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From Vicar's Desk


Dearly beloved in Christ,
We entered the month of July with joyous preparation for witnessing the beauty of God’s creation. As the season shift into a summer, we are eager to see how new plants grow and can we enjoy our labor to cultivate vegetables. Our young friends may find it a happy time to have very meaningful gathering with their friends. May our travel, efforts, and leisure keep us in good spirit. Personally, the last week of June was a dream come true for me. Can’t find enough words to glorify God’s mercy showered upon us.

Our church has the responsibility to be the role model for rest of the parishes in NAE Diocese as we are one of the early Mar Thoma parishes here. As part of taking this responsibility, the church committee has decided to have Worship services in Malayalam and English concurrently during July and August. We have scheduled worship services to start at 9:30 am in July-August. On first and third Sunday we will have Malayalam Holy Communion, in the main sanctuary, while there will be divine service in English language, in the old sanctuary from 9:30 to 10:30 am. All the attendees can therefore participate in the sacrament of confession, which is necessary for receiving the holy elements, and join in the second part of holy communion.

The first Sunday in July is set aside for reflection on our duty to tithe. Dictionaries describe Tithe as “a tenth part of something” or “10 %.” This definition probably originates from different narratives in the Bible. We are aware that everything we have originally belonged to God. The tithe is holy and belonged to God, according to the tithing laws given to Israel at Mount Sinai (Leviticus 27:30, Leviticus 27:32). God commands people to give their possessions in order to care for others who lack sufficient means. We make offerings of thankfulness in addition to and independent of the tithe. The second Sunday in July reassures the covenantal relationship between the faithful and the Lord. We are called to engage in the mission of God in fulfilling the kingdom of God and we are assigned the duty of watchmen to be responsible for the transformation of individuals within the community. The third Sunday is dedicated to ponder upon the theme “people of God: body of Christ.” The Christian understanding of humanness is deep rooted in the value of togetherness and mutuality. Individuation, though necessary for individual growth, can happen only in relation to our relationship with others. It is a divine call. Tendencies to move away and disregard the relational ties both within the families and with others may thus be a willful act of negating divine will. It is the duty of the faith community to accept one another and appreciate rather than criticizing.

On 23 July, we celebrate our Parish Day. This year we invited Rev Prince Varghese Madathileth as our chief guest. Let us thank God for our parents who took the risk of migrating to USA in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s and we have grown up to have our third generation of Mar Thoma migrants in New York. Their struggles to cope with challenges of those days were supported with the spiritual strength of being dependent on God for brighter tomorrows. They were hopeful, of having a better life both here and back in India. They brought their relatives, friends and neighbors in building a community of migrants. Our families were blessed to achieve good education, employment opportunities, and economic self-sufficiency. The saga continues. The Mar Thoma faith is articulated in its emphasis on the Biblical teachings, and liturgy. From the Malankara reformation onwards, we are keen to address the cultural context of the faith community without limiting the importance of preaching, teaching, healing and worshipping. So, let us praise God for giving us opportunity to be a part of this rich legacy; almost 2000 years of existence as a church, importance of Bible, solid articulations of doctrines, meaningful liturgy, scope for incorporating contextual needs of the worshipping community, emphasis on prayer and sacraments, organizational systems to address particular groups of people and many more. In the fifth week, we may ponder upon the work of Holy Spirit in the contemporary world. And it proceeds to have our focus on preparing ourselves to be the witness of Christ by exploring the life and ministry of Jesus Christ during the fifteen days of lent. In addition to these themes for articulating our faith, we have different programs scheduled by our organizations. I request all our parish member’s heartful support and presence in various activities convened during the summer. We are called to move on, moving on to see how God prepare us to be a witness of God’s love and care in this world. Let us fulfill our responsibility to be the agents of kingdom of God.

Yours in Christ.

Rev. Pramod Zachariah

Our Parish History

The first approved congregation in North America started as the Mar Thoma-Church of South India prayer group. The congregation, the Mar Thoma Church of Greater New York, met for worship service at the All Saints Lutheran church in Jamaica in the borough of Queens in New York City. After conducting worship services briefly at a worship place in Manhattan, the congregation moved in 1974 to a Presbyterian Church near 174th Street in Fort Washington, at the north end of the Manhattan borough of NYC, and it was its abode until the congregation was divided into four parishes.

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