10:30 AM Malayalam Holy Communion Service
Immanuel Mar Thoma Church History
Immanuel Mar Thoma Church is part of the North American Diocese of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church (Malankara Mar Thoma Suriyani Sabha as it is called in native language Malayalam) which is one of the oldest groups of practicing Christians in the world.
The origins of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church date back to AD. 52. The Apostle, St. Thomas, one of Jesusâ€™s 12 disciples, arrived in Cranganore, on the coast of Malabar in southern India. He spread the Gospel among the Hindu and Jewish settlers. He established seven churches: Malankara, Palur, Parur, Gokamangalam, Niranam, Chayal, and Kalyan. The first century Christians were called Nazarenes, or Mar Thoma (Saint Thomas) Christians. A few families among them where chosen to be responsible for the administration of the Christian community. St. Thomas continued his mission and reached the east coast of India (Kerala), where he later died a martyrâ€™s death at a place now called â€œSt. Thomas Mountâ€. Over centuries, the church has continued to grow and reform, migrating to other parts of India. The traditional form of worship and time-honored ritualistic practices were maintained. Mission work and evangelism were given high importance. In later half of the 20th century, congregations and parishes began forming outside of Kerala to other parts of the world. The Mar Thoma Church developed church organizations, schools, colleges, theological institutions, hospitals, homes for the destitute, old age homes, social welfare establishments, vanita (ladiesâ€™) hostels, technical institutions, study centers, camp centers, publications, ashrams and mission fields, throughout Kerala and the world. The Mar Thoma Church is an active member and provides leadership to the World Christian Council and the Council of Christian Churches in India. At present the Mar Thoma Church has over 1000 parishes, with its headquarters in SCS Campus, Tiruvalla, Kerala, India. In the late sixties and early seventies, Mar Thoma families immigrated to North America and Europe for higher education and employment opportunities. â€œThe small communities gathered as prayer groups to maintain and foster their spiritual identity. In 1972, the first regular Mar Thoma service began in New York. This laid the foundation for the formation of a number of parishes and later the establishment of â€œThe Diocese of North America and Europeâ€ in 1988. By 1980, the Mar Thoma Church entered in a relationship with the Episcopal Church of North America to enhance its growth within the country.â€ In the late eighties and early nineties the Mar Thoma Church has grew immensely in the USA and Canada. There are roughly over 5,000 families and 20,000 members in this Diocese. A handful of these individuals currently reside in Houston, Texas.
Immanuel Mar Thoma Church of Houston, Texas was formed on September 01, 1994, marking another milestone in the journey of the Mar Thoma Church in North America. The grace of God, the vision and dedication of a few lay leaders of the parish and the timely guidance of our then Diocesan Bishops Rt. Rev. Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom Suffragan Metropolitan and Rt. Rev. Dr. Zacharias Mar Theophilus Episcopa, and clergies Rev. Eapen Cherian, Rev. T.I. Joseph, and Rev. Raju George paved the way for the formation of a second Mar Thoma Church in Houston. Initially the parish consisted of 140 families, nearly all of whom were members of the Trinity Mar Thoma Church of Houston.
The concept of building a second Mar Thoma Church in Houston area was formally initiated in early 1992, by the general body of the Trinity Mar Thoma Church. However, the groundwork for this project was begun in late 1991 starting with discussions held among Rev. Eapen Cherian, Mr. M. A. Abraham, and Mr. Jacob V. Chacko. This project was to be sponsored originally by the Trinity Mar Thoma Church, which elected a new Church Building Committee and authorized it to proceed with the site selection and fundraising activities. By December, 1992, 102 families expressed interest in building the new church by submitting a formal request to the Diocesan Bishop Rt. Rev. Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom Suffragan Metropolitan. However, the general body of the Trinity Mar Thoma Church held on February 28, 1993, contrary to its earlier decision, declined to accept any liability for the new church and decided that the new church shall function as a separate, independent body. The church building committee, at the advice of a legal counsel, formed a corporation under the name of â€œThe Mar Thoma Syrian Church of India Inc. Stafford, Texas" on April 13, 1993. A Board of Trustees (President Mr. M.A. Abraham, Secretary Mr. Jacob Thomas, Treasurer Mr. Chacko Jacob, Accountant Mr. Daniel Thomas and member Mr. Thomas Mathai) was formed to constitute a legal body for the purchase of the land for the new church. After obtaining permission from our
Diocesan Bishop, Rt. Rev. Dr. Philipose M