THE ECUMENICAL FELLOWSHIP OF INDIAN CHURCHES IN PHILADELPHIA
PROGRAM SCHEDULE FOR THE YEAR 2008
1. Ecumenical Convention will be held on Friday, October 10th through Sunday, October 12th. The first day will be dedicated for music in Malayalam and English followed by a traditional convention speech on the second day. A special Ecumenical worship will be conducted on the third day.
2. Choir practice will begin on Sunday, Sept 14th at St. Peter’s Church.
3. Youth Retreat is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, August 23rd.
4. A Bible Quiz Competition for teenagers/youth will be conducted on the day of the Youth Retreat (in the afternoon). One team from each member parish is expected to compete. Rolling trophies will be awarded to the winning teams.
5. A web site will be created for the Ecumenical Fellowship. Please refer to www.phillyecumenical.org for status updates.
6. The Christmas Program will be held on Sunday, December 14th.
7. September 7th will be observed as the Ecumenical Day in all parishes. On that day, representatives from each parish will visit another parish covering all parishes in the Ecumenical Fellowship and speak to the parishioners to increase awareness and to promote the activities of the Ecumenical Fellowship. To facilitate sending representatives to each parish, the member parishes are paired as given below:
a. St. Johns Orthodox Church and St. Thomas Mar Thoma Church of Delaware
b. Ascension Mar Thoma Church and St. Peter’s Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church
c. Bethel Mar Thoma Church and St. Thomas Indian Orthodox Church
d. St. Mary’s Cathedral and Mar Thoma Church of Philadelphia
e. CSI Christ Church and St. Gregorios MOC.
f. Emanuel CSI Church and St. Thomas MOC
g. St. Mary’s Knanaya Church and St. Thomas Syro Malabar Church
h. Syro Malankara Catholic Mission and St. Mary’s MOC
i. Indian Latin Community and St. Paul’s Anglican Church of Philadelphia
j. St. Paul’s’ Syrian Orthodox Church (Rep: Mr. Joseph Mathew)
8. Youth Meeting at St Peter's Jacobyte Church on June 29, at 3.00 PM. Agenda: (1) Youth Retreat (2) Quiz Competition (3) Choir for the Convention
9. Committee meeting to be held 3:00 PM, Sunday, July 20, at Ascension MarThoma Church
10. General Body Meeting at 3 PM, Aug 24, at MOC 5422 Mascher St.
The ‘Ecumenical Movement’ is the effort, under God, to bring the whole Christian world visibly and convincingly into one community, one Church. The ecumenical movement understands the unity of the church as a gift from God that we seek to manifest more fully and faithfully, not as something we humanly create. As per the current religious and Christian atmosphere of the world, the first aim of ecumenism should be targeted for a mutual respect and co-operation among the denominations, than any Himalayan task of uniting the churches.
The ecumenical friendship of Indian Christians in Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, traces its roots back much before any Indian Church or congregation of any denomination of Indian Christians was originated. It is a fact that, until October 1976, there was no denominational congregation in Philadelphia except for an ecumenical Christian group. The first Malayalam service for the very few Kerala Christians in Philadelphia was conducted by Fr. K. M. Simon of the Knanaya Church in the living room of Dr. T. V. Philip’s apartment at 4900 Pine Street in July 1962, with Dr. Philip as the altar boy. From August 1962 and onwards regular service was conducted on the first Sunday of every month by Fr. K. M. Simon, at Ashbury Methodist Church chapel on the Chestnut Street, Philadelphia. The attendees were an ecumenical group consisted of Orthodox, Marthoma and CSI denominations. Occasionally, Fr. A.T. Abraham of the Knanaya Church, and Fr. K. C. Abraham of CSI Church who were theological students at the Princeton University also conducted services. His grace Mor Kurilos (who later became Catholicos of the East) has also conducted services when he was a student at the General Theological Seminary. Any priest or bishop from the Marthoma, CSI and Orthodox denominations visiting Philadelphia has conducted service as requested by the ecumenical group.
