Dallas hosts southern meeting for young church members

Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Contact: Jake Goshert, Coordinator of Information Services
Tel: (212) 686-0710 Ext. 60; Fax: (212) 779-3558
E-mail: [email protected]

January 10, 2005


“Lord, I am a conductor with tired hands, smeared notes, and missing
musicians, working to bring alive the greatest symphony” — so went a
prayer written by a group of young Armenian Church members during a
recent one-day conference in Dallas, TX.

As part of the conference organized by the Armenian Church Youth
Organization of America (ACYOA), participants examined a prayer written
generations ago by St. Gregory of Narek. They were then asked to craft
their own prayer. It was just one of the activities at the ACYOA
Southern Regional Conference designed to strengthen individual ties to
God and local ACYOA chapters.

Participating in the conference — held at the St. Sarkis Church in
Dallas, TX, on Saturday, January 29, 2005 — were ACYOA members from
both the Dallas chapter and the St. Kevork Church in Houston. They
gathered to talk about their faith as well as the ACYOA organization.

“The conference far exceeded my expectations,” said Karoun Charkoudian,
a member of the St. Kevork Church. “The passionate discussions and
interactive workshops provided an open, comfortable atmosphere so that
we could all explore our feelings about Christianity as it relates to
spirituality, marriage, and sex.”

Fr. Mikael Devejian, pastor of St. Sarkis Church, and ACYOA Executive
Secertary Nancy Basmajian served as presenters at the Southern

“This was a great opportunity to discuss how God is a part of our daily
lives and also get to know one another better,” Fr. Devejian said.

The ACYOA Central Council, which sponsors an annual series of regional
conferences in four different areas, was represented at each program by
the group’s regional liaisons.

“The smaller, more intimate settings of the regional conferences allow
the participants to have in-depth discussions while focusing on their
own thoughts regarding spirituality and their individual faith
experiences,” said Maria Derderian, the ACYOA Central Council member who
attended the Southern Regional meeting. “Through witnessing their faith
and coming together in true Christian fellowship, they form a stronger
connection with each other, which then continues to strengthen their
ACYOA chapters.”


The meeting in Texas was the last in the current series of regional
gatherings organized by the ACYOA.

Earlier, members in New England met on January 15, 2005, at the St.
James Church of Watertown, MA, where they heard from Fr. Arakel
Aljalian, pastor of the St. James Church; Fr. Vasken Kouzouian, pastor
of the Holy Trinity Church of Cambridge, MA; and Yn. Arpi Kouzouian,
coordinator of youth outreach for the Diocese.

Other conferences were held for members in the Midwest region on October
23, 2004, at St. John’s Church of Southfield, MI; and in the
Mid-Atlantic region on November 6, 2004, at St. Mary Church in
Livingston, NJ.

The next major event for the ACYOA will be the 6th Annual National Young
Adult Leadership Conference from February 18 to 20, 2005, at the Don
Bosco Retreat Center in Stony Point, NY. The conference is free, and
parishes are asked to send two representatives each. Parishes are also
encouraged to help their representatives cover travel costs, to ensure
as many young people as possible can attend.

A number of participants in past ACYOA National Young Adult Leadership
Conferences have gone on to serve their home parishes as parish council
members and in other leadership positions.

This year the conference will explore the theme “Fellowship: A Common
Life in Christ”. Those seeking more information are encouraged to visit
or e-mail Nancy Basmajian at [email protected].

— 2/10/05

E-mail photos available on request. Photos also viewable in the News
and Events section of the Eastern Diocese’s website,

PHOTO CAPTION (1): Participants in the ACYOA southern regional retreat
gather at the St. Sarkis Church of Dallas, TX, on Saturday, January 29,

PHOTO CAPTION (2): ACYOA members in Texas take part in a Bible study
discussion during the ACYOA southern regional retreat on Saturday,
January 29, 2005.

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From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress