For many decades now, Armenians in Northern Merrimack Valley, Massachusetts have been parishioners of both St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church of Haverhill and Holy Cross Armenian Apostolic Church of Lawrence. Over the years families have regularly attended the weekly services, marriages, christenings, funerals and social occasions hosted by the churches, which have pretty much been the heart and soul of their community.
[caption id="attachment_2259" align="alignright" width="300"] Plans which illustrate the Armenian Apostolic Church at Hye Pointe[/caption]
In 2002, as the two church communities were affected by the socioeconomic changes within their region, they made the decision to merge. As a result, they formed the Armenian Apostolic Church at Hye Pointe. A new community has been formed to develop a legacy to leave to the Armenian families.
In 2011, Reverend Father Vart Gyozalyan was selected as the pastor to lead the community and together with his family, have been a great inspiration. He has helped to strengthen the community as they build their legacy for future generations.
In May 2016, they were able to secure a loan to begin the building of their new premises. The construction of their Family Life Center began shortly thereafter in June. The center will serve to accommodate Sunday services as well as classrooms for kids and community events and functions.
The new building site is in the Bradford and Haverhill communities which are still in the Merrimack Valley region of Massachusetts. Remaining in this area was an important decision as they hope to continue to support Merrimack Valley.
[caption id="attachment_2260" align="alignleft" width="300"] The church hopes to preserve Armenian heritage for future generations[/caption]
Father Vart spoke of how "nothing starts happening until somebody starts dreaming." Every success in life begins as an idea or a vision which he says is vital. He mentioned that if one does not have a goal, things will remain the same; "The Scriptures declare that with God, all things are possible unto them that believe." He believes and trusts God for their new sanctuary and Family Life Center in Merrimack Valley.
The new church has strengthened the communities who were struggling with their finances due to having so few members and is seen as a potential change for the church community as a whole.
Within the months which lie ahead, the parish hopes that others within the Armenian community will see the potential impact in Merrimack Valley and join in creating a legacy for Armenians in the area.