You will be my Witnesses
Mar Thoma Voluntary Evangelists’ Association, founded in 1924, is one of the official organizations of the Mar Thoma Church. The reformation in the church paved the way for the great urge in the minds of people for group prayer and Bible Study. Rev. C.P. Abraham Kassissa initiated the first prayer meeting in Chayal Mar Thoma Church, Ayroor. Later monthly meetings were held. The naming of the association as “Mar Thoma Voluntary Evangelists’ Association” took place in the annual meeting held at Chayal Church, Ayroor. The meeting was presided over by the Most Rev. Dr. Abraham Mar Thoma . Rev. C.P. Philipose Kassissa, Sri. Moothampakkal Kochukunju Upadesi and Sri. Kolakottu C.J. John Upadesi were the Association’s first President, General Secretary and Traveling Secretary respectively. The association started as a fellowship of believers who were willing to work in the vineyard of God without any monitory benefit or any other selfish motive.
Jesus said, “when the Holy Sprit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all Judaea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth”. (Acts. 1 : 8) “You will be my Witnesses” – This is the motto of Mar Thoma Voluntary Evangelists’ Association.
The purpose of the association is to witness Jesus Christ in our day - to - day life and to inculcate in every person the consciousness that he/she is called to fulfill the mission of Jesus Christ.
The perseverance and earnestness of the leaders helped the rapid growth of the association. Prayer groups (Edavaka Mission/Parish Mission) were formed in every parish and voluntary evangelists moved to different places preaching the gospel. As a result, many were strengthened in their conviction and many new believers were gained. The advice and the great support given by all the former presidents, namely, the Most Rev. Dr. Alexander Mar Thoma, Rt. Rev. Easow Mar Timotheos, Rt. Rev. Dr. Euyakim Mar Coorilos, Rt. Rev. Joseph Mar Barnabas and Rt. Rev. Dr. Zacharias Mar Theophilus Suffragan Metropolitan are tremendous. The present president is Rt. Rev. Gregorios Mar Stephanos Episcopa. Today many highly educated and zealous men and women are in missionary work all over the world.
The office bearers consist of 41 members who are elected for 3 years, from the delegates of different parishes. But the final authority is the Episcopal Synod.
The association has a seven point programme. 1. Intercession, 2. Bible Study, 3. Sharing of experience, 4. House Visit, 5. Serving the sick and the needy, 6. Conduct of prayer meetings, 7. Gospel work among people of other faiths and ideologies. The various activities of the association are carried out at four levels – the Central, the Diocese, the Regional and the Parish level.
Parish Mission (Edavaka Mission)
The parish level unit of the association is known as the Parish Mission (Edavaka Mission). Each Parish Mission has to register at the central office which is located at Kompady, Thiruvalla. After the term of 3 years, registration is to be renewed. The parish mission follows the seven point programme in its activities.
The Edavaka Mission units are formed regionally known as centres. Centre meetings are held monthly for prayer, fellowship and study. Centre organizes open - air meetings, evangelistic campaigns and mission works etc. in unreached areas.
The Episcopa head the Diocesan activities. Lay leadership training, study conference, mission to parish etc. are some of the programmes. The programmes are carried out by the Diocesan Executive Committee.
Central Level Activities
The head office co – ordinates these four level activities of the association.