Western Prelacy 47th Representative Assembly Directs Focus to Reorganization and Revitalization – Plaques Awarded to Very Rev. Fr. Barouyr Shernezian and Garbis Karamardian

On Friday, May 17, 2019, the Western Prelacy 47th Representative Assembly convened at “Dikran and Zarouhie Der Ghazarian” Hall under the presidency of H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate. The two-day proceedings focused on reorganization-revitalization and youth engagement.

Alongside delegates, participating in the Assembly were clergy, Central Executive members Vahe Yacoubian and Gaidzag Zetlian, Religious Council, and Executive Council members, Board of Trustees Chairpersons or representatives, members of the Board of Regents and CASPS, Prelacy Schools’ Principals and Directors. This year’s Assembly was hosted by Forty Martyrs Church of Orange County.

The Assembly commenced with prayer led by the Prelate. With a majority of delegates present, His Eminence announced the session officially opened and invited H.G. Bishop Torkom Donoyan, Vicar General, to read the message of His Holiness Catholicos Aram I, which this year was addressed to the three Northern American Prelacies.

In his message, His Holiness once again stressed the vital importance of the reorganization and renewal process that the Catholicosate initiated two years ago, the revitalization, reactivation, and restructuring of community life, reinvigoration of parish life, formation of young clergy, and the inclusion of women and youth in the renewal of our church and community. His Holiness concluded by commending the efforts of the Prelate and Executive Council and wishing great success to the realization of forthcoming endeavors.

The election of the tivan followed, with Hrair Balian and Dr. Garo Agopian elected Chairmen, and Hamo Kasbarian and Zohrab Yaralian elected Secretaries.

Central Executive member Vahe Yacoubian conveyed his greetings reiterating the Pontiff’s message of reorganization and revitalilzation, and wished success to the Assembly’s proceedings.

On behalf of the Executive Council, Chairman Garo Eshgian welcomed the participants, expressed pride for the achievements of the past and advised all to work together and refocus on our mission to draft and successfully implement future plans.

On behalf of the host parish, Chairman Mano Dishoian wished success to all.

The Prelate delivered his message, which he began by thanking the Lord for another successful year of service and His Holineess for his guidance. He greeted all of the participants and acknowledged the presence of first-time delegates, such as the newly elected delegates from the Las Vegas parish, urging all to serve with faith, dedication, and sense of responsibility, with brotherly love, mutual respect and understanding, keeping in mind that we cannot reflect the glory of Christ if we are vying for the glory of self. His Eminence noted the importance of constantly growing and evolving to keep up with the changing times and needs of our people, and in this regard echoed His Holiness’ message of renewal, reorganization, and revitalization, urging all to recommit to this vital task and work together to implement a plan of action to ensure that our Prelacy is serving at maximum efficiency and capably meeting the vast and varied needs of our people. He concluded by thanking the delegates and all the members of our parishes, schools, and affiliated bodies for their hard work and efforts, prayed for wisdom, foresight, and courage in our collective service, and in the words of the Apostle Paul exhorted all to not “quench the Spirit.”

The election of the Resolution and Vote-Counting Committees followed.

The first session concluded with reports by Board of Trustees’ Chairpersons or representatives on the endeavors of their respective parishes over the past term.

The second session began with the annual honoring of an individual/s by the Prelate and Councils for their service and contributions to the advancement of our national life. This year’s first honoree was Forty Martyrs Church Board of Trustees Vice-Chair Garbis Karamardian, who was awarded a plaque in absentia for his devoted moral and financial support of the parish and community. The second honoree was Very Rev. Fr. Barouyr Shernezian, Parish Pastor of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of San Francisco, who recently earned his Master’s Degree in Theology from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. The Prelate commended and congratulated Fr. Barouyr, and invited the Vicar General and the Religious and Executive Council Chairs to join him in the presentation of the plaque.

The session continued with the presentation of the financial and auditing committee reports and briefings by the Board of Regents, Religious Council, and Executive Council. The briefings were followed by a question and answer session on the reports and an overall review of the endeavors of the Prelate and Councils over the past term, which the Assembly found “commendable.”

The proceedings of the first day concluded with the presentation and ratification of the 2019-2020 budget.

The Assembly reconvened on Saturday morning with the opening prayer and a requiem prayer for Prelacy servants we lost in the past year. The second day’s proceedings focused wholly on the drafting of activities for the new term, with special attention given to the reorganization of parishes, the ten-year plan of action, and youth engagement in our church life.

The Executive Council Chairman presented a report on the state of parishes’ annual membership meetings, while the Vicar General presented the ten-year plan of action committee’s report on strengthening and revitalization our parishes, parishes-Prelacy-Holy See and family-church-school ties, youth involvement, community organizations’ collaboration, and new clergy preparation. A lengthy discussion followed on this vital task, for which plans and projects were drafted for implementation. The Religious Council presented its proposals for the coming term.

The final item on the agenda was the election of the Auditing Committee.

The tivan delivered its closing remarks thanking all for their participation and input as well as the host parish.

The Prelate delivered his closing message thanking the tivan, participants, staff, and the host parish, praying for the Lord to bless and guide us all.

The Assembly concluded with the closing prayer and singing of Cilicia.

The 48th Representative Assembly will be hosted by St. Garabed Church of Las Vegas.


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