ՔՋԱԿ – KCHAG Center in Lebanon: Summer 2015

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KCHAG is more than just buildings.  Its core vision drives pioneering ministries to have each person see, hear and experience unforgettable moments where His word is being preached.
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CE Youth Camp

During the summer of 2015, KCHAG hosted several groups from various churches and organizations, creating a space away from the normal pace of life. In addition, the Camp hosted the Annual Assembly of the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East (UAECNE), the Christian Endeavor Youth and Teenage Camps, the Women’s Conference, and soon the children’s camp.
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Teenage Camp Counselors

KCHAG” is an acronym which, in Armenian, stands for Krisdonyagan CHanitz Amarnayin Getron (Christian Endeavor Summer Center). This name represents a camp experience, run by the UAECNE which has left an indelible mark on the lives of many Armenians.
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Donors and Guests from the United States at the dedication of the newly renovated rooms at KCHAG

Unfortunately, the decades following the 1975 civil war left KCHAG a casualty of war, and years of occupation left much of the camp property, including the Chapel, dining hall and cabins with major damage, some totally destroyed.
Through the perseverance, faith and love of donors and friends, a dedicatory celebration was held on May 3, 2014 which marked completion of 70% planned renovations.
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 Teenage Camp Attendees

The fundraising effort for KCHAG continues. Additional resources and efforts are needed to ensure that KCHAG continues to maintain its rich heritage and realize the site’s full potential for ministry and community development.
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Sunset at KCHAG

Renovation work remains to be completed to restore this beautiful Center to its full glory.
We pray that God will lead additional generous donors, such as you, to support this important project.

Summer Camps With A Mission

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Camp Bedrosian-Shushi, Karabagh

The sun continues to shine brightly over AMAA summer camps throughout Armenia and Karabagh.  Campers have been taking part in various activities, some of which include: daily Bible lessons, interactive sports, arts and crafts, hands-on environmental lessons by special visits from the Armenia Tree Project, theater presentations with music and dance, and many other opportunities to bond with one another and their individual spirituality.

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Camp Bedrosian-Shushi, Karabagh

For all attendees, camp continues to be a daily reminder of the goodness of our Lord, the beauty of His creations, and thankful for their friends to share these special times with.

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Camp Sheen Shoghig-Hankavan, Armenia

Memorable weeks at camp are only made possible with the support of all members of our community.

Become a part of the ongoing success of the AMAA’s summer camps.

Make your donation today!

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Camp Sheen Shoghig-Hankavan, Armenia

For more information regarding our summer camps visit: AMAA Summer Camps

It’s Christmas in Summer!

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Even though it is warm and sunny outside, the AMAA and its much appreciated volunteers have already started preparations to bring Christmas Joy to our children in Armenia and Karabagh!unnamed2

Every Christmas the AMAA’s Christmas Joy Program brings many smiles and fun celebrations to thousands of children and their families in over 42 towns and villages throughout Armenia and Karabagh.  From music and dancing, to Christmas plays and visits from Santa, this is a happy and blessed time of the year.  In 2014, there were 55 programs attended by over 7,200 children and family members.unnamed3

For as little as $10 you will help the AMAA continue bringing the spirit of Christmas directly to the children in Armenia and Karabagh.  For some, this box may be the only Christmas present they receive.  This is an opportunity for all to share God’s love and spread the joy of Christmas.

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Make your donation online  or send in your tax-deductible donation (memo: Christmas Joy Program) to AMAA, 31 W. Century Road, Paramus, NJ  07652 (201) 265-2607.

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Merdinian School Groundbreaking Ceremony for New Construction

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Rev. Dr. Ron Tovmassian, Dr. Nazareth Darakjian, Rev. Berdj Djambazian, Albert Bezjian, Dr. Vahe Nalbandian and Terry Bezjian

The C & E Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School held a groundbreaking ceremony at 4:00 p.m., on July 8th, to launch construction of the new Bezjian Family Building at its Sherman Oaks campus. This state-of-the-art 6,840 square foot structure replaces the old administration building. It features a library, science laboratory, art room, several classrooms and other facilities to serve the ongoing needs of the school’s growing student population.

