The season of Easter is here. In the secular world, this day is not given its due importance. Everybody knows that Jesus died on the Cross on Good Friday but few remember that He resurrected three days later on Easter. For a Christian, this is the most significant event. In the Holy Bible, Apostle St Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:13-14: “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our faith is also vain.” On Easter, Jesus showed to the world that He truly is the Son of God. And we Christians believe that just as Jesus rose from death, we too will die on earth but rise to see their Living God in Heaven. This hope that Easter provides encourages a Christian to lead a good life.
Today, as we pass through a lot of suffering, surrounded by illness, apathy and poverty around us, there is a calling for every Christian institution to step forward and extend a helping hand for mankind in need. With this mission, the St. Thomas Orthodox Church, Ghaziabad and the Society incorporated under this name set out to establish a school at Sahibabad almost four decades ago. The success of this school has been remarkable. Today, the Society runs two other schools – at Indirapuram and Loni which are centres of excellence imparting high quality academic training at affordable rates.
Under the social mission project HOPE (Helping Others to Progress through Education), about 110 under- privileged kids from nearby slums are being taught at these schools. Teachers at St Thomas Schools train these students after school hours and some of the promising among them are allowed to join the regular school. From books to school bags, uniform to stationary material, the St. Thomas Orthodox Church Society is catering to their every need in the hope of making them bright citizens for the nation’s better tomorrow.
As a special initiative, the St. Thomas Orthodox Church Society adopted Kaushalya village in Ghaziabad in the year 2006 and has since partnered in the growth and development of the village and its people. Monthly visits to the village are made by students and teachers of St. Thomas Schools to spread awareness on health issues and distribute medical kits. Free medicines are provided to villagers at medical camps run by the Church Society comprising doctors and trained nurses.
The St. Thomas Society has extended financial help to girls from the village of marriageable age along with providing household articles, clothes to families in financial distress in many Kaushalya homes. Outside the St. Thomas Schools at Indirapuram and Sahibabad, a food bank is maintained in a fridge that stores food that can be accessed by anyone who is hungry or needy. The food is donated by the staff, students and parents and is filled every day. Besides, the St. Thomas Church members bring food packets from home on the first Sunday of every month and distribute it to the needy people on the streets.
It is heartening to say that the philanthropic mission of the Church has extended to its institutions and is deeply entrenched in its staff and students. Proof of this is the Good Samaritan Week at our three schools during Christmas every year. Students collect household items, from daily essentials such as soap, oil, toothpaste, slippers, to woollen clothes, packed food items, and stationery and distribute it to orphanages, destitute homes, and care centres for mentally challenged.
A decade ago, the schools under the St. Thomas Church Society began a noble venture “Share if You Care” where students and staff raise a pool of funds each month that goes into helping students and families facing economic hardships to pay fees or receive medical treatment. The initiative has developed into a healthy habit among students to care for their fellow schoolmates.
These initiatives may just be a drop in the ocean but a much necessary drop. This has been possible due to continued prayers, vision and guidance of His Holiness Baselios Mar Thomas Paulose II, the Catholicos of the East, our spiritual head and President of the St. Thomas Church Society. Along with him is the prayer and motivation of His Grace Dr. Youhanon Mar Demetrios, the Vice-President of our Society and the Metropolitan of the Delhi Diocese of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. Former vicars and lay persons who played a stellar role in steering the Society and its missionary work all these years deserve full appreciation.
Our children, who are our future, let us dedicate them in prayers as they are preparing for their public examinations. I also acknowledge the active cooperation and enthusiasm of the new office bearers and Managing Committee of the St. Thomas Church, spiritual organizations and St. Thomas Church Society, who continue to script this success story. I wish all success and blessings to the team chosen this year. With gratitude, I acknowledge the sincere cooperation and strong support of the previous year’s office bearers of Church and society.
This brings me to the conclusion where I have to acknowledge a strong pillar of support in all my activities – the parish members of St. Thomas Church. Along with the Assistant Vicar, Rev. Fr. Cherian Joseph (Cijo Achen), I look forward to your prayers and support in helping the Church and the community as shepherds in Christ.
May God’s grace be with us always.
Rev. Fr. Saji Abraham
Vicar and Chairman
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