IACC Sanctuary 'The Old Church' 38th Wisconsin 1930-1933 - Copy - Copy_crop
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38th & Vermont  1920's - 1933

Washington & Magnolia  1933 - 1979



      Immanuel Armenian Congregational Church was founded in 1930 by a group of visionaries who saw the need to establish a place of worship for newly immigrated Armenians. The committee who established the church included Tateos Diradoorian, John Eomurian, Avedis Jamgochian, Vahan Khacherian, Levon Knadjian, and Kegham Soukesian. The name Immanuel Armenian Congregational Church was suggested by Rev. Aram Yeretzian, Immanuel’s first minister. From the late 1920s to 1933, Immanuel met at the Seventh Day Adventist Church located at 38th Street near Vermont Avenue. The congregation needed a permanent place of worship, and, in 1933, a church building on Washington Boulevard was purchased.

      From 1930-1938, Rev. Yeretzian served the church with wisdom and enthusiasm. Rev. Yeretzian passed away in September 1938, leaving a great void within the congregation. His picture hangs in the church narthex to this day. From 1939-1952, Rev. Dr. Samuel Halajian served as the pastor of IACC. His ministry, which overlapped the years of WWII, stressed the need to apply Christian principles to our world problems. Rev. Ardavazd Minassian, previously the youth leader, served as pastor from 1952-1959. During those years, the social hall was expanded, the kitchen facilities were remodeled, and a Chapel, lounge room, and Sunday School classrooms were added.

      Rev. Siragan G. Agbabian served Immanuel as interim pastor for six months from January until June 1960. Rev. Agbabian came to be known as the “Father of our Church.”  Rev. Mardiros Marganian was then invited to serve the church for a period of two years. Rev. Marganian’s two year term extended to 15 years—the longest in the history of the church. Rev. Melvin Moomjian became assistant pastor and delivered the English language sermons. In the summer of 1975, Rev. Marganian retired from active ministry. The congregation still remembers fondly the services of Rev. and Mrs. Marganian.

      In 1976, after a thorough search for leadership, the congregation invited Rev. Jirair Sogomian to serve Immanuel. Rev. Sogomian had just arrived from Beirut, Lebanon where he had served as the Chaplain of Haigazian College. Under his youthful and enthusiastic leadership, the relocation of the church was carried out. The church facility on Washington Boulevard was sold and after temporarily worshipping at The Immanuel Mennonite Church of Downey for a year and a half, the congregation voted to purchase the Downey Congregational Church as its permanent home of worship and settled into the new location in February 1979. Soon after, Rev. Sogomian resigned to serve a congregation in Simi Valley.

      Rev. Edward Tovmassian, then associate pastor of the United Armenian Congregational Church, was invited to continue his ministry at Immanuel on August 1, 1979. At this time it became apparent that the church sanctuary and kitchen were inadequate and the church council voted for expansion. Luther Eskijian designed and donated the plans and Sam Arabian volunteered to act as contractor and so did for seven months of the expansion. The church was rewarded with an enlarged sanctuary, a solarium and an upgraded kitchen.  Various members of the congregation financially supported the expansion, supplemented by a substantial donation from the George Ignatius Foundation.

      Rev. Tovmassian served the church for seven years with great devotion, gracefulness and an ever present sense of humor.  He retired in January 1986 but volunteered to carry on until a replacement could be found. The church family and friends were shocked and saddened by his sudden and untimely death in April 1986. In early 1987, Rev. Dr. Herald Hassessian was invited as interim senior pastor and Rev. Daniel Albarian as interim associate pastor. They served the congregation for three years. In 1991, Reverends Hassessian and Albarian were called to serve other congregations. For the next three years the pulpit remained vacant and various visiting ministers served our congregation, including Rev. Dr. Peter Doghramji.

      In 1994, Rev. Joseph Matossian accepted the call to serve Immanuel. He was installed as the new pastor on June 12, 1994. Rev. Matossian served the congregation with distinction for ten years before accepting the position of Minister to the Armenian Evangelical Union of North America. Following the vacancy of the pulpit in 2004, Rev. Jirair Sogomian returned to IACC to serve in an interim capacity. The congregation is grateful to Rev. Sogomian for assuming Immanuel's pastoral responsibilities in this transitional period.

      In January 2011, following an arduous but fruitful immigration process, Rev. Vatche Ekmekjian, formerly the pastor of the Armenian Evangelical Martyrs' Church in Aleppo, Syria, began serving as pastor of IACC. Badveli Ekmekjian, his wife, Lena and three young children infused our church with the promise of youth and solid Christian values. The installation service for Rev. Ekmekjian was held on June 12, 2011. Lena created musical plays for the Sunday school while also starting the Women's Spritiual Fellowship, a monthly program for the women of our church.  After eight years Rev. Ekmekjian was called to serve the Armenian Brotherhood Bible Church in Pasadena. 


      In 2019, we were very fortunate to have Rev. Kevork (George) Terian as our Senior Pastor who was called to serve IACC after eighteen years at Cilicia Evangelical Church of Pasadena.  We are blessed to have such a scholarly man on our pulpit who brings enthusiasm, intelligence and a sincere desire to serve and worship God.  The church is enriched by his presence and also by the computer expertise of his wife, Alice who live-streams our sermons each Sunday. 


   IACC is in its 92nd anniversary with gratitude to our Lord for our many years of service.  The descendants of the original members have assumed the leadership of the church and today are its mainstay.  They are facing many world changes and challenges and accept the torch that has been passed to them.  With God's help, our church will endure as we worship Him.  May we never forget our rich heritage and persevere walking in His Light.






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