Recap of Marth Mariam Vanitha Samajam (MMVS) Annual Conference 2017
The curtain went
up on the Annual conference of the Marth Mariam Vanitha Samajam (MMVS) of
Northeast American Diocese on Saturday, October 14, 2017 at the Diocesan Holy
Transfiguration Retreat Center (HTRC) 1000 Seminary
Road, Dalton, PA, a new sprawling building complex recently
acquired by the Northeast American Diocese at Dalton in Pennsylvania. This
year’s conference, clearly marked as a tremendous success, was at unprecedented
level hosting more than 700 participants from various parishes extending from North
Carolina to Boston. The excitement and enthusiasm were visibly expressed by the
attendees for multiple reasons, inter
alia, witnessing the Diocese’s achievement of owning such a vast and
beautiful facility and showing the willingness to work for the mission of MMVS
under the leadership the Diocesan Metropolitan H.G. Zachariah Mor Nicholovos
and other officials of the MMVS. The HTRC is a vast complex comprising of about
100,000 square feet of living space, landscaped with beautifully paved,
tree-lined, well maintained green lawn and a large pond.An ideal location for retreats and
conferences, that it is a quiet venue away from the hustle and bustle of city
life with a valley of scenic view adding to the soothing effect. The theme of the
conference was: “Do not be overcome evil by evil, but overcome evil with good”
(Romans 12:21), a message that should resonate with the present age.
began arriving as early as 7:30 am. The MMVS office-bearers arrived the
previous day and stayed overnight to prepare for the conference. The onsite
registration and breakfast started at 8:30 AM. Devotional singing by the choir
from Boston, Bronx, Connecticut and Westchester area started at 9:15 am
followed by Morning Prayer. The official meeting was off to a start at 10 a.m.
with Holy Bible Reading by Jaya Das of St. Stephen’s Church, Midland Park. Rev.
Fr. Sunny Joseph, the Vice-president of Marth Mariam Samajam, formally welcomed
His Grace Zachariah Mor Nicholovos, Rev. Fr. Jerry John Mathew, the Keynote
Speaker and Vicar of St. Mary’s Orthodox Church of Detroit, and all the other
officials and participants to the meeting.
Elizabeth Peter delivered extremely well the devotional speech in which she
reflected the role of women in molding a family. She underlined the importance
of women in the developmental activities of the Church, encouraging women to
get more involved in the various activities despite the numerous challenges they
face in family life.
Zachariah Mor Nicholovos, the Diocesan Metropolitan, in his inaugural address congratulated
all participants for making a special effort to attend the conference
regardless of the distance involved. His Grace commented on the hard work of
the MMVS leadership to bring the Samajam to an unprecedented level.
Rev. Fr. Jerry
John Mathew delivered the keynote address. Speaking on the Conference theme, he
reflected on our challenges to accept the good by fighting against evil. Our
aim should be the journey towards the goodness of God, he added.There are three types of situations in our
with evil and enjoy the peace
against evil and accept the goodness
indifference to both and try to go with the flow.
As Christians, we must fight
against evil and journey towards the goodness of God. We should get into the
darkness from light, fight and destroy darkness, Fr. Jerry added.
A question answer session
The MMVS Area Coordinators
and GROW members updated their activities, mainly focusing on parish visits and
charity collection. A video presentation was made regarding the bucket preparation
for the Hurricane Harvey victims.Volunteers from different parishes assembled at the St. Thomas Orthodox
Church, Levittown and prepared 100 buckets packed with specified essential
materials and delivered to United Church of Rockville Center in order that they
be sent to the hurricane affected areas through Church World Services. Dr. Ammu Paulose, the Diocesan Charity
Coordinator, announced that more such collections are on the way to assist more
victims of hurricane and other natural disasters.
One of the
highlighted items was recognizing the graduates of Divyabodhanam and Leadership
Training Program.Certificates were
presented to all the graduates. Mrs. Mary Ennacheril, the Coordinator of
Leadership Training Program, was the Master of the recognition ceremony.
Council and Malankara Sabha Managing Committee members were also recognized on
this occasion.His Grace Zachariah Mor
Nicholovos, the Diocesan Metropolitan, praised the effort of the members of the
former Diocesan Council to acquire the HTRC property and the commendable good
work of the current council. The Council presented a video highlighting the
HTRC’s current and future projects with tips as to how the members can
individually participate in it with financial commitments.
A raffle was drawn
with 2 gold coins as first price won by Susan Cherian, St. Thomas Long Island,
1 gold coin as second prize won by Ashley Renji of St. George Church, Fairless
Hills PA and $250 as the third prize won by Shiju Alex of St. Thomas Church,
Philadelphia. Treasurer Lizzy Philip and Joint Treasurer Sara Mathew coordinated
this event. The proceeds will go to charity MMVS projects.
A sumptuous lunch was served after
the noon prayer. An HTRC tour was conducted after the lunch with the
participation of many.
competition on the book of Isaiah started at 2:15 PM. Tension was visibly in
the air as many participants had worked hard and had looked forward to this moment
for, so long. Mrs. Pincy Jacob coordinated the quiz competition. Mrs. Reena
Susan Mathew was the quiz master and Rev. Dn. Bobby Varghese was the timekeeper.
Twenty-three parishes participated.Of
the 25 questions asked, one was disqualified making a total of 24 questions.St. Thomas Orthodox Church Unruh, Philadelphia,
won the first prize by scoring the maximum points, answering all the 24
questions. Four parishes won the second
prize, scoring 22 points each (St. Thomas Yonkers, St, Gregorios Clifton, NJ,
St. Johns Orangeburg, NY and St. Thomas Long Island). Third prize was won by
two parishes(St. Mary’s West Sayville, NY and St. Stephens Midland Park, NJ )
scoring 21 points each. Trophies were presented to the winners by the Diocesan
Metropolitan.It was announced that the
quiz for 2018 will be based on the Book of Jeremiah.
Sara Varghese, MMVS General Secretary,
thanked all officials and participants for making the Conference a grand
A special prayer was offered for
the recently demised Liziamma Kuruvilla, the former General Secretary of the
Diocesan MMVS. Meeting ended with prayer and benediction.
Many attendees stayed back after
snack and coffee to tour the facility and to make use of the photo opportunity.
Thanks to Bipin Mathew for the
photography and Mr. Varghese Pothanicad for help with the write up.
Submitted by Dr. Ammu Paulose
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