The project was made possible through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Albert and Terry Bezjian of Los Angeles, founders of Indo-European Foods of Glendale, who donated one million dollars to the C & E Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School of Sherman Oaks, California for this purpose.

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Architectural Rendering of New Building

The ceremony began with opening remarks by Dr. Vahe Nalbandian, Chairman of the Board of Directors, who wholeheartedly thanked Mr. & Mrs. Albert and Terry Bezjian for their support. Rev. Berdj Djambazian, the newly appointed Minister to the Armenian Evangelical Union of North America (AEUNA), prayed for the Lord’s blessing for the project. Dr. Nazareth Darakjian, President of the Armenian Missionary Association of America, Inc. (AMAA), delivered an inspiring message about the importance of an Armenian Evangelical education and quoted from the book of Psalms that “Unless the Lord builds the house, in vain work the builders”. The ceremony concluded with a prayer by Rev. Ron Tovmassian, Moderator of the AEUNA, after which the attendees gathered in the Aram and Anahis D. Boolghoorjian Hall of the School for an informal reception to celebrate the event.

The Board of Directors and Administration of the school are extremely grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Albert Bezjian for this most generous gift. A donation of this magnitude is a testimony to the benefactors’ confidence in the bright future of the School.

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Merdinian School Board and Committee Members and Guests at Ground Breaking Ceremony

“Congratulations on this milestone ground breaking. May the school prosper, expand and may its mission touch many, many lives leading graduates to become exemplary citizens irrigating the furrows of humanity, mankind and the nation. May their Christian faith glow and illuminate their surrounding and their exemplary  love, dedication and faithfulness to their roots bountifully contribute to civilization.God bless the Bezjians and all those who contributed to this historic expansion of the school.  Zaven Khanjian, AMAA Executive Director/CEO”

AMAA Summer Internship – July 2015 – Last Sunday in Yerevan

Sunday July 20, 2015
By George Megerditchian
During our second Sunday and the last one in Armenia, we attended the worship service in Harav Arevmdyan Taghamas (suburb in capitol Yerevan) church.

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Visiting Avedisian School in Yerevan.

The service started with songs that were sang by the worship team which was consisted of their youth group.
One of the members even left the camp (Hankavan) and came to play the keyboard with the group and participate in the worship service. When I heard that she came only to attend the service and help the choir, I was amazed and touched by her dedication to her church – traveling two hours from the campsite and joining the group to sing and praise the Lord.

After that Eliz talked about what she had experienced of God’s work in Armenia, and Nayiri shared her testimony about how she was in trouble and with Jesus Christ she faced it and conquered the pain that she was going through.

Then, Badveli gave a brief introduction about the internship and its mission in Armenia, which was followed by his sermon based on 1 Samuel chapter 17.

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Visiting Evangelical Church of Armenia in Artashat.

The sermon talked about the five stones that David chose to fight Goliath which are the five principles of David by which he conquered Goliath.

The 1st stone was that he didn’t listen to Saul who proclaimed that he can’t face Goliath.

The 2nd was that he remembered that God had been with him when he was in need.

The 3rd one was that he had a special weapon which was the sling. He refused to wear a bronze helmet and a coat of armor because he wanted to use his talent (the sling) for God.

The 4th principle was when David went to the valley to collect the stones because in the depth the stones would be sharper than the ones on the hill.
The 5th one was that he came to face Goliath in the name of the Lord Almighty.

After the service, an old lady told us to continue spreading the word of Jesus when we go back to our homes.

After getting some rest and having fellowship with the group, we shared the day which was very emotional to me because it was my last one – so I shared my thoughts and amazing moments that I had with this amazing group.

In this internship I came in the name of Jesus Christ with weapons fully loaded to fire them by serving His people wherever and whenever needed.
“I Can Do All Things through Christ Who Strengthens Me”. Philippians 4:13
In Christ
George Megerditchian
Aleppo, Syria

AMAA Summer Internship – July 2015 – Last Day

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At the AMAA Headquarters in Yerevan.

