Clergy Conference Held on the Eve of the 45th Representative Assembly

Ahead of the Western Prelacy 45th Representative Assembly, on Thursday, May 18, 2017, the annual clergy conference was held at Holy Martyrs Church in Encino presided by H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, and with the participation of clergy members. H.E. Archbishop Yeprem Tabakian participated in the conference, which was hosted by Holy Martyrs Church.

The day began with a prayer service, after which the Prelate delivered the spiritual meditation on Acts 2:42-47, which tells of the birth and growth of the Christian Church following Pentecost.
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The first Christian Church was a learning church, as the new faithful were learning from the apostles, it was a caring church, with the new members showing concern for one another, it was a loving church, with the new Christians expressing love and praise to our Lord in one accord, and it became an evangelizing church, stated the Prelate, and urged all clergymen to follow in that same path, to learn, care, love, and evangelize. In light of the “Year of Renewal” proclamation of His Holiness Catholicos Aram I, His Eminence invited the clergy members to pay close attention to their individual spiritual renewal and that of their flock.

The conference convened at the “Yeghia Sarafian” meeting room with opening remarks by the Prelate, who wished for the proceedings to be productive for all. The Prelate greeted the two new clergy members, Very Rev. Fr. Torkom Donoyan and Very Rev. Fr. Vache Balekjian, who were participating in their first conference since their assignment to the Western Prelacy. His Eminence urged all to meticulously read our Pontiff’s “Year of Renewal” message so that they are able to better serve their congregations.

The election of the tivan followed, with H.E. Archbishop Yeprem Tabakian elected Chair and Very Rev. Fr. Barouyr Shernezian Secretary. Archbishop Tabakian wished for the day’s proceedings to be fruitful not only for the individual participants but for the Prelacy in general. The Religious Council’s annual report was read and reviewed. The conference reconvened after lunch. Two lectures were presented; Very Rev. Fr. Torkom Donoyan spoke first on the topic of reorganization. Referencing the Armenian Church’s unique identity and vast centuries-long mission, Fr. Torkom invited the clergymen to reorganize and restructure their pastoral duties. He spoke also on the importance of reorganization in the fields of religious and social service, which led to a discussion among the participants, after which the Prelate advised for the undertaking of reorganization. Very Rev. Fr. Vache Balekjian presented the second lecture on the topic of renewal, giving an overview of what renewal entails in the life of a clergyman. The Prelate and participants commended the two speakers.

Next, the parish pastors reported on their reorganization plans, with the Prelate offering suggestions on how to more closely bond the faithful with our church. Reports were also presented for “Year of Renewal” plans within individual parishes. A committee comprised of clergy members will be formed to draft a guideline on restructuring and renewal. The final item on the agenda was the election of religious delegates to take the place of those who have completed their terms.

In his closing message, the Prelate stressed that success in our collective service can be achieved when each individual clergy member fulfills his calling and duties with diligence and attentiveness.

The conference came to a close with the hymn “Disciples of Christ,” “Cilicia,” and the benediction by the Prelate.

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