Category Archives: Events

Armenian Missionary Association of Australia Raises $35,000 For “Shogh” Day Centers in Armenia and Artsakh

Rev. Dr. Krikor Youmshajekian, AMA-Australia President

The Armenian Missionary Association of Australia (AMA-Australia) set a goal in 2019 to raise funds to support AMAA’s “Shogh” Educational Day Centers in Armenia and Artsakh, which provide provisional services for underprivileged children. The Centers, located in Gyumri, Vanadzor and Yerevan in Armenia and Askeran and Shushi in Artsakh, support children 6-12 years old who are living in socially underserved families, providing them a safe environment during parents’ working hours. The main objectives of the Centers are to help these children overcome educational difficulties, grow personally, and become part of an educated and healthy society. AMAA Representative in Armenia Harout Nercessian was invited to Australia to share this important work done with the children in these Centers and in their communities.

On Sunday March 24, Mr. Nercessian spoke at St. Andrew’s Uniting Church of Longueville to a combined Worship Service with Lane Cove Uniting Church, where he delivered the message and made a presentation about the Association’s work in Armenia and Artsakh. A Lawn Bowls Fundraising event followed the Worship Service at the Longueville Sports Club. This unique event was the first in a series of events organized for this year’s AMA-Australia Week, which was well attended by young people and enjoyed by all.

Zela Margossian Quintet (ARIA Nominated)

Later that afternoon, a cultural event was held at Longueville St. Andrew’s Uniting Church, featuring the Zela Margossian Quintet. Their amazing ethno-jazz performance with a taste of Armenian traditional music was greatly appreciated by all. The group donated all proceeds from the Concert to the “Shogh” Educational Day Centers. The opening of a Photography Exhibition followed the Concert in the Church’s War Memorial Hall, where Raffi Elejian, a new arrival from Aleppo, Syria, exhibited his photos. The Exhibition was opened by the Past President of Uniting Church of Australia (UCA), Stuart McMillan and was open throughout the following week.

On Tuesday, March 26, Manvel Saribekyan’s documentary movie Map of Salvation, about five young European Missionaries who were witnesses to the Armenian Genocide and subsequently founded shelters for Armenian children and women, was screened at St. Andrew’s Uniting Church War Memorial Hall.

Opera Singer, Natalie Aroyan (Sydney Opera House)

On Sunday, March 31, the AMA-Australia Sunday Worship and Praise Service was held at the Armenian Evangelical Church of Sydney in Willoughby. Many dignitaries, UCA clergy, politicians and representatives of Armenian organizations were present. The Service was led by Rev. Hagop Sarkissian, Church Minister. AMA-Australia President and Executive Director Rev. Dr. Krikor Youmshajekian offered the prayer and brought greetings on behalf of the Association. Mr. Nercessian brought the message based on Luke 12:13-21 The Parable of the Rich Fool. He also gave a report on the inspiring work that is done for our children in the “Shogh” Centers and the amazingly transforming impact that has been achieved in their lives and in their families, all for the glory of God. During the Service, talented and famous opera singer, Natalie Aroyan performed an aria by Pucini, accompanied by talented pianist Alex Sahagian. At the conclusion of the Service, UCA President Dr. Dierdre Palmer offered prayer, led the Lord’s Prayer Hyre Mer and gave the Benediction.

Harout Nercessian, AMAA Representative in Armenia

Following the Service, the AMA-Australia Annual Luncheon was held at St. Andrew’s Uniting Church War Memorial Hall. The Luncheon was well attended and included politicians and UCA leaders. All enjoyed the delicious food and the wonderful entertainment provided by the Lane Cove Delta Jazz Band, led by David Cant, a member of St. Andrew’s Uniting Church. Rev. Dr. Youmshajekian presented a brief audio-visual report about last year’s AMAA Centenary Fundraising for the Artsakh Kindergartens and the completion of the renovations. He made an appeal to continue their support to the AMAA’s projects, especially this year’s fundraising for the “Shogh” Day Centers, including the Sponsorship programs. Mr. Nercessian outlined the work done with disadvantaged children in these Centers. Some beautiful handicrafts, made by the children of “Shogh” Centers, and the bilingual New Testaments were available for purchase. With the generous donations of our supporters throughout the week-long activities, $35,000 Australian dollars net was raised for the “Shogh” Educational Day Centers in Armenia and Artsakh.

During his stay in Australia, Mr. Nercessian also spoke at the Armenian Evangelical Church Ladies Group Worship Service and visited the Armenian Day Schools of AGBU Alexander School and Hamazkaine Galstaun College.

