Youth Ministry

What We Offer

The Wesley English Church Youth League’s humble beginning is lost in the mists of time. At one point of that same time, a lot of youth must have congregated here, as Wesley English Church boasted of a library of over two thousand books. Over the years the activities waxed and waned (as did the books). In the sixties (1960s that is), there was a strong movement, and this smoothly slid into the seventies, where Mr. Devakumar headed the strong youth movement which included such stalwarts as Don Manohar Thomas, Meshach Samson, Jason and Jacob Abraham, Ruth and Esther Abraham, Nirmal, Brenda and Yvonne Pavamani, I P Santiago and Christabel Santiago,Vanaja, Jalaja and Neeraja Devanatham, Edwin Moses,Sudhir, Shantala and Manjula Gurumurthy, Molly, Bhaskar Paul, Jemi David, Usha Panicker and Prem Ebenezer. Mr Sonny Devadason, who used to direct plays, was a great inspiration to the youth who looked up to him for guidance.

The eighties saw the mantle pass on, and for some time,Bhasker Paul headed the youth league. During this time, a lot of plays were enacted with the help of Mr I P Santiago.Of course, being youth, they were rebels at this stage of their lives, and all this was reflected in their plays. They were accused of being communists for their efforts. The times saw the likes of Anand, Prasad and Vijay Karat,Manoj Jacob, Raj and Milton Migael, Prakash Joseph,Sunitha & David Arthur, Rashmi & Ruth Gurumurthy,Shobana Devadason and a few more.

Kenny Elisha took over the youth in 1985 and was around for about three years. He left in 1988 as by then he had a touring job. But by that time, the Youth had its own Bank Account, and Manoj Jacob was the treasurer. A subscription of Rs. 5/- per member (which was a lot at that time)was collected and banked. The Youth met regularly each Saturday. Rev. Franklin Macwana contributed a lot with his able support to keep the youth together. In fact, most of the Youth spent almost all their time in Church, doing this and that. During this time, the YMCA came forward to open a YMCA Youth Centre in the Church, and the Youth saw a huge influx of young people during this period of time. They were about 50 strong, and the doors were open to even non – Christians, with the result that at any given time there were quite a few of them around, playing Table Tennis,Volley Ball, Cricket, etc., and taking part in discussions on various religions, impromptu contests in art, creative writing and debating. At one point of time, they even took over the gardening, and planted a number of flowering plants and trees in the Church compound. A number of them still exist today, testimony to their industry.

 

Carol singing was a high point, with everyone crammed into a van, visiting houses and singing at the tops of their voices, and throwing coffee and tea into the bushes (mainly because they got too much of it everywhere, and couldn’t exactly refuse when it was offered to them) and generally having good, clean fun.

In 1990, the Youth came up with the idea of a Church Magazine. They christened it “VOICE”, and went about it with all enthusiasm, really hoping that it would be the voice of Wesley English Church. The inaugural copy came out in June 1990. Miss Avoreen Simmons, popularly know as Dicky, gave a lot of support in getting this magazine out by arranging for sponsors, and getting people to put in ads as well. The magazine was spearheaded by David Timothy,Herbert Paul and Kenny Elisha. David took care of the 35 editorials, collecting info and getting the whole magazine in shape, Herbert took care of design and printing, also a cartoon section called ‘Grin & Bear’. Kenny chipped in with his short stories. It must be said here that the late Mr. Jonas Swamidoss contributed hugely to it, with his experiences of Bangalore in the 1940s, when he came here from Burma, and his endless supply of jokes. Hats off to him. Slowly, other young people got involved and worked towards writing articles, poems and short stories. As more people stepped to contribute, the magazine also saw change in technology, from letter press to digital, so the layouts looked more creative and cost effective as well. Some of the other youth members who got involved at that time were, Sunil Abraham, Vinay & Vandana Paramanand, Amitha & Ajitha Santiago, Aashish & Neelima Joshua. This was the dawn of a new set of youth members as the older ones drifted away due to jobs and marriage.

Subsequent issues did come out for the next year or so, but then tapered off due to apathy on the part of the Church Members. It did revive in fits and starts, but by the end of 1997, it was gone.The last issue was dated December 1997, as far as can be recalled.

 

At this time Fredrick Suresh and his wife Sudha took up leadership, and was supported by the then presbyterincharge,Rev. Vasantha Kumar.He personally came in to some of the youth meetings and took up bible classes and spent sometime talking with the youth members to get their opinions and views.

Rev. J A D Selwyn’s arrival saw more young people who had graduated from Sunday School to youth, come and take active roles, like Ajith Devadason, Naveen Gilbert, Naveen Victor, Shalini ,Sarah and Rebecca John, Revathi and Rohan Nathaniel. Rev. Selwyn noticed that music was a very strong media in which to bring in more involvement of youth and church members, so he started, ‘Gospel Call’, an evening service with lots of music on the third Sunday of each month. He and Herbert Paul invited gospel music groups,youth groups to perform every month and had many big and interesting speakers to deliver messages. The services saw speakers on the pulpit from different denominations and this brought a lot of people from outside to attend these
services. The youth helped out in arranging the evening services and taking care of the guests.

For a short while, Mr Jacob Cherian and his wife Jamilla brought some young people together to have bible studies.Later, they shifted out of town because of a job transfer.

After this, the youth slowly disbanded, and for some time there was no youth so to speak of. They scattered like chaff in the wind. Each went his or her own way, and rarely met. If they met at all, it was outside Church, since they obviously felt more comfortable in a non – church atmosphere.

Right now Mr. S. Joseph Jaya Kumar is in charge of the current crop of Youth. He has managed to gather about 15 or so youth around him, and is doing a good job in keeping them together.
They meet regularly either on Saturday evenings or Sunday mornings and get involved in discussions,Bible studies and games. During Harvest Festival they were active by visiting houses for
contributions, decorating the church, organizing and managing games stalls with great enthusiasm. During Christmas they were also part of the caroling group and most of them were present all the days of caroling.

 

They had their first “out of Church” activity when they participated in “ARPITH 2009” the Youth Festival of St.Andrew’s Church. The main aim was to participate and let elders know that the Youth Fellowship of Wesley English Church was back with a bang. As they were participating for the first time in events such as these, they were not able to bring back any trophies, mainly due to lack of experience. Nevertheless, it was a good beginning. The enthusiasm our youth exhibited when meeting to practice for the events and achieve some goals was awesome. They hope to do better in the future.

They had their maiden YOUTH RETREAT titled “ARISE AND BUILD” in the month of March-2010, to emphasize the togetherness and greater responsibility towards the Church, and Church – centred activities. Sessions were conducted by Rev. Florence Deenadayalan, Rev. Sathish Timothy and Rev. Jebaraj Louis,which helped provide an insight into each individual’s self realization, so that they could assess their importance in playing a constructive role in life of the Church.The Youth have formed a singing group and are preparing to participate in various inter –church Youth programmes.They have been singing at most of the occasions in Church, and are now making their presence felt once more. Thank goodness for that!

The earnest hope is that the Youth of Wesley English Church go forward into the future with greater recognized responsibility in the Church with the full co – operation of the elders. With Joe in charge, there may not be any problems at all, and there is every possibility that the youth will bloom again, and be as it used to be during the earlier decades.

 

The congregation as a whole wish them all the very best of Lady Luck!

Inputs from: Kenny Elisha, Don Manohar Thomas, Bhasker Paul,Manoj Jacob, Herbert Paul, David Timothy, David Arthur and Joseph Jaya Kumar