Helping others — and heaping helpings — have always been part of the plan for members of the St. Peter Women’s Guild in Watervliet.
For the past 100 years, the parishioners from St. Peter Armenian Church in Watervliet have been known for their spiritual and culinary assistance.
“We encourage others to join the society so we can continue doing outreach visitations,” said Holly Dadekian of Niskayuna, 50, a church member since 1986. “If the pastor should need something, we help him. If a parishioner should need some spiritual guidance or visitation, we’re there for them. . . . We try to take care of each other.”
Guild and church members will celebrate the group’s centennial on Saturday with a dinner and dance at The Desmond Hotel and Conference Center in Colonie.
The guild was first called the “Ladies’ Aid Society” and was formed on May 4, 1914 — 15 years after the St. Peter parish was formed in Green Island.
“They did a lot of cooking in those days and they do a lot of cooking today,” Dadekian said.
Dadekian said the culinary connection helps build social connections. “People create a bond when they cook and eat and laugh together,” she said.
Undated photos from the church scrapbook show women cooking and sitting at lunch or supper tables. In some photos, the women are cooking Armenian meat pies, called lahmajoun.
Alice Chorbajian of Colonie has been in the guild for the past 45 years. Another part of the mission, she said, is sponsoring activities that raise money for the church.
“During the year, we put on different dinners, stuff like that,” said Chorbajian, 75. “In the past three or four years, we’ve come up with a December bazaar for two days, which has been very profitable.”
Chorbajian enjoys the generation factor in the guild.
“You meet more friends,” she said. “I’ve been working with the old, now we’ve got quite a few new members coming in. We’re pretty active during the year.”
There are currently about 60 guild members.
“Our goal is to get 100 by the end of the year,” Chorbajian said. “Forty more members.”