by Arsen Yelegen
Youth and clergy from across the Eastern Diocese gathered in Boston, MA, last weekend for the 70th annual ACYOA General Assembly and Sports Weekend.
The General Assembly was held on May 26 and 27, at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel in downtown Boston. Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, presided over the assembly.
The weekend was hosted by the ACYOA Seniors of Holy Trinity Church of Cambridge, MA. The assembly was chaired by Caiti Zeytoonian of St. James Church of Watertown, MA, and vice chaired by Gregory Torosian of Holy Trinity Church of Cambridge.
On Thursday evening, the Sports Weekend host committee welcomed the delegates and clergy. The annual Central Council report, as well as the report of the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries (DYYAM), were presented. Dn. Michael Sabounjian presented a video about the legacy and future of St. Nersess Armenian Seminary and the Rev. Fr. Tateos Abdalian spoke on behalf of the Department of Mission Parishes. The first night was concluded with the delegates and clergy attending evening service at the Armenian Heritage Park in Boston, followed by a delegate reception at the Westin Hotel.
Friday morning began with a prayer and message by Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, followed by the showing of the Diocesan video, “Living Legacies: Armenians a Century After the Genocide.” The delegates then broke into small groups for a Bible study led by the ACYOA Central Council members. Working in pairs, the delegates then discussed their personal reflections on the legacy of the generation of 1915.
During the Primate’s luncheon on Friday afternoon, the delegates and clergy welcomed Houry Gebeshian, a native of Massachusetts and the first female Armenian gymnast to represent Armenia in the upcoming summer Olympics. The gymnast shared her story about her journey to the Olympics.
Members of the Central Council presented the annual ACYOA awards. The “Chapter A Award” was presented to the ACYOA Seniors of St. Hagop Church of Pinellas Park, FL.
The “Rev. Fr. Haroutiun Dagley and Yn. Patricia Dagley Award” was presented to Garen Karamyan, the ACYOA youth director of the Church of the Holy Martyrs of Bayside, NY, for his service and continued devotion to the youth of the Armenian Church.
The “Very Rev. Fr. Haigazoun Melkonian Award” was presented to Rev. Fr. Tateos Abdalian for his exemplary service and leadership on behalf of the youth of the Armenian Church.
The “Sam Nersesian Award,” given to individuals who display Christian values of love, patience, humility, and understanding, was presented to Adrienne Ashbahian of St. Leon Church of Fair Lawn, NJ.
The “Gregory Arpajian Leadership Award” was presented to Ronald Malconian of Holy Trinity Church of Cambridge MA, for his leadership and service to the Armenian Church and community.
Elections were held to fill three vacancies on the ACYOA Central Council. Leaving Central Council were Ani Grigorian (chair), Jonathan Pelaez (vice chair), and Sarine Atamian (public relations coordinator). Newly elected to the Central Council include Nora Knadjian (programming) of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of Chicago, IL; Arsen Yelegen (public relations) of St. Gregory the Enlightener Church of White Plains, NY; and Danielle Malconian (chapter relations), of Holy Trinity Church of Cambridge, MA.
The General Assembly wrapped up with a message from Jonathan Campbell on behalf of “Ayo!” a crowdfunding platform begun by the Fund for Armenian Relief to support projects in Armenia.
On Friday evening, participants of Sports Weekend gathered at Laugh Boston at The Westin Waterfront Hotel. The youth enjoyed a night of music, dancing, and catching up with old friends.
On Saturday, sports competitions for basketball and volleyball were held at the Boston University Fitness and Recreation Center. That evening, the participants gathered at Space 57 in downtown Boston for a night of music and dancing.
On Sunday morning, the Rev. Fr. Nareg Keutelian celebrated the Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity Church. The Rev. Fr. Vasken Kouzouian, pastor of Holy Trinity Church, gave the sermon. At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Archbishop Barsamian presided over the ACYOA Central Council installation service, and formally installed the new Central Council.
Later on Sunday, the sports finals took place. On Sunday evening, participants gathered at the Park Plaza Grand Ballroom in downtown Boston for the sports competition awards ceremony, The ACYOA Alumni Gala was held in celebration of the ACYOA’s 70 anniversary. A festive cocktail dinner was held prior to a dance featuring Kevork Artinian and Band. ACYOA alumni, family, and friends enjoyed a night of music and dancing. The weekend concluded on Monday morning.
2016-17 ACYOA Central Council
Chair: Mallory Maslar (St. Hagop Church, Pinellas Park, FL)
Vice Chair: Chelsea Kress (St. Leon Church, Fair Lawn, NJ)
Secretary: Lauren Piligian (Church of the Holy Translators, Framingham, MA)
Treasurer: Daniel Zalinov (St. Sarkis Church, Charlotte, NC)
Programming: Nora Knadjian (St. Gregory the Illuminator Church, Chicago, IL)
Public Relations: Arsen Yelegen (St. Gregory the Enlightener Church, White Plains, NY)
Chapter Relations: Danielle Malconian (Holy Trinity Armenian Church, Cambridge, MA)
Overall: St. Leon Church, Fair Lawn, NJ
Co-ed Volleyball 1st Place: St. Leon Church, Fair Lawn, NJ
Co-ed Volleyball 2nd Place: Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge, MA
Women’s Basketball 1st Place: Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge, MA
Women’s Basketball 2nd Place: Regional Team
Men’s Basketball 1st Place: Glendale, CA
Men’s Basketball 2nd Place: Church of the Holy Martyrs, Bayside, NY