the Sultanate of Oman initiated its economic development in the early
seventies with its rich oil income, Indians started coming to the country
for employment. A major chunk of these expatriate workers were Keralites,
including Pentecostal believers. Initially, the Pentecostal believers were
few and far between and as a result, they joined hands with Brethren
counterparts to start a combined fellowship, which continued for almost
Pentecostal believers earnestly prayed for a congregation of their own. Late
Bro George V Madathil alongwith Rev. Graham Durose, a British national, took
initiatives to start the first service of Oman Pentecostal Assembly (OPA) on
December 25, 1973, which was the first Pentecostal Church in the Sultanate.
However, in 2004, the church had been renamed as Pentecostal Assembly Muscat
to comply with a change in government regulations. This gathering of 15
Pentecostal believers unanimously elected Rev. Graham Durose as the
president and Bro. George V Madathil as the secretary of the newly formed
church. Apart from the president and the secretary, the meeting was attended
by Bros. M M Thomas, K O Abraham, T A Abraham, M V Varghese, P A Simon, C T
Thomas, V J Mamachan, Thomas Thomas, Thomas Varghese, M M Varkey and Sis.
Saramma George, Sosamma Thomas and Lizy Thomas. In the initial days, this
gathering was conducted at the residence of Bro George V Madathil in Muttrah
and his family had done a commendable work in arranging meetings at their
residence, providing transport for those brothers who do not have a vehicle
and hosting visiting pastors. Unfortunately, Rev Durose left the church
within a short period.
With the formation of the church, a long cherished dream of Pentecostal
believers was fulfilled, in conformity with God’s saying: “But you will
receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witness
in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
One of the unanimous decisions taken in the first meeting was that believers
attending the church would not be asked about their denominations. The
teaching that “we are all one in Jesus Christ” gives a unique identity to
OPA from other churches. Though OPA members belong to different
denominations in their place of origin, they do not harbour factional
thoughts, rather practice the bond of love in Jesus Christ.
Starting with merely a handful of members in 1973, OPA’s membership strength
is running to over 1,500 now, with separate wings. Initially, worship
services of the church were conducted every Sunday at Bro George Madathil’s
house and subsequently at the Muttrah Chapel. However, following the setting
up of a church building by the Protestant Church of Oman (PCO) in 1975,
OPA’s main worship service was shifted to Ruwi Church on every Friday
between 7.30 and 9.30 pm.
In the early days, majority of services were conducted in Malayalam. At a
later stage, the church started separate weekly meetings for people who
speak Hindi, Tamil and English languages. In 1988, OPA has formulated a
constitution for the smooth functioning of the church, which was amended as
and when required. The constitution mandates a council to oversee the
day-to-day activities of the church. The council consists of the pastor as
President, Secretary, Joint Secretary, Treasurer, Joint Treasurer and six
other members. The various bodies of the church are functioning as per the
constitution. The church follows the practice of selecting pastors from four
Pentecostal denominations – Indian Pentecostal Church, Assemblies of God,
Church of God and Sharon Fellowship – on a rotational basis every two years.
The church has been lending considerable financial support to charitable
activities back home in India. OPA also follows a practice of giving
mementos to members who leave the Sultanate from time to time. Further,
merit awards are given away to honour children of church members, who topped
in examinations. Top graders from classes 10 and 12, in two categories –
CBSE and Kerala State Board – are honoured every year.
In the early days, OPA children were attending Bible classes conducted by
Brethren Assembly in Muscat. However, in February 1984, the church commenced
its Children's Bible Study Programme (CBSP) with ten children at Bro T K
Jacob’s residence. Subsequently, when there was a tremendous growth in
number of children, the CBSP was shifted to Muttrah Chapel, later to Muscat
Al Amana Centre and now it is conducted at Ghala Church. Today, hundreds of
children, who once learnt the word of God at OPA CBSP, are in different
parts of the world witnessing the Lord.
Over the years, the OPA CBSP has achieved considerable progress. Presently,
there are fourteen standards - from beginners to eleventh level – with
twenty two divisions. As many as twenty three teachers provide coaching to
over 200 children. Children from non-Pentecostal families also attend
classes, which eventually results in saving not only the children but also
entire family for God.
The youth wing of OPA was started in 1991, with the aim of sharpening the
talents of children and youngsters. From a humble beginning, the youth wing
has grown considerably over the last nineteen years. It began with a
governing body consisting of only the pastor and a co-ordinator, which was
later strengthened with two other sub co-ordinators. However, since 2006,
the council has been enriched by the presence of a secretary, a treasurer
and two council members, under the chairmanship of the pastor. For spiritual
edification and to keep up the spirit, the Youth Fellowship conducts its
meeting every first Thursday of the month, at the Ghala main hall. An
in-house publication called Manna bears testimony to the talents and
dedication of these youngsters, while showcasing their writing skills.
The OPA general body decided to start sisters’ meeting, named Sodari
Samajam, in February 1981, to put a platform to intercede and for a
strong fellowship among themselves. In addition, the Samajam has been
lending considerable financial support to charitable activities like
building houses for the needy and conducting marriages of girls from
impoverished families. OPA formed its choir in 1984 with a team of talented
singers for conventions, Bible studies and other special meetings organised
by the church. The activities of the choir, which was formed with an active
participation of the youth, have been commendable.
Likewise, a library was set up for the spiritual edification of the church
members and to inculcate the reading habit. It has a wide collection of
biblical books, audio/video cassettes, CDs and DVDs.
In a move to renew the bond of love among believers residing in different
parts of the country, OPA has been conducting a National Conference during
Eid Al Adha holidays since 2000. Members of the church from across the
Sultanate attend this meeting, which is a rare occasion for church members
from far off places to renew their fellowship. The meeting has been changed
to a two-day-long National conference and camp since 2007. The OPA used to
conduct prayer cell meetings, under the guidance of a leader and an
assistant leader, in different areas for several years. Believers in small
groups gather to pray for the sick and those facing troubles and
tribulations within the country and outside.
However, the church decided to discontinue these meetings at a later stage,
following a Ministerial Directive. The OPA has been conducting annual
conventions and Bible studies, which are taken by reputed preachers and
pastors from India and abroad. These special meetings help members to grow
Also, since 1998, a worship service-cum-family get-together meeting called 'OPA
Family Conference in India' has been started for former OPA members and
those on vacation. It is now being conducted in Thiruvalla for the
convenience of its members on the third Saturday of June every year. The
Chairman of this conference is nominated from former OPA Pastors on a
rotational basis and a co-ordinator is also elected in the same meeting.
OPA also gives away merit awards to honour the children of former members,
along with the family conference. Top graders from classes 10 and 12, in
three categories – CBSE, ICSE and Kerala State Board – are honoured at the
Thiruvalla gathering. Since 2006, a similar conference is being conducted in
the United States, which is conducted alternatively in one of the American
cities for the former OPA members in USA and Canada in July.