Officially established in 1991 as an independent charitable organization and registered Incorporation in Australia, AMA-Australia is a sister Association of the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA). AMAA-Australia is the brainchild of the former AMAA Executive Director, the late Rev. Dr. Movses Janbazian, who unfortunately didn’t see its fruition. It pursues the same aims as the AMAA, serving the religious, educational and social needs of Armenian communities in the Homeland and Diaspora.

AMA-Australia Commemorates the 10th Anniversary of the Assassination of Hrant Dink

Rev. Youmshajekian, Mrs. Dink & Mr. Soghomonian

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the assassination of journalist and human rights activist Hrant Dink. In honour of the memory of our national hero, the Armenian Missionary Association of Australia (AMA-Australia) invited his widow Mrs. Rakel Dink to Australia to commemorate with them his life and work, and to also highlight the work of the Hrant Dink Foundation, which carries on his legacy.

On Saturday March 11th, Mrs. Dink was welcomed to Sydney by the AMA-Australia Board of Directors at an informal gathering at the home of Rev. Dr. and Mrs. Krikor Youmshajekian.

On Sunday March 12th, Mrs. Dink attended the AMAA Sunday Service held at the Armenian Evangelical Church of Sydney. During the service, she witnessed her faith in Christ, even during the very difficult times following her husband’s death. All were encouraged by her dependence on God, and her trust in His purpose even when we cannot understand why. Rev. Dr Youmshajekian, President/Executive Director of AMA-Australia preached from God’s word.

Following the AMAA Sunday service, the Annual AMAA Luncheon was held at Miramare Gardens. The guest of honour Mrs. Dink encouraged all in attendance with her heartfelt remarks. The guests were entertained with two poetry recitals from Barouyr Sevag performed by George Shissoyan and a violin solo ‘Dele Yaman’ performed by Garen Boymoushakian. A brief presentation was given highlighting the work of AMAA in general as well as the projects completed by the AMA-Australia between April 2016 and March 2017. The surprise of the day was an arranged ‘Graduation Ceremony’ and presentation of a certificate to Mrs. Makrouhie Kortian. Mrs. Kortian an active member in the Australian Armenian Community over many years was awarded with a Certificate from Haigazian University for training she has completed. It is never too late for dreams to come true. The event was enjoyed by all who attended.

While in Sydney, Mrs. Dink also visited both Armenian schools – AGBU Alexander School and Hamazkaine Galstaun College. She also visited the AGBU & Tarkmanchats Armenian Saturday schools to encourage and inspire the Armenian youth.

On Sunday 19th March, the Hrant Dink Commemoration Evening was held at the Chatswood Concourse Theatre. The event was organised jointly with the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANCA). The memory of Hrant Dink was honoured through music, poetry and dance. Mrs. Dink delivered the keynote address emphasising that we should continue to struggle for truth and freedom of speech while acknowledging that nothing is possible without dependence on the Lord who is our Shepherd and our Refuge. The Uniting Church in Australia Assembly General Secretary Colleen Geyer delivered the closing remarks and Rev. Dr. Youmshajekian closed the evening with a prayer and invited the guests to join him in singing the Lord’s Prayer.

The following day, Mrs. Dink visited the Armenian community in Melbourne where the life and work of Hrant Dink was again commemorated at a gathering which was well attended and organised by the Sahagian Club. She also detailed the continuing work of the Hrant Dink Foundation which was established in 2007 to carry on Hrant’s dreams, his struggle, his language and his heart.

On Thursday 23rd March, a farewell dinner was held for Mrs. Dink at the Kirribilli Club which was attended by the AMA-Australia Board and members of ANCA.

AMA-Australia praises the Lord for His many blessings, and thank Mrs Rakel Dink for accepting their invitation to join them in commemorating the life of her late husband Hrant Dink. Special thanks also to ANCA for their support and help in organising the Hrant Dink Commemoration Evening.

AMAA Executive Director/CEO Visits the Mission Field in Australia

2016 marks the 15th anniversary of the founding of the Armenian Missionary Association of Australia (AMA- Australia). Since its inception, AMA-Australia has provided the best possible volunteer work through its Board of Directors, no paid staff, and under the leadership and advice of its President and Executive Director Rev. Dr. Krikor Youmshajekian.

To help celebrate this milestone, Zaven Khanjian, Executive Director/CEO of the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA), and his wife Sona travelled to Australia from March 31 – April 12. During their brief but fruitful visit, they encouraged AMA-Australia and the Church Community with their inspiring words and warm fellowship.

Their visit began with a Welcome Dinner at the Social Hall of the Armenian Evangelical Uniting Church of Sydney with the AMA-Australia Board, together with the Church Council and committee members. It was an informal night of fellowship where old friendships were re-kindled and new friendships formed. Mr. Khanjian briefly talked about the work that the AMAA is doing around the world and the future directions that are planned.

On Sunday April 3rd, Mr. Khanjian preached at the AMAA Sunday Service held at the Armenian Evangelical Uniting Church. His message exhorted all to reflect the light and love of Christ not only in words but also in deeds, as individual believers and also collectively as the body of Christ. Rev. Dr. Youmshajekian presented a brief report to the congregation about the activities of the past 15 years and thanked Rev. Hagop Sarkissian, Pastor of the Church, and the congregation for their partnership. An Appreciation Luncheon followed at St. Andrew’s Uniting Church Memorial Hall in Longueville, to thank the generous sponsors and dedicated volunteers of AMA-Australia over the past 15 years.

During his visit, Mr. Khanjian met with the Board of Directors of AMA-Australia to discuss future directions and plans. His encouragement and advice were much appreciated. He highlighted the AMAA Centennial Capital Campaign and encouraged the Board to embrace it as part of the AMAA family.

On Wednesday and Thursday, April 6 and 7, Mr. Khanjian presented two lectures to the Armenian Community. The first was about the prominent journalist Hrant Dink, who was martyred almost ten years ago for his outspoken advocacy about the misfortunes of the Armenians during the Armenian Genocide. The second lecture was about notable unsung heroes during the Armenian Genocide. Mr. Khanjian presented the lives and the tremendous work done by Rev. Aharon Shirajian, Rev. Dikran Antriassian and Hrant Guzelian. Both lectures were well attended and highlighted the positive influence of God’s word through Armenian Evangelical preaching, teaching and education in the lives of the Armenian community in the Middle East. The AMAA is striving to continue this work, despite the ever increasing instability in the region. Mrs. Khanjian capably read excerpts from the books that Zaven Khanjian had authored, impressing the audience.

On Sunday, April 10, Mr. Khanjian preached once again from God’s word at the Sunday morning worship service of Armenian Evangelical Uniting Church of Sydney.

Following the Church service, the 15th Anniversary Fundraising Luncheon of AMA-Australia was held at the Hamazkayin Arshak and Sophie Galstaun College Nalbandian Hall. A sub-committee, made up of several talented and enthusiastic youth, planned, organized and managed the event. The theme was Armenian Village with its Bread and Cheese table, in keeping with the last year’s project of AMA-Australia of renovating Choratan Village School Playground in the north east border of Armenia. On this special occasion, the AMA-Australia website was launched (, and the achievements of the past 15 years were detailed in a short presentation, highlighting the over $632,000 raised to support relief and educational projects in the Middle East and Armenia. Mr. Khanjian addressed the guests, thanked them for their support and encouraged them to continue with this noble mission. Mr. Khanjian recognized the President and the Board of Directors of AMA-Australia and presented each one of them a Certificate of Appreciation. Through the generous gifts of sponsors and guests, over $40,000 was raised to support various relief projects. The completion of a special project was announced to restore the Memorial Hall of the Armenian Evangelical Central High School of Ashrafieh in Beirut, Lebanon, in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Mick and Nora Rozanski. The establishment of an endowment fund of $500,000 in the name of Anthony Rozanski Memorial Fund was also announced to provide scholarships to outstanding students at the Central High School of Ashrafieh in Beirut.

On Sunday April 3, Mr. Khanjian had a Radio Hour interview with the Australia Armenian Hour of Special Broadcasting Service – SBC, presenting the history of AMAA, its worldwide activities, the Syrian conflict and the situation of the Armenians in Syria, especially in Aleppo. In the evening, Upon the Primate’s invitation, Mr. and Mrs. Khanjian, accompanied by Rev. Dr. Youmshajekian and Rev. Sarkissian, attended the Inaugural Banquet of the Diocese of the Armenian Church.

During his visit, Mr. Khanjian also paid a formal visit to Bishop Haigazoun Najarian, as well as the leadership of the Uniting Church of Australia. He expressed his appreciation to the Uniting Church of Australia for officially recognizing the Armenian Genocide at the the 14th Triennial Assembly which was held on July 12-18, 2015. President of Uniting Church of Australia Stuart McMillan thanked Mr. Khanjian for his visit and presented him with a copy of the Assembly’s Armenian Genocide Recognition Resolution.

