The Eastern Prelacy’s National Representative Assembly (NRA), hosted by St. Gregory the Illuminator Church, Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), convened this afternoon, May 12. The theme of this year’s Assembly is “Fortifying Foundations for the Future.” The clergy conference was held on Wednesday, May 11.
Elected to serve as chairpersons of this year’s Assembly were Mr. Aram Sarafian and Ms. Janet Haroian, and as secretaries, Very Rev. Fr. Boghos Tinkjian (Armenian) and Dr. Nyree Bedrosian (English). Words of welcome were offered by Archpriest Fr. Nerses Manoogian, pastor of the host parish, as well as by Michael Injaian, chairman of the Board of Trustees.
His Holiness Catholicos Aram I, who addressed the audience in a videotaped message, stressed that the Church is not an organization, but a mission: outreach, through which it fulfills its nature. The Prelacy’s projects are community-based, and the challenge, His Holiness said in his address, is “how you can make this interaction more relevant, more dynamic, and more impact-making.” The role of the clergy is to take the Church outside its walls to the people, he said. It is indeed through community-oriented pastoral engagements and social service that the Church becomes a living reality in the lives of the people, His Holiness added.
In his keynote address, Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate, thanked the Philadelphia community for hosting this year’s Assembly. His Eminence spoke of challenges facing the church, saying: “As we leave the pandemic behind, one of the priorities of our Prelacy as well as individual parishes should be to reach out and to welcome the faithful.” He expressed his hope that the panels convening during the Assembly “will pave the road to a stronger and brighter Prelacy.”
The National Representative Assembly will continue its sessions until Saturday, May 14. Crossroads will provide further coverage in the coming weeks.