Mar Thoma Church believes that every member should be a missionary and a witness to our Lord Jesus Christ, whatever be their professional or personal background. Edavaka Mission is the organisation that propagates this in the Parish. The members of the mission remain committed to share the Gospel of our Lord. They are also committed to the spiritual and intercessory needs of the parish. The activities include regular Bible study, prayer meetings, house visits and other outreach activities, all of which sees an enthusiastic participation from members of the parish.
The Edavaka Mission of the parish is closely involved in the activities of Navi Mumbai Centre and Mumbai Diocese of Mar Thoma Church and participate in various camps and retreats organised from time to time. The Edavaka Mission of the Parish believes that we can be true followers of Christ only if we are compassionate to the needs of fellow brethren. Towards this end, the Mission is engaged in various outreach projects through which we attempt to communicate the essence of Christianity. Some of these activities are conducted through a separately formed Mar Thoma Welfare Society under the aegis of Edavaka Mission. These include:
1. Health Outreach Programme – Shivaji Nagar: Shivaji Nagar is one of the biggest slum community in Mumbai that is densely populated. A 10×15 structure is a home that is shared by many. Most of the population consists of immigrants from UP and Bihar. The social and economic condition of the population is pathetic. A report shows that close to 60 % of the children are stunted. Access to civic services is very low. Government health infrastructure is poor. Private facilities are unaffordable.
To address the health challenges, the Edavaka Mission of Chembur Parish started a medical dispensary in the year 1996. A nominal fee of Rs.20 is charged to ensure that these facilities are valued by the community – but nobody is sent back. Basic medicines and consultation are free of cost. This dispensary is operational entirely with the support of doctors and volunteers from the Parish. The dispensary sees high patient turnover and operates within a premises provided by the Municipal Corporation.
2. Bal Wadi & Tailoring Centre: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it” – Proverbs 22:6
Women and children remain most vulnerable and disadvantaged. To address their challenges, a Bal Wadi is operational in Shivaji Nagar where pre-school and school going children are engaged is various activities. Nutrition support is also provided. Inculcation of moral values at an early stage is a part of the activity. Tailoring classes for women helps them to augment their family incomes and this facility receives good response. Early intervention in a child so that he turns out to be a good human being and empowering women is the motto of this centre.
3. Umeed Centre: Mumbai attracts people from across India to avail advanced treatment for cancer. People coming from smaller towns and villages, especially from the eastern parts of India are left to fend for themselves in this big city. A cycle of treatment can be long and for poor people to sustain is very difficult. They are at the mercy of various well-meaning trusts, NGOs and individuals. Edavaka Mission of the Parish decided to own up a small part of the problem. In association with the welfare department of Tata Memorial Cancer Hospital, the mission supports the needs of children who are afflicted with cancer. ‘Umeed Centre’ is located in Trombay area of Mumbai and was inaugurated in 2008. The centre enables the parents also to be with the children during their stay for treatment in Mumbai. The centre has all amenities, including provision for food and is supported by a team of caregivers. At present ten children and their parents can be accommodated in Umeed Bhavan. Members of the Parish financially support the running of the centre. Children going back healed is the biggest joy. According to Mathew 19:14 Jesus said – “let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these”.
4, Paratwada Mission:
Taking the good news about our Living Lord is the responsibility of each one of us. Edavaka Mission of the Parish supports a remote mission field in the Paratwada region of Vidharbha in Maharashtra. This activity is done in association with the Mumbai Diocese of Mar Thoma Church. Financial support is only a small part. In an exchange program our parish members visit the mission locations and believers from these places visit our parish. This ensures a meaningful fellowship. Recently Mar Thoma Synod has raised this mission field to ‘Paratwada Mar Thoma Congregation’.
We pray to our Father Almighty to inspire and strengthen us to do much more.
Mr. M O Eapen