FAREWELL TO “THE NINTH STREET CHURCH”

Saturday morning, September 26, 2020, dawned cool but promising sunshine, a very positive start for celebrating the 114 year history of the United Armenian Calvary Congregational Church (UACCC) in Troy, NY. It was bittersweet, since it also marked the final service of the church. Sixty-seven members turned out both to celebrate the church and say goodbye.

The service was officiated by Rev. Dr. Avedis Boynerian, pastor of the Armenian Memorial Church in Watertown, MA and member of the AMAA Board of Directors. Special messages on the occasion from the AEWC and the AMAA were read. Rev. Boynerian’s message, Got Is Not Done Yet, recognized the church’s long and active history and the church founders, who fled the massacres in Turkey and arrived in America intent on making new lives and building a new church community.

Participants in the service also received a recorded message from Rev. Joanne Gulezian-Hartunian, who served the church during much of the 1990’s. Her message was You Are The Church. She shared memories of church dinners and Sunday School activities and a growth of the congregation during her time there, and urged members to gather together in the future.

David Vredenberg, member of the American Guild of Organists, was guest Organist.

A very moving and symbolic point in the service was a baptism. The first baby baptized in the UACCC community was Haiganoosh H. Abajian, on September 16, 1906, as recorded in the church records. The baptism of Raffi Allan George Chalian provided a joyous and hopeful note to this final service. Together, the two baptisms became bookends for the spiritual life of the church.

At the closure of the service, attendees gathered at the altar for a group photo, followed by a COVID-friendly reception.

A history table dating back to the earliest days and photos reminded all of the experiences and spiritual strength the church provided its members for 114 years.

And so this chapter of my journey to understand the history and people who founded and grew my childhood church has ended. I’ve emerged with a stronger and more intimate understanding of the spiritual and everyday lives my ancestors and neighbors created after they escaped the hatred and massacres of the Turks and Kurds in the late nineteenth century into the early twentieth century.

The next chapter begins with recreating their stories. Let the writing begin.

About Dawn Lajeunesse

I, like so many others, am a novelist struggling for recognition. MY NEW NOVEL, THE EYES HAVE IT, IS AVAILABLE ON AMAZON AND B&N! In Her Mother's Shoes was published in June 2013 - available through Amazon, B&N and iPad, e-book (only $2.99!) as well as paperback. Autumn Colors was my first. My third novel, Star Catching, was released in November, 2016 and has been very well-received! My writings are mostly women's fiction, most also suitable for YA. My website is www.dawnlajeunesse.com. Come visit me there!
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