It has been an incredible journey for members of the St.Thomas Mar Thoma Church of Delaware Valley, in forming and building our Church in the western suburbs of Philadelphia. There has been a lot of energy, enthusiasm, challenges, and creativeness in raising funds, acquiring land, obtaining Township zoning and construction approvals, developing a design, constructing an altar, parsonage and church kitchen within a 3-year time frame from formation. We truly experienced God’s abundance grace and blessings during the implementation of this project.
A Church Building Committee, which was formed in February of 2006 comprised of 16 members, 12 elected from our General Body and 4 ex-officio members from the Church Executive Committee. Mr. Saji Jacob served as the committee convener since the inception of project. The expeditious work and progress could not have been achieved without God’s immense grace on the Church allowing various people to contribute in many ways in the formation and completion of this project. Most of all the Church Building Committee took an active role in working towards this project. The Church Executive Committee and Church General Body provided timely review and approval of various proposals helping streamline this project.
Rev. A. C. Kurien and Rev. Shaji M. Thomas presided over this committee during their respective terms as vicar of our church. Mr. Pappachan Mathai, Mr. Joseph Mathew and Mr. George Abraham served as Ex-Officio members during 2006 and 2007, in the Church Building Committee. Without the team work we had in this committee, support from Executive Committee and various members of our church, this would have been a more difficult task to accomplish in this time duration. One of the first activities we did was to lay out a requirement for our Parish, and outline any growth needs we may have over the next 5-10 years. As we started reviewing various properties in Chester and Delaware Counties, we capitalized on the momentum that was gained for this project and built on it. In looking and evaluating several properties, that were identified and looked into by the committee, we pursued two properties seriously. One was in Edgemont Township in early 2006. The work we were able to accomplish as we pursued zoning requirements for the Edgemont property led us to easily transition into acquiring the current property, both financially and with experience in understanding the Township Land Planning and Development Process. The Malvern property at 130 Grubb Road was first identified in November of 2006 as being for sale. Once we identified this property as a suitable property for us, meeting our needs, we met with the Willistown Township Officials - Mr. William Rosenberry (Zoning officer) and Mrs. Rita Reeves (Chairman of the Planning Commission). Our Meeting with these officials was truly remarkable, when they gave us the comfort and stretched a welcoming hand to initiate the Zoning process. At this stage we also sought the guidance of Mrs. Wendy McLean, Esq. Mrs. Wendy McLean gave us exceptional support in providing us the necessary Legal Counsel throughout the zoning and construction related needs of our Church.
Consecration / Dedication
On May 3, 2008, Rt. Rev. Dr. Euyakim Mar Coorilos Episcopa, Diocesan Bishop of North America and Europe dedicated the newly built Altar and Sanctuary for St. Thomas Mar Thoma Church of Delaware Valley. In addition to Thirumeni, clergies from our Diocese as well as other local churches attended this function. Various dignitaries attended this function, including Indian consulate representative, Township chairman, vice-chair, Pennsylvania state representative, and well wishers from sister parishes in and around Pennsylvania. Thirumeni also celebrated the Holy Communion at this newly dedicated Altar & Church on Sunday, May 4, 2008.
In August of 2008, our church also completed construction of an adjoining Parsonage, which is a 3 bedroom, 2½ bath residence to accommodate our vicar and family. Dedication of the Parsonage was done on August 31, 2008. Our church kitchen construction was also taken up and completed in the last quarter of 2008, concluding all major construction activities to make this a suitable place of worship for our parish and community.