Archives for the month of: September, 2009

The Ninetieth Annual Meeting of the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA), will be held on Saturday, October 17, 2009, at 9:30 a.m., at the Crowne Plaza, 801 Greenwich Ave, Warwick, RI. All members of the AMAA are invited to attend the meeting to:

I. Consider and approve the reports of the Officers, Committees, Chapters, and Affiliated boards of the Association for fiscal 2008-2009;

II. Review the financial reports for fiscal 2008-2009;

III. Announce the names of the newly elected Board members to replace those whose terms have expired;

IV. Elect four members to the Nominating Committee;

V. Elect an Auditor;

VI. Consider and act upon any other business that may legitimately come before the membership.

PROGRAM OF THE 90th ANNUAL MEETING AND RELATED ACTIVITIES

Friday, October 16 at the Armenian Euphrates Evangelical Church, Providence, RI
9:30 am Armenian Evangelical World Council Meeting
2:00 pm SEMINAR – Investing and Financial Stewardship
Harold Nahigian and Todd Polyniak, CPA
7:00 pm AMAA Board of Directors Meeting

Saturday, October 17 at the Crowne Plaza, Warwick, RI
9:30 am 90th ANNUAL MEETING
2:00 pm AMAA Board of Directors Meeting (Short Session)

Saturday, October 17 at the Crowne Plaza, Warwick, RI
6:30 pm 90th ANNUAL MEETING BANQUET - Dedicated to the 20th Anniversary of the Armenian Children’s Milk Fund

Sunday, October 18 at the Armenian Euphrates Evangelical Church, Providence, RI
11:00 am 90th Annual Meeting Worship Service and Installation of AMAA Officers

Sunday, October 18 at the Armenian Euphrates Evangelical Church, Providence, RI
5:00 pm AEUNA Board of Directors meeting

Monday, October 19 at the Armenian Euphrates Evangelical Church, Providence, RI
9:30 am AEUNA Board of Directors Meeting

Belmont, MA—The AMAA Orphan and Childcare Committee is pleased to announce that the 14th annual Children Helping Children luncheon will take place this year on Thursday, October 29 at the Belmont Country Club. This popular annual event offers a unique opportunity to enjoy an afternoon of fun, and at the same time, help needy children in Armenia. The Committee extends an open invitation to all who would like to attend.

In addition to the luncheon, this year’s event will feature silent and live auctions, as well as a special guest auctioneer. Items to be auctioned include box seats to Red Sox and Patriots games, framed Armenian alphabet, pearl necklace, amethyst ring, and many other exceptional items. Guests will be entertained by a colorful children’s costume parade featuring adorable child models. All proceeds from the event are donated to the AMAA Orphan and Child Care Fund.

Founded in 1918, the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) is a nonprofit, charitable organization that provides services to underprivileged youth through education, relief and mission ministries. AMAA is a nonsectarian Christian organization that renders its services to those in need without discrimination. AMAA operates in twenty-two countries and often partners with other relief agencies to aid disaster stricken areas throughout the world. For additional information, visit amaa.org. To purchase a ticket to the event, contact Michele Simourian, 508-785-0569.

Paramus, NJ – The Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) has announced it will once again sponsor the James G. Jameson Essay Contest. Topics should touch upon some aspect of Armenian heritage such as religion, literature, language, history, culture, geography, economy or history.

Awards will be made in two categories: High School contestants and College/University contestants. The deadline for entries is SEPTEMBER 20th, 2009.

All Armenian or part-Armenian students from North America are eligible. Only unpublished entries will be accepted. The winner in each category will be awarded $500.00, provided from the income of a special fund established by Mr. & Mrs. James G. Jameson of Brookline, MA.

The essays should be written in English and have a length of 1,000 to 2,000 words. A contestant is allowed no more than one entry per year, and only one member of a family may receive an award in a five-year period. If no submitted essay is considered sufficiently meritorious, no award will be granted that year.

