GLENDALE/PASADENA, Calif. – Armenian churches, schools and organizations are all finding ways to adapt to the restrictions of life with COVID-19. Physical interactions are being replaced as much as possible through alternative methods of outreach. What follows is only a limited sampling of what is taking place in this large Armenian community. No doubt more coverage will follow in upcoming weeks.
Churches are in general closed physically to the public. Rev. Hendrik Shanazarian, associate pastor at the United Armenian Congregational Church of Los Angeles, said that his church continues to reach people through livestreaming of services, as well as dissemination of recordings. Meetings take place via Zoom, Facebook or other software. The telephone is a great tool allowing clergy to keep in touch with the populace, especially the elderly who may use the Internet less than others.
Rev. Serop Megerditchian, senior pastor of Armenian Cilicia Evangelical Church in Pasadena, painted a similar picture of his church’s situation. He said, “As everywhere, here too there are some fears, though not panic. When they hear the news on the situation in the East Coast, this gives a negative picture.” He said that he receives from community members in Pasadena and Glendale 30-40 requests daily by phone and internet for prayers from families in difficult situations. Some call at 11 p.m. or midnight.
They are depressed and staying at home in a situation that seems like a sort of imprisonment, he said. Those with families may have difficulties in coping with children who are now always at home.
“Many were not interested in God before, but now they ask whether what has happened is the end of the world. Is God punishing us? Is Jesus coming to the world? Is it the result of our sins?”, Rev. Megerditchian continued. He gives some counselling and prayers but may direct callers to specialists or doctors if that appears necessary.