GLENDALE – On Oct. 23, 2022 members and friends of Armenian Evangelical Brethren Church gathered at Phoenicia Restaurant Banquet Hall to celebrate 97 years of ministry. Master and Mistress of Ceremonies for the evening were Mr. Karo Galajian, Esq. and Ms. Arax Shanlian. Mayor of Glendale, Mr. Ardashes Kassakhian welcomed the attendees to Glendale and reflected on the theme of hope for the evening. He then presented Rev. Dikran Shanlian and Mr. George Chouchanian (AEBC Council member) with a commendation from the City of Glendale. The mayor then presented an additional commendation to Rev. Shanlian on the occasion of his birthday, for over 35 years of pastoring AEBC, and congratulating his lates book, “Boundless Blessing”. Rev. Vatche Ekmekjian (Armenian Brotherhood Bible Church, Pasadena) delivered the invocation.
The evening included greetings from the Pacific Church Network. Rev. Dr. Jim Smith (PCN Director) spoke about the mission of PCN of establishing and equipping churches and noted how Rev. Shanlian has served on the PCN board over the years. Musical performances for the evening included worship songs by Mr. Garo Sulahian and Mrs. Anna Stefanidi. Recitation of Psalms were given by Bedik Mardikian and a heartfelt recitation of Vahan Tekeyan’s “Yegeghetsin Haygagan” by Linda Meguerdidtchian.
A warm and poignant moment in the evening was when Arax Shanlian shared several points of reflection about her father, Pastor Shanlian, making note of lessons she has learned from him and the priorities and values he has instilled in her. The crowd rose to sing “Happy Birthday” as Rev. Shanlian made his way forward to cut the birthday cake.
Rev. Dr. Jason Matossian (Mount Ararat Bible Church) spoke on the theme of the evening, “Rejoicing in Hope” based on Romans 5:1-2. He recalled ministers in the life of AEBC who have preached the gospel with clarity and faithfulness. He emphasized the priority of the preaching of the gospel and encouraged the church to be ready for the future—whether local churches see great revival or circumstances change and the church goes underground—our focus continues to be on Christ.
Near the conclusion of the evening everyone was treated to a stunning rendition of The Prayer performed in both English and Italian by Anna Stefanidi and Yervant Keshishian.
In his closing remarks, Rev. Shanlian thanked everyone for their attendance and support. In reflecting on 97 years he stressed that the passage of years can be meaningless without a clear focus on our mission of knowing Christ and making Him known. He encouraged everyone to do their very best for Christ. He also recognized all those present who were born in October and promised each one a small gift on their way home later that evening. Rev. Joseph Matossian concluded the evening with a benediction.
We were pleased to have clergy from the community, Rev. John Melkonian, Rev. Soghomon Kilaghbian, Pastor EdPaul Cuenco (PCN) and most notably our dear pastor from Utah, Pastor Gevork Paronyan in attendance.
Within the restlessness of society, the child of God has a hope, a blessed hope. Jesus has given us new life and a future with God in heaven—-this gives us cause to rejoice! Receive Jesus Christ today and rejoice in this blessed hope of the church.
Photos by Vahan Petrosian