Entries and/or inquiries should be directed to:

James G. Jameson Essay Contest
Armenian Missionary Association of America, Inc.
31 West Century Road
Paramus, NJ 07652

The Chairman of the AMAA Scholarship Committee, Mr. Robert Hekemian, Jr., recently reported awards totaling of $105,000 in direct scholarship grants to college and university students for the 2009-10 academic year. This year 53 students applied and, upon verification of need and academic qualifications, 51 students were awarded scholarships. In addition, $15,000 was assigned for qualified university students in Armenia and $300,000 to various institutions of higher learning, including Haigazian University of Beirut, in Lebanon and California State University in Fresno.

“Words cannot express my appreciation for the support that I receive from AMAA for my studies at Rutgers University,” wrote one scholarship recipient. “Hard work has been part of my college life. AMAA’s scholarship aid will drive me to do more.”

Most students respond likewise as they express their appreciation to the AMAA’s Scholarship Program. It helps relieve the financial burden which otherwise makes it harder for students to focus on their work.

For over 40 years, AMAA has helped thousands of college students with scholarships, thus helping them to prepare for the future. Many past recipients have returned the favor helping others in need.

The scholarships granted this year, were provided from the income of several AMAA endowment funds established over the year for this purpose as follows: John & Sona Abadjian, John and Mary Abrahamian, Rev. Hovhannes Agnerian, Haigazoun & Angel Andonian, Dr. Robert Nerses Armen, Aynilian Family, Vahan and Grace Azadian, Rev. Antranig Bedikian, Tavit & Sirvart Bogosian, Rev. Dr. Giragos and Yeprouhie Chopourian, Giragos M. & Helen T. Churukian, Arthur Dadian, Drs. Nazareth & Ani Darakjian, Dr Haig Robert Darpinian and Berjouhie Timourian, Hagop & Esther Dohanian Family, Armine Ejdaharian/Bilezikian, Dr Meguerditch Ejdaharian, Rev. S.K. & G.T. Emurian, Ani Etoyan, Charles Mesrob Garabedian, Flora & Diane Galoostian, Leon & Matilda Giridlian, Louise Googooian, Anne (Googooian) Halford, Khacher and Puzant Guzelimian, Angele Bedrossian Hancock, Martin Hatch Jr., Hekemian Family Trust, Dr. Michael S. Hovenanian, Peter and Sara Hovenanian, Paul & Arousiag Iskiyan, Martha D. Jedidian, George & Elizabeth Jerjisian, Karekin Kaboolian, Leo Kaljian, Ohannes & Araxie Karamanoukian, Alice Odian Kasparian, Kevork H. and Sirvart Kassouny Kavouksorian, John G. Kazanjian, Jeffrey Kerbeykian, Moses & Victoria Keshishian, Dr. John Keuhnelian, Lucy Kezlarian/Philipian, Rev. & Mrs. Dikran & Yester Koundakjian & Haroutune & Salihe Berejiklian, Araxie Kouyoumjian Poladian, Hrant, Dolores and Rosanne Krikorian, Serge and Ann Krikorian, Prof. Lootfi Levonian, Yervant & Virginia Levonian, Samuel & Victoria Magzanian, Rahel & Osanna Makanian, Edward & Helen Mardigian, Albert, Henry & James Mouradian, Leon Mouradian, Murad & Yevkin Muradian, Raymond & Marie Nahigian, Nazareth, Artin & Yester Nazarian Memorial Fund, George & Alice Philibosian, Stephen Philibosian Fund, Altoon & Sarah Saprichian, Dickran & Flora Sarkisian, Krikor & Anna Sermabeikian, Berjouhi Sherene, Diran Simpadian, Edward & Hovnan Tashian, Telfeyan Evangelical Fund, Ezras & Nellie Tellalian, Dr. Jirayr & Louise Tezel and Rev. Edward S. Tovmassian.

The AMAA was founded in Worcester in 1918 and incorporated in New York in 1920, with the purpose of strengthening and supporting the Armenian people in their Christian faith and to encourage religious education as well as literary and philanthropic work everywhere. Since its founding, the AMAA has expanded its programs to 23 countries around the world.

