The Jeypore Evangelical Lutheran Church (JELC) was established in the year 1882 in the undivided Koraput district in Southern Odisha by the then Breklum Mission of Northern Germany under the pioneering leadership of Pastor Christian Jensen. Pastor Ernst Pohl and Herman Bothmann were the first missionaries to found JELC what was then called Schleswig Holstein Evangelical Lutheran Church (SHELC). It is because of the visionary mindset of many missionaries and the acceptance of Indian congregations, JELC flourished in the later years growing deep in spirituality. The intervention of Christian mission obviously threshed upon education, health care and social empowerment as a result of which, number of schools were established along with couple of hospitals and theological institution. Quantum of congregations increased and more pastors were trained to fulfill the need of the new congregations. JELC was already moving towards a bigger set up. With the emergence of the exit of foreign Christian missionaries, the Indian church leadership came into play during 1960s, the mission thereafter is considered as Indian Missionary era. Preaching, education, health care continued and JELC was trying to systemize a self-defined administration in the church. However, beginning of this century, the mission took a new dimension as a strong sense of self reliance was realized by the JELC leaders and with the challenges thrown by the then Nordelbisches Missions Zentrum (NMZ), JELC entered into an era of Partnership with the then Northern Evangelical Lutheran Church (NEK). JELC is indeed grateful for the partnership with the Nord Kirche and Zentrum für Mission und Ökumene (ZmÖ).
JELC having its Central Office in Jeypore operates in the districts of Koraput, Nabarangpur, Malkangiri, Rayagada, Kalahadi, Bastar district of Chhatisgarh and Araku Valley of Andhra Pradesh. The congregations of JELC are basically Dalits and Adivasis. The communities are challenged with number of issues related to Displacement, Illiteracy, inadequate Health Facilities, Social Discrimination and Climate Change and so on. Being in the midst of such challenges and struggles of the people, the church metaphors its mission classification and rises to be the voice of voiceless by playing significant role for promoting values of social justice.
To have clear and larger focus on Adivasi issues and to promote Adivasi leadership in the church, JELC formed a special Adivasi centered body called Adivasi Christiya Samaj (ACS) which is having its headquarter in Doliambo working for the development of Adivasis Deaneries. The church is committed to take up Adivasi issues.
The Jeypore Evangelical Lutheran Church is affiliated to the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), Geneva, The United Evangelical Lutheran Church in India (UELCI), the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), The Utkal Christian Council (UCC).
JELC is running number of social projects supported by ZMÖ, LWF, Compassion East India, CASA and others.
A short look into the functions of JELC
Synod is the highest decision making body of JELC which meets once in 2 years. To execute policies, the important affair of the church, the Church Council (executive body of the Synod) meets once in 6 months and in time of emergency.
For an effective work of the church, JELC works in and through its deaneries. Each deanery comprises several parishes and many congregations form one Parish. Some of the Primary Schools run by JELC exist since Pre-independence time (India got independence in 1947) and infact; those were the first schools to be established in the region.
Number of Deaneries – 17
Number of Parishes – 81
Number of Congregations – 426
Number of Deans – 16
Number of Pastors – 90 Pastors (10 Women and 80 Men)
Number of Evangelists – 27 and 170 Prayer Conductors
Number of Schools – 43
For programmatic approach, JELC functions through four major program departments – The Sunday School, The Women’s Desk, The Youth Desk and The Partnership Desk.
For special focus on social issues, JELC runs number of projects and programs namely – Social Action of Life Transformation (SALT) supported by CASA, Human Resource Development Centre (HRDC) supported by LWF, Agriculture Project by LWF, and Churches Adaptation in Response to Environment (CARE) by LWF, Child Development Centres by Compassion East India.
In the wake of the self reliance realization, JELC committed itself to work through a Seven Point Mission Program namely
• Nurturing/Spiritual renewal of the baptized Christians.
• Trigger social-economic and political empowerment
• Strengthening of congregation and parishes transform them into resource center
• Health concerns – HIV/AIDS
• Human Rights – Dalits and Adivasi concerns
• Environmental concern
• Ecumenical and Inter-faith dialogue
Institutions Owned/Operated by the Church
Number of Primary Schools + Elementary Schools – 33
Number of Middle English Schools – 4
Number of High Schools – 5
Theodore Public School (English Medium)
Christian Hospital, Nabarangpur
Christian Hospital, Bissamcuttack
Community Development Centre, Doliambo
Education and Leadership Inspiring Mission, Duruguda
Odisha Christian Theological College, Gopalpur
2 Homes for widows – (Kotpad and Koraput)
12 Boarding homes for Boys and Girls.
The everyday affairs of the Church are normally discussed and executed by the Bishop and the Office bearers in consultation with the person concern.
Bishop: Rev. Subash Chandra Goudo
Synod Chairman: Rev. Asish Pal
Secretary: Mr. Amar Thomas
Treasurer: Mr. Biroj Kumar Benya
(As updated in NCC Review March 2013)
Contact as on 31st July 2013
Rt. Rev. Subas Chandra Goudo
Bishop, Jeypore Evangelical
Pohl & Bothmann Bhawan,
Central Office, PO:Jeypore-764 001,