Report of the 32nd Diocesan Family Conference
The 32nd Diocesan Family Conference was conducted from July 5 to 8, 2018, by the Southwest Regional Activity Committee (SWRAC), at the Hilton Houston North Hotel, 12400 Greenspoint Avenue, Houston, Texas. The Family Conference was marked with celebrations as well as spiritual enrichment driven by the theme: "United by God, Committed to Serve". The theme was eloquently expounded by the leaders: the Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan, Diocesan Bishop Rt. Rev. Dr. Isaac Mar Philoxenos, Rt. Rev. Joseph Mar Barnabas, Rt. Rev. Thomas Mar Timotheos, Rev. Sam T. Koshy, Rev. Shiby Varghese, Rev. Baiju Markose, Rev. Moncy Varghese and Rev. Jacob P. Thomas.
The Family Conference is an inspiring event where parishioners from different parts of US and Canada gather together to meet, discuss the spiritual state of the church and fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ. The conference started with the inaugural ceremony on July 5th. All of the distinguished guests were introduced during this session. In the course of the conference, all the speakers spoke to the core values of the family from the personal, parental, and parish level perspectives. The 32nd Diocesan Family Conference also included separate meeting tracks for children and youth. The Achens ministering in the diocese and the guest speakers provided foundational information, restoration, and renewal for the youth and children. By Gods grace, the messages, panel presentations, discussions and general inquiries during the conference resulted in the healing of brokenness for many and addressed several issues and concerns that people had in a spiritual manner.
On Saturday, the conference attendees were incredibly blessed to celebrate and honor the Silver Jubilee of the Episcopal consecration of Rt. Rev. Dr. Isaac Mar Philoxenos, Rt. Rev. Joseph Mar Barnabas and Rt. Rev. Thomas Mar Timotheos. This was a privileged opportunity for all the delegates to recognize, appreciate and praise God for the blessings He has showered upon these bishops through the course of their ministry. The Diocese and SWRAC were honored to present the beloved Thirumenis with gifts as a token of appreciation, and all present were honored to rejoice with them. The Family Conference concluded on Sunday with the celebration of the Holy Qurbana led by Rt. Rev. Joseph Mar Barnabas in the presence of the beloved Metropolitan, Philoxenos Thirumeni, Timotheos Thirumeni as well as the Achens from the Diocese. The culmination of this weekend of spiritual growth and development felt rightfully complete with the opportunity to partake in the Holy Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus with brothers and sisters in Christ. The 32nd Diocesan Family Conference has planted spiritual seeds in the attendees and it will be wonderful to witness how the empowered people of God go forth and live out the lessons learned.
Mr. John K. Philip
Rev. Abraham Varghese
Mar Thoma Junior/Senior Conference (Southeast Region)
The 5th annual Junior/Senior Conference of the Southeast Region Sunday School was held at Ramapo College, Mahwah, New Jersey from June 30th through July 3rd. More than 200 delegates attended this four-day conference. The theme was “Facing Your Goliath” taken from 1 Samuel 17:47. Rev. Alex Kolath inaugurated the conference on Thursday, June 30th.Mr. Tom Philip welcomed everyone and Mr. Thomas Philip introduced the Sunday Schools. Mr. George Sam proposed the vote of thanks. The theme presentation was staged by Peter’s Mar Thoma Sunday School at the opening night.
Main talks for were given by Sam John (Cross Way MTC, Dallas) and Rachel Cherian(MTC of Greater Washington). Rev. Shibi Abraham and Rev. Alex Kolath led the bible studies. Gender specific questions and concerns of seniors were addressed separately for boys and girls. The symposium for juniors was on “Overcoming Goliaths of our lives with Christ” led by Rachel Cherian and team.
Bethel Mar Thoma church coordinated the Talent night on Friday night. New Jersey Mar Thoma church led the Praise and Worship collaborating with St. Peters. On Saturday evening Rev. Dennis Abraham led the Communion Preparation and dedication. A large number of delegates including teachers witnessed and dedicated/rededicated their lives to Jesus Christ. A special conference call prayer line that was set up to pray for the children and youths of the region is still active and alive and meets on every Thursday 9:00pm for prayer.
On Sunday Rev. Alex Kolath, celebrated the Holy Communion in which many parents joined with the delegates. Everyone held their hands together in unity as the Junior Senior conference 2016 ended with a melodious song followed by prayer and benediction.
Mar Thoma Diocesan Youth Conference
The 37th Session of the Mar Thoma Diocesan Youth Conference took place from July 28-31, 2016 at the Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI. The conference was inaugurated by the Rt. Rev. Dr. Isaac Mar Philoxenos Episcopa. The conference was hosted and organized by the Detroit MTC Youth Fellowship and the Diocesan Youth Fellowship Council (DYFC). Rev. Larry Varghese (Vicar, Horeb MTC, Los Angeles) was the Main Speaker. The Youth Chaplains, Clergy of the Midwest Region, and the youth leaders led in the various bible studies, discussions, general activities, Q&A, and tracks. Around 130 youths from various parishes throughout the Diocese attended the conference. Special thanks to clergy, DYFC, hosting parish and YF for their help in support in organizing this year’s conference
Rev. Dennis Abraham
The 15th Southern Regional Youth Conference was held at the Camp Blue Ridge Retreat and Conference Center in Mountain City, GA from Thursday August 4th to Sunday, August 7th, 2016 hosted by The Youth Fellowship of Hermon MTC Atlanta. There were 137 delegates. The theme was, “Love Your Selfie” based on Psalms 139:14. The opening ceremony was held at 7:45 pm on Thursday. Rev. Bibine Mathew presided and gave the presidential address. The opening worship was led by the youths of Hermon MTC Atlanta. There were theme talks, bible studies, group discussions, worship services, recreation, team building activities, dedication & witnessing, and Holy Qurbana.
Friday night there was bonfire. On Saturday evening there was a question and answer session which was led by Mr. Shajan Thomas, Mr. Geen James, Dr. Ben Abraham, Mr. Justin Mathew, and Mr. Sean George (for the boys) and by Dr. Mary James, Dr. Asha Koshy, Ms. Jaysly George, and Ms. Sherin Thomas (for the girls). Saturday night delegates shared testimonies and re-dedicated their lives to our Lord.
The conference concluded on Sunday after the Holy Qurbana service led by Rev. Bibine Mathew (Vicar) and assisted by Rev. Skariah Varghese (Rtd.). The torch was handed down to the Youth Fellowship of St. Luke’s Mar Thoma Church-Margate, FL to host the 2017Southern Regional Youth Conference. Special thanks to, Rev. Binu Thomas (our former Vicar), Rev. Bibine Mathew, Rev. Skariah Varghese and to the Hermon Mar Thoma Church Youth Fellowship Committee members and youth members for their hard work and commitment.
The Conference was an overall success and a blessing to all those who attended.