“Down Under is….Up Above,” said Mr. Khanjian at the conclusion of his visit. “We have a vibrant, God loving, passionate and a very hospitable community in Australia with a wealth of potential in all that is good for God and the nation.”

AMA-Australia Holds Sunday Worship and Fundraising Luncheon

Since its establishment in March 2001, the Armenian Missionary Association of Australia (AMA-Australia) as a sister organization has been actively supporting the missionary work of the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA). Through the tireless efforts of its founding members and those who have joined in subsequent years, the Committee has worked hard to bring awareness to the Armenian community at large, and specifically to the members of the Armenian Evangelical Church of Sydney as well as our friends, the needs of our fellow Armenians in Armenia and in the Middle East.

Over the years, AMA-Australia has organized programs and various fundraising cultural and social functions, allocating all the funds raised to provide for the needs of our brothers and sisters in Armenia and for the last few years in Syria and Lebanon. AMA-Australia also continues its sponsorship programs with 42 children being sponsored in Armenia and 24 students in Lebanon and Syria through the AMAA’s Sponsorship Program.

As in previous years, this year on March 15 AMAA Sunday was observed in the Armenian Evangelical Church of Sydney, followed by a Luncheon in St. Andrew’s Uniting Church’s War Memorial Hall, with more than 120 guests. After two consecutive years, funds were raised to support our brothers and sisters in Syria, both in Aleppo and Kessab, raising a total of 55,000 Australia dollars.

We turned our attention this year to the needs of the people living in bordering villages of Armenia, the most dangerous zone of the country. At our fundraising functions we were able to raise enough funds to construct a much needed Playground for the children of Choratan Village School. For this purpose, we invited Lusine Ohanian, External Relations Coordinator of the Armenian Missionary Association in Armenia, who works closely with the bordering villages and is familiar with their urgent needs. With a short film and photos, Lusine presented the much needed support required to help those who live with extremely limited resources. To raise the needed funds, we asked for donations and we are glad that many responded positively. We also had raffles on six paintings and an auction with an Armenian rug which were brought from Armenia for fundraising purposes.

We were also happy to have Louisa Janbazian, AMAA PR/Communications Coordinator from the United States, as our guest of honor. Mrs. Janbazian’s presence and encouraging words gave support to our program and fundraising efforts.

We would like to thank Lusine Ohanian and Louisa Janbazian for their presence and help to raise the necessary funds to complete the Playground Project in Choratan Village.

We hope that the Playground will be ready to be officially opened at the end of September with the support of Harout Nercessian, AMAA’s Representative in Armenia. Some of the AMA-Australia District Committee members are planning to be in Armenia around that time for the official opening. We would like to thank all those who have responded to our request and gave generously for this project.

May the glory be to the Father and His blessing upon us all and upon the missionary work of the AMAA.

AMA-Australia Raises $200,000 During Centennial Celebration

Under the Auspices of Artsakh Prime Minister Mr. Harutunyan, AMAA’s Centennial Celebrations in Sydney, Australia Raises $200,000 for the Renovation Project of Artsakh KGs

Sydney, NSW, AUS – The Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA), established in 1918 in Worcester, MA as a response to the suffering and the devastation of the Armenian Nation, proclaimed: We founded the Armenian Missionary Association of America with a deep conviction that our martyred Armenian nation will survive and will continue to exist as a nation… Therefore, it is indispensable that we contribute to the revitalization of our Armenian heritage and spiritual life. Rev. Mihran T. Kalaidjian, first Executive Director of AMAA, 1918

Dr. Nazareth Darakjian, President of AMAA Board with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian

To celebrate its 100 years of outstanding service to the worldwide Armenian communities and its fundraising Campaign Faithful to Its Legacy and Embracing the Future, the AMAA and its partners are organizing worldwide Centenary Celebrations during 2017-18. The first one was held in New Jersey, USA on October 21, 2017.

The Centennial Celebrations in Sydney commenced on Thursday, March 15 with a special screening of Director Jivan Avetisyan’s ‘The Last Inhabitant’ movie, the story of the 1988 expulsion of an Armenian village Gyurjevan in Azerbaijan, USSR. The screening held in Hoyts Movie Theater was open to the public.  The following night, March 16, a cultural event celebrating the AMAA Centenary was held at the prestigious Concourse Theater and showcased performances by various Armenian and non-Armenian artists. Many distinguished guests were present at both events, including representatives of Federal and State officials, Representatives of the Uniting Church of Australia and His Grace Bishop Haigazoun Najarian Primate of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Australia and New Zealand. Artsakh State Minister Harutunyan expressed his heartfelt appreciation for the invitation and for all the efforts by AMAA in support of our beloved Artsakh. The cultural event concluded by a benediction offered by Primate Bishop Najarian.

