Tag Archive for: ministry

Spiritual Caregivers

Armodoxy for Today: Spiritual Care Givers

This week is Spiritual care week, giving opportunities to organizations and institutions of all kinds and types to recognize the spiritual caregivers in their midst and the ministry which they provide. Within the Church, the priest is on the front line of life and is the first-responder to domestic situations. He is the spiritual caregiver to his flock and community, and much more.

In the spirit of Spiritual Care week, I share with you a blessing shared with me, and written by Nadia Bolz-Weber.


A Blessing for a Pastor’s Heart

I imagine it was because of your heart that you went into this work in the first place. So, I imagine you have a heart that wanted to extend beyond itself, to stretch to love God’s people.

So may God bless the parts of your heart that receive their stories so openly, and comfort their sufferings so compassionately, and share their joys so thoroughly.

And may God also heal the parts of your heart that have been wounded by the very people whose stories you receive and whose sufferings you comfort and whose joys you share.

And may God revive the parts of your heart that have grown protectively cold.

And may God protect the parts of your heart that are well-loved by those who know you best.

And may God gently place God’s own heart right behind yours so that the sorrow of those in your care can move your heart but find a landing place in God’s.

And may God gently place God’s own heart right behind yours so that the love you give in this work can come through you but doesn’t have to come from you.

And as the love of God moves from God’s heart through your own to those in your care, may your heart soak up all it needs in the process. Because your heart is a human one too, and it deserves to be well tended to. AMEN.

Cover: St. Gregory the Illuminator by night, spiritual caregiver of a people. 2017 Fr. Vazken

It was 20 years ago today

The Body Then & Now

It was 20 years ago today… the untold story of the Armenian Church Youth Ministries Center

That the Youth Ministry opened its doors in Glendale, California. This was not anywhere in Glendale. It was in section of town, where, as the co-founder of that ministry, Dr. Deacon Hrair Dekmejian, Professor of Political Science at the University of Southern California called it, “A place that Armenian organizations have ignored and forgotten.” It was a place where education, identity and prayer came together.”

On April 13, 2003, the doors opened to the Youth Ministry Center with the celebration of the Palm Sunday Holy Divine Liturgy. It was standing-room only. I was the celebrant. Dr. Dekmejian was the choir leader. There was an energy in the room reminiscent of what might be found in the early evangelical era of the Christian Church – during the Apostolic times. To give you a hint, Dr. Dekmejian refused to have choir members don robes, so that like the Church of the first century, the people – the congregation – would sing the praises of the Lord rather than a select few. That tradition became the hallmark of this Church.

But this was no ordinary Church, because that one-hour on Sunday morning was the smallest portion of its entire ministry.

This was an old building – a church from the 1950s – which had been converted, renovated and remodeled with an altar area and assembly hall that would soon become a hang-out for kids after school. Across from a cluster of public schools in Glendale, where at the time had a 30+% population was Armenians, there was an opportunity to minister the Christian faith to countless of young people. Students from USC, UCLA and CSUN would come to mentor younger brothers and sisters. Gang members would come for counseling, with Bibles distributed next to candle areas. Conferences on violence would take place not only with scholars, but troubled youth living on the streets. The Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Karekin II would come to learn about the center during his visit in 2005, and was given a “game plan” for the potential of the Armenian Church. We would feed the homeless and clothe the naked. I would journey off to Rwanda and return with survivors of the Rwandan Genocide to speak and share their stories of resurrection. From that small church, we would journey to both sides of Ararat and celebrate the 100th anniversary of our DNA returning to the homeland. We would also learn about the politics of running a Church with a mission, much like Jesus learned when he dared to say the Church was more than a building. In fact, it was there, at the Armenian Church Youth Ministry Center that Epostle.net was cultivated.

I was honored to have led this congregation and ministry for 15 years of this experiment that pushed the limits and the ceiling of the Armenian Church. Our game plan, what some might refer to as a business plan came from Holy Scripture” “To preach the gospel to the poor… ]to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

On these days following Easter, our Daily Messages are looking at the Body of Christ, then and now. I’d like to share with you the story of the Armenian Church Youth Ministry Center, because it was the Armenian Church now, patterned after was then: the Apostolic Church.

Join me on this journey, called “It was 20 years ago today: The untold story of the Armenian Church Youth Ministry Center.” I guarantee, this story will not disappoint. Most importantly, it presents thoughts on what the Christian mission, ministry and response is in a world void of God and Love. This is the story of what the Armenian Apostolic Church has to offer the world.

The story is a podcast and available on your favorite podcatcher, on social media and of course, on the mother ship, Eposte.net: Apostolic Evangelism for an Electronic and Expanding Universe.

