We have identified five schemes that we intend to inaugurate this year, as part of the City Mission Project.
- Service to non-Keralite Labourers Camping in the City and Suburbs
It is estimated that in Trivandrum and its suburbs there are about fifty thousand labourers from outside the State. Many of them are from Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, Assam and other northern and north-eastern states, and most of them are employed in the construction field. Some 1000 to 1500 of the labourers are believed to be Christians. Many of them are eager for Gospel and Church services in their own language, or at least in Hindi, which most of them have in common as their language of communication. Both our Achens, Rev. Raju Jacob and Rev. Sumod Cherian, have worked for many years in North India, and are fluent in Hindi, and we have some other members who are also proficient in the language. Our intention is to reach out to these Hindi speaking brothers, proclaim the Gospel to them, and provide worship services for them in Hindi. We are calling for volunteers from our Church, who can communicate in Hindi, to work among these visitors to our State.
- Assistance to Students of the Fort Mission Girlsâ€™ School
The Fort Mission Girlsâ€™ High School is a Government aided school under the management of a Board, the majority of whose members are from Christ Church, under the chairmanship of the Bishop of the CSI South Kerala Diocese. The school has over 700 students studying in six classes from Standards 5 to 10. The majority of the girls are from economically weak Hindu families of the Fort area. As part of our City Mission Project we intend to provide two types of assistance to the students of the school. First, we have agreed to bear the cost, from March 2012, of supplying all the children with nutritious food to supplement the diet which is available to them under the Governmentâ€™s Mid-day Meal Scheme. Second, we have undertaken to grant scholarships to the five most deserving students who complete their Tenth Standard this year and are desirous of continuing their education in Standards XI and XII. The tuition fees for the two years in any school in Trivandrum will be borne by the Church. Further, after two years, the most deserving student from among these five will be granted a scholarship to continue with her college education. We hope through these schemes to build a closer rapport between Christ Church and these mainly non-Christian students, so that they may come to have a deeper appreciation of Christian love and service.
- Medical Assistance to the Poor in the Areas around our Outstations
In spite of government and private expenditure on health care, the social and economic inequalities in our society result in much of the population being denied appropriate health care. Christ Church and its organizations, especially the Medical Forum, can help alleviate this problem by providing free and good quality medical assistance through regular medical camps. In the beginning the proposed camps will target our Outstation churches at Karali, Muttathara and Mudavanmugal. The services provided in these camps will focus on i) Disease prevention ii) Preventive screening and management iii) Training in basic life-saving skills and iv) Disease treatment. The medical team will include general physicians, specialist doctors, dentists, nursing staff, and other health personnel. Medical camps will be conducted once in three months on a rotatory or request basis in one of the three Outstation churches. The medical team will conduct the camps with the assistance of the local parish members, and with resources from Christ Church. Through this health ministry we hope to proclaim the Gospel of Christâ€™s love to the sick by following, though on a very modest scale, the example of the great missionary doctors of the past and the present.
- Prayer Lines for Extending Comfort to the Distressed
All around us are men, women and children who suffer from a variety of problems – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. While parents or other elders in the family, teachers, and doctors can provide solutions to many of these troubles, there are some kinds of suffering for which spiritual solace is essential. Many people, including some members of our parish suffer, often silently, with no one to turn to for help or comfort. Help for such people can be provided by specially gifted or specially committed and compassionate persons. Realizing the urgency of this problem, we have initiated the opening of Prayer Lines through which distressed souls can speak in confidence to selected members of our Church, and be comforted, prayed for, and helped to find solutions to their problems. This Christian service, though meant initially for members of our Church, may be extended in future to others. The names and telephone numbers of eight of our members who have come forward to share in this great responsibility are given in the TIDINGS. The Prayer Lines are open at all times, and at least one of the members would be available for assistance at any time of the day or night.