The Armenian Church of Las Vegas hosted the 87th Annual Assembly of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America on Friday, May 2, 2014. The year’s biggest convention was presided by His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Diocesan Primate.
Published on May 03, 2014 by Communications Department
Armenian Church of Las Vegas Hosts 87th Annual Diocesan Assembly
The Armenian Church of Las Vegas hosted the 87th Annual Assembly of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America on Friday, May 2, 2014. The year’s biggest convention was presided by His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Diocesan Primate. The day-long Annual Assembly is a unique venue during which the year’s Diocesan activities and achievements are reviewed and evaluated. In addition to the presentation of financial reports, the Assembly allows for Diocesan delegates from local and regional parishes to share their thoughts and recommendations to better cater to the spiritual needs of the Western Diocese.
Following breakfast and registration, an official call to order was made at 9:00 a.m. and the opening prayer was delivered. Close to 100 delegates, clergy and officers participated in this year’s Assembly. The delegates were introduced after the appointment of committees. The assembly approved last year’s minutes after which the Message of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians addressed to the clergy and the Diocesan delegates was read by Archpriest Fr. Shnork Demirjian.
“From the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, we extend Our Pontifical blessings to the esteemed members of the Annual Diocesan Assembly, the Clergy Conference and the Ladies Society for gathering at the newly constructed building of the Armenian Church Complex of Las Vegas under the presidency of Diocesan Primate His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian. Together, you will reflect on last year’s accomplishments while planning new missions and programs aimed at revitalizing the Western Diocese as a whole.
Since the day of its establishment, the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America has progressed and prospered due to the collective efforts of the Reverend clergy and lay people alike. As a result of dedicated clergy, the faithful have remained loyal to the sacred mission of the Armenian Apostolic Church, while receiving spiritual nourishment and strengthening the rich traditions that shape our Armenian identity. Driven and inspired by your unwavering Christian spirit, you overcome modern day obstacles and challenges faced by Armenians in the Diaspora. We call upon you to bear in mind the challenges which arise from assimilation and strongly recommend that you focus on the Christian education of our youth, a blessed mission which can be fulfilled by spreading the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, by learning the Armenian language and strengthening the bond to the Motherland,” wrote His Holiness in part.
Click here to read the English translation of the Pontiff’s Message in its entirety.
Armenian Message of the Catholicos of All Armenians.
The Delegates heard verbal presentation of reports from the Diocesan Council, the Youth Director, the Head of the Genocide’s Centennial Commemorative Project, the Endowment Fund and the Stewardship Fund.
The day’s spiritual message was delivered by Rev. Fr. Zacharia Saribekyan, Pastor of St. Apkar Armenian Church in Scottsdale, Arizona. Centered on prayer and the relationship with God, Father Zacharia stressed the importance of the practice in our everyday lives.
The Primate’s report was also presented at the 87th Annual Diocesan Assembly. “If we cast a retrospective look at what we have collectively achieved during the past 11 years, we can admittedly claim that those were years of rejuvenation, revamping, restructuring and reorganization. The clergy education and training through our Stewardship Committee, pilgrimages, seminars, lectures, classes and various publications through the Christian Education Department, utilization of social media, websites, and TV through the Media Department, our Saturday and Sunday Schools, Abp. Vatche Hovsepian Summer Camp, ACYO, and CYMA through our Youth Department, expansion of parishes, construction of St. Leon Armenian Cathedral and other churches throughout the Diocese, our mission projects in Armenia, newly established social services through Datev Outreach, the Campus Ministry, etc. – those were the targets during this big change, which we have embraced with openness, eagerness and determination,” wrote His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian in part his address to the delegates.
Click here to read the Primate’s Message in its entirety.
After lunch, the Second Session of the Assembly commenced with elections after which the 2013 By-Laws Amendment Status report was presented.
The delegates also heard reports from the Diocesan Council Treasurer and the Resolutions Committee. Amendments to the By-Laws and updates to compliance By-Laws were also discussed. Delegates’ suggestions were taken into consideration.
The newly elected members of the Diocesan Council are:
Rev. Fr. Avedis Abovian – Pastor of the Armenian Church of Crescenta Valley
Rev. Fr. Nerses Hayrapetyan – Pastor of St. Sarkis Armenian Church in Santa Clarita
Mr. Derik Ghookasian – St. Peter Arm. Church in Van Nuys, California
Mr. Berj Manoogian – St. Apkar Arm. Church in Scottsdale, Arizona
Mr. Greg Tcherkoyan – St. Vartan Arm. Church in Oakland, California
Dr. Kris Mirzayan – St. Mary Arm. Church in Costa Mesa, California
Mr. Mher Sharyan – St. Kevork Arm. Church in Portland, Oregon
In his closing remarks the conveyed his cordial wishes to the participants. “Glory to God for He has graced us with the gift of love and selfless service. On the occasion of the 87th Assembly, I extend to you all dearest Diocesan pastors, Council members, Assembly officers, delegates, faithful and members of the host parish under the leadership of Archpriest Fr. Nareg Matarian. This 87th Assembly becomes an important milestone and a doorway for a new journey for the well being of our Diocese. We all firmly believe that God is leading us into a life of faith and a life of sacrifice.
We offer our prayers for peace in the world, for our beloved Motherland and Etchimadzin and pledge to stay loyal citizens of the United States of America.
We pray for the prosperity of the faithful of the Western Diocese – priests, delegates and all those engaged in the mission. We pray that our way of life at the Diocese be a life “to imitate Christ.”
There is yet much more to be accomplished in the life of the Western Diocese. As in the past, we will continue to work and be engaged in God’s work together, with Christian love, compassion and understanding. The Church is a divine institution and our words, actions and behavior in relations to our Church mission and activities need to be carefully chosen and not to be communicated to the public on social media as in only disrupts the peace within communities. Faith and commitment is not displayed on social media. Enduring prayer needs to accompany faith if we want to grow spiritually and strengthen our relationship with the Almighty God. Prayer must have a leading role in our personal and communal lives.
May the love of God be always with you. Let us all be vigilant in our duties and responsibilities as apostles of Christ for the glory of God. Amen.”
The 87th Diocesan Assembly adjourned with the Primate’s closing prayer.
St. Leon Armenian Cathedral in Burbank will be the host of next year’s Diocesan Assembly.