Fifty years serving the Havertown community
The Armenian Martyrs’ Congregational Church of Philadelphia (UCC), is observing its fiftieth anniversary at its present location in Havertown in 2014. Founded in 1907 by refugees from Ottoman Turkey, the church is the oldest of five Armenian churches in the area. Its name honors the memory of those who perished in the Genocide of 1915, commemorated each year on April 24, a date found on the UCC Desk Calendar. Its UCC connection is through the American Board (Congregationalist) missionaries serving in Asia Minor in the 19th and 20th centuries. Aside from generations of descendants of immigrant forebears, Armenian Martyrs’ Church includes members from Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Armenia and Turkey, non-Armenian members from places such as Finland and Kenya, and a number of others who have joined solely because of the welcome of church members. Sunday service is in English and Armenian, there is a weekly Sunday night youth group of 15 to 20 junior and senior high students, a weekly young adult Bible fellowship, as well as monthly men’s and women’s Bible study groups, a senior fellowship, and a small but high quality choir. Each summer since 2008 the church has gathered nearly 50 children, most from the Armenian community, for a week-long Vacation Bible School. The children and youth go to regional camps and conferences organized by the Armenian Evangelical Union of North America, the other body in its dual affiliation. In addition to being active in a variety of local missions, such as the men’s shelter at Old First Reformed Church and Interfaith Hospitality Network, the church actively supportsthe worldwide outreach efforts of the Armenian Missionary Association of America. It has also recently begun a sister church relationship with a small Armenian Evangelical Church in Berd, a border village in northern Armenia.