A group of young members of the St. Thomas Cathedral, Dubai or St. Thomas church as it was then known felt that it was crucial to form a unit of the Orthodox Christian Youth Movement in our parish to promote fellowship and to devote themselves more to their spiritual development. Right from the very beginning, the new spiritual organization took an active part in all the activities organized by the parish including service oriented initiatives, retreats and church functions such as Good Friday, Christmas etc. As a unit, the Dubai OCYM unit has set in motion several path-breaking initiatives such as "Edify Care" to support needy students, "Venalshibhiram", a program to educate young children here on traditional and rural life in Kerala, awards to recognize social activism, art and cultural competitions and awards to encourage academic excellence in students .
All members in the Church between the age of 18 and 45 are expected to participate in the OCYM. Regular Meetings are held on every Friday after Holy Qurbana in the office complex. We are currently one of the biggest youth groups in the orthodox church and make every effort to meet on a regular weekly basis.
Each meeting starts with worship songs followed by the opening prayer and a speech or a class by a priest or an elder member. Bible quizzes, seminars and discussions on topics as wide ranging as drama, literature, energy conservation, history of the church and personal finance are held on a frequent basis. Audio visual aids are effectively used to highlight great personalities in the history of church through documentaries and clippings. We have regular competitions in music, fancy dress, poetry writing, colouring and photography to give members opportunities to develop their innate talents.
Venal Shibhiram, our effort to introduce our children to arts and traditional culture of Kerala that was first introduced in 2004 received such an enthusiastic response from parents and the children that we did a similar program in the Sharjah parish in 2010.
We introduced the Mar Theidiousus memorial Award for those who have done their bit to make life better for their fellow beings in the gulf region. We have instituted merit awards for students who perform well in the Xth and XIIth Board exams. We organize blood donation camps on a regular basis. We have organized relief efforts in aid of natural disasters such as the earthquake in Haiti. With a view to enhancing the spiritual development of our members, divyabodhanam classes were started under the guidance of our parish priests in 2008. Our prayer meetings and activities in Sonapur and Jebel Ali camp areas have helped to make members who stay in these areas to have a greater sense of belonging and to contribute more to church activities. Our art wing “Dhwani" is highly active and in the past years staged three dramas entitled "Abrahaminte Bali", “Poy Mughangal" and “Vicharana" that developed the latent acting skills of our members and entertained parish members on our parish day celebrations. Our job cell makes it a point to spread the word about news of possible openings to candidates who are seeking jobs. The library established and maintained by the youth league has a stock of over 2000 titles that provides information and entertainment to all its members.
Given the large number of families in our parish, we should be having a lot more members. There is a lot more that can and should be done. We need more helping hands to help us reach our full potential and to work together to make the Dubai OCYM unit one that will bring glory to our Almighty God and to our church and community. Here is to hoping that with the blessings of the Almighty, we will continue to grow from strength to strength in the coming years.