The 2018 National Representative Assembly was opened by Jack Mardoian, Chairman of the Executive Council and opening prayer offered by the Prelate, His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan, on Thursday, May 10. The Assembly was hosted by St. Gregory Church of Merrimack Valley in North Andover, Massachusetts. Elected as co-chairmen were Noubar Megerian (St. Gregory, Philadelphia) and Aram Sarafian (Soorp Khatch, Bethesda). Elected to serve as English secretary was Janet Haroian (St. Gregory, Granite City) and Armenian secretary (Rev. Fr. Torkom Chorbajian (St. Gregory, Granite City).
Rev. Fr. Stephan Baljian, pastor of the host parish, welcomed the delegates on behalf of the Steering Committee and the Board of Trustees of St. Gregory Church. Der Stephan spoke about the history of the communities comprising the Merrimack Valley and expressed appreciation to the Board and Pastor of St. Michael’s Parish—St. Gregory’s next door neighbor—for opening their facilities to the NRA. Also offering opening remarks were Greg Afarian, chairman of the Board of Trustees of the host parish; Haig Oshagan on behalf of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation; and Sandra Vartanian on behalf of the Armenian Relief Society.
The message of His Holiness Catholicos Aram I to the NRA was read by Archpriest Fr. Nerses Manoogian. Chairman of the Religious Council. This was followed by the Keynote Address offered by His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan (The Prelate’s address is available on the Prelacy website in Armenian and English). Der Nerses then presented the report on the World Assembly with a PowerPoint summation. Jack Mardoian presented highlights of the Prelacy’s Executive Councils (Religious and Lay) reports that had been sent to delegates earlier for review.
Rev. Fr. Vart Gyozalyan, pastor of the Armenian Church at Hye Point, Bradford, Massachusetts representing the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, conveyed the greetings of the newly elected Primate, Very Reverend Father Daniel Findikyan.
Panel discussions included the following topics: Parish Development; Sunday School; Youth Ministry; Prelacy Action Plan; By-Laws; Budget and Fundraising. A summary of the discussions on each of the topics was presented to the full delegation with opportunity for questions regarding the findings and recommendations of the various panels.
Four incumbents were eligible for re-election to the Executive Council. All four were re-elected, namely,
Veh Bezdikian, Susan Erickson, Jack Mardoian, Mark Philips.
Rev. Fr. Mikael Der Kosrofian invited the National Representative Assembly to convene next year in Whitinsville, Massachusetts, hosted for the first time by Saint Asdvadzadzin Church.
The 2018 Assembly came to an end with closing remarks and benediction by the Prelate. Archbishop Oshagan thanked the steering committee, Der Stephan, the Board of Trustees, for a well-organized Assembly and special events. He noted that we are all called to serve our church and nation. “As Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Go to the nations,’ so too are the NRA delegates called upon to be the missionaries to our parishes and share with them the work of the Prelacy.”