Now all the Christian denominations of Kerala origin there are many Churches and congregation and the number of believers in all denominations also increased many fold. But, even now the Philadelphia denominations uphold the very same old love and unity across all denominations. All the ecumenical activities are arranged by an ecumenical body comprised of elected representatives from all Indian churches in Philadelphia. The elected members of our parish as ecumenical representatives for the year 2008 are:
1. Thomas Paul
2. Raju V. Geevarghese
The Ecumenical Fellowship of Indian Churches in Philadelphia
P. O. Box 14396, Philadelphia, PA 19115
This is the official ecumenical body with following Churches as its participating members:
| 1.|| Ascension Mar Thoma Church|
| 2.|| Bethel Mar Thoma Church|
| 3.|| The Mar Thoma Church Philadelphia|
| 4.|| St. Thomas Mar Thoma Church of Delaware Valley|
| 5.|| St. Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral|
| 6|| St. Gregorios Malankara Orthodox Church|
| 7.|| St. Thomas Malankara Orthodox Church|
| 8.|| St. Thomas Indian Orthodox Church|
| 9.|| St. Mary’s Orthodox Church|
| 10.|| St. John’s Indian Orthodox Church|
| 11.|| St. Peter’s Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church|
| 12.|| St. Paul’s Syrian Orthodox Church|
| 13.|| St. Mary’s Knanaya Church of Philadelphia|
| 14.|| St. Thomas Syro Malabar Catholic Church|
| 15.|| Syro Malankara Catholic Mission in Philadelphia|
| 16.|| Indian Latin Catholic Community|
| 17.|| C. S. I. Christ Church in Pennsylvania|
| 18.|| Emmanuel C.S. I. Church|
| 19.|| St. Paul’s Anglican Church of Philadelphia|
| || |
The General Body Meeting of the Ecumenical Fellowship of the Indian Churches in Philadelphia held on Sunday, April 13, 2008 at St. Mary’s Knanaya Church elected the following as the office-bearers for the year 2008.
| || Chairman|| : Rev. Fr. K. K. John|
| || Co-Chairman|| : Rev. M. C. Skaria |
| || Secretary|| : Oommen Kappil|
| || Joint Secretary|| : Thomas Paul|
| || Treasurer|| : Raju V. Geevarghese|
| || || |
| || Committee Chairpersons:|| |
| || Religious Activities|| : Rev. Fr Jose Daniel Paitel|
| || Cultural Activities|| : Joseph Mathew|
| || Fund Raising/Charity|| : Vijay Maymadom|
| || Public Relations|| : Daniel P. Thomas|
| || Women’s Forum|| : Siby Varughese|
| || Youth Affairs|| : Jerin Juby|
| || Choir|| : Shinu Abraham|
| || Auditors|| : Koshy Daniel|
| || || : Abraham Kunnel|
| || || |
| || || |
Spread across the above nineteen Parishes, there are more than 4,000 members living in and around Philadelphia involved with this Fellowship.
United Christmas Celebration:
Every year the united Grand Christmas celebrations are conducted at Cardinal Dougherty High School Auditorium on a convenient Sunday in the month of December. A presiding Bishop will be invited from a denomination in rotation for this celebration. Also any of the civic leaders will be present as honorary guests. An ecumenical worship is an essential agenda of the program. A commemorative Souvenir is also released every year. The participating Churches stage various entertaining, spiritual and educational cultural program towards the end of the celebrations.
STAGE SHOW OF OUR PARISH - 2007
The 2008 Ecumenical Christmas Celebration is scheduled for Sunday, December 14, 2008.
The Fellowship also arranges many fundraising programs for charity work. Every year the collected money is distributed to needy people in the USA or India.
Every year an ecumenical convention is arranged in the month of October for three days. Many renowned speakers from all denominations have contributed devotional messages for the ecumenical convention.