Our Sunday School Association (MJSSA) and its selfless services to the spiritual nourishment of the young members of the Holy Syrian Orthodox Church are very effective and rewarding. The explanations of the MJSSA and beloved Baby Maathara are timely and appropriate. I have been deeply involved with the Sunday school system for some time, about 33 years. I used to teach in the younger grades while I was studying in the 7th grade and going forward. Then moved on as a full time teacher at St. George Sunday School Malelcruiz, while I was in the Seminary and then to become the Headmaster of Mar Stephen Sunday School Valakom and there on to the District Inspector of Ernakulam and to the Director of Sunday school, in the North American Archdiocese and then on to the services as the Diocesan Vice President and so on. With my humble understanding, MJSSA, is one of the reputable institutions of the Holy Church, that runs with proper guidelines and absolute transparency. It would be cynical to question the integrity of the self-sacrificing humble services of the teachers and the office bearers. In addition, it is good to remember that the services of the teachers are purely voluntary.
It is true that some service areas of MJSSA need more attention, with regard to the challenges of the modern world. This is a positive sign, especially in consistence with the tremendous growth of the Church in various parts of the world. The Malankara Archdiocese, here in the United States printed books for Sunday school classes in English and thinking of revising it, in the near future. I am aware that the support and prayers of the faithful have always been the foundation of MJSSA. With the vigilant steps and the selfless efforts of the leadership team, the efforts would become fruitful in all areas very soon. Instead of applying defensive mechanism, we should also be willing to accept positive aspects of the criticism as an occasion for modification and growth. So, let us pray and do what is necessary to build the bricks, instead of wasting our valuable time and energy to split hairs.
Usually, I am a silent reader to the forum comments. Now I thought of writing a note, a humble attempt to urge positive advancement. I also come across various negative impacts of the technological innovations of modern times on our faithful. We can even see the Apostolic bulls used and misused (abused?) on the internet about disciplinary actions on certain priests and so on. The group that wastes no time to discredit the Holy Church is also using those as tools (in the wrong hands) to their benefit. It might be a good idea that the authorized offices categorize at least the Apostolic bulls of those nature, as classified information and keep them from public access.
I pray that the members use their privileges and conveniences with extreme caution and prudence, for the Glory of God and for the benefit of the Holy Church. Humans are not perfect, but we cannot use that as an excuse to obscure our shortcomings and transgressions. When I read certain comments and opinions of our esteemed members of the forum, I feel to say the following. St. James 3:2 "For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body". It is good to read the whole chapter.
Glory be to the Good Lord for ever and ever.
Fr. Mathai Varkey Puthukkunnathu.
Vicar, St. Ignatius Elias III Syrian Orthodox Church, Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA.