History of Jerusalem Mar Thoma Church, Ambarnath
A small congregation of about 50 Marthomites held a meeting at Qr. No. H-76/2, Ordnance Estate, Ambarnath on 14th June 1965, under the presidentship of Rev. Simon Abraham and passed a resolution to get sanction to form a parish.
The congregation got sanction to form a parish by then missionary Bishop, Rt. Rev. Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom Episcopa on 22nd July 1965 and the parish started to function from 1st August 1965 with a membership of 31 families.
Ambarnath parish had a very humble beginning. Our worship services were conducted in the Anglican church, now called St. Thomas CNI Church, Wimco on rental basis till we constructed our own church.
Rev. T.C. Thomas was our vicar from 1966 to 1970. With Achen’s continued efforts and active participation from all the parishnors, helped in raising fund to purchase a plot for the church building. On this occasion we remember the renowned playback singer, Shri. K.J. Yesudas, who willingly accepted our request and came and conducted a ganamela for raising fund on free of charge.
A plot measuring 1010 Sq. meters was purchased in the year 1967. With untiring and whole hearted efforts of our then Vicar, Rev. K.L. Yesudasan, the executive committee and also the sincere co-operation from the church members, the foundation stone was laid on 17th June 1979 by the Diocesan Bishop, Rt. Rev. Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom Episcopa.
Although the construction was not completed, we started with first worship service in the year 1981. Rev. T.P. Koshy (junior) took over the charge from Rev. K.L. Yesudasan in the month of May 1981 and the construction of the church was completed in the year 1982.
The church was consecrated on 6th November 1982 by the Diocesan Bishop, Rt. Rev. Dr. Joseph Mar Irenaeus Episcopa. Thus a long cherished dream to have a parish was fulfilled by the grace of God. This prelude of history of the parish cannot be completed without the names of Rev. T.C. Thomas, Rev. K.L. Yesudasan and Rev. T.P. Koshy (junior) for their selfless and hard work.
Till 1987 the vicars of Kalyan church had the additional charge of Ambarnath parish. Rev. K.E. Easow assumed responsibilities of our parish as its first full time vicar from 1987 till 1990. Achen took the initiative of building a parsonage and was dedicated on 17th March 1988 by the Diocesan Bishop at that time Late Rt. Rev. Easow Mar Thimotheos Episcopa.
Rev. Abraham Thomas assumed parish responsibilities from 1990. Achen’s ministry strengthened various organisations in the church, especially the choir. Under his leadership, English Holy Communion service was started from August 1990 for youth and children born and brought up here for their active participation in service.
Rev. Abraham Thomas on his personal interest and along with the then Executive Committee started an additional service in Ulhasnagar for the Marthomites staying there on every 3rd Sunday at Fatima primary School Chapel. This fellowship sowed the seeds of thought for the formation of a separate congregation. It is happy to note that from a small congregation it has now become a full fledged church in Ulhasnagar.
The silver jubilee was also celebrated in the year 1990. On the visit of then Diocesan Bishop Rt. Rev. Gevarghese Mar Athanasius Episcopa for the Silver Jubilee, His Lordship named our church as “JERUSALEM” Mar Thoma Church, Ambarnath.
In new millennium, the dream to renovate the church and construct a parish hall was within every parishoner’s heart. Rev. Alexander Tharakan T.K. took an initiative towards it. In the year 2004, the process gained momentum to raise fund. Rev. Joji K. Mathew assumed as vicar of our parish. With his active leadership and ceaseless hardwork, we could raise initial cost for the construction work.
Rev. Shaji Thomas took over as Vicar in the year 2005, whose sincere and dedicated efforts helped us not only in raising fund to build a parish hall & renovate the church, but also in attaining new heights of spiritual wisdom. The dedication of parish hall and internally modified Madbaha was solemnised by then diocesan Bishop, Rt. Rev. Joseph Mar Barnabas Episcopa on 3rd June 2006.
Our Church celebrated its Golden Jubilee in the year 2014-15. Our Diocesan Bishop, Rt. Rev. Dr. Thomas Mar Theethos Episcopa had inaugurated our Golden Jubilee Celebration on 24th August 2014. Our church adopted a slogan for Golden Jubilee, “Committed To Charity”. During Golden Jubilee year, we uphold charity as the mainstay of our activities, thus trying to fulfill our Christian responsibilities towards weaker section of society.
Since our earlier parsonage was unoccupied for almost 20 years. So as a part of our Golden Jubilee project, the edavaka decided to construct a new parsonage by demolishing the old one. The foundation stone for the new parsonage was laid by our ex-vicar, Rev. Saju Chacko and then acting vicar, Rev. Saji Thomas on 7th May 2015. The dedication of our new parsonage along with the closing ceremony of our Golden Jubilee Celebration was done by our Diocesan Bishop, Rt. Rev. Dr. Thomas Mar Theethos on 5th December 2015.
Ever since the formation of St. James MTC, Ulhasnagar in the year 1994, Ambarnath and Ulhasnagar parish shared the services of one vicar. Considering our request for a full time vicar, our Metropolitan Bishop, Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma and our Diocesan Bishop, Rt. Rev. Dr. Thomas Mar Theethos Episcopa was kind enough to post a full time vicar for our parish. Rev. Dr. C.P. Mathew took over the charge of our parish as a full time vicar from September 2015.
Today Jerusalem Mar Thoma church has 82 families with a total strength of 285 members. The Almighty Lord led us through a course of steady growth, from the humble beginning of a few families coming together to worship over 50 years ago. All these years we have been blessed by the grace of the Almighty God. May the Lord help us to “dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness” in all humility and mutual care.
As we look back we cannot but praise God from whom all blessings flows as we go forward it is our prayer that our church may continue to grow as a model parish. May God Almighty strengthen us to work, so that it’s testimony to the glorious truth of God may continue in future.