Youth Chaplain's Message



JULY, 2018

Dear Families of the Christos Mar Thoma Church, Philadelphia,

Greetings in the name of the Holy Trinity! I am now wrapping up more than 5 years of ministry in this region. Isaiah 55: 8-9 says: 'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."  I believe that this is all part of God's plan and purpose.

I joined this region in 2013, and served the parishes in the New Jersey & Pennsylvania areas. I had a profound relationship with this parish. I cherish the great memories and experiences I have had over the years. Worship, prayers, meetings, conferences, conversations, family/house visits, campus visits were all important in this ministry, and I am thankful. I enjoyed ministry in this parish, even though it came with its challenges. The fellowship we experience brings us together in our Lord Jesus Christ, and when-ever it came to anyone's need, the youth, families and well wishers of this parish stood together, shoulder to shoulder to help others in need. We have experienced joys and happiness, but have also experienced tragedies as a faith community. But we have received peace and hope from our Lord Jesus Christ.

As with any message, I have 3 points. I conclude my ministry here with the following thoughts:

1. Lead a genuine Christian life as individuals, families, and faith com-munity. The world cannot tolerate 'tuntruth" or hypocrisy. Your life must be your witness. That was my emphasis during my sermons over the last 5 years. How are we presenting Jesus Christ to the world? The world is watching.

2. Be loyal to Christ and the Mar Thoma Church. The church is the bride, and Christ is the groom. We grew up in this church. Our church is growing and developing; have patience. We live in a world of "spiritual malls." We need to own our church, its ministry, which includes the youth ministry. But above all, remember that Christ is the foundation of our church. We cannot compromise the spiritual truths of scripture in the midst of a world of compromises and conveniences.

3. Have a deeper vision and concern about the future of the church. We as people think about the here and now, but we forget that there is a future. There is no point in being proud of the past and celebrating in the present, if we don't have a future to look forward to. Do not give up hope. Any prayer that is prayed, every tear that is shed through prayer will always be heard and seen by our Almighty God. We must have hope. Also, the ministry in this Diocese must grow.

More youth need to answer God's call and commit themselves for the ordained ministry of the church. We already have 10 Achens who are from the U.S., and presently, 3 of our students from U.S. are presently studying in seminary). Maya Angelou once said: People may forget what you said to them. People may forget what you did to them. But people will never forget how you made them feel. I am eternally grateful to all of you. I thank God for the privilege given to serve you all as the Youth Chaplain for the past more than 5 years. I want to thank H.G. the Mar Thoma Metropolitan, our Diocesan Bishop. I want to thank the families of the present and former vicars: Rev. Anish T. Thomas, Rev. Varghese Thomas, & Rev. Roy Geevarghese. I would like to offer my gratitude to Rev. M. John ∧ family. I also would like to thank the parish executive committees, Youth Fellowships, Young Families, & Yuvajana Sakhyam members and their respective committees over the years. I would also like to thank all of the parish secretaries I worked with since 2013. I enjoyed the opportunity in communicating to you through the medium of this newsletter over the past 5 years. On July 15, I will be appointed as the new Vicar of the Mar Thoma Church of the San Francisco Bay Area, and having additional pastoral responsibilities at the Los Angeles Horeb Mar Thoma Church. I will be leaving from Philadelphia during the afternoon of July 14. Your prayerful presence is requested. I would like to thank you for your prayers and support during the past 6 years. Whenever you remember me, please pause for a moment and remember me in prayers, and keep in touch. I also assure my prayers for you. Another Achen/family will be replacing me, and do extend the same, if not more support for the new Youth Chaplain. As a parish, we need to increase our ownership of the youth chaplain/youth ministry of the church, and we will see this ministry go to greater heights.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I move forward from this ministry taking fresh, challenging, yet beautiful and profound memories. Though I do not consider this as a 'Farewell,' I would like to say: "God be with you till we meet again."

Let all glory, honor, and praise be given unto God the Father, Son, & the Holy Spirit, now and forever, AMEN.


Dennis Achen (Youth Chaplain)