San Francisco, in many ways, is the envy of the world. It has a lot going for it. Natural beauty, industry leading companies, great sports teams, and a social and political culture all its own. There is one area, sadly, the City has continually struggled with. Homelessness is a major and visible concern. It is an issue that seems to be on every politician's agenda yet only seems to be getting worse.
January, our meeting welcomed our new slate of officer’s. We had a cozy meeting in the Ashjian Room. We warmed up the chilly winter day with lunch brought in from the Olive Garden, and we enjoyed their minestrone and their signature salad and bread while surrounded by friends. Those who stayed to the end of the meeting enjoyed the surprise of having a chance at winning a door prize. Three lucky attendees took home a ceramic magnet from Jerusalem.
The Sunday School teachers are committed to keeping our children motivated and engaged. Our teachers: Cecelia Baloian, Talene Movsesian, Alexis Burke, Lesley Kissick, Sevag Sarkissian and Ellen Eagen continue to eagerly devote their time in preparing lessons and work with our children weekly.
The ACYO, sleepover was a fun night for everybody. First, we all went into the kitchen and cooked meat casseroles for the homeless. Then we delivered them to the homeless shelter. After that, we had a special career presentation by Anthony Catchatoorian.
Sunday, March 5, following the Divine Liturgy, the parishioners gathered in the courtyard near the monument of the Armenian victims of the Sumgait massacres of 1988 to participate in a requiem service and pay respect to dearly departed. Fr. Mesrop Ash conducted a Hokihankist along with altar servers and choir members. Upon conclusion of the service, he invited the faithful to place flowers and gather at Paul Family Hall for a special program.
Sunday, January 29, following the church service, all the parishioners gathered together at The Paul Family Hall. This time they would not only have coffee and cookies, but enjoy the taste of the famous Frosted Cupcake Milkshake prepared by our own Raffi Arabatyan, which contained classic vanilla cupcake with creamy vanilla frosting, chocolate pieces, and colorful sprinkles.
Saint Sarkis the Warrior is one of the most venerated Armenian saints. He is considered the patron saint of love and youth. His feast day is celebrated in late January or early February Each year, on the first day of the Fast of the Holy Catechumens (First Lent), the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church celebrates the Feast of St. Sarkis the Captain, his son Martiros and his 14 soldiers-companions.
Armenian traditional folk dance and music are an integral part of the Armenian culture. The promotion of our rich culture in both Armenian and Non-Armenian circles of the greater Bay Area was the reason St. John Karoon Dance Ensemble was established under the direction of Carol Kazarian. Over the years the group has performed during the Annual Food Festivals and a variety of public functions.
Saturday, February 4, 2017, once again St. John Armenian Church hosted a benefit concert featuring young talented Armenian Artists, Dr. Tatev Amiryan, composer/pianist, and Nadima Avakian, soprano. Part of the proceeds was donated to the “Kantzer” choir of St. Anna Church in Armenia.
For the first time at St. John Armenian Church, a new tradition was celebrated on the occasion of the New Year. On January 1, 2017, following the Divine Liturgy, pomegranates were blessed in accordions with the right established by His Holiness Karekin II, Catholics of All Armenians, just a few years ago. The blessed fruits, which are of great symbolic important to the Armenian people, were distributed to the faithful to enjoy with their families, or take home to loved ones were are unable to attend church.