His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese announces the expansion of Fr. Vazken Movsesian’s responsibilities into three primary areas of Diocesan Ministry: Humanitarian, Educational and Pastoral. Outlined further, Fr. Vazken will be setting up and developing these ministries as follows:
Programs to save lives, alleviate suffering and maintain human dignity as explicitly proclaimed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and as delivered by the Armenian Church. Programs initiated under the In His Shoes banner will continue challenging participants to walk in the shoes of others, to feel and understand their pain and in so doing, extend assistance accordingly.
Homeless Feeds are set up as “Madagh” programs. Donors can make an offering of gratitude and the donated funds will be used to feed the homeless and the hungry. These are families in immediate need and serviced by local shelters to insure equitable distribution. This program has successfully fed thousands of Southland homeless in the name of the Armenian people and Armenian Church for over a decade. Monetary donations are always accepted to bring relief.
Outreach/Emergency project are set up as the need arises. Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic has left many jobless, ill and in psychological despair. Programs from various sources are coordinated by Fr. Vazken with distribution of assistance in an equitable manner. Monetary donations are always accepted to bring relief.
Holiday Outreach, includes toy drives for children of domestic violence, the Children’s Memorial Service to remember those who have passed before their time, and other outreaches as needs arise during the Christmas and New Year Season.
Armenia programs and outreach are a constant within the Western Diocese. Herein, Fr. Vazken will bring assistance to the Sasnashen Youth Center (established 2019) and raise funds for priests serving in the harshest environments of Armenia. He will also work as a liaison between the Diocese and Mer Hooys, Freedom Loving Youth and The Starkey Foundation.
These are unique programs that are intended to provide for the continuity of the Diocese by developing young leaders who heed the call of the Armenian Church.
Deacons’ Council – Expanding on the liturgical role of the deacon, this program organizes educational and events for all deacons serving within the Western Diocese. The program strengthens the call of the deacon by providing strong Bible skills, Armenian Church patristics and theology, extended liturgical education, complimented with the inspirational and meditative outings in the form of pilgrimages. The Council communicates with all deacons via a regular newsletter and social media.
Bridging Generations – Filling the gap between the ages of 20 and 40, this group is intended to develop solid Christian leadership skills for the new generation of Armenian Church attendees who look to the Church as the center of definition and identity. Education in strong Bible skills and Armenian Church theology, complimented with regular prayer services, rallies and pilgrimages is the hallmark of this new generation of Armenian Church leader.
Reclaim – an annual church conference centered at the Western Diocese and offered to the general public to embrace and “reclaim” our faith in a changing world. Each year, the conference takes on a unique and special topic and theme that has immediate and current applications to life. The conference is now in its fourth year of production.
Martin Luther King Jr. Retreat – An annual event in January, intended to inspire Christian commitment in effectuating social change. These retreats are directed by Fr. Vazken and offer time to contemplate the Call of Christ in life today.
Weekly Bible Studies – The foundation to all of the work and activity, this group meets once a week where Fr. Vazken leads a study of Holy Scripture to inspire Christian activism.
Electronic and Video Productions – programs that work with and through the Diocese’s Media Department, to educate, motivate and assemble congregants in the Faith of the Armenian Church.
Fr. Vazken will be working on a pastoral level wherever assigned by the Primate according to the needs of the day. Specifically, at this time, once a month, Fr. Vazken will offer the Holy Divine Liturgy at St. Garabed Armenian Church in Rancho Mirage. He will organize and offer services for monthly pilgrimages (four slated at this writing) to the St. Mary Asdvadzadzin Armenian Church in Yettem, California. In some cases, he will be offering the sermon during the church services at different parishes throughout the diocese.
Fr. Vazken Movsesian has served as the parish priest of St. Andrew Armenian Church, Cupertino from 1982-1996, St. Gregory Armenian Church, Pasadena from 1996-2002 and the St. Peter Armenian Church & Youth Ministry Center from 2003-2016. Since 2016 he has been assigned by the Primate to Outreach and Christian Ministry within the Western Diocese. With this current expansion of Fr. Vazken’s duties, the Primate has placed a goal of cultivating new leadership within the Western Diocese. For this opportunity, Fr. Vazken is grateful and looks forward to the challenges before him. To learn more about any of the programs and/or to offer your services and assistance in furthering the goals outline above, please contact Fr. Vazken at firstname.lastname@example.org