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Mission Of The Church Is A Tool Of Maintenance : His Holiness

Baselios-Marthoma-Didymos-I [1]

Our beloved brother Metropolitans, Rev. Fr. Dr. Johns Abraham Konattu, the Priest Trustee, Mr. M. G. George Muthoot, the Lay Trustee, Dr. George Joseph, Association Secretary, Reverend Priests, and dearly beloved in Christ!

We are immensely delighted to associate ourselves with this glittering event titled “Beacon for the Future” involving the eminent people of the Orthodox Church who have proved their versatility, ingenuity and expertise in various fields. Our joy doubles when we see the long galaxy of people assembled here from all over the world to mark a historic moment. This great event is organized as a part of the Centenary Celebration of the Establishment of the Catholicate in Malankara.

At the outset we do appreciate the Association Secretary for this laudable attempt, initiative and its meticulous organization. This is by and large the maiden endeavor by our Church to organize such a meet gathering the luminaries from various fields. Though this epoc-making meeting serves as a curtain raiser for the host of programmes and projects envisaged for the Centenary Celebration, it is indeed an inevitability on the backdrop of the changing scenario of the present world. Perhaps this is to do with the changing paradigm in which we live and breathe; perhaps it is the beginnings of not only a response to its challenges but a reflection of its natures.

We do acknowledge that this changing times demand innovations and innovators. Very often the Church Mission is seen tacitly as a tool of maintenance, a means to preserve the way we are. More and more voices are crying that instead of attractors we need innovators; mission not as a way of bracing the Church as it is, rather as engaging with the culture, seeing people not as products or numbers but as individual seedlings growing from the soil of their own history and context. Here comes the role of entrepreneurs or innovators. We do acknowledge with immeasurable gratitude the contribution of the entrepreneurs and professionals of the Church from time to time especially in the power of need.

From the very inception of the Church, she was greatly supported by the entrepreneurs. In Acts 16:14 we see a lady entrepreneur named Lydia from Thyatira who was a dealer of purple cloth. She intently listened to the words of St. Paul. “The Lord opened her heart” and Lydia, a wealthy lady and her whole household were baptized. Thus, she became an instrument in taking Christianity to the soil of Europe.

When the Lord opened her heart she, in her turn, opened the door for Christianity in Europe. In the new millennium amidst the new challenges, the Church has to journey out. A prayer by Sir Francis Drake is worth quoting here;

“Disturb us lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true,
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore”

Journeying out invariably requires the capacity to rise above the anxiety associated with encountering and embracing a potentially overwhelming outside world. At this juncture when the Church aspires for a great ‘leap forward’ we need enterprising and adventurous leaders who listen to the voices of the time. This is the apostolic and prophetic call for each one of you. Identifying, recognizing and realizing the entrepreneurs can be vital and creative.

If we are to find new ways of being Mission and resonating with culture and people, we need to see entrepreneurs as pioneers and allow them to participate, to lead and to create. The unleashing of the inestimable potential of a community of power and action undoubtedly galvanizes the Church. There may be a tendency in the Church circles to complain about how things are. But creativity is providing a new way of living, seeing, hearing or being and Malankara Orthodox Church is blessed with several people who love this process of seeing a possibility and turning it in to something tangible.

As we endeavor to ignite this spirit in this enlightened community, we need to think a lot about direction, follow-up and development. Continual follow-up and development is a sine-qa-non for the successful tapping of the potential. Direction is not a matter of command or control, but of focusing, allowing and encouraging people to focus on what really matters. It is spiritual management rather than micro-management. Development is about mentoring, training disciples and coaching. It is the job of the leaders to create new leaders. We challenge the business leaders to move away from being CEOs to being CSOs – Chief Storytelling Officers who communicate the foundation stories and vision of a business.

A more familiar and imitable picture might be the Celtic idea of the Soul Friend. Each person in the community is responsible to a Soul friend. The idea of the soul friend comes directly from the desert communities. There the soul friend would be a kind of spiritual guide or counselor, one with whom you share your spiritual growth. The same principle is to be applied to entrepreneurs in the Church so as to create a second rung entrepreneurial leadership in the Church. A lot of discussion and deliberations are required on this matter. Direction and development imply effective follow-up and planning.

The Department of Human Resource Management of the Church under the leadership of H. G. Dr. Thomas Mar Athanasios can take up the follow up action and formulate the necessary policies and programs in due course. We are happy to inform you that on the recommendation of the HRM Department, the Holy Episcopal Synod has already initiated steps to collect the comprehensive data of all entrepreneurs and professionals of the Church.

We hope that a forum of the entrepreneurs of the Church shall be constituted and it will work in the most fruitful way. I exhort you that this is a call to re imagine the Church in today’s world; to think in new and different ways about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus and a member of his body of the Church. It is a call to release the entrepreneurs in our midst to think in more entrepreneurial terms. In this process we will become more in tune with today’s compelling situations and be able to make a far more relevant contribution to it than we do at present. May the Almighty strengthen us to be part taking in the process of the edification of the Church.

We implore God to bless each one of you and enrich you in the respective field of your enterprise. We also bless on and all who toiled for this landmark event. May the Almighty reward you from the bounty of His blessings.

Ramada Hotel, Kochi, 27 November 2009
Inaugural Address delivered by : H. H. Baselios Marthoma Didymus I