Categories
Articles Youth And Faith

The Calling And Its Challenges

priest-book

When we look at the Church both in the days of the early Christian communities, and the Malankara Orthodox Church in its Diaspora, we find a common thread of unity in the faith and worship of those church communities. However, something that was missing in the Diaspora in the United States for the Malankara Church was clearly evident in the early Church. That “something” created the movement of Christianity and gave it life to grow into what we currently know in various traditions and forms. It established the faith to be not just the old man’s religion and ways, but the young man’s hope for a better world of peace and love. That “something” we find in the great leaders of the early church, especially in the young disciple of St. Paul, Timothy. In fact, that something was clearly also despised by those elders who felt threatened by the authority from someone so inexperienced. And so the Apostle Paul writes to Timothy saying, Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I arrive, give attention to the public reading of scripture, to exhorting, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you through prophecy with the laying on of hands by the council of elders.” (I Timothy 4:12-14). The role of the youth, and young leaders like Timothy, set the Church apart for greatness, and gave the early Church a life and a conviction that allowed the faithful to even go and die for their faith. Today, in the Malankara Orthodox Church in America, in the face of obstacles and trials, the youth have risen to their calling, and have not neglected their gifts, thus giving the Church in the U.S. a new life and the people who live here, a new hope about the future of the Church.

It is to this new revolution of the youth that I belong, and became an active part in. The MGOCSM and the Sunday School became the strength and the backbone of the American Diocese because of young leaders and workers who have given their lives, time and energy for a faith that they believe strongly in and for a Church that brings them the Christian hope for a better world in Christ. Young men and women, teens, students, professionals, young married couples, all who share the common experience of growing up in a land that is not their own and in a culture that clashes with their mother culture, have stepped up to making the Diaspora Church their church, and not just their parents’ church. So, today the MGOCSM has over 50 active units in the American Diocese, helps to coordinate the Diocesan Family & Youth Conference, leads a Leadership Camp for young leaders, helps to lead the OVBS and Sunday School activities, raises money for charity, hosts sport events, talent shows, and encourages the youth to become active leaders in their home parishes, as well as on the Diocesan level.

The biggest sign of hope, however, came with the ordination of several young men to the Diaconate (Readers and Sub deacons) from among the American born and raised youth. I, along with a few other young men of various ages, took the Call of Christ to accept ordination and work along with the bishops and priests in the role of pastoral leaders.