Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America
Dear Diocesan Donors, I was struck by a quote I read the other day: “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.” These words by Robert Louis Stevenson are especially timely as the Diocese launches its Annual Appeal: they make me think about why our donors give so faithfully to the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church, year after year.
For Adrienne G. Alexanian, whose parents were among those instrumental in the construction of St. Vartan Cathedral, it comes down to a legacy of preserving the Armenian heritage. Her father, Edward, spent years as chairman of the Bronx chapter of the Cathedral Fundraising Committee. “Two of the proudest moments in my father’s life, as a survivor of the Armenian Genocide, were taking part in the groundbreaking ceremonies and the consecration of St. Vartan Cathedral,” says Alexanian, a native New Yorker who attends St. Vartan Cathedral.
“I’ve always felt that it’s my responsibility to continue his legacy by supporting our cathedral.” She has done just that, by establishing the Edward and Grace Alexanian Fund that supports Diocesan and Cathedral religious and cultural programming.
For Diocesan leaders who make decisions to ensure the future of our church, finding ways to engage the new generation is a paramount concern.
“The Armenian Church is the main link between our faith, language, culture, history and who we are as Armenians in America,” says Paul Mardoian, assistant treasurer of the Diocesan Council. “As our people assimilate into American society, our Diocese needs to adjust to these trends while still maintaining our Armenian identity.”
Mardoian, his wife, and three daughters are all parishioners of Sts. Joachim and Anne Church in Palos Heights, IL. He believes “the church is essential in the lives of our people, and continues to be passed from generation to generation.”
One member of that next generation is Jon Peláez, for whom the church has “always been the focal point of my life.”
“My family was woven into the seams of St. Mary since its establishment 90 years ago,” says Peláez, whose grandparents were founding members of St. Mary Church in Livingston, NJ. “That love has been passed down through every member of my family; we’ve all taken active roles in serving our parish to keep it alive and strong.” Peláez carries on this tradition not only as an active member of St. Mary, but also by serving in leadership roles on the ACYOA Central Council.
A strong future is what we are trying to build for the Diocese through the Annual Appeal. As donors, perhaps you give because of your memories of being in church with a parent or grandparent standing beside you, learning the words to our hymns, or because of your participation in the many youth programs sponsored by the Diocese.
For me personally, as the great-granddaughter of a priest in Aintab who narrowly survived the Armenian Genocide, I feel that same legacy. The Diocese had a strong hand in shaping my life: from the One World Festival, to the Khrimian Lyceum, to St. Nersess Summer Conferences, St. Vartan Camp, and ACYOA. As one who now helps convey the mission of the church in my daily work, I appreciate the seeds planted by Adrienne, Paul, and Jon. Thanks to people like them, we have a strong, proud presence as Armenian Christians in America.
As we move forward in our fundraising campaign, please keep in mind that it doesn’t matter how much you give; what’s truly important is that you give. If all of our faithful people contribute to the Annual Appeal, the seeds planted together will make an impact for generations to come.
(212) 686-0710 ext. 144
PS: Please follow this link to view a photo gallery from our first Donor Recognition Day, where we thanked those who have supported the Diocese over the years.