Altar Boys (Acolytes)
The word acolyte comes from the Greek and means attendant that is free from sin. Acolytes or altar boys have a very important role in theSyrian Orthodox Church services. They help priests and bishops better serve God and the Church. Altar boys represent the angels of the church because they are pure and are always ready to assist all those who need them. It is a great honour to serve as an acolyte.
All the Altar Assistants shall attend and serve at the altar with true piety and devotion. They are the people who are active in the sacramental life of the Church, especially in the Mystery of Holy Communion. The Altar Assistants should receive Holy Eucharist on all possible days that they attend and the adult among them shall do the confession at least every forty days. The young ones shall receive the Holy Eucharist after receiving absolution from the priest. This should not become a ritual but always come prepared as per the direction of St.Paul in 1 Cor. 11:21-23. They shall not involve in any unholy acts and shall set a good example to all others.
All Altar Assistants shall consider themselves as the ones set apart for the Lord’s Service. This means that those that serve in the Altar must live a Christian life whether they are in church, at school, at work, or at home. To serve in the Altar is a commitment one makes to Christ as part of his spiritual life.
St. Thomas Jacobite Syrian Sunday school helps children to grow in peace, love, share and acceptance of others and serve communities. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs, Chapter 22, Verse 6. This wise advice by King Solomon has continued to guide our efforts, to nurture our children to attain and exhibit a strong faith that will raise them as “Living Christians”. Moreover, as the fear of the Lord is the beginning of the wisdom, we also believe that it is our moral responsibility to reveal to each child, those heavenly ‘Words of Wisdom’, which will instill in them the knowledge about the Kingdom of God. The purpose of Sunday school is to provide our children with a basic background of the Bible and Syrian Christian Orthodox faith so they may experience God’s love to the fullest. Sunday school help children to understand the importance of Christian faith and enjoy attending church services with their families. We also conduct activities like Balasamajam, JSVBS and support kid’s extracurricular activities to grow. Also we provide a safe and orderly environment in which our children can learn and grow in God’s love. Classes are conducted every Sunday after the Holy Qurbana. This Sunday school is affiliated to Malankara Jacobite Syrian Sunday school association, Kerala, India (http://mjssa.in/).
St Thomas prayer group is our back bone of our parish who meet regularly to pray. Prayer meetings are normally conducted outside regular Sunday services at parish member’s residence. Prayer is a powerful weapon against the devil, and it is also an important tool in encouraging and uplifting others. Through our prayers, especially with one another, we are demonstrating and validating the faith we have in Jesus. This is an opportunity to learn and grow in our faith and tradition. Intercessory prayers to St Thomas and St Mary are an integral part of meetings. Prayer meetings are led by our church vicar.
The choir plays a key role in the regular church services, by leading the worship with chants, hymns and songs.
The main mission of St. Mary’s Women’s Association to organise prayer groups involving all the women’s of the parish, sing hymns and pray to GOD for their needs and the needs of the church and community similar to the intercession of Holy and Ever Virgin Saint Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ.