attended the Luncheon in support of this important cause and Neiman Marcus for hosting such a lovely affair. A special thank you goes to MJ Hekemian and her daughter, Lisa Hekemian Mongelli, for underwriting this event.
The 94th Annual Meeting Banquet and Concert of the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) was held at the Westin Waltham-Boston Hotel, Waltham, MA on Saturday October 12, 2013.
Over 165 guests attended the dinner and concert which featured Grace Kelly, a renowned saxophonist, singer, composer and lyricist.
The theme of the evening was Our Mission in Motion - Celebrating our Precious Children. Ken Kevorkian, AMAA Board Member and Co-Chair of the Development Committee, welcomed the guests and thanked all who participated in the success of the event. A group from the Watertown, MA Armenian Memorial Church Choir, under the leadership of Choir Director June Baboyan, sang the American and Armenian National Anthems with the participation from the attendees. Rev. Avedis Boynerian, Pastor of the Church, offered the Prayer of Invocation.
Master of Ceremonies Carol Ishkhanian welcomed the guests and introduced the program’s participants. The AMAA was honored by the presence of Rev. Father Vasken Kouzouian, Holy Trinity Armenian Orthodox Church, Cambridge, MA, Rev. Father Antranig Baljian and his wife Arpineh, St. Stephen’s Armenian Orthodox Church, Watertown, MA, and Very Rev. Father Raphael Andonian, Holy Cross Armenian Catholic Church, Belmont, MA.
AMAA President Dr. Joseph Zeronian thanked the guests for their presence and support. He highlighted the major achievements of the AMAA during the year, which included the construction of the Bilezikian Elementary and Avedisian Middle and High Schools in Yerevan, Armenia, the opening of Shogh Day Centers in Yerevan and Vanadzor, and the strong and unprecedented financial status of the AMAA.
A video presentation was shown about the Precious Children of Armenia and how the AMAA with its supporters makes a significant change in the physical, social and spiritual needs of these children.
AMAA Board Member Anita Buchakjian introduced the Our Mission in Motion Brochure, highlighting the major construction projects and the AMAA’s day to day operation projects in 24 countries around the world.
Levon Filian, Executive Director of the AMAA, in recognition of Armenian cultural month, recited a poem “The Great,” by famous Armenian poet Rafael Badganian. Mr. Filian dedicated the poem to our brothers and sisters in Syria and challenged each and every one to make a difference by praying and making a donation to help our community in Syria.
On this festive occasion, Mr. Filian recognized Lucienne Aynilian and Anita Buchakjian for their many years of dedicated service to the AMAA as Co-Chairs of the Banquet Coordinating and Public Affairs Committees; Tigran Melkonyan (USA) and Christine Simonyan (Armenia) for their 10 years of faithful service to the AMAA’s Child Sponsorship Program; Lusine Ohanian, Coordinator of External Relations of the AMAA-Armenia, for her dedicated service to the Association; Louisa Janbazian, currently Associate Editor of the AMAA News and Coordinator of the Armenian version of “Our Daily Bread” (Zhatz Mer Hanabazort) which has been published since 1991, for her dedication and service to the AMAA since the early eighties which included the computerization of the AMAA News in the mid-1990s; and Harout Nercessian, AMAA’s Representative in Armenia, who has served the AMAA in various capacities for the past 17 years, such as heading the Christian Education Department, as Operations Director and as the AMAA Representative since 2011.
The Dinner was followed with a musical program featuring Grace Kelly and her band. Grace mesmerized the audience with her vocal and musical talents offering a selection of Jazz pieces such as Bye Bye Black Bird and Summer Time with her improvisations, her own vocal and sax compositions, and Gospel Music featuring her version of Amazing Grace.
Please consider supporting “Our Precious Children” by making a gift to the AMAA’s General Fund. Your gift will help the AMAA continue to support various programs for our children, as well as all of our Humanitarian programs throughout the world.
We take this opportunity to thank all who made this event a success – our Paramus Staff, the Missions Committee of the Armenian Memorial Church, as well as our Patrons, Sponsors, Donors and Friends. May God continue to bless you and your loved ones.
By Rev. Haroutune Selimian
President, Armenian Protestant Community in Syria
In the course of two and a half years, Syria has become the scene of killings and violence exercised by the opposition parties turning Syria from a land of peace and security to a land that lacks peace.
