It was in 1975 the first Marthomite George Varghese (Sunny Uncle) & family arrived in Adelaide. The Idea of a Christian Malayalam fellowship grew in strength with many arriving in early 80’s with the likes of Dr. T V Philip & family, Dr. P C Daniel & family, Abraham Mathew & family, Dr. A M Cherian & family and many other Christians of other denominations and non-Christian Malayalees. The idea of having a formal Malayalam Holy Qurbana service was put forward during the visit of Late Most Rev. Dr. Alexander Mar Thoma Metropolitan Bishop to Adelaide in 1982. Mr George Varghese along with the other Marthomites facilitated the first ever Malayalam Holy Qurbana Service (at St John’s Anglican Church 379 Halifax Street Adelaide) and was officiated by the visiting Bishop. The service was well participated and attended by Christian of other denominations and non-Christians.
The second Episcopal visit by Most Rev Dr Philipose Mar Crysostam Valia Metropolitan in 1983 was very successful and increased the popularity of Malayalee Marthoma fellowship. Bishop visited some of the prominent Christian groups and Member of Parliament in Adelaide and conducted press conferences resulting in wide press coverage and making many more people aware of a Malayalam fellowship in Adelaide.
For the 7 years from 2001, the Adelaide Mar Thoma Ecumenical Congregation, with the initiative of Mr. Mathew Thomas attended to the needs of visiting priests and other visitors attending the services at St Peter’s Baptist church (92 First Ave, St Peters). During this period the congregation was also blessed by the visit of Rt. Rev. Dr. Gee Varghese Mar Theodosius Episcopa and Rt. Rev Dr Isaac Mar Philoxenos Episcopa.
When the inflow of migrant to Adelaide increased various denominations started having their own worship services. So by early 2008 Marthomites decided to re-organise as Adelaide Mar Thoma Congregation with the initiatives of Rev. K.M Mathew and Mr. Jose George Joseph. The Adelaide Mar Thoma Congregation was established during the visit of Rt. rev. Dr. Gee Varghese Mar Theodosious and the official memorandum called 'Kalpana' was received in March 2008. The congregation started using the St. Margaret's Anglican Church, Woodville for the worship needs and benefited greatly from the support of the Woodville Anglican parish and especially the initiatives of Mrs. Pam Judge, warden of St. Margaret's Anglican Church. The congregation grew from strength to strength under the guidance of Rev. Boby Philip and active participation and dedication of the members.
In June 2010, the Synod of Mar Thoma church approved and constituted the Adelaide Mar Thoma congregation as a Parish. The parish has since then continued to grow and form the wings of a church like Sunday School, Sevika Sangham, Choir, Youth League, Edavaka Mission, house prayer meetings and so on. The parish has been incorporated on 18 January 2011. As a migrant community, we recognize the wholehearted support and care we have been enjoying from the people of this land. We are really indebted to the Churches, especially the Anglican Church and the St Margret’s Anglican Parish in Woodville (where we consecrate our communion and other services presently) who considers our small community as their co-believers and cater to our needs.
The Adelaide Marthoma Church consists of members from in and around Adelaide and have 40 families as registered members in the parish as of 2014.
This is an extract from Cornerstone the magazine of St. Margaret's Anglican Church Woodville of the Adelaide Mar Thoma Church Inauguration.