A Good Time for a Church Cause

HAVERHILL, Mass.—They call themselves the Armenian Friends of America and their mission appears to be an effective one: bring people together and divide up the proceeds among area churches.

Merrimack Valley Armenians dance up a storm in Haverhill for a church benefit.
Merrimack Valley Armenians dance up a storm in Haverhill for a church benefit.

Over the past three years, more than 1,000 people have flocked to their side for a social extravaganza, with all profits being shared equally among four Armenian churches throughout Merrimack Valley and southern New Hampshire.

Participating churches were the Armenian Church at Hye Pointe, Haverhill; St. Gregory Church of North Andover; Sts. Vartanantz Church, Chelmsford; and Ararat Congregational Church, Salem, N.H.

Organizer and chairman John Arzigian is calling it “the 3 C’s” in recapitulating the cause: Camaraderie. Cohesion. Commitment.

“Much too often, we see our churches and organizations traveling in different directions,” said Arzigian, a well-known area musician. “One way to promote greater unity is to bring everyone together under one roof for a good time.”

This year’s celebration took place Oct. 24 at DiBurro’s Function Hall in Ward Hill with a dinner-dance, along with other surprises throughout the evening. Special tribute was paid to Lucy Sirmaian for her dedicated service. A birthday cake was presented to Rev. Fr. Vart Gyozalian, Hye Pointe pastor.

“A much more significant bond is being established through socialization that empowers a community,” Arzigian added. “When people work together, they can create wonders.”

Tom Vartabedian

Tom Vartabedian

Tom Vartabedian is a retired journalist with the Haverhill Gazette, where he spent 40 years as an award-winning writer and photographer. He has volunteered his services for the past 46 years as a columnist and correspondent with the Armenian Weekly, where his pet project was the publication of a special issue of the AYF Olympics each September.
Tom Vartabedian

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