In the context of Adivasi/Tribal people’s self identity being crushed in Andhra Pradesh, the gospel of Jesus Christ spread through the Good Samaritan Evangelical Lutheran Church (GSELC) gave self-dignity and self-identity, and had led these people into liberation and transformation. Established in 1972, the GSELC has been nurturing the values of God’s reign specifically in the context of Adivasi/Tribal people and has been missioning among these people inculcating love, peace and justice among these communities. With more than 90% of the Church populated with Tribal people, GSELC has been engaged on the specific Tribal concerns of the region and has made an indelible impact of the gospel by building communities of peace in the region. Deeply rooted in the faith of Jesus Christ, GSELC spread its membership far and wide and has been reaching to several unreached areas in the state of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, and Chattisgarh. Evangelical in its essence and ecumenical in its spirituality, GSELC has been a Church relating to all major denominations and has been on the mission of providing education, medical help and transformation to people of all faiths. Four decades of the mission and ministry of the Church has inspired and challenged several young Tribal people to inculcate the virtues of Jesus Christ in fighting against the injustices and oppressions done to Tribal people in the region. We thank all our fore-parents of the Church for their vision and commitment in building the Church and in strengthening the passion for the gospel in Jesus Christ.
Here are a brief cursors of the history of the GSELC with some specific contributions:
• Rev. Dr. S. Paul Raj, the founder of GSELC belonging to the village of Chavali, Vemur Mandal, Guntur district was born in a non-Christian family.
• He was inspired and was led to believe in Jesus Christ by listening to the songs and the sermons that he heard from the neighbourhood Church and hence was converted to Christianity and was baptized as Paul Raj.
• He was fascinated by the Christian values and has dedicated his life to be an evangelist and has traveled extensively preaching and has settled as an evangelist.
• And he has also worked together with the international well-known preachers like, Rev. Dr. Masilamani, Joel Meyer, John Reddy, etc.
• When shared with a prominent Christian Missionary about his willingness to serve the people and proclaiming the gospel, the missionary has shown Bastharu division in Chattisgarh State, Khammam district in the Andhra Pradesh May and has advised him to go to the unreached and spread the gospel. Paul Raj has taken this as a challenge and has visited the neighbouring villages of Bhadrachalam which is in the area of Bastharu division.
• He realized that the gospel was unreached in that area and hence visited every village and preached the gospel and attracted many people to the Lord.
In the year 1972
• He settled in Gangolu a village 20 km away from Badrachalam and strengthened the ministry.
• He developed contacts with churches like Lutheran, CSI, Baptist, Pentecost, CBCNC, JDM, etc but was allured by the Lutheran church doctrines, its traditions and has integrated its governing principles and has established Good Samaritan Evangelical Lutheran Church with 7 members in the village Gangolu.
• Visiting of the South Andhra Lutheran Church Compound in Naidupeta, Nellore District while spreading the gospel, stayed there for a few days and participated in the gospel meetings and ministered the Word there, and became familiarized with the Lutheran Church Laws and Church Governing regulations and made the church which they had established officially strong.
• Visiting Naidupeta a city which is located in Nellore District for spreading the gospel. There he met Rev. Katakshamma the daughter of the first Indian President of the South Andhra Lutheran Church, Tirupathi Rev. Dr. Benjamin when she was in charge of an orphanage, later they got married and later being a co-worker in the gospel work along with the help of his wife Rev. Katakshamma, Paul Raj enhanced the work in Badrachalam Division, Palvancha in Khammam district, and later they comprehended to legalize those things that were necessary to confer degrees in Bible knowledge (Theological Education) to the young men and women who were interested in serving the Lord.
• Many had believed and were converted by various means such as Gospel Meetings, House Visiting and by Street preaching. 60,000 members were registered as members of the Church after they were baptized.
• With the help of foreign missionaries who with the backing of Mrs. Katakshamma had become partners in the Gospel work gave financial aid to the church, with this the church was formed into a Constitution Body.
• The daughter of Mrs. Katakshamma Paul Raj, Radha Manjari studied M.Sc and M.Ed and her son-in-law, K. Abraham studied M.Sc. and D.B.M. They were made to resign from their good government jobs and were welcomed into the church. They were conferred with financial responsibilities and with their help undertook the following projects – a Lutheran office Building in S.R.N. Colony, Bhadrachalam, a place of worship (church), St. Paul’s Lutheran school, study in English medium, a K.N.H. hostel building along with a Lutheran school in Kukkunuru. A Bible Training school and Free Tailoring school which gave training and also supplied free sewing Machine for the dalit and poor Girijan (Tribal) women were started. Through the Kamala Nathaniel Hospital Free medication was given and in Kukkunuru through the financial help of K.N.H. permanent hostel buildings were constructed. Through School Building Teacher for Tribal Project, free food and education centers were started, with approximately 65 Pastors, evangelists and Bible women they gained much progress.
• Ordination of Mrs. Dr. Katakshamma – she was appointed as the President of the church, later was ordained as a Bishop, she was the first Woman Bishop of the Asian continent, and the first Bishop of G.S.E.L.C. this gained her international reputation.
• Good Samaritan Evangelical Lutheran Church – God complete membership in national and international bodies like APCC, NCCI, UELCI, LWF, ELM and YMCA.
• Established Teacher for Tribal Programme in various villages in which, gathered those children who did not attend school and the drop-outs at one place and gave them free education, and established Five Year Projects. Gave them the basic education for the first three years and later educated them in vocational courses of their interest and gave them financial support until they settled in life.
• Spreading the gospel work to atleast 284 villages in the boundaries of the states like Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and appointing state youth leaders as the pastors of the churches.
• Supplying porridge for free to the poor who work in the hot sun during the summer.
• By the year 2002, the Church became self-sufficient, and without the financial support from national or international agencies; the church was able to organize programmes from the resources available within the church.
• In 1997 Rt. Rev. Dr. Bishop Katakshamma Paul Raj who as a Bishop went to Germany suddenly fell ill and went to be with the Lord (slept in the Lord/went to the Lord’s presence)
• In 2011, Rev. Dr. Paul Raj became critically ill and went to be with the Lord on 23-05-2011.
• After the death of Rev. Dr. Paul Raj, under the leadership of K. Abraham and Radha Manjari, 2nd wave of leadership started. Dr. Radha Manjari and Mr. K. Abraham are executing their duties as the chairperson of Engineering College and chairperson of GSELM and GSELC Women’s wing president. Mr. K. Abraham is executing his duties as the administrative officer of GSELC and has brought progress to Dr. Paul Raj Engineering College as its Secretary.
• The able leadership of the President Rev. P. Johnson, Secretary Mr. C. Zechariah, and Treasurer Rev. G. Paul Sudhakar and other Executive members, has led the church into progress. Under the second line leadership of Mr. Kalavakuri Abraham and Dr. Radha Manjari and the governance of the executive committee the church is flourishing.
May the strength of the triune God the father, son and the Holy Spirit rest and abide with us. Seeking your prayers.
Your brother in Christ
Mr. Abraham Kalavakuri
(As updated in NCC Review Jan-Feb.2013)
Contact as on 31st July 2013
Mr. K. Abraham
Good Samaritan Evangelical
Lutheran Church, Lutheran Office, Seetaramanagar Colony,
H.O. No. 17-1-81/3
Bhadrachalam 507 111
Khammam Dist. Andhra Pradesh