CHARIS meaning “Grace” in Greek, is the Mission & Charity programme of St. Johns Mar Thoma Church, London. (St. Johns MTC) The programme offers us an opportunity to reflect on the free, generous and “undeserved” divine love that we have received in our lives. Our church and its members have been in the forefront of supporting various local and Indian mission activities of the Mar Thoma Church. This year alone, we aim to contribute over £ 40,000 towards various mission & charitable activities. These programmes are now gaining increasing prominence in our church life. It is in this context that the Managing Committee of St. Johns MTC decided to launch CHARIS.
Key Objectives of CHARIS
- Provide a platform to consolidate the Mission & Charity Programmes of the Church
- Provide a strategic direction to the Mission and Charity programmes of the Church. Aim to partner with mission work/charities that have shared values/objectives, on a long term basis.
- Improve the communications between all stakeholders – especially the donors and the beneficiaries
Currently, the activities of CHARIS are divided into 3 areas
- Neighbourhood Mission
- India Mission and
- Social Aid Programme
This classification is based on the current activities and these can be modified or enhanced as the programmes and church grows. The details of these programmes are given in the adjacent pages.
St. Johns MTC has been partnering with Mission in Hounslow Trust to provide showers and hot food to homeless people every Saturday at the Salvation Army Church, Hounslow. Around 15 members of our Church are involved in this project with groups of 3-4 attending in a given week. The volunteers support the project leaders Colin and Madeline Windsor in running the project and sharing the word of God with the homeless people. Around 15-20 homeless people attend the centre every week. During this time of economic austerity and with some of the nearby homeless centres run with governmental support closing down, the work of Mission in Hounslow Trust is more important than ever. There is a possibility of this project closing down by the end of March 2012. We are currently looking at alternative projects where we can support the poor and needy people in our neighbourhood.
St. Johns MTC recently adopted an Education Care Project in Gadchiroli – a tribal village near Nagpur (Maharashtra, India). This project involves caring for children from nearby tribal areas in our adopted hostels. Children are educated in the local schools and provided food and accommodation at these hostels. As a first step, we intend to support around 15-25 children each in this area. Hostels will be managed by our Church Evangelists –who will take care of thephysical and spiritual needs of the children.
Gadchiroli is an economically backward area. This area has been suffering from high level of suicides and naxal activities. The Mumbai Diocese of The Mar Thoma Church runs an active mission in this region of Maharashtra, India. We aim to support the mission activities in this region in collaboration with the Mumbai Diocese. We intend to visit the mission field once every year, provide bi-annual updates to the Church and provide opportunities for parish members to sponsor these children. A significant portion of the financial needs of this mission will be met from your generous contributions from the Harvest Festival.
Social Aid Programme
Under the Social Aid Programme we aim to provide Education support, Medical help, Marriage Aid and other financial support to various needy individuals. This support is provided on the recommendations of our Achens and Thirumenis. The social aid programme would focus mainly on the areas of Education Support and Medical Aid. We intend to spend around 50% of the Social Aid Budget for Education Support and the remaining for medical help & other urgent needs. The financial needs of the Social Aid Programme will be met through Fasting Offertory, Renounce the Taste – Spread the Flavour collection (RTT) and generous one-off donations.
Education Support Programme (ESP): Under ESP we aim to provide scholarships for Skills based education like Nursing, Engineering/Diploma programmes and Theology. We intend to meet substantial part of the cost of education of a selected individual over the period of their educational programme. This will be based on the circumstances of the individual and will involve meeting 50% to 100% of the total education cost. The scholar’s progress will be regularly monitored throughout the period of scholarship. While we aim to meet the first year’s course fees of an individual from the Social Aid budget – we aim to have the Parish members/well-wishers to sponsor the scholars for the remaining years. This will free up the resources of the Church to adopt more individuals in later years.
If you would like to know more about the mission activities of St. Johns MTC please feel free to contact the Vicar (Tel No. 020 8577 9981) or the Trustees.