The battle of Aleppo began on July 19, 2012 as part of the Syrian civil war. Clashes escalated in late July in Syria‘s largest city that holds great strategic and economic importance.The battle’s scale and importance led combatants to name it the “mother of all battles.”
As the conflict expanded across Aleppo-Syria, thousands of people are struggling to preserve their safety and their livelihoods and the number of beneficiaries is rapidly increasing. The previously well-functioning health system has collapsed, food shortages are commonplace, and the water and electricity supply is disrupted. Medical aid is being targeted, hospitals destroyed and medical personnel captured. Thievery has increased, with criminals robbing houses and stores. Rates of kidnappings increased as well. The number of jobless people is increasing. Food and fuel prices have risen and the economy is clearly in decline. People cannot travel or drive outside Aleppo. Aleppo’s International Airport has been closed since January 2013. Many of Aleppo’s most populous streets are now in ruin, buildings and lives torn apart by a seemingly endless barrage of missiles, bombs, mortars and tank shells.
Many people are suffering from various diseases because of the fear of rockets and missiles showering over them, and from the loss of family members from the mortars and explosions that happen unexpectedly everywhere and every hour in the city. Unfortunately, a few months ago three missiles attacked the Armenian Evangelical Bethel School building just 15 meters away from the parsonage of the church where we live. The roof of the school building was damaged directly. The third missile fell in the school yard and fortunately did not explode. The first attack was on May 24, 2013, the second on September 12, 2013 and the third one on September 22, 2013. Students could easily see the sky from where they sat in their school desks.
In spite of all the missile attacks, the Armenian Evangelical schools in the city are swimming against the flow, as we say in Armenian. We are not allowing the fear and the uncertainty to hijack our hope and our firm will to live. This year the Armenian Evangelical Bethel Secondary School accommodated 350 students from grades KG -12. The number of active teachers for the current school year is 40. The School always offers a highly qualified education and academic program and it is worthwhile to mention that the Ministry of Education in Aleppo presented a letter of appreciation to Bethel School for its highly qualified academic standards in the city.
In spite of all these difficult conditions, our churches have kept their services intact and schools running. The nine churches of the Armenian Evangelical Community in Syria, including Armenian Evangelical Bethel Church, Armenian Evangelical Emmanuel Church, Armenian Evangelical Martyr’s Church, Armenian Evangelical Church of Christ, Syriac Evangelical Church, Armenian Evangelical Kessab Churches, act vitally with different proportions.
As Pastor of the Armenian Evangelical Bethel Church, I would like to give you some information about the Church’s activities and social work that were managed and administered since July 2012. Armenian Evangelical Bethel Church continues its Sunday and weekly communal worshipping and meetings in the following domains – Sunday school, Youth, Junior High Group, and “Armiss” Conservatory, the Women’s communal worshipping. Throughout all of these, we can clearly feel the guidance of our Lord as we put ourselves at His service. We gladly mention that more than 400 individuals attend the Church’s Sunday worship service. Considering this inhuman and sad situation, the Armenian Evangelical Bethel Church established a polyclinic to serve the Armenian community regardless of denominational affiliation by assisting those in need of medical care, and by helping patients with chronic diseases in need of long-time medical assistance.
Our people will work and pray for peace and safety. They will continue preparing for a good future for their children. Syria was a beacon over the ages and we have hope that it will remain so in the future, depending upon the existing principles of co-existence of our nation. We, as the Armenian Community in Syria, will remain faithful and will keep our houses, churches, and organizations alive. The source of strength is not in us: it is God himself. We do not survive pressure by focusing on surviving; we do not survive pressure by focusing on our own perceived strength. We survive pressure by keeping focused on God.
“…who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” – 2nd Corinthians 1:4
Considering the priorities and today’s basic needs of our people in different cities in Syria, especially in Aleppo, we ask our dear friends, brothers and sisters, to extend helping hands, so that we can assist economically inflicted Syrian families by preparing food parcels to the needy, providing milk to the families for their children, providing more scholarship aid for Armenian students, as well as providing medical assistance for the sick.
We deeply appreciate your prayers and efforts. It is a rare time where the Church in Syria is feeling the true oneness of the body of Christ all over the globe. For this, we thank the Lord, for it is a great encouragement to us.