Young faithful head to Armenia to serve

PRESS OFFICE
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]
Website:

July 6, 2006
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ARMENIA SERVICE PROGRAM LEAVES NYC FOR ARMENIA

On Wednesday, July 5, 2006, 25 young Armenian Americans from throughout the
United States departed New York City for Armenia. They were traveling
through the Armenia Service Program (ASP), a trip organized by the Armenian
Church Youth Organization of America (ACYOA).

Besides touring Armenia’s historic sites, ASP participants will build homes
through Habitat for Humanity. The group is being led by Fr. Hovsep
Karapetyan, pastor of the St. James Church of Richmond, VA.

Participants range in age from 18 to 26, and most are making their first
trip to Armenia.

"I don’t know anything about my cultural heritage, really," said ASP
participant Chelsea Bissell of Bozeman, MT. "And really, since I grew up in
Montana, there’s not a church anywhere near me. So I want to go and see
what Armenia is all about."

For Bissell, 19, a student at Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA, the trip
is a chance to discover more about the Armenian people.

"I hope to learn from the people there about my heritage," she said. "I
know about the food and music, but I don’t know about the people."

Even those few who have traveled to Armenia before see the ASP’s service
aspect as a unique way to really connect with the citizens of Armenia.

"I want to go to Armenia to do something service-related, and something with
a religious aspect," said Mark Berberian, 19, a member of the St. Gregory
the Illuminator Church of Chicago, IL, and a student at the University of
Chicago. "I went to Armenia this September with my family and I loved it.
But I want to do something now to help: to give back to the Armenian
people."

ASP participants will return from Armenia on July 27. Assisting group
leader Fr. Karapetyan are two assistant leaders, Anna Sargsyan and Sarine
Zenian. Before heading to Armenia the participants gathered at the Diocesan
Center in New York City for an orientation session.

"We’re excited so many young people are stepping forward to serve our
brothers and sisters in Armenia," said Nancy Basmajian, ACYOA executive
secretary. "And the fact that most of this year’s participants are making
their first trip to Armenia is fabulous. They will definitely return
energized and excited by their Armenian heritage."

* * *

The participants in the 2006 ACYOA ASP trip to Armenia are:
Taline Alexander, Nanor Arabatlian, Sara Arabian, Katherine Avesian,
Daniella Baydar, Jacqueline Baydar, Mark Berberian, Chelsea Bissell, Gena
Durani, Taleen Feredjian, Lucine Ghazaryan, Harutyun Gyurjyan, Danielle
Hacet, Rachel Hachigian, Michaeline Hakimian, Sarah Jacobe, Anita Minakyan,
D. Aram Mushegian, Chrstian Ohanian, Margeaux Reizian, Deanna Schanz,
Gregory Seferian, Anahid Vann, Garegian Vardanyan, Drew Zamanigian.

— 7/6/06

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

PHOTO CAPTION (1): Twenty five young faithful, joined by group leader Fr.
Hovsep Karapetyan and assistant leaders Anna Sargsyan and Sarine Zenian,
gather at the Diocesan Center in New York City before heading to Armenia
through the ACYOA’s Armenia Service Program.

# # #

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

www.armenianchurch.net
www.armenianchurch.net.

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Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS