Diocese of South-West America

Morth Mariam Vanitha Samajam

Motto – “Pray, Act and Shine”

GUIDELINES

 

 

 

 

Diocesan Level

 

President:The Diocesan Metropolitan will be the president of the Diocesan MMVS.

Vice President: The President will appoint a priest form the Diocese as the Vice President.

General Secretary:The President will appoint a General Secretary from the members of the Diocesan MMVS.

Treasurer: The Treasurer will be elected during the Diocesan Conference and appointed by the President.

 

 

The term of office for the Vice President, General Secretary and Treasurer will be three years.

 

Diocesan Committee: The Diocesan committee for the MMVS comprises of the President, Vice President, General Secretary, Treasurer and all the Regional secretaries of the MMVS.

 

Auditor: The Diocesan Conference will elect an auditor for MMVS and her term of office will be one year.

 

•There will be an annual conference at the diocesan level preferably during the month of September. The future venue and date for the conference is decided during the annual conference. During the diocesan conference, the Treasurer, Talent and Examination Coordinator and the Auditor are elected.

 

•The final talent competitions and examinations will be conducted at the diocesan level during the conference based on the winners at the regional levels.

 

•The Morth Mariam Samajam Day is celebrated every year on August 15th or the following Sunday with special prayers and receiving of Holy Qurbana.

 

•On August 15th, there will be a cover collection and with the permission of the Diocesan Metropolitan, the envelopes will be mailed to all the units in the diocese.

 

•Expenses of the MMVS at the Diocesan level are met by the registration fee contributed by each parish. The minimum fee is maintained as $100.00 and any donation for charity is also welcome. Every Church should send the Registration fee before the end of March

 

•The Diocese MMVS should be registered with the Central Office of MMVS at Kottayam, India.

Regional Level

 

MMVS of the Diocese of South-West America is divided into 6 regions: Mid-West, West, South-East, South (Houston), South (Dallas) and North-West.

 

•The Vice President who is a clergy will be appointed by the Diocesan Metropolitan.

 

•The Secretary of each region shall be elected in the annual Diocesan Conference and will be appointed by the Metropolitan.

 

•The activities in the region are to be coordinated and carried out by the Regional Secretary in consultation with the General Secretary and the regional Vice President.

 

•The members in the Region should meet at least two times a year, according to their time and convenience. If the Region is not divided by the Areas, it should conduct the Regional Level Talent and Quiz Competitions at this time. The winners will take part in Diocesan Level Competitions.

 

•All Regional Secretaries are expected to keep in touch with the unit secretaries in their region on a monthly basis and if possible, visit the parishes as well. The visits are to be coordinated with the unit officials/area secretaries and are to be carried out keeping in mind the motto of MMVS and with the attitude of humility and servitude.

 

•Regional Secretaries must submit their annual report to the General Secretary before the next Annual Conference.

 

 

Area Level

 

•The units in an area should meet together once every 3 months. It should be conducted as a half-day or full day seminar/conference and should be presided over by a Priest or a Deacon. Area level Talent and Quiz competitions can be conducted at this time. Area level winners will take part in the regional competitions and from there in the Annual Competitions at the Diocesan level. The activities in the area are to be coordinated and carried out by the Area Secretary in consultation with the Regional Secretary and the General Secretary. All Area Secretaries are expected to contact the Unit Secretaries in their area on a monthly basis and if time and distance permit, visit the parishes as well. The visits are to be coordinated with the unit officials and are to be carried out keeping in mind the Motto of MMVS with the attitude of servant fellowship.

 

•Area Secretaries should maintain the reports of each meeting and submit to the General Secretary as soon as the meeting is over.

•The area secretary shall be elected in the area level meeting.

 

 

 

Parish Level

 

The Vicar shall be the President of the MMVS at the parish level. Besides the president, the following officials shall be elected.

Vice President Elect from the members (If needed)

Secretary Elect every year

Joint secretary Elect every year

Treasurer Elect every year

Committee Elect every year minimum7 and maximum15 women including the Secretary, Joint Secretary and Treasurer.

