For decades Armenians living in the Northern Merrimack Valley region of Massachusetts have been parishioners of two stalwart churches, St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church of Haverhill and Holy Cross Armenian Apostolic Church of Lawrence. Families of these two parishes attended weekly service, christenings, marriages, funerals as well as countless dances and socials. These two churches have been at the heart and soul of the local Armenian community!
Due to socioeconomic changes in the region, in 2002, these two communities agreed to merge and, with the approval of the Diocese, created one new greater and stronger church called the Armenian Apostolic Church at Hye Pointe. Parishioners of both churches have become one new community, developing a legacy for their children and grandchildren as they grow and develop through the Armenian culture.
In 2011, the Diocese appointed Reverend Father Vart Gyozalyan as pastor of this new community. He and his family have been an inspiration to this community. The spirit and vision of Father Vart has helped to strengthen this community and build a future legacy for their families!
In May 2016, the Armenian Church at Hye Pointe found a buyer and secured a construction loan to begin building their legacy. In June 2016, they will break ground on the construction of the Family Life Center, which will address the immediate needs of providing spiritual services every Sunday as well as classrooms for Sunday School students, fellowship events, and other community functions.
The importance of remaining part of the Merrimack Valley was a key decision in the merger of these two communities. The new site will remain in in the Bradford/Haverhill communities to ensure the Armenian community’s support of the Merrimack Valley.
As Father Vart says, nothing starts happening until somebody starts dreaming. Every accomplishment started off first as an idea in somebody’s mind. It started off as a dream. It started off as a vision, a goal. If we don’t have a goal for our church, our default goal is to remain the same. If we aim at nothing, we’re definitely going to hit it.
“The Scriptures declare that with God, ‘all things are possible unto them that believe.’ As the pastor of the Armenian Apostolic Church at Hye Pointe, I believe and trust God for our new Sanctuary and Family Life Center (Multi-Purpose Hall and Educational Facility). God has anointed and appointed me to lead the Armenian Apostolic Church at Hye Pointe family,” said Father Vart.
This project is seen as a potential change within the church community, as many smaller parishes are financially struggling due to minimal membership and the pooling of resources can help strengthen communities.
Over the next few months, it is the hope of this parish that members of the greater Armenian community will see the potential impact to the community in the Merrimack Valley, and want to become part of creating a new legacy for Armenians living in the Merrimack Valley.
For more information, e-mail Gary Townsend at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Armenian Apostolic Church at Hye Pointe at (978) 372-9227.
Source: Armenian Weekly New England