St. Vartan Armenian Church of Oakland was host to the 67th Annual ACYO Convention which was held over Thanksgiving Weekend, November 27-29, 2015. More than 30 ACYO delegates from chapters across the Western Diocese participated in the convention presided by His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, the Diocesan Primate.
Under the leadership of Fr. Mesrop Ash, St. John ACYO Jr. Members participated in the Assembly and attended the elegant banquet, where they had lots of fun dancing and spending time with their friends.
A number of youth missions and projects were discussed at the convention including a 100 Steps Program, a mission aimed at strengthening the bond between the ACYO and the parishes of the Western Diocese. ACYO visitations to parishes as well as mission chapters were also on the agenda. The Primate also informed the youth about the upcoming ACYO convention scheduled to be held in Milan, Italy in mid-December wherein delegates throughout Europe would gather to finalize administrative matters pertinent to the European chapters of the pan-ACYO.
In efforts to further assist the children of the volatile bordering regions in Armenia, the ACYO proposed to distribute humanitarian aid through the Pan-ACYO governing board in the form of gift boxes consisting of clothing, toys and games. In addition to making the highly successful ACYO Alumni Gala into an annual event and revamping the ACYO-WD website, summer internships at the Diocesan Headquarters were also discussed.
With the theme of his message “to Search, to Find and to Safeguard”, the Primate emphasized to the youth God’s crucial role in each of their lives. “These three elements are vital throughout one’s spiritual journey and knowledge of God. As a young member of society, you embark on a quest to search for Truth. The Truth is The All Merciful God. Once one finds Christ, he/she experiences spiritual gratification and aims to safeguard the relationship with the Almighty,” said Archbishop Derderian in part. “A life filled with prayer, the divine love of Christ and selfless service strengthens our bond with God. I call upon each of you to contribute to your parish and become the Holy Hands of God in your communities. Define your Christian character by engaging in God-pleasing endeavors.”