The AMAA Centennial Worship Service was held on Sunday March 18 at the Armenian Evangelical Uniting Church of Sydney led by the pastor of the Church Rev. Hagop Sarkissian. The Sanctuary and the adjacent Hall where the service was fed on a large screen were filled to capacity. Among the worshippers were Harutunyan, State Minister of Artsakh; Kaylar Michaelian, Permanent Representative of Artsakh in Australia; NSW Premier Honorable Gladys Berejiklian; Her Worship Mayor Gail Giles-Gidney of the City of Willoughby; Rob Floyed representing the President of the Uniting Church in Australia Stuart McMillan, and many distinguished guests.

AMAA Centenary Worship Service

A special plaque was presented to Premier Berejiklian who greeted the audience and expressed her thanks for this special award. She congratulated the AMAA for its 100 years of faithful service and wished the Association many more years of outstanding service. Zaven Khanjian, AMAA Executive Director/CEO addressed the congregation and brought the greetings of the worldwide AMAA family. Rev. Dr. René Léonian, President of the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches of Eurasia, delivered the message and spoke about the mission of the AMAA in particular and the mission of the Armenian Evangelical churches worldwide in general. All the guest ministers from overseas participated in the Worship Service with prayers and reading of the Scriptures.

Rev. Dr. Krikor Youmshajekian hands award to Artsakh Prime Minister Araig Hartunyan

The highlight of the Centennial events was the Banquet held at the Miramare Gardens in Sydney. Among the 280 guests, there were many distinguished guests, including representatives of the Uniting Church of Australia, His Grace Bishop Haigazoun Najarian Primate of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Australia and New Zealand and Father Parsegh (Basil) Sousanian of the Armenian Catholic Parish Community of Our Lady of the Assumption.  AMAA President Dr. Darakjian in his remarks recounted a brief history of the AMAA and highlighted some of the giants of the Association such as Rev. Dr. Giragos Chopourian and Rev. Dr. Movses Janbazian. “It is our duty to be faithful to this legacy and pass it on to future generations,” said Dr. Darakjian. AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian delivered the keynote speech, concluding, “Looking forward, the AMAA is on track with an ongoing 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.” Khanjian thanked all those involved in this memorable and historic celebration.

Dr. Nazareth Darakjian, President of AMAA Board (left) and Zaven Khanjian Executive Director/CEO of AMAA Present a special appreciation gift to Rev. Dr. Krikor Youmshajekian, President/CEO of AMA-Australia

During the Banquet a special tribute was paid to the late Rev. Dr. Movses Janbazian, former Executive Director of the AMAA, for his faithful service and his vision to establish AMA-Australia as a branch of the AMAA 18 years ago. A Proclamation (Gontag) by His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the See of Cilicia was read by Rev. Dr. Youmshajekian and presented to Rev. Janbazian’s wife Louisa Janbazian. Vahak Paul Janbazian, on behalf of the Janbazian family, thanked for this special tribute bestowed upon his father. Hagop Janbazian, Rev. Janbazian’s brother, who could not be present at this special event, eloquently expressed his gratitude for this special tribute via a video presentation.

Rev. Dr. Youmshajekian, on behalf of AMA-Australia, presented special plaques to the sponsors, donors and guests and to Harutunyan, who graciously traveled to Australia to be part of these special Centenary celebrations.

In his concluding remarks, Harutunyan once again thanked AMA-Australia for this special invitation to represent the Artsakh Republic. Harutunyan spoke about the current situation in Artsakh. “I praise the AMAA’s mission in Artsakh” he said, “and particularly the work it does for the welfare of the children who are our future generations.”

Visit with His Grace Bishop Haigazoun Najarian Primate of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Australia and New Zealand

The Banquet concluded with the singing of the Hayr Mer (The Lord’s Prayer) and a Benediction delivered by Rev. Berdj Djambazian, President of the Armenian Evangelical World Council.

During the course of the week, the overseas guests paid official visits to Primate Najarian of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Father Sousanian of the Armenian Catholic Parish as well as to the Hamazkaine Galstaun College and AGBU Alexander Primary School.