By Nubar Dorian
God must have a love affair with our parents and grandparents who escaped the horrors of the Genocide and came to America. They are now exemplary citizens and call this “land of ours” with pride, joy and gratitude. We now are almost 1 million souls with our churches, organizations, press and other institutions. We have buried almost all of our grandparents, who worked diligently to leave us an Armenian legacy we should cherish, indeed love.
“God gives food to the birds, but does not put it in their nest” goes an old saying. Just as birds have to search and often fight their food, we, as well those who will follow us, must search, fight and find the “food” to exist as a community. We also thank God that blessed the homeland, whose very existence seemed in doubt, had declared independence some two decades ago. While homeland is having growing pains and corruption, bribery, nepotism and mayhem is repent, in time and with assistance and love of Armenia, we find her way towards tranquility, wealth and order.
While no one can foretell the future, as it stands presently, our situation as a community in the US bodes ill for our future. As we enter a New Year, so many involved, caring, loving American Armenians died, leaving most of us uncaring, un-involved in Armenian community life. If this trend continues, it surely will be a tragic portent of our future demise. So many of us do not utilize the tools, materials and means to get joyfully involved to secure a bright future for our community. “We are now Americans,” they claim and “American we shall remain.”
Then there is a group of very active, loving and caring people among us who worship and admire the Armenian Church and happily give their time, treasure and talent to her. They are building more and more churches and establishing new parishes, in the hope that our faith and churches will invigorate the Armenian spirit and ensure the continuation of the community. This, they think, will ensure the continuity of the Armenian community in America. This attitude unquestionably, is positively and highly commendable and inspiring. But, isn’t it true that we are asking too much from the Armenian Church? Isn’t the mission of the church to save our souls? Are we asking the church to save us as she did centuries ago? Do we really think that only the church will keep us strong, vibrant community and safeguard our future as a community? What is our answer to those who do not attend church, except for weddings and funerals? Don’t we witness empty pews in most churches? How about those who think the Armenian church is the only institution to keep the Armenian community existing in the US?
As most of you know, the Armenian Church is no different than other Christian, Apostolic, Orthodox churches, with a combined membership at almost 300 million worldwide. There is really nothing more special or life-giving to a community than to keep them active and alive forever. There are those among us of different religious beliefs, like the Armenian Protestants or Armenian Catholics who do not attend our churches. Certainly, they too happen to be of Armenian descent. The Armenian Church does not have a license or life insurance to keep our community alive for decades and centuries to come.