The AMAA is a 501 (c) 3 tax-exempt organization (Fed No. 13-5670954). Tax-deductable donations should be made payable to Armenian Missionary Association of America and sent to: AMAA, 31 West Century Road, Paramus, NJ 07652. Contributions can also be made by credit car through our website: http://www.amaa.org

Armenian Evangelical Center, Yerevan, Armenia

Armenian Evangelical Center, Yerevan, Armenia

The Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) held an historic opening of its Evangelical Center on Baghramian Ave., Yerevan, Armenia on April 19. Numerous government officials, leaders of various churches, other nonprofit organizations, and foreign ambassadors were present to share in the joy of this event. The festivities continued into the evening where young musicians of the Armenian Evangelical Church amazed numerous guests with their heartfelt and professional performances.

Celebrating another Together, We Can Build Miracles campaign achievement, the grand opening of the Evangelical Center is a demonstration of the exemplary support from devoted donors. The AMAA continues to realize significant successes with this fundraising initiative.

“For many years we have been dreaming of coming to our historical Motherland, and only after our beloved Armenia gained independence in 1991 our dream has come true,” said Andrew Torigian, Executive Director of AMAA which, since the devastating 1988 earthquake, the AMAA continues to help thousands of Armenian children and impoverished people through various charitable, social, educational, cultural and medical programs. The Armenian Evangelical Church has existed for 163 years, and the AMAA is over 90 years old.

Rev. Dr. Rene Leonian, President of the Evan-gelical Church of Armenia and Representative of AMAA and Hope for Armenia in Armenia ex-pressed that our aim, together with other organizations, is to support the next generation, creating in them a hope by helping to improve conditions. Rev. Leonian especially thanked the Armenian go-vernment for their support of their many programs.

“The opening of a place of worship in this particular building is quite remarkable” said H.E. Marie L. Yovanovitch, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Armenia in her congratulatory speech. Mrs. Yovanovitch reminded all present that the U.S. Embassy in Armenia was located in this building from 1992 to 2005. She said, “The history of this building really reflects the positive development of Armenia itself which in eighteen short years has evolved from a Soviet Republic to a newly independent state that today is working to consolidate the fruits of democracy and economic development. This building will always occupy a special place in the view of the U.S. government because, while the American people and the Armenian people have had a long relationship with each other, it’s here that the USA and Armenia started their diplomatic relations that continue to evolve and strengthen. As you know, one of the key democratic principles the United States espouses, and which the US government promotes around the world is freedom of religion. As the birthplace of Christianity, Armenia occupies a special place in the history of world religions; it’s also known as a nation of tolerance that respects the faith of other peoples, and we hope the Armenian government continues to do its utmost to promote Armenia as a place of tolerance and respect towards other peoples’ cultures, beliefs and faiths.”

Mrs. Yovanovitch expressed the hope that this Center “will do its own work to strengthen the dialogue, mutual understanding and respect between all the faiths that today peacefully co-exist in Armenia.”

Significant renovation to the 60-year-old buildings in the complex commenced in June 2006 and continues at a rapid pace, thanks to the efforts of prominent local and American-Armenian specialists such as: Gagik Galstyan, Ph.D, President of the Union of Builders of Armenia and President of Horizon-95 construction company, Hrach Sargsyan, President of MKO OJS air-conditioning firm, Antranig M. Ouzoonian, Chief Structural Engineer, Norayr Avagyan, Ph.D, Member of Union of Architects of Armenia, and Armand P. Avakian – AIA, Chief Architect of the AMAA and Armenia Construction Projects Manager. All of these gentlemen were awarded special plaques by Andrew Torigian on behalf of the AMAA.

Interns at Tsitsernakaberd, Armenian Genocide

Interns at Tsitsernakaberd, Armenian Genocide Memorial in Yerevan

Nothing is more fulfilling than to witness young Armenian men and women travel to Armenia and work together.

Twenty-two such men and women from different areas of the United States did so this year through the AMAA Summer Internship Program. They volunteered their time and talent and went to Armenia to serve and renew their connection to their roots. The program was organized by the AMAA Internship Committee, chaired by Mr. Vahram Aynilian representing the AMAA Board. Months ahead of the scheduled trip the committee worked hard to put in place a relevant program to benefit both the interns and the homeland. Announcement was made to the public through the churches and the AMAA News. Twenty-two youth ages 18 and above applied from Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey.

