This volume is a timely celebration of the Centennial of the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA), authored by a uniquely qualified church historian, minister and theologian.
Reverend Vahan Tootikian is a teacher of the Armenian Evangelical community worldwide. He has worked diligently to have a complete survey of the birth and maturation of the AMAA. As he puts it in his concluding paragraphs, this is not only a “retrospective” look at the history of the AMAA, but also an “introspective” study of the lessons we learn from that history, as well as the “prospective” direction of the AMAA within the larger context of the hopes and aspirations of the entire Armenian community in America and abroad.
This study also covers, in part, a historical survey of the Armenian Evangelical Church (AEU). Dr. Tootikian rightly highlights the dictum, that the church cannot be devoid of mission and, conversely, mission without the church cannot survive. Both are intertwined for the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and service in his name. The AMAA was born in the arms of the AEU which nursed it, organized it, and structured its raison d’etre.
A century ago, Armenians were being decimated by the Genocide. Providentially the pain and suffering they experienced became the birth pangs of the Church to bring forth the AMAA, not because of the Genocide but in spite of it. The AMAA was the response of the Armenian Christianity to the atrocities of an evil empire.
This book is rather small in size and few in pages, but it is encyclopedic in portraying the lives and services of dedicated lay persons as well as pastors. Through the AMAA, they were able to reach out to a bereaved community and share the good news of Christ by word and deed.
Armenians worldwide owe a word of gratitude to Dr. Tootikian for introducing the calling of the AMAA to the celebrants of the next bicentennial.