I look forward to having you with me tomorrow on our daily messages. Let us pray from the 11th hour of St. Nersess Shnorhali’s prayer, “Jesus, Wisdom of the Father, grant me your wisdom so that I may think, speak and do that which is good in your sight. Save me from evil thoughts, words and deeds. Have mercy on all your creatures and on me a sinner. Amen.


Next Step #733: Beginning the 15th season of the Next Step, Fr. Vazken shares some of the most precious blessings of the ministry, spanning the last five decades. From Genocide experiences, to the primer offered by St. Nersess Shnorhali, unlock the beauty of the “blessings” in this up-close and personal edition of the Next Step, presenting the new Epostle.net ministry.
Sirach 43
Einstein on Religiousness
The End is just the challenge (NS69)
Highlights of Fr. Vazken’s Ministry
Paul McCartney’s “Junk”
Cover: Epostle.net, 2022, Anush Movsesian Avejic
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org and Epostle.net
Listen via Stitcher Radio on demand!
Listen on Apple Podcasts

Children Unheard

Next Step #732: Whether children of war or those who suffer the effects of autism, it’s the Church that is the Body of Christ in this world today. Pope Francis, Little Red Riding Hood and the bad wolf: WW3? Jesus and the problem of unchosenness. Fr. Vazken discusses the challenge of a war that is forgotten and points to a new ministry initiated in the Western Diocese, to families challenged by autism.
Pope Francis says WW3 has been declared 
Divine Liturgy at Pentecost 2022
Armenian Autism Outreach Program
Blessing Armenian Autism Outreach and children at the Cathedral (6/12/22)
Conversations with God
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org
Listen via Stitcher Radio on demand!
Listen on Apple Podcasts

Virtually Invisible Virtue

Next Step #621: Individuality, inalienable rights and a look at ministry today. Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man paves the road for a reflection about the “Invisible Priest” the freedom to celebrate the Ministry. Time to get off the heaven/hell debate.
WD168 This Week
“Window” on the Priesthood (1990)
Fr. Vazken’s Sermon – April 24, 2020
Divesting California/Genocide in Darfur
Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man
Medical PPE for LA County Community Go Fund Me Page
Leveraging Love
Greetings of Hope from Armenians to Darfuris
Engineered by Ken Nalik
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org
Look for The Next Step on blubrry.com
Listen via Stitcher Radio on demand! 

Memento Mori

Next Step #596: It’s debatable whether or not he who dies with the most toys wins; however, what is not up for discussion is that he who dies with the most toys, still dies! Two biographies – one of the Gambler Kirk Kerkorian and the other, Apple & Pixar CEO Steve Jobs, are the backdrops for this week’s Next Step: Memento Mori. Up close and personal, here’s Fr. Vazken’s personal journey as he discusses living with the lie of reconciling the virtual with reality and how that journey has led to the doorstep of Armodoxy. Outreach vs. inreach ministry: how to survive on principles and moving from the end-time obsession to living for the day.
Alan Hovhaness “The Prayer of St. Gregory
Steve Jobs” Walter Isaacson
The Gambler” Kirk Kerkorian
Window View of the Armenian Church
Serenity Prayer – Reinhold Niebuhr
Center of Attention (Armenian)
Timex Sinclair
Atheists in Foxholes
Cover: Cups Fr. Vazken 2010
Engineered by Ken Nalik
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for http://InHisShoes.org
Look for The Next Step on blubrry.com
Listen via Stitcher Radio on demand! 

Esther Arriving

Next Step #569: This podcast has been suspended from distribution at the request of the interviewee.

Also … thoughts in the aftermath of #StandAgainstRacism at the YWCA. Challenge to politicians to stick to their  sphere of influence: building blocks of Genocide. NO to weasels and slimy snails.
Gor Mkhitarian, “About God
Fishbowl Process
YWCA Stand Against Racism
Sermon: Holy Thursday (khavaroum)
Sermon: Holy Friday (kerezman)
Cover: Nyiragongo Volcano
Technical Director: Ken Nalik
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org
Subscribe to In His Shoes » Next Step with Fr. Vazken by Email
Look for The Next Step on blubrry.com
Listen via Stitcher Radio on demand!


Elevator out of Hell: Staying Anonymous

Next Step #486: Fr. Vazken develops the “elevator pitch” of the Armenian Church via Armodoxy, No condemnation here: Defining Hell. The Anonymity of the Eucharist. Reflections on the 35th anniversary of a ministry. Adult humor after high school.
Luys Vocal Quintet
35 Anniversary Photos
Anonymity of the Eucharist
Ordination of Fr. Vazken (1982)
Slide Show
Bible Study “Fruits of the Spirit
Photo credit: “Elevator Out of Hell” by Fr. Vazken at Northridge Hospital
Engineered by Ken Nalik
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org
Subscribe to In His Shoes » Next Step with Fr. Vazken by Email
Look for The Next Step on blubrry.com
Listen via Stitcher Radio on demand!