GOD IS WITH US WHEREVER WE GO…….

By: Edward Arabian

On the last day of our internship here in Armenia, what better way to start off the morning than to start hitting pots and pans together. The doors start opening, as the newly assembled marching band “The Bashar Brothers” are greeted with warmth and cheers…
I’m sorry did I say warmth and cheers, I meant to say threats and spears… (Bad joke) Still in the mist of this chaos, people still found the strength to capture/record the moment. We will all miss the days when the mornings we woke up to be in Armenia.

We are all so blessed to have each other. It felt like yesterday, as we all started to gather in New Jersey to meet each other for the first time. Some of us were skeptical at first, some of us were quiet and some of us were excited. Nevertheless with the power and love of God, He held us together from the beginning to the end. The Lord never left our sides.

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Visiting a family in Nshavan.

Once the morning shenanigans ceased and everyone had finished eating breakfast, we made our way towards the last four homes on our agendas to visit. Sadly each person was only able to visit two homes at the cost of time, but regardless our efforts were not short lived. The first home as we arrive, we are greeted by excitement and happiness. A family of fou, consisting of a father, mother and two children, one girl and one boy. We entered their home, immediately we are offered a place to sit down. Even with the absence of space they had in their home, we were touched by the hospitality and joy that this family had given us.

As we arrive to the second home we immediately notice a change of morale compared to the first home. The circumstances in the second home were the complete opposite to the first. The family living in the home was owned by the grandmother downstairs. In return for living in her home above, the family provides care and nourishment for the grandmother to live. The family consists of a father who is very discouraged about the state of his family. He is unable to work and provide for his family, a caring mother and two daughters. One of which just recently came back from the hospital from a bone infection. Throughout the entire stay emotions filled the room as we heard their story and witnessed their living conditions. As Badveli started his prayer for the family, not one of us could hold back our tears any longer. “Blessed are the poor in sprit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3

Driving away from the homes are always the worst. We leave in pain, asking how this could be. We have so much as they have so little.

Ours sprits are lifted as we meet up with the rest of the group at Madenataran Museum. We comfort each other as we explain the situations of the families as we follow in prayer for them. Unfortunately the Madenataran Museum ended up being closed, which didn’t stop us from taking full advantage of the statues and monuments in the area. We took a group photo and we were on our way. Lunch was eaten at a little restaurant that was well known by Badveli Vatché. Aleppy Gasher had multiple mouth-watering Armenian dishes on their menu, as we expected nothing less from a choice coming from Badveli. There was manteh, sarma, boereg, kuhfteh and much more. We left Aleppy Gasher full and thinking of home.

Our next stop was Etchmiadzin. As we entered into the courtyard, we noticed the abundance of land. The courtyard was filled with flowers and pathways leading to each structure. Schools, gift shops, sleeping courters, and the Cathedral. We make our way to the Cathedtral and enter inside, candles lit from left to right shining and shimmering from the absence of light inside.

The fellowship and love that we have experienced during this trip is unlike we have ever seen or felt. There was everything from happy moments to sad moments in every corner. God did not simply create us to sit at home in comfort with our faith. Our faith is for us to embrace and share with others so that they may also know the comfort and love that God provides.

On a closing note, on behalf of all the participants of this year’s 2015 AMAA Internship Group, I would like to thank the AMAA for giving us the opportunity and sending us out back to our homeland Armenia. The leaders, Badveli Vatché, Eliz Hovsepian, Darren Getzoyan, and Nayiri Papazian for being such wonderful examples of soldiers who take their faith beyond their comforts. We are Gods army, and He is with us wherever we go.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

In Christ,
Edward Arabian, 19
July 23, 2015
Toronto, Ontario

Uniting Church in Australia Recognizes the Armenian Genocide

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Stuart McMillan, President of Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) and Rev. Dr. Krikor Youmshajekian, the Chairperson of Sydney North Presbytery of UCA

The AMAA applauds the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the Uniting Church in Australia, a noble act that follows the adoption of the Genocide resolution by the United Church of Christ’s General Synod in the United States in early July.  We also commend and applaud Rev. Dr. Krikor Youmshajekian’s efforts in this respect.  These credible and most revered acknowledgements for the crime committed will advance the cause of Truth and Justice, forward.
Zaven Khanjian
AMAA Executive Director/CEO
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Sydney, NSW – The Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) has formally acknowledged that the Armenian massacres and forced deportations constitute a Genocide. The UCA is the third denomination at a national level to acknowledge the Genocide that took place 100 years ago.