Unit Level Activities

  • All the activities at the unit level must be coordinated and carried out in consultation with the Vicar of the parish under his direction and guidance.
  • The unit should meet at least once a month, preferably after the Sunday Worship in the presence of the Vicar or someone who is authorized by the Vicar. If possible, meeting more than once a month is appreciated to enrich our spirituality.
  • Meetings may be started with a short opening prayer followed by singing hymns or practicing the song and prayer which are to be learned that year.
  • Since 2 Books from the Bible are to be studied in detail every year, it will be ideal to read one chapter each Sunday and repeat the books upon completion.
  • The Secretary will then read the minutes (report) of the previous meeting.
  • Then, a message from the Vicar or by the person who is authorized by the Vicar is followed; Preparing questions and answers pertaining to the Bible reading or from the study of our faith for that year will prepare everyone for the annual exam as well as quiz competition ahead of time. Such spiritual activities will also attract the youngsters to the meeting.
  • There can be other discussions including fund raising, volunteering, visiting the sick or charity work. The meeting then ends with a closing prayer.
  • Since all women in the Church are members of Morth Mariam Samajam, insist and encourage them to participate in all the activities in addition to paying a membership fee of $10.00 minimum every year.
  • All ladies must be reminded of the importance of having family prayer, observing lent and fast, participating and receiving the Holy Qurbana regularly. The ladies are the backbone of the families and thus can influence the spiritual life in the family.
  • Remember the Church, the Diocese, the Catholicose, Holy Synod, Clergy including our Seminarians, all Missionaries and Evangelists, Spiritual Organizations and all the believers in our prayers.

 

Treasurer or/and Secretary must remember to renew the Registration of the Unit with the Diocese before March 31st of every year. The minimum registration is $100.00 every year.

 

For fund raising, plan ahead for Food sale, Auctions or Bake sales. The money raised may be used for unit activities and charity projects. All fundraisings are to be coordinated and carried out only in consultation with the Vicar of the parish and under his direction and control.

 

At least 2 members (two minimum and more according to the membership) must attend the Annual Diocesan Conference and their expenses must be budgeted in the annual budget. At the beginning of the year in January, the detailed plan of action including a budget is to be prepared with the programs and activities planned for the year by the committee and presented to the MMVS general meeting at the parish level. The fund disbursements of the unit should be decided by the committee. The annual report including finances should be presented to the committee and the general meeting.

Ideas for strengthening the Unit levels

  1. All units are required to carry out activity/program only in consultation with their Parish Vicars.
  2. All ladies over the age of 18 are required to be members of MMVS irrespective of their memberships in MGOCSM or any other spiritual young/adult groups. Only those who are active in MMVS must be allowed to participate in the Talent Competitions. This can be accomplished by maintaining a minutes book to mark the attendance in each meeting.
  3. Each Unit Secretary must compile a list of members in their parish which includes e-mail addresses and telephone numbers of each member. The Unit secretary is required to forward the messages and information received from the diocese/region to the members at the unit level, so that the members are fully aware of the various events or activities.
  4. Members are to keep Christian values and principles in mind and witness Christ to one another and the community. Only through an attitude of love and sacrifice can we serve our family and the Church.
  5. Make an extra effort to encourage younger generation to take leadership roles. Senior members are encouraged to give an opportunity to the younger leaders and ensure all support and help so that MMVS becomes a vibrant and growth oriented unit at the parish level.

 

Guidelines for Quiz, Talent Competition and Examination

 

Quiz competitions

Quiz Competitions should be conducted at unit, area, and regional and diocesan levels.

At the unit level, quiz competitions can be conducted as individuals or groups.

At the area level, quiz competitions can be conducted as individuals, groups or as parishes.

At the regional & diocesan levels, there are no individual competitions. Each parish is to be represented as one group.

Questions for the competition at the unit level can be prepared by the Unit Secretary in consultation with the Parish Priest.

Quiz questions at the area level can be prepared by the regional secretary in consultation with one of our Priests while keeping the General Secretary and the Vice President informed of the process. (The quiz questions and answers at the unit and area levels must be reviewed by the Priests to confirm that the questions and answers are correct and conform to the faith and teachings of the Church).

For the regional level quiz, the questions will be sent from the diocese and prizes will be distributed at the Diocese Annual Conference.

