Ecumenical Council of Kerala Churches in Chicago is a notion evolved out of our cultural identity, common traditions and the culture of the Kerala Christians in North America. The member Churches comprise of Syro Malabar Catholic, Malankara Catholic, Knanaya Catholic, Orthodox, Jacobite, Marthoma and CSI congregations. Our Vicar Rev. Abraham Scaria serves currently as the President of the Council. Our Associate Vicar Re, George Varghese also provides leadership in various capacities. In addition, elected members from each parish provide leadership to the programs of the Council.
During the early part of the 1970.s, a large number of Christians from Kerala immigrated to North America. In addition to the other major cities in North America, Chicago was one of the major cities that they settled down in. They came for better prospects, but soon realized the significance of faith and worship. There were very few families at that point and they gathered together to worship in spite of the differences of denominations. The early congregation was ecumenical in nature. Once they became viable, each denomination established their own presence and influence forming their own churches. But in the midst of their separation they all felt the need and necessity to have a common fellowship. Ecumenical Council of Kerala Churches in Chicago was the result of that quest to be together again. While we have similar organizations in many large cities in North America today, Ecumenical Council of Kerala Churches in Chicago is the first such organization.
The focal event of the council for many following years was the Christmas celebration. Each church presented a pageant based upon the common theme of Christmas. As years went by, the Council initiated other events and organized celebrations such as the St. Thomas Day. The annual Bible Convention was started in 1998 with speakers from various denominations addressing the ecumenical community. The Women’s and Youth wings also got together during this annual event. In 2002, ‘Family Night’ with an emphasis on cultural aspects in the Kerala Christian community was added to this list of growing number of activities. The family night or “Kudumbamela” has now become a popular activity providing an opportunity to collect funds for charitable purposes.