Rev. Bibine Mathew
Vicar, Hermon Mar Thoma Church Atlanta
18th Yuvajana Sakhyam Diocesan Conference
The 18th Yuvajana Sakhyam Diocesan Conference was hosted by Chicago Mar Thoma Yuvajana Sakhyam and was held at the Crystal Lake Holiday Inn Conference Center near Chicago from July 15th to July 17th, 2016. There were 330 registered delegates in attendance. Diocesan Bishop, Rt. Rev. Dr. Isaac Mar Philoxenos Episcopa inaugurated the 3 day conference, exhorted delegates for the involvement in the mission of our Mar Thoma Sabha, and celebrated the Holy Qurbana on Sunday at the Conference Center. This year the conference was blessed to have four keynote speakers, Philoxenos Thirumeni, Rev. Abraham Scaria (Vicar, Chicago MTC), Dr. Thomas Idiculla [Harvard Medical School]and Mrs. Preena Mathew Kochamma [Dallas Farmers Branch MTC] who dwelt at depth and breadth on the theme “Re-presenting Christ in a chaotic world” based on Galatians 2:20. The young delegates were enriched by having separate sessions for 3 to 6 Years delegates, tween delegates, and teenage delegates by the Rising Star initiative. This Conference also witnessed the first of a kind reminiscence by the Senior Friends gathering, coordinated through the Alumni Fellowship; the get-together of senior Sakhyam friends who served and led Sakhyam in its formative years here in North America & Europe Diocese. The Conference Choir won many accolades, regional Volleyball competition energized everyone, the talent night which due to high quality talents ran till midnight became an arena for fun and fellowship. Beloved Philoxenos Thirumeni during the concluding address reminded everyone the relevance, and much needed re-presenting Christ in the Mission work in this world. The delegates from Ascession MTC, Philadelphia won the ever rolling trophy for the highest delegate participation. Conference Committee led by Rev. Abraham Sacria expressed its heartfelt appreciation, and pleasure to everyone for the sincere prayers and insightful presence. The conference torch was passed to the St. Peters New Jersey MTC for the 19th Diocesan Conference bringing the 18th Diocesan Conference to a grand closure in divine love and providence.
Monish K. John - General Convener
Mar Thoma urban mission trip 2016 held at Chicago Mar Thoma Churchs urban mission trip was held during July 11-15 at Inner city of Chicago. Participants to this mission trip came from 15 different parishes of the North America Europe Diocese. Neighborhood Mission committee partnered with Mission Year organization in organizing this mission trip. Participants attended many activities that brought awareness to the root causes of violence, poverty, income inequality, inaccessibility to quality education, homelessness and injustice in the Urban cities of the United States. Diocesan Episcopa Rt. Rev. Dr. Isaac Mar Philoxenos met the participants and exhorted them to see the needs of the local neighborhoods and respond to them in Christs love. Rev. Biju P Simon, Ms. Yasmine Karuvatteil, Mathew Thomas and Devin Abraham gave leadership for this trip. Achens from Chicago area Mar Thoma Churches, Rev Chris Daniel and Rev Sonu Skariah, led mission presentations. For more information visit http://www.mtcurbanmissions.org
MTVEA 13th, Diocesan Conference report.
The 13th MTVEA Diocesan Conference was held at Philadelphia Mar Thoma Church from July 21st thru 24th, 2016, hosted by the PMTC Edavaka Mission. Rev. Reji Thomas, vicar of the Philadelphia MTC welcomed everyone to the conference. The theme of the conference was “Arise and Go; The Call and Commission” based on Jonah 1:1-2. Around 650 delegates registered and attended the conference from various parishes of North America.
Diocesan Bishop, Rt. Rev. Dr. Isaac Mar Philoxenos Episcopa inaugurated the conference. The 13 th MTVEA Diocesan Conference was held at Philadelphia Mar Thoma Church from July 21 st thru 24 th , 2016, by the PMTC Edavaka Mission. Rev. Reji Thomas, vicar of the Philadelphia Mar Thoma Church welcomed everyone to the conference. The theme of the conference was “Arise and Go; The Call and Commission” based on Jonah 1:1-2. Around 650 delegates were registered and attended the conference from the various churches of North America. In North American Diocese history, it was one of the best conferences with largest numbers of people ever attended. Diocesan Bishop, Rt. Rev. Dr. Isaac Mar Philoxenos Episcopa inaugurated the Conference. Rt. Rev. Dr. Thomas mar Theethose, Episcopa of Malabar Diocese was the main speaker for the conference. Rev. Abraham Scariah, Dr. Thomas George, Dr. Vino Daniel, and Mrs. Bindu Scariah were also conducted bible studies based on the conference theme. Rev. Denny Philip, Mr. Ira S. Tackel (President, Board of Commissioners, Upper Dublin Township), Mr. Reji Varughese and Mr. Roy C. Thomas felicitate to the inaugural session. On 24 th Sunday the Holy Communion service was started at 08:00 am, conducted by Rt. Rev. Dr. Thomas Mar Theethose Episcopa, followed by conference final session. Conference committee published a souvenir to support the Malabar project. Total $20,000.00 which was collected from Souvenir was handed over to Theethose Thirumani. Thirumeni expressed his thanks to Diocease of North America, MTVEA of North America, Philadelphia MTC and 13 TH MTVEA conference organizers for the support for the Malabar mission work. Let us thank God Almighty for all his providence. Let us ask God for his guidance and blessings on everyone to spread the gospel to those around us, as living witnesses for Christ. Let His name be glorified. Rt. Rev. Dr. Thomas Mar Theethose Episcopa of Malabar Diocese was the main speaker for the conference. Rev. Abraham Scariah, Dr. Thomas George, Dr. Vino Daniel and Mrs. Bindu Scariah conducted bible studies. In the inaugural session Rev Denny Philip (Diocesan Secretary), Mr. Ira S. Tackel (President, Board of Commissioners, and Upper Dublin Township), Mr. Reji K. Varughese (MTVEA- Dio.Secretary) and Mr. Roy C. Thomas (MTVEA- Dio Assembly Member) offered felicitations.
