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Re: Bishop's Screening Committee(IO Church)

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  • Jacob Varghese
    ... the final Malankara association election at Pampakuda. This ... decades. Now the leaders of that faction are out of the picture, ... we have to gather the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 30, 2008
      >The IO Church screening committee finally chose ten people to contest for
      the final Malankara association election at Pampakuda. This
      >church was directly and indirectly trying to destabilize our church through
      decades. Now the leaders of that faction are out of the picture,
      >including Dr. MO John. Now this is our turn; during the time of H.H visit,
      we have to gather the dissatisfieds from that faction and ordain them
      >as bishops and send them to their own dioceses (not ours). Let them go
      their and do the art work there, which they are doing against us through


      As it is written:

      Matthew 7

      "And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. "

      How true are these words. Let us meditate on them as we are moving forward. Mr. Mathew approaches this situation in a very tactical manner - "tit for tat" if you will. In my opinion, never has there been a worse strategy ever employed. You can see it's failure throughout all the world - especially in the middle east where the Israelites and Palestinians have been locked in an endless waltz for centuries.

      I say let us take a different path - the road less traveled if you will. We can repeat the mistakes of our parents and grandparents and war and feud or we can take charge and make a better Church for ourselves; one that creates a real fervor and passion within our people and will attract all those who have wandered away from the mother church.

      How do we do this?

      It is really simple. (I don't have any experience with the churches in India so my commentary here will be with the US.)

      Our Thirumeni here in the States has put together a good and solid vision. We are ordaining more deacons and hopefully, over time, some priests who have grown up and can relate to the youth here in the States.

      With that said here are my thoughts on developing and maintaining the Church so that our young ones aren't lost to other denominations or to the growing number of agnostics and atheists.

      The first step is vision: How do we develop our leaders and set forth a plan for the Church as whole? This has two parts. One, a high-level vision/plan from the archdiocese and then a local plan that parallels what the archdiocese wants to do but is more specific for the local parish.

      The second step is control: How do we assert the power or control of the parish priests or bishop and not bend to the whims of loud mouthed members of the church? Part of this has to do with transparency with the leadership(i.e. the posting of all meeting minutes, open door meetings so that all members can attend) and part of it has to do with humility on the part of the members of the church.

      The third step includes programs: How do we engage the youth and adults? This happens with programs -- not just St.Paul's Fellowship, or youth league, etc. The church needs to become a community center. One where people can come for after school programs for their children, counseling for everyone, and social gatherings to get to know each other better. We need to do outreach programs and mission trips out to different parts of the world. This is how to engage our youth. Send them out of their comfort zone so that they are responsible for spreading the faith and defending it from nay sayers.

      The fourth step includes integration: How do we preach the word of Christ and our form of Christianity? It is time for us to branch out and introduce Americans to orthodoxy. I'm glad to see that "Brother Larry" in Denver has decided to look to this ancient form of worship to meet his spiritual needs. I would challenge us as an archdiocese to push forward with integrating the masses to our church. Will this require that the use of Malayalam be sidelined for the use of the vernacular of the local area -yes. Will this be a stumbling block for our people -- not if everyone is on board with the vision.

      Let us look within. Let us focus on ourselves. Let us heal the problems that face our parishes and our administration internally. Let us re- engage our youth. Let us massage away all the iniquity that has crept up amongst our people for far too long. When we have done this - I guarantee that all the external problems that are facing us will seem so much more inconsequential. Let us get our house in order first, before we do anything else.

      I'll leave you with one challenge. I hope you take me up on it. This week, as you participate in the Holy Qurbana and take the Kiss of Peace from the priest and your fellow Christians, try to really understand what it means. Try to put your heart and your conscience at peace with all those around you. Let that be the first step to a better tomorrow.

      Thank you for letting me share my humble thoughts.

      Jacob Varghese
      Houston, Texas
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