Vicar's Messages‎ > ‎

2013

December

posted Dec 8, 2013, 11:42 AM by St. Peter CSI Church Los Angeles

Dear all,

Advent Sunday (December1st) is another landmark turning-point in the Church season. It is the harbinger of the Good News of the birth of Christ.

Advent is an invitation to enter into a different framework of our mind, an openness to the possibility of Christ birthing a newness and freshness into our life and faith. Further, the joy of Christ’s coming is to be welcomed afresh and anew. 

This years’ Carol Service will embrace the themes of ‘Joy, Love and Peace’, through the songs, and ‘Good News’, through the performance of our Sunday School children. Indeed, the fundamental good news that the coming of Christ brings us on its wings is a universal invitation to use a different template (to use an I T imagery); a new template of ‘Joy, Love and Peace’ on which we choose to write our life story, our life experiences, our ups and downs and the thick and thins of our lives. Let the self emptying of God in Christ be the background color which will shade everything that we write. We might choose different fonts to suit the script. That is what life is all about.

Advent also was an invitation to be part of the Good News of the Kingdom of God; a Kingdom with new value systems and new view of the lives of others; a new template on which you would embed and view the lives of others.

What makes our life journey different would be the life-meaning that we derive out of our faith in Christ, who was born in a manger, because there was no room in the inn. Despite that, Jesus, the Christ-child, turned out to be the Good News, bringing Joy, Love and Peace on earth.

May this Christmas season be a season of JOY, LOVE and PEACE.
May 2014 bring you God’s continued grace.
May our Carol Service (Dec. 15th) and Carol Rounds be a source of joyful celebration and deed meaning.


May I also remind you about our conference call Christmas Service at 9 AM on the 25th. Our Midnight Covenant Service will be at 11.30PM on December 31st. I urge all families to set apart these times for worship when you plan your schedules.

Yours in Christ,

George Oommenachen
November 30th 2013

November

posted Dec 8, 2013, 11:39 AM by St. Peter CSI Church Los Angeles

Dear all,

The second Sunday in November is set apart as a Unity Sunday in CSI churches to visibly express Jesus’ prayer referred in John 17: 21; ‘that they may all be one’. This Sunday is also especially dedicated to the unique ecumenical relationship that exists within the three Churches; the Church of South India, the Church of North India and the Mar Thoma Syrian Church. Although all three Churches had their particular historical experience of formation and separate identity, their unity efforts culminated in the creation of the Communion of Churches in India (CCI) in 2000. This was in acknowledgement of the togetherness in Christ while each continuing their autonomous status with one’s own traditions and organizational forms. All three Churches exist in full communion with each other.

I am indeed happy that on November 10th we will be jointly worshipping with the Horeb Mar Thoma Church in Los Angeles as visible grass root level expression of the oneness in Christ.

I invite all of you to celebrate it with meaning in recognition of the great missionary mandate that Jesus gave his disciples. Transcending and rising above differences in identity, culture and customs while believing in certain fundamentals is not an easy task. But Christ invites us to exercise the human ability to revel in commonality on such occasions. For that we need to have that ‘love with which God has loved’ (John 17: 26) practiced and lived at all times and in all contexts.

For the last few weeks we have been concentrating on the organization of our annual Harvest Festival. It was indeed a true expression of enthusiastic togetherness and thanksgiving to God. I express my deep felt appreciation for your whole hearted support.

Now it is time for us to look forward in anticipation to the coming of the Christmas and all related celebrations. Let us prayerfully prepare for the advent of Christ.

With warm regards,

Yours in Christ

George Oommenachen
November 1st 2013

October

posted Oct 19, 2013, 12:19 PM by St. Peter CSI Church Los Angeles   [ updated Oct 19, 2013, 12:21 PM ]

Dear all,

This month we celebrate the Reformation Sunday on 27th. Being a historic moment in the life of the universal/catholic Church, we need to continue to celebrate it, think about it and live it. Otherwise it will end up as another date in the Church calendar. For that we need to realize that the Reformation is not about inheriting a church tradition but about constantly reforming it in accordance with the central tenets of protestant reformation which had impacted the whole world.

Centrality and accessibility of the Bible, priesthood of all believers with less clericalism (hierarchy), and dependence on God’s grace through Christ and not on human merit were some of the teachings at the center of the Reformation movement.

Germany was the epicenter of this great transformation. But we also know that during the last century the same place became a center of dictatorship, oppression and negation of humanity. I am referring to the Nazi rule and the catastrophic consequences of it for the whole world. It just demonstrates that any human community, however much strong and visionary they might have been, could be susceptible to utter failure unless they continue to guard against going on a slippery slope.

