Youth and clergy from across the Eastern Diocese gathered in Fair Lawn, NJ, last weekend for the 71st annual ACYOA General Assembly and Sports Weekend.
The General Assembly was held on May 25 and 26, at the Marriott at Glenpointe in Teaneck, NJ. 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 St. Leon Church of Fair Lawn, NJ. The assembly was chaired by Arthur Sabounjian of the Armenian Church of the Holy Translators of Framingham, MA, and vice chaired by Andrew Khanarian of St. Leon Church of Fair Lawn.
On Thursday evening, the 2017 General Assembly and 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. Lastly, a report by the 2016 General Assembly and Sports Weekend host committee was presented, as well as a presentation by Jonathan Campbell on behalf of “Ayo!” a crowdfunding platform started by the Fund for Armenian Relief to support projects in Armenia. The first night concluded with a delegates’ reception at the Marriott.
Friday morning began with a prayer and message by Archbishop Barsamian, followed by a presentation of a new “Bread & Salt” video episode by the Department of Creative Ministries. The delegates learned about Princess Santukhd, the first Armenian martyr, and broke into small groups for a discussion, led by the ACYOA Central Council members. They also had an opportunity to ask questions and heard more about the “Bread & Salt” initiative from Diocesan staff members Artur Petrosyan, Arpi Nakashian, and Eric Vozzy.
Members of the Central Council presented the annual ACYOA awards during the Primate’s luncheon on Friday afternoon. The “Chapter A Award” was presented to the ACYOA Seniors of St. John Church of Southfield, MI.
The “Rev. Fr. Haroutiun and Yn. Patricia Dagley Award” was presented to Tom Ashbahian of St. Leon Church 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. Hovsep Karapetyan, pastor of St. Mary Church of Washington, D.C., 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 Harry Kezelian of St. John Church of Southfield, MI.
The “Gregory Arpajian Leadership Award” was presented to Mary Keutelian of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of Chicago, IL, for her leadership and service to the Armenian Church and community.
Elections were held to fill three vacancies on the ACYOA Central Council, left by outgoing members Chelsea Kress (vice chair), Lauren Piligian (secretary), and Daniel Zalinov (treasurer). Ronnie Malconian (treasurer) of Holy Trinity Church of Cambridge, MA; Melissa Mardoian (programming) of Sts. Joachim and Anne Church of Palos Heights, IL; and Sona Dagley (chapter relations) of the Church of the Holy Translators of Framingham, MA, were elected to the Central Council.
On Friday evening, Sports Weekend participants gathered in the back parking lot of St. Leon Church where they enjoyed a casual evening with food trucks, music, and dancing.
On Saturday, sports competitions for basketball, volleyball, ping pong, and tavloo were held in the St. Leon gym. That evening, the participants gathered at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, where they enjoyed dancing and catching up with old friends.
On Sunday morning, the Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan celebrated the Divine Liturgy and gave a sermon at St. Leon Church. At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Archbishop Barsamian formally installed the new ACYOA Central Council.
Later on Sunday, the sports finals took place. On Sunday evening, participants gathered in the Marriott ballroom for the sports competition awards ceremony. Following the awards ceremony, participants, ACYOA alumni, family, and friends enjoyed a night of music and dancing featuring Joseph Krikorian and band. The weekend concluded on Monday morning.
2017-2018 ACYOA Central Council
Chair: Mallory Maslar (St. Hagop Church, Pinellas Park, FL)
Vice Chair: Nora Knadjian (St. Gregory the Illuminator Church, Chicago, IL)
Secretary: Danielle Malconian (Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge, MA)
Treasurer: Ronnie Malconian (Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge, MA)
Programming: Melissa Mardoian (Sts. Joachim and Anne Church, Palos Heights, IL)
Public Relations: Arsen Yelegen (St. Gregory the Enlightener Church, White Plains, NY)
Chapter Relations: Sona Dagley (Church of the Holy Translators, Framingham, MA)
Overall: St. Leon Church, Fair Lawn, NJ
Co-ed Volleyball 1st Place: St. John Church, Southfield, MI
Co-ed Volleyball 2nd Place: St. Leon Church, Fair Lawn, NJ
Women’s Basketball 1st Place: Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge, MA
Women’s Basketball 2nd Place: St. James Church, Watertown, MA
Men’s Basketball 1st Place: St. Leon Church, Fair Lawn, NJ
Men’s Basketball 2nd Place: Saint Vartan Cathedral, New York, NY
Ping Pong 1st Place: Zaven Keshishian: St. Leon Church, Fair Lawn, NJ
Ping Pong 2nd Place: Christopher Parnagian: St. Sahag and St. Mesrob Church, Providence, RI
Tavloo 1st Place: Michael Demirchian, Armenian Church at Hye Pointe, Haverhill, MA
Tavloo 2nd Place: Anna Margaryan, Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge, MA
By Arsen Yelegen