 

Talent competitions

Introductory regulations:

Talent competitions will be conducted first at the parish level, then at the area level if the region is divided in to areas; otherwise from the parish level, the winners will go to the regional level. All the first prize winners who competed at the region level will participate at Diocesan level competitions conducted during the Annual Conference and prizes will be awarded at that time. The basic criteria for participation in the talent competitions are that each participant must be actively involved in the activities of MMVS and if a question arises, the concerned Vicar must certify the said eligibility in writing. Only for solo song, there are 2 age groups. All other items, there are no age restrictions.

 

Items:

Songs:

  1. A. Solo Song: Malayalam or English

Age group:

  1. Malayalam solo song age 18- 40
  2. Malayalam solo song age 41 and above
  3. English solo song age 18-40
  4. English solo song age 41 and above
  • Song can only be Christian devotional songs. No musical instruments or background tapes are allowed for songs.
  • Copies of the solo song must be brought by the participant for all the judges.
  • Books or notes are NOT allowed to be used by the participants for any competition items

Time (Maximum) 3 minutes.

 

  1. B. Group Song – Malayalam

The group will have to select any one song from the three songs given for group songs from the Diocese: (in Malayalam only).

  • A participating group must have a minimum of two (2) participants and a maximum of 5 participants
  • Time (Maximum) 3 minutes
  • No musical instruments or background tapes are allowed for songs.

 

  1. C. Elocution – Malayalam or English
  • Topic will be given from the Diocese
  • Maximum time for elocution competitions: 5 Minutes
  • Books or notes are NOT allowed to be used by the participants
  • Speech should have an introduction, a main body and a conclusion/message.

 

General Rules:

  1. Only a member who is active in MMVS can participate in a maximum of three items from the events given below of the Talent Competitions:

A. Solo Song: Malayalam or English

B. Group Song – Malayalam

C. Elocution – Malayalam or English

 

  1. Each Participant's name will be called three times, and if the candidate does not report at that time, she will miss the chance to compete.
  2. Judge’s decision will be final. Judges are to be selected applying uniform rule: Only one judge from each of the participating Churches. Judges must not be relatives of the participants.
  3. Results of the competition will only be announced later.
  4. Awards are given only to 1st and 2nd Place winners.

Annual Examination

  1. Annual Examination will be conducted every year on the scheduled date.
  2. Syllabus for the exam will be announced and circulated to all unit secretaries for distribution in the parish MMVS & is also published on the diocesan website.
  3. The study material is prepared in both Malayalam & English. The candidate must decide the choice of language for the exam at the time of registering. Once the language is decided, no changes will be allowed.
  4. The participants are to be requested to write only in the language that they have chosen – Malayalam or English. For this exam, we are not in a position to accommodate any participant’s request to write in both Malayalam and English.
  5. Each Unit secretary has to complete the registration form with full details of the candidates requested (particularly name of the candidate, telephone number and e-mail address) & send the form after obtaining the Vicar’s signature.
  6. As the question paper will be prepared in the requested language, candidates cannot switch the language at the last minute.
  7. Each Center must be staffed with a suitable proctor. Proctors are not to be related to persons taking the exam. They must have the time to actually supervise the examination. Sunday school Teachers and other educators are preferred as they generally are more familiar with the conduct of the exams.
  8. Cities that have more than 1 Church are recommended to have a common center where they can come together easily. However, Dallas, Houston & Chicago may have more than 1 center as there may be a larger number of people writing the exam.

Let us look at these competitions and exams as a venue for coming together in love and fellowship to learn the Word of God and thus praise and glorify God. These events are being organized as competitions only to add some excitement to the process of spiritual empowerment and growth that we hope to attain. We pray that all that we do helps us mothers, sisters and daughters to walk with God in a worthy manner and thus witness Christ to the community and to the world at large.

 

We as members of MMVS who are leading and serving have to remember that we are servants in this great ministry of our Church, that we are role models and that we are witnessing the great life of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. When we come together in humility and dedicate our time and effort for the glory of God, we will make MMVS a light in our Diocese. May God bless us as we work together with an open mind for His Glory.

 

Approved and signed by Diocesan Metropolitan

His Grace Alexios Mar Eusebius

Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church,Diocese of South-West America, 3101 Hopkins Rd Beasley, TX 77417 Ph: 281.403.0670 · Fax: 281-459-0814

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