Praise be to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by whose abundant Grace and Blessings, CSI Parish Sharjah got established on 1st April 1996 to worship God in our native tongue. Being only 18 years old, Sharjah Parish is the youngest of the three CSI Parishes in UAE. When we look back and ponder through these 16 years of history, we cannot but fall prostrate, adore and worship Jesus for the wondrous blessings showered on us as a parish in this foreign land. We are obliged to remember these blessings with thanksgiving and with firm determination to fulfill our obligations for the Glory of God.
It was about 40 years ago; that a few dedicated Malayalee CSI Christians joined together and started a prayer group in Dubai, which by Grace of God, gradually grew in strength and progressed to form CSI Parish Dubai in 1978. Many of the CSI Malayalees living in Sharjah at that time joined the Dubai Parish. However, as time passed by, the number of CSI Members residing in Sharjah started increasing and many could not attend the Parish activities in Dubai constrained by distance and lack of affordable transport facilities. As such, they started sending their children to Sunday Schools run by other Christian denominations in Sharjah and themselves started attending these worship services.
In 1994, an area prayer got initiated at Sharjah as a part of Dubai Parish. Gradually this grew in strength and led to the starting of monthly Church Worship service in Sharjah, and the first CSI Malayalam Communion Service took place at St. Martins’ Church, Sharjah in July 1995. As the attendance to this service increased, the frequency of the service was increased to being twice a month. The Church Choir also commenced its full-fledged activity. The need for Sunday school for the children was of paramount importance and as such, scripture classes began in September 1995 with as few as 28 children.
The necessity of having an independent parish in Sharjah to serve the maximum numbers of CSI Malayalees living in Sharjah and the Northern Emirates to church activities was felt expedient. Accordingly, the Madhya Kerala Diocesan Bishop Rt. Rev Dr. Sam Mathew was approached, who gave all necessary guidance and help to proceed in this matter.
A Constitution Committee was formed, which drafted a constitution and after detailed discussions, it was passed by the congregation. This was sent to Madhya Kerala Diocesan Bishop for approval. The Bishop approved the constitution and gave his consent to start the CSI Parish, Sharjah with effect from 1st April 1996. Thirumeni officially inaugurated the Parish on 10th May, 1996. Until such time a vicar for Sharjah Parish was posted, Late Very Rev. ME John, who was then the vicar of Dubai Parish was given the additional charge of Sharjah Parish as a pro-tem vicar.
Rev. Alexander Cherian was posted to Sharjah in May 1996, and took charge of the parish on 20th May. Being a young and dedicated presbyter, Achen worked hard tirelessly and the parish developed steadily. An outstation service was started at Ras Al Khaimah in 1996 itself with regular fortnightly worship services. The Youth Movement and Women’s’ Fellowship got formed and developed very well during Achens’ tenure. Rev. Alexander Cherian having completed his three year term in April 1999 and on his transfer back to Kerala, Very Rev. PV Varghese was posted and took over as vicar of this parish in May 1999. Though Achen lived alone without family, his period of service in this parish was a time of growth for the parish. He completed his tenure in April 2002 and was transferred back to Kerala.
Rev. Mathews K Elenjikkal then took charge of the parish as vicar in May 2002. Under his able vicar ship, the parish grew very well. It was with Achen’s farsighted leadership that we were able to participate in the church building construction as a constituent member of the Sharjah Worship Centre. His ability in fund raising in this respect was commendable and the construction progressed very well. However, Achen having completed his tenure got transferred back to Kerala in May 2005. His term in Sharjah witnessed phenomenal growth of the parish and shall be remembered for all the good work he has done here.
Rev. CM Mathew took over as vicar of this parish in May 2005 and continued from where Rev. K Mathews Elenjikkal had left. Many memorable events have happened by the Grace of God during his tenure. The Church building construction (SWC) was completed in November 2005 and our Bishop Rt. Rev. Thomas Samuel dedicated the church on 2nd December 2005. A souvenir was published to mark this event. Also, as a thanksgiving on this blessed occasion, the parish Youth Movement sponsored and financed the construction of a church building at Kombukuthy for the Thottapradesha Mission. An outstation worship service was started at Um Al Quwain in 2006. The Almaya Fellowship was started in 2007. A new parsonage was rented conveniently near our church and dedicated on 3rd May 2008. During this period, the parish did witness a remarkable growth in membership. Achen having completed his term of 3 years in Sharjah, was transferred back to Kerala in April 2008. The parish will remember him with gratitude for all the good works he has done for the spiritual and organizational develo ment of the parish.
Rev. George Mathew took over as the vicar of this parish on 8th May 2008. Being a promising young talented and dynamic presbyter, the aspects of spiritual development was given a big impetus during his tenure. The membership of the parish hadgrown tremendously during his tenure. The most outstanding achievement during the period was the initiation to construct three church buildings in the three Dioceses of Kerala, viz., Chorakkulam – North Kerala, Kulamav – East Kerala, and Kavalam – Madhya Kerala respectively. A formal segregation of the Parish into 21 geographical zones for ecumenical prayer fellowship got formed as well. These area prayer groups are well organized and disciplined groups led by dedicated leaders assigned by the parish and conducts prayer fellowships in their areas on the First Fridays of each month. Achen also paved the way for ecumenical unity with Marthoma Parish by conducting Unity services jointly with CSI-Marthoma Parishes, and is being continued till date without any fail. After completion of his successful three year of service in Sharjah, Achen was transferred back to Kerala in May 2011. The parish will remember him with thanks for all good works he has done for the spiritual and organizational development of the parish.
Rev. Jacob John Mullackal joined the Parish as the new Vicar in May 2011. Being a well experienced Presbyter and a good orator, his tenure is expected to be a period for spiritual growth in the parish. He is being ably assisted by Kochamma Dr. (Mrs.) Sally Jacob, an educationist and the Women’s Fellowship secretaryof the Diocese. Achen’s regular house visit of the parishioners as well as his association with other denominations locally are very much encouraging for the development of the Christian brotherhood. The membership in the parish has increased substantially. Two of the proposed church constructions have already been completed and dedicated. Regular Bible study classes are being conducted under his leadership. Area prayer and Fasting prayer are also progressing very well. During 2012, with the initiative of Achen, the parish has started Members Captive Social Benefit Program to provide members life & body repatriation coverage with minimal membership fee. Also the Parish acquired a brand new Toyota Innova for Vicar’s parish visit and outstation services. In short, Achen’s tenure in the parish will be a period of all round development. Achen was transferred to Kollakadavu in 2014.
Rev Das George, taken charge in 2014 June as the new vicar. Achen’s experience as the project leader of CSSM and Youth Movement of MKD, will help the Sharjah parish to cherish during his tenure.
God has blessed us with all these heavenly blessings in a foreign land for which we shall ever remain thankful to Him, and adore Him and worship Him by doing His will.