General Information - Useful Kerala Sites
- The following link will be helpful to locate most of the important Kerala
related sites/links on the Internet. This is the official Kerala Govt. NORKA
web site which has become very user friendly recently with the initiatives
from the new Minister for Non-Resident Affairs, Mr. M.M. Hassan.
Mr. Jiji Thomson IAS (young and dynamic, 1980 batch) is the new Secretary, NORKA, who is also MD, KSIDC. He is an active member of our church who regularly participates in church conventions etc inspite of his busy schedule. His speeches are very informative and interesting. His one main theme is to have a vision for our church for the 21st Century with active participation by the young members.
- Thanks Varghese, and I didn't mean to disappoint you. I apologize for
(1) We may be talking about two different cities, the one I wrote, I was
very much involved, and I know the facts pretty well. People of that church
are still well alive doing wonderful things.
(2) My intention of posting that story was not to bring the negative past
and stay there but to point out the problems of undisciplined actions. Past
is a resource but not a resort place.
Yes, this diocese is to go to the hands of our next generation. I like to
see that we hand them over a clean slate in a stable condition. A God
centered leadership training center with dedicated leaders with vision will
help us achieve that goal. May God bless us to see that soon. You know,
our church, has been fighting for centuries- we still continue with what was
handed over to us, right?. My prayer is not to repeat such a tradition in
this diocese but to clear up and clean up "the mess" and hand over to our
next generation. Let us work for it.
- Hello to all of you,
The following is quoted from the "diocesan Voice" a monthly published by the American Diocese.
'A salary scheme for the American Diocese' By Fr. Dr. C.O. Vargis.
The most important step we have to take up is a salary scheme for the priests. Someof the reasons for such a scheme are the following:-
1. Now there are a few priests who serve the parishes on a full time basis. It is not advisable for any priest to go for a second job.
2. It is even illegal to appoint people to resposibilities and not pay them enough.
3. All decent and progressive organizations always take care of their workers.
4. It will be impossible to effect transfer without a salary scheme.
5. Without paying enough none can expect full time service.
6. A good number of priests are at the retirement age. We need many younger priests. Without a competent salary scheme it will become rather difficult to get their services.
7. Salary scheme will dissuade people from organizing smaller congregations and petty parishes in big cities.
8. It will enourage small parishes to get united.
9. When there will be a salary scheme, priests can be sent to remote areas where we have only few members of the church.
YOURS COMMENTS ARE APPRECIATED.
I think this deserves some positive comments and appreciation for a bold step forward.
- This has reference to the letters from Mr. Eldho regarding the small parishes in USA and Mr. Mohan Daniel regarding the internal fights in the church with reference to a TV programme, in the digest dated 6th August 2001 .
I invite the attention of all to a letter I have just received from my son who is in Melbourn , Australia. He had gone there from USA on a project work As soon as he reached there he located the Orthodox church and for the past 8 months he goes to the church regularly there.
In his letter he narrates his experince in the church which has just 39 family members .The letter is given below for you to think seriously and find out solutions to these kind of problems. I am publishing this as many of the parishes are facing similar problems and I feel, if we put our heads together in prayer we may be able to find a way out .
".....On Sunday,(05/08/01) after Qurbana, there was a General Body meeting in church that I attended and then had lunch at a friend's house and at night, we all went to the airport to see achen off.
The General Body meeting was to present the accounts from last year and approve the budget for the year 2001 - 02. But it became such a fight between two groups that it went on for about 3 hours. It was held inside the church but the people began abusing each other and got into fights with each other and shouted and fought. It was such a shameful and painful incident to witness. I cried, sitting in church and seeing all this going on among the members. It was so painful to witness it. People were talking disrespectfully to achen and telling him that he should not expect high wages and that he should be service minded and even work outside the church to support himself. Some people have sent all these issues to the new achen by email and even before he comes here, he is worried about all the events that are going on here. It is all being instigated by about 6 or 7 families out of the 39 members in church. One of the persons had fallen at achen's feet and asked for his forgiveness in the madbaha that morning when he went to serve as altar assistant for qurbana that morning. But when the General Body meeting started after qurbana, he was fighting again with achen. It makes me lose respect for people like this and it becomes difficult to feel like a part of a community that fights with each other like this. They also wanted the meeting to be held in the church hall so that they could abuse each other more freely, rather than be inhibited by being in the church. That was how it used to be with the previous achen. And all the fights were about some very trivial issues that were not worth fighting for. They were just out there to create trouble and prevent the budget from being passed. It is all a fight for power in the community and a fight for control. People who have been here for a long time want to hang on to their control over the way the church is run. I felt very upset over all the things I saw yesterday.
Not much other news here. The new achen might not get his visa for 1-2 weeks. But there will be service in church on Sundays."
This is the reaction of a youg man who had attended a "Pothuyogom" perhaps for the first time in his life. We talk about attracting youngsters to church, keep them in the faith, and so on. And if they come to church this is what they see in the church.
You may analyse this typical problem and arrive at your own conclusions.
- Fr. JP wrote: "Material growth and centers will not hinder spiritual
progress and will in no way be road block for the spiritual progress
of our people. A retreat center is for us to sit down and meditate
as a group, or for a weekend workshop or retreat."
I agree with Fr. JP. Material growth need not be a block to
spiritual growth. To quote examples from the Bible, Abraham was
rich,and Job was rich, and their material possessions did not block
their spiritual growth at all. There is nothing wrong in being rich.
In fact, God is the richest of all. He owns all the universe.
However, Jesus said that it is very hard for the rich people to
be in God's Kingdom. The reason is simple: Where your treasure is,
there your heart will be too.
Job was rich, but his heart was not on his possessions. His
heart was on the giver, not on the gift. Even when his own wife
encouraged him to curse God and commit suicide, he could go on living
because his heart was on God. God was the treasure for him.
It is good that our church is rich. From the seven churches St.
Thomas founded, we have grown to own not only hundreds of churches,
but also numerous educational and healthcare facilities.
But where is our heart? Is it on what we own? Or, is it on God?
How would we feel if one day the Government of India decides to take
away all the educational and healthcare centers from us? Would we be
able to praise and thank God even then, or would we feel devastated?
If we sincerely believe that all that we own really belong to
God, and we are only stewards, we will use all these facilities and
wealth for the glory of God and for the wellbeing of the humankind.
However, if we are unfaithful stewards, we will use these for our own
glory and wellbeing, and as a result, we will lose even what we have.
Where exactly are we? What exactly is the motive behind the
engineering college? Is it going to be better than the ones already
there in any way? Is it going to serve the humanity in a better way?
Will it serve to glorify the name of God in some way?
How about the institutions we already have? Can we claim that
Kottarakara Mar Gregorios College is qualitatively superior to Kollam
S.N. College? Can we point out at least one thing there as being an
example for other similar institutions?
If our institutions are inferior in quality to the others, we
need to sit down, and seriously think about it. We should not
dishonor the name of God. If we can't manage these institutions in
such a way as to bring glory to God, and peace to the humanity, we
should hand them over to some other people who can do it.
To sum up, if we can't glorify God and serve the humanity with
our actions, let us not act at all. No-action is less harmful than