On January 20, 2008, the Rev. Dr. Vartkes Kassouni was honored by Morningside Presbyterian Church of Fullerton with a reception, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of his Ordination to the Christian Ministry. Around 200 people gathered for the occasion. Mr. John DeLoof was the Master of Ceremonies, and the presenter of a PowerPoint projection of the span of Rev. Kassouni’s life and ministry, covering all fifty years. Speakers on behalf of the Armenian community were Mr. Jack Loussararian, Executive Director of the Armenian Evangelical Social Service Center of Glendale, the Rev. Berdj Djambazian, Pastor of Holy Trinity Armenian Evangelical Church of Glendale, and Mr. Ronald Karabian, an Elder and community leader from the First Armenian Presbyterian Church of Fresno. The Rev. Dr. Steve Yamaguchi, Executive Presbyter of the Presbytery of Los Ranchos, spoke on behalf of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Others who shared their thoughts on the occasion were the Rev. Tom Cramer, Associate Pastor, Laguna Hills Presbyterian Church, Ms. Barbara Murphy, Associate Executive Presbyter, Los Ranchos Presbytery, Ms. Sara Caswell, and Mr. and Mrs. George Delanoy, on behalf of the host church. Presentations were also made by his daughter Linda Kassouni Walker, son Timothy Kassouni, and Mrs. Samira Kassouni, his wife, who has labored by his side in all these ministries for over twenty years.

The Rev. Kassouni was ordained on January 20, 1957, by the New York City Association of Congregational Churches in the Armenian Evangelical Church of New York City, which he served as his first parish in 1959. From there he went on to serve the First Armenian Presbyterian Church of Fresno in 1964, and the United Armenian Congregational Church of Los Angeles in 1977. In Fresno he rallied the con
gregation to go ahead with building plans for a new church complex, successfully building two of their three complexes while with them as pastor. During his years of ministry in these churches he helped bring the Eastern and Western branches of the Armenian Evangelical communities into one Union, along with their youth organizations. He also helped in the formation of Camp AREV and the Armenian Studies Program in Fuller Seminary, Pasadena.

While Moderator of the Union in the East, he helped raise funds for the purchase of a building in Toronto for the first Armenian Evangelical Church in Canada, and presided at the ordination of their pastor, the Rev. Dr. Solomon Nigosian. He was a key participant in the planning and successful opening of the Armenian Evangelical parochial school in America, the Charlotte and Elise Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School of Sherman Oaks, CA. His vision and efforts for a new church in Hollywood for the many new immigrants arriving from Armenia culminated in the formation of the Armenian Evangelical Church of Hollywood in 1982, with the Rev. Abraham Chaparian as pastor. In the early and formative years of the Armenian Assembly of America, Rev. Kassouni was a member of the Steering Committee which later evolved to be its Board of Directors. While in New York City, he served on the Board of Directors of the Armenian Missionary Association of America, of Paramus, N.J., and more recently he served on the Board of Trustees of Christian Ai
d Mission, centered in Charlottesville, VA.

(in the picture: Marie Chaparian, Jack & Arsha Loussararian, Phyllis and Sam Hamo, Louis Kurkjian at Morningside Presbyterian Church, January 20, 2008 for the celebration in honor of Rev. Vartkes Kassouni for his 50 years of ordained ministry.)
In 1983 Rev. Kassouni had a change in the direction of his ministry, moving on to pastor Presbyterian churches outside of the Armenian community. He served the Palmdale Presbyterian Church, Tustin Presbyterian Church, Christ Presbyterian Church, Huntington Beach, and then was called to the position of Associate Executive Presbyter, Los Ranchos Presbytery in Anaheim, with a constituency of 55 churches. In this capacity he helped organize four new churches including Laguna Niguel, Rancho Santa Margarita, Yorba Linda, and North Huntington Beach. He retired in 1996, but has continued to serve parishes ever since in the capacity of Interim Pastor. These have included First Presbyterian Church of Garden Grove, two years as Interim Executive Presbyter of San Fernando Presbytery, Geneva Presbyterian Church of Laguna Hills, Yorba Linda Presbyterian Church, and most recently, Morningside Presbyterian Church of Fullerton.

Attendees at this reception came from these many parishes and ministries, sharing their love, respect and expressions of congratulations. On this memorable occasion Rev. Kassouni was honored for fifty years of uninterrupted ministry, spanning both the East and West coasts among a score of churches, both Armenian and non-Armenian. His vision and passion is to continue serving where needed for as long as God gives him strength.