The UCA that came into being on June 22, 1977, after three denominations – Congregational Union in Australia, the Methodist Church of Australasia, and the Presbyterian Church of Australia joined together – is the third largest Christian denomination in Australia and the first church to be created in and of Australia. At present a total of 2,500 congregations worship at a Uniting Church, including many congregations that worship in languages other than English.

This year the 14th Triennial Assembly was held on July 12-18 in the Winthrop Hall University of Western Australia in Perth, where 300 members of the UCA elected by Synods and Presbyteries across the country met.

The Armenian Evangelical Uniting Church of Sydney, located in Willoughby NSW is the only Armenia n congregation that is part of the Sydney North Presbytery of the Uniting Church NSW and ACT Synod.

Rev. Dr. Chris walker, the National Consultant for Christian Unity and Worship, together with Mr. Levon Kardashian and the Rev. Dr. Krikor Youmshajekian, the previous minister of the Armenian Evangelical Uniting Church of Sydney and currently the minister of the St. Andrew’s Uniting Church of Longueville and the Chairperson of Sydney North Presbytery, prepared a proposal (http://assembly2015.uca.org.au/28-armenian-genocide-christian-unity-working-group) seeking the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the Uniting Church in Australia.

The proposal was moved by Rev. Dr. Walker on behalf of the Christian Unity working group and seconded by Rev. Dr. Avril Hannah-Jones. Rev. Dr. Youmshajekian made a brief speech capturing the attention of all present. “In the years of 1915-1918, the Armenian people were under the grip of annihilation and the brutal plans of genocide – but our gracious and loving God saved this first Christian nation from being wiped out,” said Rev. Dr. Youmshajekian. He also mentioned that many countries and many communities in Australia had been involved in providing support, relief, food, and safe places for the Armenian people to live.

“By accepting this proposal the assembly will keep the story of the first Christian nation alive,” he said, giving thanks to the many Uniting Church congregations who had held liturgies to commemorate the Genocide.
Rev. Dr. Chris Walker, National Consultant for Christian Unity Doctrine and Worship, told the Assembly that it was deeply fitting for the Uniting Church to make this acknowledgement as the Armenian people mark the 100 year anniversary of the Genocide. He also acknowledged that both the World Christian Council and the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) had made statements acknowledging the massacres that took place and the suffering of the Armenian community. “Accepting this proposal would be an act of ecumenical solidarity with the Armenian people who have suffered so much and continue to do so” he said.

After the proposal was unanimously adopted (http://assembly2015.uca.org.au/uniting-church-recognises-the-armenian-genocide/#more-2113), the President of the Assembly, Mr. Stuart McMillan, made a brief comment and asked all to stand for a minute of silence in commemoration of more the 1.5 million Armenians, who were the victims of the Genocide planed and implemented by the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century. By the request of Rev. Dr. Youmshajekian a prayer was offered by the NSW Moderator Rev. Dr. Myung Hwa Park, both sung and spoken in Korean and English.

The 14th Assembly has also agreed to:
• Commend the NSW and SA governments in acknowledging the Armenian Genocide and encourage the Federal and other state governments to do the same
• Affirm the value of recognizing a date on or near the anniversary of the Armenian genocide, as a day of observance and commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.
• Request the National Consultant Christian Unity, Doctrine and Worship to prepare
(a) A prayer to be provided for all congregations of the UCA for use on the day; and
(b) In consultation with others, educational and liturgical resources for congregations to use.

