As we joyfully ushered in 2018 we have been keeping busy by the weeks and months as faithful and devoted members of our community. Our cross generations of members and friends helping in many different ways provide each of us an experience one can only understand when immersed in these various activities and events. Whether it’s sitting in church in worship, socializing at a luncheon or working on a project, our connections with each other are strengthening our character, community and faith.
Students studied the eight Sundays of Great lent from Poon Paregentan (much like Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday) to Easter. Abstinence this year was also part of the Pre-K students teaching, and for Lent, they diligently gave up M&M’s and Lollypops!
They celebrated by attending a special Children’s Badarak together on Lazarus Saturday followed by a breakfast and the annual Easter Egg Hunt.
St. John has identified raising awareness about dementia and dementia-related issues as an important goal. For that reason St. John invited representatives of Alzheimer’s Care Armenia to make a presentation to the community. Unfortunately, Dr. Jane Mahakian, Gerontologist, and co-founder was not able to appear and speak to the attendees; however, Vic Mazmanian longtime Alzheimer advocate, educator, and speaker was with us. Vic is a facilitator for several Alzheimer support groups.
While we fasted for Lent, we consumed with our eyes a thought-provoking art exhibit by artists Armine and Suren Vardanyan. Armine was a graduate of Mer Hooys Orphanage in Yerevan. While there she studied at Terlemezyan Fine Art College, where she met art partner and now husband, Suren.
February 28th marked the 30th Anniversary of the Massacres of the Armenian community of Sumgait, and subsequently the Armenians throughout our Azerbaijan. To honor his occasion St. John proclaimed February Sumgait Commemoration Month.
Leading up to Easter is a time of lent and this year as in past years the Lenten Prayer Vigil Services (Husgoom) were held on Wednesday evenings. Parishioners are invited to come and pray along with participating in the readings. Afterward, a potluck meal was held for all to enjoy.
As with past Christmas holidays we once again celebrated with a number of engaging activities for not only the children but the young at heart. We lead off with an assemblage of gracious volunteers to come in and decorate the hall, tree and also the church as well. Everyone gets to participate in either hanging the lights or the little ones bringing an ornament to place on the tree.
For the first time St. John conducted an installation of the officers of the Parish Council, the Ladies Society, and the Armenian Church Youth Organization in one service.
This event became an expression of the unity of purpose and vision for cooperation that our parish is cultivating with leadership.
Following the installation ceremony, newly elected Parish Council Chair Kathy Kapeghian expressed her gratitude to be able to serve the church and to do so along with so many devoted parish members, from across generations.
ACYO has been very active. September was full of cooking days with the ladies society for the food festival and Friday night hangouts. In October we had an overnight spiritual retreat with Fr. Mesrop and Dn. Charles. The night was full of discussion about prayer, baking rice crispy treats, and karaoke. Later that month we worked during the church’s annual food festival. We had a great time doing face painting and working various booths at the food festival.