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ACYOA members gather for general assembly and sports weekend

Youth and clergy from across the Eastern Diocese gathered in New York City last weekend for the 68th annual ACYOA General Assembly. The two-day meeting, held May 22-23 at the Diocesan Center in Manhattan, and the annual Sports Weekend activities that followed, were hosted by the ACYOA chapter of Holy Martyrs Church of Bayside, N.Y.

PRESS OFFICE
Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Contact: Chris Zakian 
Tel: (212) 686-0710 or (973) 943-8697  
E-mail: chrisz@armeniandiocese.org
Website: www.armenianchurch-ed.net
May 30, 2014
___________________
ACYOA MEMBERS GATHER FOR GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND SPORTS WEEKEND
Youth and clergy from across the Eastern Diocese gathered in New York City last weekend for the 68th annual ACYOA General Assembly. The two-day meeting, held May 22-23 at the Diocesan Center in Manhattan, and the annual Sports Weekend activities that followed, were hosted by the ACYOA chapter of Holy Martyrs Church of Bayside, N.Y.
On Thursday evening, more than 80 ACYOA delegates and clergy opened the General Assembly at the Diocese’s Haik and Alice Kavookjian Auditorium. Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), presided.

The assembly was chaired by Greg Torosian of Holy Trinity Church of Cambridge, Mass. Caiti Zeytoonian of St. James Church of Watertown, Mass., served as vice chair.
Delegates heard a presentation on the Fund for Armenian Relief’s crowdfunding platform “Ayo!” from FAR’s Andre Berg and Alisha Sharaballi. “Ayo!” recently completed its second campaign by raising funds to purchase and install an elevator in the Gavar Special School in Gavar, Armenia. ACYOA members learned about upcoming “Ayo!” projects, and ways they can become more involved in supporting FAR initiatives in Armenia.

The Rev. Fr. Mardiros Chevian, dean of St. Nersess Armenian Seminary, made a presentation on the seminary’s programs. He spoke about the upcoming Summer Conferences and gave an overview of the seminary’s new campus, which is under construction in Armonk, N.Y.
ACYOA members also learned about the Diocese’s Kirkor and Clara Zohrab Information Center from its director, the Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan. Fr. Findikyan said that the center is an important resource for students and scholars researching Armenian history, and highlighted some of its recent lectures and programs.
The evening concluded with a reception for delegates and clergy in Guild Hall of the Diocesan Center.

On Friday morning, delegates gathered for worship at St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral. Following a prayer service, Archbishop Barsamian delivered a message focusing on the Diocese’s theme for the year, “Living the Gospel of Christ,” and encouraged the young people to advance the theme in their local communities.  
“The parish ACYOA chapter can play an absolutely critical role in leading others to ‘Live the Gospel,'” Archbishop Barsamian said. “As the young, intelligent, and inspired generation of our church, it is up to you to set the tone for others. I want you to know that the Diocesan Youth Ministry department, the ACYOA Central Council, and I myself are all eager to provide the resources, guidance, and support you need to take on this task back home: to strengthen your power to inspire people.”

