RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia Council of Churches at its 70th Annual Meeting at Faith Community Baptist Church in Richmond on November 6 approved unanimously a resolution calling for the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The Virginia Council of Churches presented this resolution to all its member churches so that they can share it with their individual congregations.
The convention was attended by representatives of every Christian denomination in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Representatives of the Baptists, Orthodox Churches, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Catholics, and all other denominations were present. Rev. Dr. Jonathon Barton, the Executive Director of the Virginia Council of Churches, has been most instrumental in forwarding this action. For many years, he has participated and joined in activities of the St. James Armenian Church community of Richmond. He is currently an honorary member of the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide Committee.
After the presentation of the resolution by Bedros C. Bandazian and Sona K. Pomfret, who represented St. James Armenian Church, there were extensive questions and responses concerning the details and merits of this form of recognition. Several church representatives asked whether reparations were a part of this resolution. After debating this issue, the Armenian representatives indicated that this will be part of the next phase of the program. Several in the assembly spoke about their knowledge of the Armenian Genocide and expressed their sentiment for the need for the Christian churches of Virginia to stand firm in their condemnation and pray for remembrance.
The assembly wanted to affirm that this was an act about which the public needs to be educated. Some had indicated that if this first act of genocide had been addressed properly in 1915, perhaps other massacres and holocausts would not have occurred subsequently. The assembly stood firm in moving this action forward and asked that all the congregations of Virginia educate themselves about this sad chapter of “man’s inhumanity to man.”
A strong commitment from many of the attending clergy indicated that they will join with the Armenian community of Virginia to participate in an ecumenical service on April 18, 2015 at St. James Armenian Church in remembrance of the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.