A panel discussion on the subject “Lighted to Lighten; Who will keep it lit?” was held on 23rd July The Holy Communion service was conducted by Rt. Rev. Dr. Thomas Mar Theethose Episcopa, on 24th, Sunday the followed by conference closing session. The committee published a souvenir and collected $20,000.00 which was handed over to Theethose Thirumeni to support the Malabar Project. Thirumeni expressed his thanks and appreciation to everyone involved.
During the business session secretary presented a brief report on the activities of the diocesan MTVEA. The Diocesan Episcopa announced that Rev. Dr. K. Solomon Kochukunj will be the MTVEA diocesan vice president from July 23rd onwards. A lighted candle was passed to San Francisco Mar Thoma Church Edavaka Mission, which will host the 14th MTVEA Diocesan Conference. Special thanks to Reji Thomas achen and organizing committee of Philadelphia MTC
Reji K. Varghese
34th Europe Mar Thoma Family Conference 2016
The 34th Europe Mar Thoma Family Conference was held at The Hayes Conference Centre, Swanwick, Alfreton DE55 1AU from 26th August to 28th August 2016, hosted by Sinai Mar Thoma Church North London. The theme was “Preserving the timeless while adapting to the times” This year’s conference was ably led by our Diocesan Bishop Rt. Rev. Dr. Isaac Mar Philoxenos. The main theme based adult sessions were led by Lord Rev Dr Leslie Griffiths, British Methodist minister and life peer in the House of Lords. The Bible study on Saturday morning was led by The Venerable Rev Dr John Perumbalath and the Witnessing session on Saturday night was led by Mr. Gary Grant, owner of the ‘The Entertainer’, second biggest toy chain in the UK. The youth sessions were led by Rod Gilbert who is an accomplished mentor and has 30 years of mission experience. We had 400 members, including youth and children, who attended the conference this year at the beautiful Hayes ConferenceCentre.. We believe that this year’s conference was an enriching experience and blessing to all the people who attended and that will make a difference to their lives, as an individual and as a family, going forward.
The 2nd UK & Europe Region Mar Thoma Youth Conference took place at the Ashburnham Christian Trust in East Sussex, UK (hosted by the St. James MTC, UK). The theme for conference was "Remember your creator in the days of your youth” Ecclesiastes 12:1. Very Rev. V.T. John inaugurated the conference. Rev. Jaisen A. Thomas (Vicar, St. Thomas MTC, NY) and Mr. Daniel Kalta, a youth missionary with Youth with a Mission (YWAM) were the main speakers. Around 170 delegates from parishes & congregations in UK, Ireland, & Switzerland attended. Leaders included the clergy from the European region. Sessions included main talks, worship, songs, group discussion, Q&A, camp fire, games, and testimony. This was a blessed conference for all the youth participants. Special thanks to the Youth Fellowship of the European Region (ERYF) for organizing this conference. – Subin Mathew Parayil, Secretary, ERYF