On June 28, the interns traveled to New Jersey and were treated for dinner by the Aynilians at their home in Alpine. The following day they spent a day at the AMAA Headquarters. They were introduced to the work carried on from AMAA Headquarters and were given an overview of the plan in Armenia: Spend few days in Yerevan for a crash course on Armenia’s history, spiritual life in Armenia, and AMAA and its activities in Armenia and around the world. Then travel to Ijevan, a city in the north, to serve.

The group left for Armenia on June 30. They arrived in Yerevan and were housed at the newly renovated headquarters on Baghramian Street. Accommodations in Armenia were very modest as some had to use their sleeping bags. The interns did not mind and were even more excited about the work. They had paid for their own travel. AMAA was responsible for the accommodations. In Yerevan, the interns had four lectures with speakers from Yerevan, Vanatzor and the U.S. as follows: Professor Kegham Hagopian, Armenia’s history; Rev. Samuel Kirakosyan, Pastor of the Church in Vanatzor, spiritual life in Armenia; Rev. Rene Leonian, AMAA representative, on AMAA mission programs in Armenia; and Jeanmarie Papelian, Esq., AMAA Vice President, AMAA general ministries and her experience with the AMAA as a young professional.

There was no time to waste. In the afternoons, the interns had an opportunity to visit major historical sites including Echmiadzin, Khor Virab, Garni, Geghant and Lake Sevan. Most touching was the visit to the genocide memorial monument in Dzidzernagapert, where the interns remembered the darkest side of human history – a million and a half of their ancestors deported and brutally massacred.

On Saturday, July 4, the interns visited Sheen-Shoghig Camp in Hankavan and had fun time with the 200 children at camp. They ate together, played together, took pictures and forged a connection with their little brothers and sisters.

Saturday evening the group traveled to Ijevan, the destined area of service. The interns put their talents to work with one group involved in a church building renovation project and the others leading a Vacation Bible School.

The Evangelical Church in Ijevan was organized in 1996. Worship was held in a small house. The Pastor is Rev. Albert Paidian who is an ordained minister and who also serves as the Director of the Armenian Evangelical Christian Education Ministries in Armenia and Karabagh. Five years ago, the AMAA purchased a movie theater to be used as the house of worship for the Evangelical Church in Ijevan. The building was old and needed much renovation. With a contribution from the Lucile Paul family of Fresno, the entrance and the lobby was renovated three years ago. The hall inside however needed much improvement. The interns removed the huge movie screen, patched and painted the walls, and expanded the stage. On the second floor a large activity room was renovated. The walls were patched and painted and new lighting fixtures were installed. In seven days, working together for long hours, they were able to fulfill their task. The movie theater is now a church with a huge cross that the interns built and hung over the pulpit.

A group of interns traveled about half an hour each day to help lead a day camp for children in the village of Azadamoud. Azadamoud, near Ijevan, is only five kms from the border with Azerbaijan, and is an area that experienced direct bombing from the Azeri side during the Karabagh war. Seventy children participated in the day camp program, with a full day of activities including Bible Stories, singing, arts and crafts, sports and other games. They were also provided lunch.

During their stay in Armenia, the interns participated in two Sunday worship services and two youth activities in Yerevan and Ijevan. AMAA Field Director Mr. Dikran Youmshakian, who was in charge of this program, preached on two Sundays. The interns participated with their songs and testimonies.

Along with the Field Director, the group had three other capable leaders – Raffi Kaldjian from Los Angeles, Vicken Keshishian from Philadelphia, and David Shahbazian from Kingston, NY. Raffi was in charge of supervising the interns; Vicken and David were in charge of the construction. The group worked together harmoniously, serving and interacting with the people in Ijevan.

The interns returned to Yerevan on July 12. They spent two more days in Yerevan before they returned to the United States. The departure was sad, but the excitement and the benefits of working together stayed with them. They served and learned much from their experience. They connected with Armenia and their heritage, they appreciated the hospitality of our people in Armenia, and most of all, shared the love of God. They now will share this unique experience with their friends and relatives, creating more enthusiasm about this program.

The AMAA Internship Program Committee will soon meet to plan for next year. More applicants are anticipated for the program. Those who are interested to participate in this unique pilgrimage to our homeland Armenia can contact the AMAA at 31 West Century Road, Paramus, NJ or call 201-265-2604 or visit AMAA’s website, AMAA.ORG

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