|MINISTRIES OF THE MAR THOMA PARISH, CHEPPAD|
"Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the great treasure in the world" -Martin Luther
The songs and hymns of praise of the Choir in Sunday worship endeavor to create a sense of spiritual well-being among the parishioners and to provide opportunities to the youth to participate in the Holy Communion in a meaningful way. The members of the Choir assemble in the Church every Saturday evening as a preparation for the following Sunday worship. The Choir also helps conventions and other functions to be in a meaningful way. Christmas carol an important feature of the Choir, requiring tremendous practice, declares the message of the love of God to humanity. Songs sung in other occasions such as, wedding are on special invitation only.
"Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity." -1 Timothy 4: 12
The Yuvajana Sahyam is an active forum in the Parish. The members of the forum assemble in the Church, every Sunday after worship, presided over by the President, the Vicar of the Parish. The members also have cottage fellowship meetings at the residences of volunteering members at certain intervals. Doing volunteer and relief activities at times, the Sangham takes part in humanitarian activities of helping the needy locally and mission fields by collecting funds from the donors in the Parish. The members take active participation in the preparation and practices for Christmas carol rounds and the Church decorations in the Christmas seasons. The Forum has its own elected office-bearers.
"The Wise woman builds her house" -Proverbs 14:1
The Suvisesha Sevika Sangham plays very vital and active role in the ministerial and spiritual growth of the Parish, by instilling fellowship among themselves and other members of the Parish. Each and every woman in the Parish is can become a member in the Sangham. The members meet weekly in cottage prayers at different parts of the Parish, presided over by the Vicar, for Bible study and fellowship. On Fridays the Sangham meets in the Church at 10AM for fasting prayer, presided over by the Vicar, and deliberations from the Word. The members of the Sangham periodically makes house visits on special occasions of sicknesses and bereavement. The Vicar as the President of the Sangham, has a vice-president, secretary and a treasurer, elected from the members to care of the functioning of the unit in order. On Fridays the Sangham assembles in the Church at 10AM for Fasting Prayer, which is open to men also, although certain sessions are exclusive to women. All proceedings are under the authority of the Parish Vicar or his designate.
"The fear of the Lord is beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight" -
The Sunday school plays a very important role in training the children with the fear of the Lord, aimed at their formation as the future leaders of Church, under the leadership of a Headmaster. The training imparted through the biblical teachings instill deeper Christian understanding in the minds of the children, enabling them in traversing through an enriched moral back ground to effectively face the challenges ahead in life. Normally the classes start at 7.30 AM on Sundays in the Parish Hall before the normal Sunday worship, starting at 8.45 AM. The students of the Parish Sunday School maintain a good spiritual and academic standard. The Vacation Bible School is an important annual feature of the Sunday School, supervised over by a centrally deputed director.
"Enlarge the site of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out" -Isaiah 54:2a
There is a unit of this forum in the Parish although not very active. It has an elected vice- president and treasurer, under the Parish Vicar. Today we are living in a fast changing world, landing unmanned space-craft on the Mars , with the achievements of fast modes of communication and travel and engaged in 'developments' in all walks of life, bringing the world to a 'global village' and further narrowing to the finger tip at the internet or cell phones. As a community of the Reformed Church, our vision of development should be encompassing the entire community of people without harming the natural environment locally and in a wider perspective. It is the duty of the Church through the Parish to 'enlarge our tents' to offer a helping hand to the underprivileged, the sidelined and the marginalized. This is can be effectively brought about through organizations such as the Vikasana Sangham to empower the needy by offering them a helping hand.
"In old age they still produce fruit; they are always green and full of sap." -Psalms92:14
This unit functions in the Parish to bring about meaningful fellowship among the senior citizens who are 60 years of age or more in the Parish, normally away from active service. Periodic meetings of active members are conducted, in addition to arrangement or participation in senior citizens at central or zonal levels.
"The Church exists by mission as fire exists by burning" -Emil Brunner
The Idavaka Mission is actively functioning in the Parish, meeting every Wednesday evening in the Church at 6Pm for prayers and deliberations from the Word. While every member of the Parish is considered to be an evangelistic member, the Mission has registered active members in proportion to the strength of the Parish. The seven-point functions of the Voluntary Evangelistic Association of the Sabha, such as intercessory prayers, Bible study, witnessing and sharing, house visits, conducting prayer meetings and fellowship and Gospel work among non-Christians are strived to be fulfilled. In conjunction with the 'MIWWA' unit, the Mission volunteers visit the sick, the aged and the bereaved. The vicar is the President of the Mission. Vice-president, Secretary and the Treasurer, elected from among the members, take care of the effective routine functioning of the Mission.
"The prayer of faith will save the sick and the Lord will raise them up" -James 5:15a
The members of the MIWWA unit do voluntary work, in conjunction with the Idavaka Mission, to visit the sick, widows, widowers and the Aged in their houses at certain intervals. The unit has two coordinators and group leaders to facilitate periodic house visits through its members.