The ACYOA Central Council led a Bible study session. In small groups, delegates thought about what it means to “Live the Gospel of Christ” and brainstormed ways to bring that message to their home parishes.
The day continued with reports from the “Nancy Basmajian Armenia Service Program Scholarship Fund” and the Auditing Committee, as well as a discussion of the organization’s financial report.
Elections were held for three vacancies on the ACYOA Central Council. Sarine Atamian of Holy Martyrs Church of Bayside, N.Y., was elected to the council. Re-elected for another term were Jonathan Pelaez of St. Mary Church of Livingston, N.J., and Ani Grigorian of St. Mesrob Church of Racine, Wis. The assembly expressed its appreciation to outgoing Central Council member Armen Terjimanian of St. Mary Church of Washington, D.C., for his three years of service.
During the Primate’s Luncheon on Friday afternoon, the Very Rev. Fr. Aren Jebejian, pastor of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of Chicago, was presented with the “Fr. Haigazoun Melkonian Award,” in honor of his dedication to leading the youth of the Armenian Church.
Daniel Mantis of St. Mesrob Church of Racine, Wis., received the “Gregory Arpajian Award” for his leadership and service to his community.
Greg Torosian of Holy Trinity Church of Cambridge, Mass., received the “Sam Nersesian Award,” which is given to individuals who display Christian values of love, patience, humility, and understanding.
Maria Derderian, youth minister at St. James Church in Watertown, Mass., received the “Fr. Haroutiun and Yn. Patricia Dagley Award” for her service to the Armenian Church and community.
The Chapter “A” Award, given to the chapter that best fulfills the requirements of an ACYOA chapter and abides by the organization’s “Circles of the Cross,” went to Holy Trinity Church of Cambridge, Mass.
Before adjourning, delegates expressed their gratitude to the Holy Martyrs ACYOA Seniors for organizing and hosting this year’s General Assembly and Sports Weekend. The activities were planned under the leadership of the Rev. Fr. Abraham Malkhasyan, parish pastor; Garen Karamyan, parish youth director; and Sarine Atamian, Holy Martyrs ACYOA chair.
Following the General Assembly, the weekend continued with more than 500 participants taking part in the annual Sports Weekend events. In addition to young adults from the Eastern Diocese, a group from our sister diocese in California traveled to New York for the weekend program. Sporting competitions took place at Baruch College in Manhattan.
On Saturday evening, participants enjoyed a cruise along the Hudson River, and took in views of New York landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge.
On Sunday morning, the Rev. Fr. Abraham Malkhasyan celebrated the Divine Liturgy at Holy Martyrs Church in Bayside, N.Y. Archbishop Yeghishe Gizirian delivered the sermon.
Archbishop Gizirian blessed the new ACYOA Central Council during an installation service following the celebration of the Divine Liturgy.
The ACYOA Central Council for the coming year will include: chair Ani Grigorian (St. Mesrob Church, Racine, Wis.); vice chair Jonathan Pelaez (St. Mary Church, Livingston, N.J.); treasurer Shant Paklaian (St. Gregory the Illuminator Church, Chicago, Ill.); secretary Chelsea Kress (St. Leon Church, Fair Lawn, N.J.); chapter relations coordinator Daniel Zalinov (St. Sarkis Church, Charlotte, N.C.); programming coordinator Adrienne Ashbahian (St. Leon Church, Fair Lawn, N.J.); and public relations coordinator Sarine Atamian (Holy Martyrs Church, Bayside, N.Y.).
On Sunday evening a banquet was held at the Broad Street Ballroom in Manhattan to honor the winners of the various athletic competitions (see below). The weekend concluded on Monday morning with a farewell brunch hosted by the Children of Armenia Fund.
Next year’s General Assembly and Sports Weekend will be hosted by the ACYOA Seniors of St. John Church of Southfield, Mich.
The new ACYOA Central Council chair, Ani Grigorian, noted: “It’s great to see the strength and passion our young adults have for the Armenian faith and heritage. Their desire to strengthen the church was shown this past weekend through their tremendous support of our youth at the General Assembly and Sports Weekend. We are excited to move forward in the coming year with innovative programming while reaching out to ACYOA chapters across the Diocese.”
SPORTS WEEKEND RESULTS
3-Point Shootout
Ara Vartanian, Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Church, Providence, R.I.
Co-ed Volleyball
1st place: St. Leon Church, Fair Lawn, N.J.
2nd place: Holy Translators Church, Framingham, Mass.
Boys Basketball
1st place: Western Diocese Regional Team
2nd place: St. James Church, Watertown, Mass., and Sts Sahag and Mesrob Church, Providence, R.I.
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Photos attached.
Photo 1: Delegates pose for a group photo with clergy.
Photo 2: ACYOA Central Council members with Archbishop Barsamian during the General Assembly.
Photo 3: A delegate asks a question during the General Assembly.
Photo 4: Archbishop Barsamian with athletes during a Sports Weekend basketball game.
Photo 5: Archbishop Yeghishe Gizirian and Rev. Fr. Abraham Malkhasyan with the newly installed ACYOA Central Council at Holy Martyrs Church. 

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