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2014


April

posted Apr 20, 2014, 10:24 AM by St. Peter CSI Church Los Angeles

Dear all,

 Holy Week is just approaching. Palm Sunday, when Jesus challenged his followers for true discipleship, Good Friday, when Jesus gave himself up to become a self-giving sacrifice, and Easter, when Jesus through his resurrection gave a new meaning to human existence, are going to be celebrated. Life is a journey of faith. These celebrations are path breakers for us in our journey. Or, should become continuing and sustaining path breakers in our life struggles and questions. May these celebrations once again offer meaningful answers for our challenges and questions in life experiences; both ups and downs, both blessings and illnesses, both joys and sorrows. Let us celebrate these festivals with meaning and faith.

 You might have heard about the sad passing away of (on March 21) His Holiness Ignatius Zakka I, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East. He was the supreme head of the universal Syriac Orthodox Church and was enthroned as the Patriarch in 1980. Since then he had been a champion of inter Church unity and ecumenism. By becoming a president of the World Council of Churches and attending Vatican II, he demonstrated that Christians of various doctrinal persuasions could express unity in Christ without negating each other.

 Antioch is the place we have inherited the name ‘Christians’. Antioch is the a place to which Christians of India could journey back with historic memory and connection.

 Let us pray that the newly elected Patriarch, Bishop Cyril Aphrem Karim from Syria, would be able to give a visionary leadership in these extremely challenging times for the Churches in the region.

 Our Retreat is just a week away. Our Palm Sunday service will be at the venue. The theme of the Retreat is a direct reflection on the challenges of the global and American values that humanity is trying to imbibe. Let us come together with enthusiasm.

 Yours in Christ,

 George Oommenachen

April 5th 2014

March

posted Apr 20, 2014, 10:22 AM by St. Peter CSI Church Los Angeles

Dear all,

 Tomorrow we celebrate and think about the healing ministry of the Church.

 Among all the traditional ministries of Christianity, the healing ministry takes one of the prime places. This emerges out of the primacy that Jesus Christ himself gave to healing during his earthly ministrations.

 Moreover, it was compassion that moved him and his disciples to go about giving healing and offering wholeness to people. Masses followed Jesus of Nazareth expecting healing. And , healing he brought on his wings.

 In the modern era, the rich missionary history of Christianity brought medical care and research to its soaring heights and glory. Again, it was Christian compassion which moved them. Community medicine in India, for instance, is solely a missionary contribution. But where has it gone from there in the post modern era?

 Unfortunately, it is no more compassion which is the life force of medical care and research, but pure commerce.

 Let us recall, celebrate and renew our Christian compassion. Let it be the life force of all our human interaction.

 Yours in Christ,

 George Oommenachen

March 1st 2014

February

posted Apr 20, 2014, 10:21 AM by St. Peter CSI Church Los Angeles

Dear all,

 I have been privileged to be part of the Republic Day celebrations and worships both in K. U. T. Seminary, Trivandrum and in my home parish in Mallappally. At KUTS a second year B. D. Student preached a sermon on the eroding values in Indian political system and God’s concern for justice, and at Mallappally I heard my uncle V. Rev. P. O. Ninan preach a sermon on the growing corruption and people’s concern regarding the widening economic gap in society, and the need for biblically based responses.

 What is obvious is that despite the great economic leap that India seems to enjoy, the systemic corruption is growing in leaps and bounds. This is a matter of great concern for all who are mindful of the future of India. However, in the midst of the scramble for power and greed, many see a glimmer of hope in the emerging groups who are putting up a brave fight against it.

 I remember reading the great Indian theologian Dr. M. M. Thomas who advocated the Christian principle of being the ‘perennial opposition’ when it comes to political decision making.

 During Jesus’ earthly ministry he constantly alerted his listeners to the need for challenging the established order which was based on vested interests and corruptive influences.

 Let us be aware of the need to guard against greed and corruptive systems.

 I am indeed happy that you are all involved in strongly sustaining the worship life of our congregation while I am away. I should say how proud I feel about such a practice that we have developed. I look forward to be back in your midst soon.

 With all the best for all, especially for the worship team that leads the worship and other activities while I am away

 Yours in Christ,

 George Oommenachen

January 27th 2014

Trivandrum 

January

posted Apr 20, 2014, 10:19 AM by St. Peter CSI Church Los Angeles

Dear all,

Motto 2014

As we begin 2014 let us reflect on our 2014 motto from Isaiah 41: 10, “I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand”.

 The understanding of the Israelites that Yahweh is their God and that they are His people, fundamentally formed their identity as a people. Thus, this was a two way process where, on the one hand, God chose to call out a people to be part of His mission in the world and, on the other, that people willingly partook in being shaped into God’s people for the mission.

 Three foundational things were promised by God through Isaiah to Israelites. First and foremost, that God will continue to strengthen them through the thick and thin of their participation in God’s mission. Secondly, that God will help them when need arose and their confidence declined. But their sense of confidence should be placed in God rather than in their own strength. Thirdly, they should trust that the upholding right hand of God is there always, and even when they might not experience it straight away.

 To do this, God only asked one thing; the people should understand that “I am your God.”

What happens then is a continuing shaping and molding process. There will be ups and downs. But His strengthening, helping and upholding right hand will be there to sustain us.

 In the life and ministry of a parish like St. Peter’s these words are equally true when we understand our mission and ministry. It would be unfolded in various ways as we experience God through the activities of the parish in which, I consider, worship is central. As we begin 2014 may the words from Isaiah speak to us. May the meaning of those words be unraveled to us as we go on in our own lives.

 Let this unraveling occur as we place our centrality in mission and ministry that Jesus Christ accomplished for us.

 I invite all of you to continually think about this theme. My special request is that both Men’s and Women’s Fellowships concentrate on this motto when they gather together for their monthly gatherings.

Once again let me wish you a very blessed 2014.

 Yours in Christ,

George Oommenachen

January 3rd 2014

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