The Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) received a special plaque from the Armenian Missionary Association Australia (AMA-Australia) last month, as a token of appreciation for the UCA Assembly unanimously passing a 2015 resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide.
AMA-Australia’s President/CEO Rev. Dr Krikor Youmshajekian presented the plaque to the UCA Associate General Secretary Rob Floyd at the Sydney celebratory banquet on 18 March.
The AMA-Australia is a branch of the overarching Armenian Missionary Association America (AMAA). The banquet hosted by AMA-Australia, was part of worldwide centenary celebrations acknowledging AMAA’s 100 years of servicing Armenian communities across the globe since the Armenian genocide that occurred in 1915 to 1923.
Mr Floyd said he was delighted to be able to represent the Church and accept the plaque on behalf of the UCA President Stuart McMillan.
“I expressed the UCA’s congratulations and great respect to the Armenian Missionary Association of America on its celebration of 100 years,” said Mr Floyd of accepting the plaque.
“I was also able to acknowledge and honour all the Armenian people present, and the significant contribution Armenian people in Australia make to the rich cultural and linguistic community which is Australia today.”
The AMAA Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian in his keynote speech at the banquet said that the AMAA continues to move forward on a “journey of goodness.”
“God has called the AMAA to face our nation’s spiritual and humanitarian challenges and assume a leadership role.
“We are called to continue to sow hope, win a smile, realize a dream, feed the hungry and save a soul,” said Mr Khanjian.
Representatives from the UCA, Father Parsegh (Basil) Sousanian Armenian Catholic Parish Community and His Grace Bishop Haigazoun Najarian Primate of the Armenian Apostle Church of Australia and New Zealand, were among the 280 banquet guests.
“During the evening it was inspiring to hear of the ways in which AMAA has worked in the care, support and education of disadvantaged Armenian communities across the world,” said Mr Floyd.
“They were also able to share their current focus on supporting children in education and guests gave most generously to this important ongoing work.”
Along with the banquet the Sydney celebrations included a special screening of the film ‘The Last Inhabitant’ directed by Jivan Avetisyan, as well as a cultural event that featured performances by both Armenian and non-Armenian entertainers. There was also a centennial worship service at the Armenian Evangelical Uniting Church of Sydney which was attended by a number of distinguished guests including the NSW Premier Honourable Gladys Berejiklian.
From the Sydney centennial celebrations, the AMA-Australia raised $200,000 and has committed to renovate AMA-America’s four Kindergartens (KGs) in Artsakh. This includes the Hagop and Lydia Baghdikian KG in Stepanakert, the Krikor Hagop Bilezikian KG in Shushi, the Rev. Dr. Movses Janbazian KG in Martakert, and the Askeran KG.
Established in 1918 the AMAA was created in response to the suffering and devastation experienced by the Armenian people. The AMA- Australia branch was established 18 years ago.