Neighboring Churches to Sponsor Joint Picnic

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass.—Good neighbors make for good business partners.

In the true sense of unity, St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church will team up with St. Michael’s Catholic Church in co-sponsoring a joint picnic.

The rare event will take place Sun., Sept. 13, from 1-5 p.m. on Main Street directly inside the town center.

The two churches have been neighbors for nearly 40 years, ever since St. Gregory Church opened its doors in 1970. Both parishes have remained close to one another over the four decades but this marks the first time they’ve collaborated on an event.

In past years, St. Gregory Church has hopscotched from one location to another, holding picnics at the North Andover Town Green and at Legion Farm Field in Haverhill. After undergoing an $18,000 facelift to its patio area grounds, the time appeared ripe to take advantage of the land.

While the two churches join sides, their menus will be completely different. The Armenian side will feature the traditional shish/losh/chicken kebab dinners with rice pilaf, salad, and Armenian pastries. St. Michael’s will offer hamburgers, hot dogs, pasta salad, and American pastries.

In years past, both churches have supported one another’s activities and remained “the good neighbor.”

There will be Armenian and American music for dancing, as well as games and activities for the entire family. Main Street in front of both parishes will be blocked off to traffic.

“The joint picnic is being held in the true spirit of fellowship,” said chairman Vartkes Hovsepian of St. Gregory’s. “Both parishes are excited over teaming together for a common cause. We expect both churches to patronize one another and make it a fun day for all.”

“We are thrilled to have our neighbors join us this year,” said chairwoman Earline Tweedie of St. Michael’s. “It is truly a ground-breaking event.”

St. Gregory Church will celebrate its 40th anniversary next year and is undergoing a $1 million renovation project to its building. The church lost its pastor this year with the death of Rev. Vartan Kassabian. “Along with Rev. Paul Keyes, our beloved pastor had always envisioned a day like this. It is in his memory that we celebrate the coming together of two vibrant spiritual communities,” said Hovsepian.

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