As a parish of the Marthoma Church in North America, we are a Community of Worship, Fellowship and Witnesss. The roots of the Mar Thoma Church in Philadelphia go back to early 1960’s. During this period many Marthomites emigrated here for their higher education. At the same time, a small group of people gathered together for worship beyond their denominational differences. Several Malayalee priests who were studying in New York and Princeton Theological Seminary helped to conduct worship services during that period.
The growing population of Malayalee community in and around Philadelphia desired to have their own church and worship services. This desire led to the first Mar Thoma Church of Philadelphia in 1976. Over time, memberships in the Church continued to increase, that a group of 63 families in the church felt the need of a new congregation. Upon their signed request, Most Rev. Alexander Mar Thoma Metropolitan issued a Kalpana on July 6th 1987 resulting in the formation a new Church named Bethel Mar Thoma church, which was established on Thursday July 16th 1987. The inaugural meeting was held on Wednesday July 22nd 1987 at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church. Most Rev. Dr. Alexander Mar Thoma Metropolitan led the inaugural worship service. On November 28, 1988 the Church was incorporated as a non-profit religious organization under the constitution of the Mar Thoma Church, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
In 1987 the general body elected a church building committee to raise enough funds and search for a suitable place of worship of its own. On Friday, September 06, 1991, we purchased the present place of worship at a price of $355,000. The timely involvement and action of many individuals made this dream a reality.
The newly acquired church building was dedicated on Saturday, September 21, 1991. Rt. Rev. Dr. Euyakim Mar Coorilose Episcopa conducted the dedication service. Rt. Rev. Dr. Euyakim Mar Coorilose Episcopa conducted the first Holy Communion service at this church on Sunday, September 22, 1991.
The first vicar of the Bethel Marthoma Church was Rev. M.C. George followed by Rev. Euyakim I. Coorilose (Rt. Rev. Dr. Euyakim Mar Coorilose Episcopa), Rev. Joseph Ayrookuzhi, Rev. Dr. Geevarghese Mathew, Rev. M. Varghese, Rev. Varghese Thomas, Rev. Sajan Varghese, Rev. Thomas George (Rt. Rev. Thomas Mar Timotheos), Rev. Alexander M. Isaac.
Rev. K.E. Easow served as the first full time resident vicar of the Church followed by Rev. Varghese M. Easow, Rev. P.K. Zachariah, Rev. Saji Joseph (assosciate), Rev. John Mathai, Rev. Suseil Verghese, Rev. George M. Kuruvilla, Rev. Alexander Varghese, Rev. Giju John and Rev. Saju Chacko.