Our own Church, CSI, and our own diocese, Madhya Kerala cannot be exceptions. For instance, the Madhya Kerala diocesan history goes back to the great reform that was brought through the missionary vision of the Church Missionary Society and the reform-minded St. Thomas Christians and the group conversion of the former ‘slave’ castes. They gave a new direction to Christianity in Kerala where orthodoxy was the rule until then.

I hope the Church and all of us will continue in the spirit of reform even today.

October 27th also is our Harvest Festival; a day to step back and see God has been faithful to us. The tradition of Harvest Festival also comes from the Old Testament practice of thanksgiving for the harvest. I trust everyone of you will participate in it with a sense of gratitude and giving to God.

Yours in Christ,
George Oommenachen
5th October 2013


September

posted Sep 1, 2013, 10:48 AM by St. Peter CSI Church Los Angeles

Dear all,

This month is very important in the life of the Church of South India as it celebrates the formation day on September 27th.

Unity was the hallmark of the formation of the CSI. When various denominational traditions (mainly the Anglican, the Methodist, the Presbyterian and the Congregationalist) came together, oneness in Christ was accentuated in a very unique way in the challenging context of India.

Facing up to the mandate of Christ’s commandment of oneness was at the core of this vision of unity; unity in service; unity in witness; unity in mission; unity in ministry; unity in liturgy and worship; unity in community; unity in faith. The list could go on. Let us note, however, that uniformity was not envisaged.

Full communion of the Church of South India with the Marthoma Church and the Church of North India is a manifest expression of such a theological position of the CSI. So, with a sense of mutuality and acceptance these Churches function in an atmosphere of fellowship.

While celebrating the formation day let us thank God the rich heritage of the Church of South India and continue to practice the unity-vision of Christ in every walk of life.

Our Convention is around the corner; September 28th and 29th. Let us pray for Rev. Dr. Martin Alfonse, the speaker, and the Convention that it will be a source of inspiration for all.


With warm regards,

Yours in Christ,
George Oommenachen
August 30th 2013

August

posted Sep 1, 2013, 10:45 AM by St. Peter CSI Church Los Angeles   [ updated Sep 1, 2013, 10:46 AM ]

Dear all,

This month’s worship themes revolve around two main themes; Fellowship and Eucharist. Both are intertwined and are inseparable from each other.

Early Christians were the best practitioners of this. (Acts 2: 36-47)

They came together in study. They thought about their belief and were in deep reflection about it. They did it with the help of the apostles.

Their reflections were in context. They considered it in relation to the life and experiences of their fellow community members. That is why they were able to see the needs of others and were able to live a life of mutuality.

Resultantly, there emerged a sense of an unprecedented oneness and unity.

Further, their ‘breaking of the bread’ was a culmination of them becoming a community of faith.

Just before his death, Jesus instituted (Mark 14: 22-25) the ‘breaking of the bread’ to help such a community of faith to continue to capture the meaning of the Cross in their lives.

So the continuing practice and celebration of our Eucharist is to freshly consider the implications of our faith in context. Then, the vital question is, do we really take our context and contemporary challenges seriously as we come to the table.

Let the life in context and ‘the breaking of the bread’ come together.

With warm regards,

Yours in Christ,

George Oommenachen
July 31st 2013

July

posted Jul 6, 2013, 9:42 PM by St. Peter CSI Church Los Angeles

Dear all,

All new beginnings are essentially good. Veiled in it are possibilities. But it is fraught with anxieties too. Human nature is that we like the familiar. But familiarity could breed contempt. Why I am saying all this? Purely because, we as a community are going through one such moment of change; from July 7th Sunday we will be worshipping in a new location provided by St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Hacienda Heights.

After worshipping in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Tustin for nearly a decade, and that too in one of the very nice facilities, this is indeed a major change.  So we remember with thanks the very meaningful worshipping atmosphere we enjoyed, and the smooth relationship we sustained, throughout our time there. This is a time for us to give our thanks to God for His goodness that was bestowed on us from the time of our inception as a worshipping community.

But let us not forget that our God is a God of future too. Let us look forward to our new beginning in St. Thomas Episcopal with that sense of assurance of God’s continued guidance and provision. Let us be thankful that St. Thomas was very welcoming.

At this juncture I would like to remind us all that St. Thomas the apostle of Jesus Christ to India is not alien to our faith. In fact, although it is a mere coincidence, July 3rd is celebrated as St. Thomas Day by the entire universal Church. So our new beginning happens to be indeed auspicious.

Let us begin with confidence. Let us begin with trust. Let us begin with hope, remembering that, God is our foundation and benefactor.

May God continue to guide us as a worshipping community into the future.

Yours in Christ,
George Oommenachen
July 5th 2013

June

posted Jun 23, 2013, 8:24 AM by St. Peter CSI Church Los Angeles

Dear all,

This coming Sunday, is observed as Student Sunday. We have all been students one time or the other. The fundamental aspect of the life of a student is anchored on an ability to seek knowledge. Moreover knowledge is perceived as power in today’s culture of learning; knowledge, that is to be translated into money.

