Formation of the Parish
As an answer to our continuous prayers, dedication, hard work and unity, we were blessed with our own church in 2017, by the Grace of God Almighty. Every member, young and old alike of St. Mary's Church is proud of this achievement. We hold close to our heart memories of St. Stephen's Malankara Orthodox Church from where this journey began.
In 2010, a group of 22 families decided to stand alone as a separate body and formed the St. Mary's Prayer Group. Due to the faith and perseverance of the group, we were able to find a community hall to gather and pray on Sundays. Our offertory collection was less than $50 per week, which was not enough to meet the rent. However, we felt valued and liberated. There was initially a lack of confidence within the group, not having participated in a Holy Qurbana for weeks, and felt the pressure to return to St. Stephen's Church. In need of help, we approached the Aramana to consult with our then Diocesan Metropolitan H. G. Alexios Mar Eusebius. His guidance and advice provided us with the much needed support to boost the morale of our members. H.G. Alexios Mar Eusebius assigned Rev. Fr. John Geevarghese to guide our group and assess the need of a new church.
After several weeks of comprehensive evaluation, our Diocesan Metropolitan decided that a fourth church was needed in Houston. H. G Alexios Mar Eusebius issued a Kalpana establishing the fourth Orthodox Church in Houston in the name of St. Mary's, and the first Holy Qurbana was celebrated by Rev.Fr. John Geevarghese on 26th September 2010. With Rev. Fr. John Geevarghese as Vicar and founder, we rented a Seventh Day Adventist Church to celebrate Holy Qurbana and coordinate Sunday School for our children. After witnessing the growth and unity of the parish, H. G. Alexios Mar Eusebius decided to provide a helping hand for our Senior Achen Rev. Fr. John Geevarghese. In January 2011, he appointed Rev. Fr. Joshua (Binoy) George as the next Vicar. He was the youngest achen of our Diocese at the time and St. Mary's Houston was his first parish after receiving his priesthood. Rev. Fr. John Geevarghese and Rev. Fr. Joshua George were the much needed positive influence that we needed.
Initially Joshua achen used to drive from Dallas every weekend to conduct prayer meetings and Holy Qurbana. His leadership helped to create a strong foundation for all spiritual organizations including OCIA, MGOCSM, OCYM, MMVS, Sunday School and Choir. Due to the unavailability of the Seventh Day Church during Weekdays, our prayer and meetings were limited to once a week and with the growing congregation, we moved to another rented facility - Triumph Church on West Airport Road. We had full access to the building at all times and we were able to renovate the space to our traditional Orthodox Church setting. As the parish grew numerically and spiritually, our own church became a dream for us. With Joshua Achen and John Achen's leadership, we conducted two successful fundraiser programs by a music band, Houston SaRiGaMa, which contributed towards that dream. In 2013, the West Airport facility became unavailable for lease and we had to find another worship place. After several weeks of hardship, we rented the Malayalee Association Building in Stafford. This dilemma gave us more reason to attain our goal. After several negotiation and rezoning efforts, our dream became a reality in 2013. We bought a piece of land on Watts Plantation Road in Missouri City to build a church.
In the midst of planning and development of the church, Joshua Achen was transferred to Dallas in July 2014. Joshua Achen played a vital role in building the foundation of St. Mary's Church congregation. During this crucial stage, H. G. Alexios Mar Eusebius appointed Rev. Fr. P. M. Cheriyan who served as Vicar of St. Gregorios Malankara Orthodox Church, Houston for almost 19 years as our next vicar. Even though the change was tough on Achen, he created a strong bond with the congregation, and with the help of Committee members worked towards our dream church project. With achen's motivation, and support of the members, we conducted two successful fundraising programs to fund church construction. As time passed and while we waited for the planning and approval stages of the church construction, the small 22-family group transformed to a parish with more than 65 families.
With increasing membership, a bigger facility became necessary and we decided to look for a new church building. With God's grace, blessings Of St. Mary and the relentless prayers of its members, we were able to purchase a six-acre property with two 7,500 square feet buildings. Strong faith, unity, perseverance and hard work are the foundation of the St. Mary's Malankara Orthodox Church that you see today. We are thankful for everyone who joined hands and helped us one way or another during our challenging 7-year journey, and we welcome anyone and everyone who wants to be a part of our parish in the future.
Our journey was possible because of our belief in the quote - Mathew 19:26 - "With God all things are possible"