Ecumenical Greeting Delivered by the representative of the Mar Thoma Church of Mamabar, The Rt Revd Dr Euyakim Mar Coorilos, on behalf of the Metropolitan Dr Philipose Mar Chrysostom and the Diocese of North America and Europe , to the 13th ACC Meeting.
Respected Archbishop, the Most Revd Dr Rowan Williams, revered Bishops, clergy and members of the Consultative Council; I deem it as a privilege to be invited to this Consultative Council to represent the Mar Thoma Church. I consider this as a noble ecumenical gesture. At the out set, let me bring you all greetings from the Mar Thoma Church, especially on behalf of our Metropolitan Dr, Philipose Mar Chrysostom and the Diocese of North America and Europe.
We cherish and thank God for the relationship between the Anglican Communion and the Mar Thoma Church. In an age of fragmentation, autonomy and divisive trends at various levels, what it to be underscored is interdependence and joint witness in words and deeds.
The Mar Thoma Church has always been in the forefront of ecumenical endeavours in India. In the light of the joint witness in various fields in order to give more visible manifestation to our common concerns, the Joint Council of the Church of South India – Church of North India and the Mar Thoma Church is now known as ‘The Communion of Churches in India’ (CCI). The Church is active in the Tsunami relief activities in collaboration with CASA.
As you are well aware, the Church is understood in a variety of ways: as the people of God, Communion of the faithful, Community of faith, Movement of the Kingdom, the Wider family of God and so on. While acknowledging the theological content of all these concepts, the one that seems to be more relevant in the light of the contemporary realities is the ‘Wider family of God’ (Eph. 3:14). Here God is the ultimate home maker.
Ever since the creation of this world, He is in the process of making His home on earth. He makes His home so inclusive so that all will have space in it. Hence all our projects and programs are to be assessed in the light of our proximity to or estrangement from this ‘Wider family of God’. Though there is a gap between the ideal and the actual in the life of the church, rather than making truth claims for ourselves, the question is whether we can make our Christian presence more meaningful. There are commonalities and divergences in our ecclesial polity and historical predicaments; yet let us continue to cherish our ecumenical concerns and commitment: unity in essentials and diversity in non-essentials.
Mission is both being and doing. As the Nairobi Assembly statement rightly points out: Our concern should be the proclamation of “the whole Gospel, for the whole person, through the whole church, in the whole world”. As we are gearing up for the upcoming Assembly of W.C.C. to be held in Porto Alegre, Brazil under the theme “God, in your grace, transform the world”; rather than giving a mandate to God, let us make ourselves agents of transformation.
Our calling is to make a difference in our times. This is definitely swimming against the current. The emergence of the new is always a painful process which involves struggles and sufferings. The authenticity of our decisions is to be measured in terms of our preparedness to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit who always opens up new possibilities and challenges before us as a community of faith.
I hope and pray that the Anglican Communion would usher in new decisions which would enrich and transform the life and ministry of the Church at all levels. “Our task is to make the message of Jesus Christ intelligible in our times and a choice for or against him inescapable.” (M.M.Thomas) Let us resolve that our actions will be dictated by convictions and not by convenience. Let the discussions and deliberations in this Consultative Council enable us to make our witness more credible and our journey of faith more significant.
Thank you and may God bless us all.