|JANUARY 2004||REGIONAL NEWS & EVENTS||
The Ecumenical Fellowship of Indian Churches in Philadelphia, the United Front of seventeen Parishes and more than four thousand members of vivid Christian denominations from India, living in and around Philadelphia, celebrated Christmas of the year 2003. On the evening of Dec 14, 2003, this Grand Christmas Celebration was ceremoniously held at Cardinal Dougherty High School Auditorium. Specifically the Fellowship is comprised of the Parishes belonging to Indian Christian denominations of Malankara Orthodox Church, Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church, Marthoma Syrian Church, Knanaya Church, Catholic Church (Latin Rite), Catholic Church (Malankara Rite), Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, CMS Church & CSI Church. Secretary of the Fellowship, George M. Mathew, was the Master of Ceremony.
The presiding Bishop of the American Diocese of The Marthoma Syrian Church, Rt. Rev. Yuyakim Mar Coorilos was the Chief Guest of this year's celebrations. After the ceremonial procession under the guidance of Fr. M. K. Kuriakose, the Christmas Programs were commenced with lighting of the lamp by the Chief Guest, followed by lighting of the Christmas tree by Hon. John M. Perzel, Pennsylvania’s 134th Speaker of the House. Ecumenical worship was conducted under the leadership of V. Rev. K. Mathai Cor-Episcopa.
Chairman of the Fellowship, Rev. Alexander Thomas delivered a welcome speech on the ceremony. He said that Jesus was born for the marginalized, in all sense, physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, economically, socially, and Jesus is open to all by breaking the walls of separation. He extended warm welcome and most heartfelt gratitude to all, for their presence in the celebration.
Chief Guest Rt. Rev. Dr. Yuyakim Mar Coorilose delivered a very enlightening Christmas Message. Mar Coorilos emphasized that the birth of Jesus Christ is the expression of the utmost love of God to the human. In this era, there is an increase of hate. Hate create hate until love creates love. He exhorted that challenge of Christmas is the challenge of love as love is so beautiful. If we are not prepared to share what ever we have, to the needy ones, these celebrations become meaningless. H.G. concluded his message stressing the point that each Christian should renew the assurances to the highest consideration to love and share with the marginalized.
Hon. John M. Perzel, in his felicitation speech, reflected on many changes we witnessed as a nation, state and the whole world, during the past year.
As part of Charity program of this year, the fellowship committee had decided to support a needy person, Mr. M. G. Philip from Kozenchery, who is paralyzed for last 18 years. A Raffle Draw raised the fund for the charity. Mr. Abraham P. Simon and Mr. Cherian T. George handed over the cheque to Yuyakim Mar Coorilose Thirumeni to reach it to Mr. M.G. Philip.
The Chief Guest released a commemorative Souvenir published under the Chief Editorship of Mr. Zachariah Mathai by handing over the first copy to Hon. John M. Perzel. After the offertory under the guidance of Mr. Mathew Thomas, Treasurer of Fellowship, Mr. Regi Mathai proposed Vote of Thanks. V. Rev. Mathai Cor Episcopa, Mr. Cheriyan T. George and Mr. Mathew Thomas conducted raffle draw.
The participating Churches staged various entertaining, spiritual and educative Cultural Programs. At the end, there was a special biblical presentation by all participant Churches, ‘To the steps of a New Commandment through Jesus’. Story and direction was by Mr. Joseph Mathew, Multimedia by Mr. Thomas Abraham and Co-ordination by Mr.Joshy Kuriakose & George M. Mathew.
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