On Friday, January 20, St. John once again hosted a Family Night, this time honoring the Armenians from Baku. St. John has been a real home for Armenians from Baku, since the time that many came to the Bay Area fleeing the brutal Sumgait Pogrom in 1988, and the war for the independence of Artsakh.
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.
On April 1-2, 2017, thirty-six members of the Junior ACYO traveled to Dunlap, California, the site of the Armenian Church Summer Camp of the Western Diocese. Nine St. John ACYO members participated in the retreat under, led by Dn. Charles Cherezian and Kathy Kapehgian. The retreat was designed to tackle the issues relevant to the youth on the social, religious and ethical levels.
Captivated by the wonder of God’s creation and the scenic beauty of the campsite, the youth enjoyed hiking, sports and participating in lively discussions.
On Saturday, March 18, 2017, the ACYO youth gathered at St. John’s Armenian Church to participate in a special Lenten lock-in, a sleepover at the church. The evening began with a talk from Dn. Anthony Catchatoorian. Anthony spoke about his career as a camera person for KPIX and Comcast, and also shared his experience and involvement in the church since his childhood. He talked to the youth about the different journeys he has taken in his life, how the church has always given him strength and encouraged them to pursue their career dreams.
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.