NEW YORK — The Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America’s newly formed “Armenian Language Council” held its inaugural online meeting in mid-January, led by Primate Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan, with interim Director of Ministries Fr. Hratch Sargsyan.
The group discussed challenges facing parish Armenian language programs, including the disruptions caused by the pandemic, and the need to train teachers in Armenian language instruction–an undertaking that the Diocese pioneered in past times. An idea that emerged from the meeting was to explore modeling Armenian instruction on the ESL (English as a Second Language) programs that proliferate in every locality.
As a first step, the Armenian Language Council will survey existing parish Armenian schools to understand their current situations. Another immediate task is to form a committee of professionals to help with matters of curriculum, and help guide local parish educators in the best use of the Diocese’s extensive existing resources, which have been successfully deployed in the past.
During the virtual meeting, council members, Fr. Sargsyan, and the Primate spoke honestly about potentialities and aims of parish Armenian education programs. “We want our children to be raised as proud Armenians, who love Armenian language, know our history, and take strength from our rich cultural and religious heritage,” said Fr. Mesrop.
The Armenian Language Council will hold regular meetings in the coming months. Its membership includes Nayiri Balaian (Holy Trinity Church, Cheltenham, PA), Anna Ghasabyan (Holy Martyrs Church, Bayside, NY), Yn. Naira Azatyan-Sargsyan (St. Gregory of Narek Church, Cleveland, OH), Anahit Toumajan (St. John Church, Southfield, MI), and Maral Terzian Aznavour (St. Sarkis Church, Dallas, TX).