I am Ara, Pastor Ara. I have served as a pastor for over 34 years, most recently as interim pastor/head of staff at First Congregational Church

Prior to Big Red, I was pastor/head of staff at Pilgrim Armenian Congregational Church, a multi-staffed ethnic and long-established congregation in Fresno, CA. I also serve part-time as the chaplain for Bright Horizon Hospice.

I love what I have been called to do. This is my second interim position, so although I will touch things, I am very aware of being gentle so I don’t break anything. Pray for me, please.

I am a YES person. I say yes, then do all I can to do it. “Can we, pastor?”  Sometimes I take a moment to think, if I or we haven’t done it before. Then “Sure,” say I.

Being a lifelong Presbyterian and a long-serving pastor in a congregational church, it is easier to say YES, for there is a council or session to say wait, … And a strong group to make the Yes talk a reality.

I am a Mission person. I talk a lot, a part of the job, sure. Ask my family, I am rarely at a loss for words.

Talk is easy, action is hard. I endeavor to match my deed to my word. By the grace and power of God, I have been able to live an integrated life.

I have been to many places, rarely as a tourist. There are always siblings to relate to and work with as we seek to reflect the love of Christ. I look forward to the places we will go in 2018 and 2019.

I serve on the board of directors of the Armenian Missionary Association of America, the mission arm of the Armenian Evangelical Union of (mostly UCC) congregations of the Americas. I have a couple of ongoing projects in Armenia and Buenos Aires, Argentina. I hope to visit South Korea again in 2019. This time to Daejeon, South Korea, where a friend and colleague is establishing a great work, I pray.

I am vice moderator and Stewardship Committee chair of the Presbytery of San Joaquin. There I am planning a local mission project and a week-long project in El Salvador. Again, I solicit your prayers.

Finally, some fun stuff. I am, along with Diane Wieble (our conference minister) and millions of others, a St. Louis Cardinal fan, have been since 1967.

I am a 58-year-old grandfather. I am not a rational, reasonable person around the grandson, Zekiel.

I wear interesting socks. No gifts of socks, please (unless you clear it with Vivy, my wife). My rather large sock drawer is overflowing.

The music here is exceptional. I appreciate most genres of music, but my personal non-worship playlist would include the Clash, Peter Gabriel, the Ramones, Rage Against the Machine and Radiohead.

I enjoy film. I go to the movies on my day off and I was able to attend the most recent Fresno Filmworks Festival for the first time this past year, Great Joy.

I am available. This call — as the four previous — is my priority (that is why no film festival before). Call, text or email me. My cell number is 559.862.3874. I put my phone on vibrate around 10 pm and back to ring around 7 am. Occasionally I forget, because I am a forgiven sinner, a broken creature, restored and occasionally put to good use by his creator, redeemer and sustainer.