Town Hall Style Meeting Guages Work of the Board of Trustees & NRA 2018 Steering Committee
On Sunday, November 19, following the Divine Liturgy and Requiem service, the Board of Trustees convened an unofficial membership meeting, conducted town hall style, for the benefit of the members of Saint Gregory Church. During the meeting, both our pastor Fr. Stephan Baljian and Board of Trustees' Chairman Greg Afarian had a chance to address the membership, highlighting the important successes and challenges of the year so far. Members were also given a rough estimate of where the church stands financially, vis a vis this year's annual budget, which was approved at the Annual General Membership Meeting in March of this year. Those in attendance also had the opportunity to voice their concerns in several different areas.
During the meeting also, the membership heard an info. presentation from Christine Kourkounian, who has been selected to chair the steering committee for the 2018 National Representative Assembly of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America, which is scheduled to be hosted by our parish here in North Andover, May 9-12, 2018. After presenting the basic details about what the NRA is and what it accomplishes, Ms. Kourkounian listed the members of the steering committee, which consists of our parish's representatives to the NRA, members of the Board of Trustees and other key members of the community selected for their expertise and experience, all under the leadership of our Der Stephan. She then gave a detailed schedule of the Assembly's events and highlighted the preliminary work done to organize the event thus far, appealing to each and every member to volunteer his or her help when the time comes.
Following the presentation, Der Hayr closed the meeting by thanking Greg Afarian and Christine Kourkounian for their respective efforts and wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving.
Students from our 3rd-6th grade class learned a lesson about the Nicene Creed during their Sunday School class. Composed in the year 325 A.D., the Creed is a profession of the Orthodox Christian faith that was generated by the first Ecumenical Council, which took place in Nicaea with the participation of 318 bishops from around the world. (Historical records show the Armenian Apostolic Church was represented at the council by Catholicos St. Arisdages, the son of St. Gregory the Illuminator.
The Nicene Creed is an expansion on older creeds, including the much shorter Apostles' Creed, which traditionally traces its origins back to the first century. In its current form as used in the Divine Liturgy every Sunday, it is an expansion of an older, shorter version of itself. Some of this expansion (including the anathematization of those who deny the eternity of the Son and the Holy Spirit) was accomplished in subsequent decades. The Creed took its final form at the subsequent Ecumenical Council of Constantinople, which took place in 381.
Its content is notable in that it is a clear refutation of the prevalent teaching of one Bishop Arius, who was preaching heretically that God the Son was a created being (however exalted), and therefore not sharing in divinity with God the Father. It is also the first dogmatic statement of the early church to assert that the Son and the Father are of the same "essence" (substance) and "nature." This means, rightly so, that "Sonship" or being begotten (born) of the Father is tantamount to being God, as that which is born of the Divine, must be of that very divine nature or substance himself, and therefore -- God.
The 2017-2018 AVAK Luncheon season is underway with fellowship and education being offered for our senior members in a friendly and laid back environment. AVAK Luncheon takes place beginning at noon on the first Thursday of every month from October through May (the exception is for the month of January, when it takes place on the day of Armenian Christmas, January 6).
Following a delicious luncheon, prepared by crews on a monthly rotation, an innovative speakers' program invites interesting Armenian-American lecturers from different professions and backgrounds of expertise to share their presentations on a wide array of topics. For the month of October, our very Greg Afarian (Chairman of our Board of Trustees) spoke about his father, the late Katcher Afarian's legacy as an expert on and merchant of oriental carpets, also sharing several samples of rare, exquisite Armenian orientals.
In November we viewed the newly released, powerful documentary Architects of Denial, detailing the atrocities of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and the effects the Turkish denial of the genocide continues to have on Armenia and Artsakh today. Following the film, a lively discussion took place, facilitated by Der Stephan.
Plans are underway for the next AVAK luncheon, which will take place on Thursday, December 7, 2017, and will feature our annual Christmas Carol and holiday sing-a-long under the capable leadership of Mary Barooshian at the piano!