September 2003


Dearly beloved in the Lord,

             As our  children and youth are at the threshold of another school year, let me briefly share with you some of my thoughts on education . The meaning of  the word “to educate” is to draw out. It is from the Latin ‘educare’ which means to draw out the innate talents of students. In other words, education is not just pumping information into the heads and minds of the students but bringing out their hidden abilities, talents and skills. The ultimate goal of education  should be fullness of life for all; not life for a few and penury and death for others.

             Christian education doesn’t necessarily  mean education within the four walls of the Church or Sunday School education or catechism or education in Christian schools by Christian teachers. It really means education with a Christian perspective. We can see it as Christian presence in the field of education. Again this is not to be taken as some sort of a Christian communal presence but a transforming,  healing and reconciling presence. The basic question here is whether  are we bearers of life or death in our educational task? In the words of Paulo Frere, education is for liberation i.e.. liberation from individualism, injustice, superstitions, fanaticism, casteism etc.

             While negating the ‘banking concept of education’,  as Paulo Frere and others point out we need to enable our students to discover by raising the question and wonder ‘why’ ? Nevertheless, as we all know, information is almost an industry now! It seems as if we don’t have to collect information  these days; everything is stored in for us. Here we need to know only the techniques. Well, the probing question here is what is the purpose of information? Does it enable one to have informed actions  and right choices in life? The basic question is whether our actions are determined by convictions or convenience?


             Unlike the Western approach with its rational  objectivity, in  the Indian epistemology the knower is also transformed in the process of knowing. Does our education give insight into the meaning and mystery of life? In the modern scientific age, in an attempt to promote scientific temper, experiences of reality are reduced into definable and marketable commodities? Gen. Omar Bradely talks about this predicament of modern humanity in the following words:


             We have too many men of science; too few men of God. We have grasped the mystery of atom and rejected the sermon on the mount. The world has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace; more about killing than we do  about living .


            Our knowledge becomes wisdom only when it is at the service of God and human beings in the community. Here I am reminded of my own experience with a group of committed teachers in Kuttapuzha Parish  who initiated a project in connection with the Golden Jubilee of the Parish known as ‘Empowerment through Education’ for the less privileged in the community. These classes are conducted regularly in the evening. The question is whether we can  make our life a vocation. Let us constantly remind ourselves that all of us are accountable people; we are accountable to God and to other human beings. The task of Christian education is to enable our students to make right choices in life  by inculcating the values of the Kingdom of God  such as love, justice, fellowship and  compassion as taught and lived by Christ. Our life is God’s gift to us; what we make of it is our gift to God.


 I wish all our students a meaningful and blessed academic year.


 In His ministry,


 Abraham Achen

Rev. Dr. K. A. Abraham Achen

Dr. K. A. Abraham Achen is from Anicad and Annis Kochamma is from Pullad. They have two children, daughter, Roshin, who is 20 and currently doing her BS in Psychology at Women’s Christian College in Madras. Achen and Kochammas’ Son Christy is 18, and is currently working towards an Engineering Degree in Kerala.

Achen is a very educated in God’s words and has also taught in Seminary. Achen has done his Bachelors in Divinity, Masters in Theology, and Doctorate in Theology from Serampore University in Calcutta. Kochamma has done her diploma in Christian Service at United Theological College in Bangalore.

Achen has served as Vicar for a number of churches including at Neyyatinkara in South Kerala, Bhilai in Madhya Pradesh, New Delhi, Maramon, Kutapuzha in Thiruvilla. Abraham Achen has served one term on the full time faculty of the Mar Thoma Seminary in Kottayam. Achen also served as manager of schools while at Maramon.

Achen also serves on the governing board of Bossey Ecumenical Institute, which is part of the WCC. Achen was a member of the Sabha Council for one term, then member of CSI-CNI joint council, member of Mar Thoma Theological Commission, and also member of Mar Thoma- Lutheran Dialogue Commission in India.

Achen is well known as a great Orator and dynamic Bible Teacher. Achen has led many sessions during clergy and organizational conferences. Achen has published two books featuring a series of Bible Studies, Pentecost, and Mission published by CSS Thiruvalla and has edited a book on Family published by the Niranam-Maramon Diocese.

email Achen at


Vicars of the Past Quarter Century
(including Vicars of the Mar Thoma Congregation of Greater New York)

Mar Thoma Congregation of Greater New York
Rev. Oommen Koruthu (Student Achen later elevated as 
Bishop Zacharias Mar Theophilus)
May 1975 — Aug. 1975
Rev. K. S. Mathew   (Student Achen) Sept. 1975 – Sept. 1977
Rev. Thomas P. George    (Student Achen) Sept. 1977 – Aug. 1979
(Late) Rev. M. V. Benjamin      Sept. 1979 – May 1981

St. Thomas Mar Thoma Church, New York
(Late) Rev. M. V. Benjamin Co-Chairman Ad-hoc Committee Church in formation     Oct. 1980 - Jan. 1981 
  Vicar                                        Jan. 1981 - May 1981
(Late) Rev. K. J. Philip Co-Chairman  Ad-hoc Committee Church in formation  Oct. 1980 - Jan. 1981
  Associate Vicar                      Jan. 1981 - Aug. 1981
Rev. N. M. Cherian Vicar of all Mar  Thoma Congregations in New York May 1981 - June 1983
Rev. Dr. T. Jacob Thomas      (Student Achen)  
  Assistant Vicar July 1981 - May 1983
  Vicar     June 1983 - Mar. 1985
Rev. George Varghese   Mar. 1985 - April 1989
Rev. Johnson Varghese          June 1989 - May 1992
Rev. Dr. T. P. Abraham      June 1992 - May 1995
Rev. P. M.  Thomas   May 1995 - April 1999
Rev. K. Y. Jacob             May 1999 - June 1999
Rev. Thomas P. Chandy      June 1999 – May 2002
Rev. Dr. K. A. Abraham        May 2002 - Present