The biblical concept of study and learning is centered on the thought of wisdom, as against knowledge. Wisdom is a combined force of faith, maturity and knowledge. Seeking knowledge without a sense of arrogance is important from a biblical point of view. Knowing the world around us and using it for the human community is also important. This wisdom helps you to be stable in the midst of winds of change, and you will not be ‘driven and tossed by the wind’. [James 1: 6]

These days many parents create in their children’s mind more of anxiety than a sense of seeking a mature knowing of the world around them. While emphasizing the need for studiousness let us as parents, inculcate a sense of better balance in the minds of our children about knowledge and wisdom.

Let me conclude with James’s words of wisdom about true knowledge; ‘If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given to you’.    [James 1: 5]

Men’s Sunday is around the corner. We look forward to men’s leadership in the Sunday service on June 16th and wish that it will be a very meaningful and fruitful experience.

Yours in Christ,
George Oommenachen
31st May 2013

May

posted May 19, 2013, 8:46 AM by St. Peter CSI Church Los Angeles   [ updated May 19, 2013, 8:47 AM ]

Dear all,

In May we enter the Pentecostal season of the Church Year.

After the post-Resurrection appearances of Jesus Christ the day of Pentecost was the most decisive moment in the history of the Church. It received the gifted presence of the Holy Spirit among the people who believed.

Jesus always emphasized the centrality of the Holy Spirit in the functioning of the community of faith, its togetherness and its effective witness. The early Christians realized it from the very beginning and held on to Jesus’ teachings about the functions of the Holy Spirit so close to their heart.

The major strength of their conviction about the Holy Spirit was that whenever they gathered together they felt the virtual and guiding presence of Jesus Christ among them.

They felt Jesus was the ultimate Counselor and that that counsel could go beyond human understanding of the situations and that the Spirit is the best guide.

They also realized that where the Spirit is present, it helps us to transcend and go beyond our diverse and differing view of the world. That is why the early Christians felt the sense of oneness in a unique way.

This experience is also ours. If not, we should make it ours.

During this Pentecostal season of the Church let us, as a congregation, feel the presence and the functioning of the Holy Spirit evermore.

I request all of you to be planning earnestly for the upcoming Retreat (May 25th-26th) prayerfully. Plan ahead to be there on time as there are only two day times available forus. Let us remember the Retreat leader Rev. Keith Yamamoto of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Upland, in our prayers.



With warm regards,

Yours in Christ,

George Oommenachen

May 3rd, 2013

April

posted Apr 8, 2013, 9:16 AM by St. Peter CSI Church Los Angeles   [ updated Apr 8, 2013, 10:18 PM ]

Dear All,

I hope all of you had a very happy and meaningful Easter celebrations.

Post Easter syndrome could set into any Christian mind. The attitude could be something like the following; now that I have disciplined my mind and spirituality during the Lent season, I can indulge in some of the things that I deprived myself. Let me forget about my faith and spirituality for a while. These are some of the typical thoughts that could go through our mind.

But I want to challenge all of you to resist any such temptation. Like the disciples on the Emmaus Road, let us continue to listen to the still and small voice of the risen Jesus Christ who walks with us. Let us listen to him who challenges us to rethink our mindsets and habits. Let us listen to Jesus’ questions regarding our frustrations, hopes and hopelessness. Then let us ready our mind to see clearly the risen Lord who breaks bread with us. Let us then, like the Emmaus disciples, take a walk back to our friends and fellow travelers in faith.

Let us continue to find new light and new meaning about life and life happenings in the light of the journeying Jesus’ conversations and interactions with us.

May Jesus Christ the co-traveler consistently accompany us to the various paths of life.

Yours in Christ,

George Oommenachen

 April 6th 2013

March

posted Apr 8, 2013, 9:13 AM by St. Peter CSI Church Los Angeles   [ updated Apr 8, 2013, 10:19 PM ]

Dear Friends,

The Lent season is about shifting our focus from us to God.  [Mt. 10: 16]

By focusing on God, we will find our own true self more clearly and transparently. [Mt. 16: 24-26]

We understand ourselves better in the shadow of the Cross, the ultimate symbol God’s love and humanity and the revelation of God’s mercy. In that process we realize that we have a flawed self.

So Lent helps us to take our broken self before God and repair it. Reparation of our self before God, that is at the core of our effort during this season.

In that repairing we also restore our human relationships and set it right wherever necessary.

Let us find ways and means to find our focus and repair our relationship to God, our self and fellow human beings. Let us restore the beauty of our life.

During this Lenten period, with more disciplined spirituality and deeper examination of our inner being, let us restore the best in us. Let it shine like a light.

May God bless all of you abundantly during this Lenten season.

Yours in Christ,

George Oommenachen
February 28th 2013

1-10 of 12