Thought for the day
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."
- Matthew 7:7-8
Training of Trainers (TOTs) workshop on Worship and Liturgy to equip the clergy on ‘missional congregations’ was conducted by the Department of Pastoral Concerns at CSI Eco-Spirituality Centre, Othara, Kerala from 11-13 April 2018, in partnership with the Council for World Mission. About 40 participants from various dioceses have come together to learn the importance and newer nuances to makeworship and liturgy more relevant and participatory. Worship that facilitates the encounter between human and divine, enables the human to express their devotion to God and experience the transformative power is a powerful tool. Similarly, the liturgy that integrates the human experiences, aspirations, lament and thanksgiving is a pedagogical tool that equips the worshippers to face the realities of life. These components were clearly explicated by Most Rev. Dr. Thomas K Oommen, the Moderator, CSI, Rev. Dr. Alfred Stephen, Rev. Dr. Jameson, Rev. Dr.T.I. James, Dr. Mrs. Susan Thomas and Dr. Simon John. Biblical and theological understanding of worship and liturgy, the language and symbols, sacraments, confession and intercessions,historical development of the liturgy and so on were discussed in the workshop.
The inaugural session was led by Rev. K. James Cecil Victor, Director, Pastoral Concerns. Dr. Mathew Koshy, Director, CSI Department of Ecological Concerns and Rev. Viju Varkey, Pastoral Board Secretary, Madhya Kerala Diocese have shared their greetings. In his inaugural address, the Moderator recalled that the liturgy starts after the worship for liturgy calls for a response. He emphasised that the congregations can become missional if they practice what they experience in the worship. Dr. Simon John, the Lay Secretary of Madhya Kerala Diocese and a development activist has shared in the keynote address that ‘the purpose of religion is to find purpose, meaning and significance in life. Whereas worship sustains our faith, connects the worshipper with God and human while liturgy is the communication of our feelings and experiences’. Rev. Dr. Alfred Stephen, professor in Homiletics at TTS, Madurai led sessions on liturgical expressions of a missional congregation, missiological confessions and intercessions, sacraments and mission in the Church of South India. Rev. Dr. Jameson, an ordained minister of the Mar Thoma Church and a liturgist, lead sessions on the biblical and theological understanding of worship and liturgy, and effective use of the liturgical language and symbols. Dr. Alfred and Dr. Jameson have brought out the salient features in the liturgy that expresses the theology of the church, experiences of people and expression of our faith. Rev. Dr. T. I. James, the former director of Pastoral Concerns, narrated the historical evolution of liturgy through the decades. He has succinctly pointed out various changes that have taken place in CSI liturgy and explained the liturgical calendar and colours. Dr. Susan Thomas, the Women’s Fellowship President of CSI has shared her views on worship, language and understanding of God construed by our culture and context.
The participants had time to interact, discuss in groups and perform creative liturgies based on the presentations in the workshop. Participants have expressed their gratitude to the synod officers and the Department of Pastoral Concerns for conceiving and implementing this workshop. Feedback suggests that they have learnt new nuances and pedagogical elements in worship and liturgy.
Rev. James Cecil Victor
Director, Pastoral Concerns
To equip the local congregations, pastors, lay people, especially youth and children, towards being transformed to transform. Believing in the motto, 'Be Servants of the Servant Lord', the department focuses on equipping each one of them to have a clear vision about God, Church and Society and deeper passion for Christ and His gospel, rooted in justice and truth.
To provide continuing education to pastors towards equipping them to serve the Church.
To publish Bible study materials and other literature in order to help the pastors and the congregations to meaningfully participate in God's ministry.
To empower the children and youth to bear witness in a changing and challenging world.
To foster leadership qualities among the pastors, youth and children.
To equip the pastors' spouses and other women involved in God's ministry to engage in the same fruitfully and relevantly.
Publication of Bible Studies, Advent Meditation, Lenten Thoughts, Sermon Outlines, Almanac.
Publication of Ministerial Roll, Prayer Diary, Confirmation Curriculum and other Resource Materials.
In-service Training, Personality Development Programmes, Pastors' Summer Family Conference, Young Pastors' Meet, Rural Pastors' Meet.
Regional Youth Programmes, Leadership Development Programmes for Youth and Children.
Regional Children Meet, Sunday School Teachers' Licentiate Course, Peter-Cater Scripture Examination.
Scholarship Programme for Theological Higher Studies, Training in Counselling, Journalism, Homiletics, Liturgy and Worship.
Holy Land Study Tour.