Re: A New Web Platform - 'St. Mary's Indian Orthodox Church, Pune (SMIOC)'
- Dear friend,
Around 14 years back I was sent to Pune on an official deputation for about a few months duration. The internet search engines or the net based groups were not so popular at that time to find an Orthodox community in the vicinity. Finally the bulky telephone directory available in the office guesthouse only helped me to find and reach the Kadki Saint Thomas Church. Otherwise along with my other friends my weekends would have ended up in Sinhagad in the city outskirts or at Lonawala, Mahabaelswer etc.
As far as the advancement in communication with respect to the time is concerned, with navigators and handy tablets this generation is the most gifted. Beyond the geographical boundaries or emotional and ethnic barriers they are well connected at every moment. This is what we call, the unstoppable explosion of change that moving and shaking us however reluctant we are. Along with the change in the surroundings our conscious, perceptions and priorities are too changing. The kinematics is too obvious and rapid. The inevitably of the time is that we should make use of the technological advancements for its best utilization for the positive community development.
Sometime back when I addressed a few elders including priests about the need to refine our tools according to the changing dynamics, they were just laughing at my suggestion even to have an email id and the convenience of email communications, saying that they were too old to learn such computer skills and emails. My further attempt to convince them that in certain cases how the youth were being spoiled in unmonitored environments and the presence of elders itself would have acted as a deterrent for the youth from misusing the internet for offensive purpose etc. Today I am glad to find most those same elders of the group as web content authors and present in various social networks, happily surfing with their youthfulness with no gap of generation or restrictions. I don't know if any Orthodox priest of today who does not have a neat social networking profile.
Your initial steps in this direction are much appreciated. Like your expanding words, the descriptions and envisaged scope from meeting the physical needs of the relocated community to the establishment of a sound foundation on spirituality are quiet interesting. The mention of the Yahoo Groups url in your posting would have been much appreciated.
Your new vicar Rev. Fr. Thomas Myalil is the ex-vicar of the Doha Orthodox Church who is reputed as a man of pragmatism. Wish you success and prayers for your endeavors.
Jose G, Doha, Qatar
- Dear Jose G (Doha),
Thank you for your message and kind words. I am happy to hear that you have been to Pune before. Let me know if, God-willing, you get another opportunity to come to Pune again. While you may have stayed in the guesthouse on the previous occasion, this time the pleasure will be all mine to have you stay with me and enable us to share some `fellowship moments' together.
Insofar as using the internet for the betterment of our church is concerned, the potential for the same will only increase going forward. However, on this front, the primary credit for being the early movers go to the likes of ICON, MOSC, etc. There are also many other local parish-level websites, internet groups, etc. (I know for sure that the Kuwait Maha-Edavaka has its own website and a few spiritual internet groups too). As such, I am humble enough to admit that the SMIOC Group is a `never-too-late' effort to follow the successful footsteps of ICON. It was thus natural on my part to seek the support of ICON members for the overall well-being of the local masses.
Regarding our new vicar, I have had a couple of opportunities to meet him in the recent past and thus, it is also heartening to get your written word about him. After all, while you and I may not have met each other, we do know each other over the past couple of years through this forum.
As regards further details of SMIOC Group, this can be viewed on the web only by those who join it since it is a Closed Group for now unlike ICON. As of now, membership to SMIOC is by invitation only and it will be my pleasure to email you an invitation if you provide me with your full email id at john_jacob_email@.... The objectives of SMIOC are similar to that of ICON with slight differences based on the local focus that I have been referring to.
Also, just as ICON, SMIOC is also not an official group `initiated or sponsored by the church'. With so much of disconnect between the `bride and the Bridegroom', I do not believe guys like me would in any way have lasted for long (even in ICON, had it been an `official one'). I guess quite a few of the messages posted here by members of the laity (and clergy) in the last one week could throw more light on what I am saying. Anyway, here is looking forward to the MOSC using such technological tools to bridge many such gaps as we move towards being `United in Christ'!
Yours in Christ!
John Jacob, Pune