Rev. Takouhi Demirdjian-Petro was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon in an Armenian Family. Her father, born in Bursa, was an infant survivor of the Armenian Genocide of 1915. Her mother was born in Beirut, Lebanon into an Armenian family who had escaped the Genocide from Marash. Both towns are located in present-day Turkey.
Her name, in Armenian, Takouhi [pronounced Ta-Koo-Hee], means, “queen”. Her mother wanted to name her Esther, after Queen Esther of the Old Testament, but her father suggested to name her Takouhi, after all, Esther was a queen. The name Takouhi is a popular Armenian name.
Rev. Takouhi made her way out of Beirut through the mountainous roads of Lebanon into Syria. Through the airport in Damascus, she found her way to Los Angeles, where she lived with her eldest sister, Silva, and graduated from Armenian Mesrobian High School in 1986.
After completing high school in June of 1986, she found her way to Canada via the Vermont-Quebec border on August 21, 1986. The Canadian Government had given permission to Lebanese citizens to enter Canada to find refuge and call it home.
The rest is history…
September 3, 2000, Rev. Takouhi and Gary Steven Petro married at Northlea United Church, in Chomedey-Laval, Quebec and life took a different turn… in 2002, Rev. Takouhi started receiving nudges to go into ministry through different people of God, but she fought this “call” for two years.
On January 5, 2005, she began her six-year educational journey. She obtained her B.A. (Majoring in Theology and Minoring in English Literature) at Concordia University, her B.Th. at McGill University, and, her M.Div. at the Montreal School of Theology, through the United Theological College.
On May 28, 2011, Rev. Takouhi became the first Armenian female minister to be ordained in the United Church of Canada. This was a historic day for Rev. Takouhi, not only for the strides she was able to make by God’s Grace, but this was also the 93rd Anniversary of the first Armenian Independence Day (May 28, 1918).
After her ordination, from July 1, 2011, until January 31, 2013, she was called to serve the Ayer’s Cliff-Magog-Georgeville Pastoral Charge in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. However, living apart from her husband and the political situation in Quebec was difficult. Rev. Takouhi and Gary started earnestly to pray for a united life together, out of Quebec. Their prayers were answered when the Elgin-Portland Pastoral Charge was declared vacant in the Summer of 2012. This pastoral charge was where Rev. Takouhi had done her student internship from September 1, 2009, to May 31, 2010, after which, she served the charge for two months as a Student minister (June 1, 2010, to August 1, 2010).
It took many discerning prayers on all sides and Rev. Takouhi was called to serve God through the community of the Elgin-Portland Pastoral Charge from February 1, 2013- October 31, 2020.
As of November 1, 2020, Rev. Takouhi serves Grace United Church in Gananoque. She loves leading worship celebrations, and she is often referred to as the dancing minister. Rev. Takouhi says, “God is God of Joy and calls us to rejoice”.
Rev. Takouhi has:
- served the Quebec Sherbrooke Presbytery as the Interim Chair of the Education and Student Committee (2011-2013)
- served the Montreal-Ottawa Conference as the Chair of the Prevention of Sexual Misconduct (2012-2013)
- served the Four Rivers Presbytery as the Chair of the Congregational Life and Christian Growth committee (2014-2016)
- served as a commissioner to GC-42 of the United Church of Canada in Corner Brook, Newfoundland (August 2015)
- been a liturgist at the Festival of Homiletics (May 2016 in Atlanta, Ga.)
- served as Chair of the Four Rivers Presbytery and an Executive Member of the Bay of Quinte Conference within the United Church of Canada (June 2016 - June 2017)
- served as a supervising minister for two student ministers, 2017-2019
- served the Eastern Ontario Outaouais Regional Council as the President-Elect, June 2019 – October 2020.
- serves the Eastern Ontario Outaouais Regional Council as President
Her first book of Poetry, Prayers and Photos was published in August of 2016, titled, “The True Gift Lives ON… Christmas Poetry, Prayers and Blessings”
Rev. Takouhi believes that life is a true gift and must be shared with others with love and respect as we journey together.