On behalf of the Armenian community of Australia and the blessings of the Bishop Haigazoune Najarian, the Primate of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Australia and New Zealand, we express our appreciation and gratitude to the Uniting Church in Australia for passing such an important resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide.


STATEMENT ON ARMENIAN GENOCIDE RESOLUTION, BY REV. DR. KRIKOR YOUMSHAJEKIAN, ON BEHALF OF THE
ARMENIAN COMMUNITY AND THE ARMENIAN MEMBERS OF THE UNITING CHURCH IN AUSTRALIA
UCA 14TH TRIENNIAL ASSEMBLY – JULY 12-18 – PERTH, WA, AUSTRALIA

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Rev. Dr. Krikor Youmshajekian addressing the 14th Triennial Assembly of UCA

President and members of the Assembly. Brothers and sisters in Christ.

Տէր Յիսուս Քրիստոսի շնորհքը, Հօր Աստուծոյ սէրը եւ Սուրբ Հոգիին հաղորդութիւնը ձեր բոլորին հետ ըլլայ։
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

I feel honored and privileged to be here and address the Assembly on behalf of the Armenian Community, as well as the Armenian members of the Uniting Church in Australia. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and I am happy that many Uniting Church congregations, especially in the Synod of NSW, and many other denominations responded to our request and used the circulated Liturgy prepared on this solemn occasion and included it in their church service orders. Thanks for all.

Between 1915 and 1918 the Armenian nation was on the brinks of annihilation due to the implementation of brutal genocidal plans by the Ottoman Turkish Government. But our gracious and loving God saved this first Christian nation from being wiped out from the face of the earth. Among other means of survival, God moved the conscience of hospitable Middle Eastern and charitable Western nations to help and support a devastated nation. At the time 52 countries worked together to support the suffering Armenian nation. As a result in 1918 Relief Committees had been founded in many of the Australian major cities, such as Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, and Tasmania. To give a few examples:
Joynten Smith, mayor of Sydney, with Sydney’s prominent businessmen, clergy and political leaders adopted the following resolution: I quote: “A fund to be established in New South Wales in order to help relieve the terrible distress of the surviving Armenian Christians who have been almost exterminated by Turks and who are, as a result, deported from their homes, are homeless, starving and perishing”.

Later in 1922 the many different committees were centralized into the Armenian Relief Fund of Australasia, having its headquarters in Adelaide.

In the same year W.P. McElhone, Mayor of Sydney, made an appeal in town hall stating: I quote: “May I venture to bring to your urgent and kindly consideration the special call of need which comes to us from the land in which Christianity had its birth, Armenia. An international effort is being made to save this nation. We wish to send a ship from Australia to Armenia.”

As a result, 4000 tons of food, clothing were collected and sent to the Middle East and Armenia, with many Australians accompanying the cargo. Also an orphanage was established in Antelias, Lebanon, now the Holy Seat of Cilicia, called the Australasian Orphanage, where 1700 orphans were fully supported and educated by Australians.

As the son of a survivor I am and will remain twice grateful to this great country Australia and to the great Australian nation. Thank you all and thank you Australia.

I would like to inform you that the United Church of Christ USA during its General Synod held on June 26-30, 2015 adopted unanimously a resolution to affirm and recognize the Armenian Genocide as the Presbyterian Church USA did in 2014.
By adopting the proposed resolution, the Uniting Church will be the third denomination on national level recognizing the Armenian Genocide along with Pope Francis, who during a special mass marking the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide held in Rome in April 2015, recognized on behalf of the world wide Catholic Church.

By voting in the affirmative to the proposal today, we as the Assembly will keep the story alive, our story, and the story of the first Christian nation.

I ask you, the Assembly, that this resolution be adopted and at the very least create an incentive and impetus for meaningful action toward a just resolution of this unhealed wound of 100 years. Thank you.

Mr. President, I have a request that if the proposal is approved and the resolution adopted, Rev. Dr. Myung Hwa Park, the Moderator of the NSW and ACT Synod offers a special prayer on this solemn occasion.

Thank you.