Understanding Disaffiliation in the Armenian Church: A Study of Older and Younger Millennials
Most denominations are experiencing a significant decline in Church participation worldwide. This decline is also present in the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church. Attendance among all age groups is alarmingly diminishing, but the Millennials are the most strikingly missing demographic. In order to understand possible reasons for disaffiliation among Millennials in the Armenian Church, a Focus Group of representative individuals was assembled at my parish. The Focus Group discussions brought forth many ideas about the Church and the characteristics and perceptions of Millennials. Interestingly, they are very open and receptive to learning about Armenian culture, they believe in God, but are not very interested in the liturgical and spiritual aspects of the Armenian Church. My mission, therefore, is to bridge that gap. This project indicates the necessity for research on the disaffiliation of Millennials, by emphasizing the importance of listening and welcoming them and stating the need for specific approaches and programs. I discuss the unique tasks of the Armenian clergy in the Diaspora, by describing my family’s situation in my parish, as one of the parishes of the Armenian Church in the Diaspora. I conclude this study by acknowledging some limitations in the research, by reflecting on my own experience, and how the research process impacted me and shaped my perspective. Finally, I make recommendations for future studies. This entire project was undoubtedly an eye-opening and self-evaluating experience. I am hopeful that this project (and others in the future) can help the Church to face reality and come up with new ideas and ways to draw Millennials to their local parishes.
Malkhasyan, Abraham Manuk, "Understanding Disaffiliation in the Armenian Church: A Study of Older and Younger Millennials" (2020). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI27999333.