THE SALVATION ARMY - INDIA
India is the Salvation Army’s oldest mission field. Frederick St. George de Latour Tucker of the Indian Civil Service, read a copy of the War Cry, became a Salvationist and as Major Tucker (later Commissioner Booth Tucker), took the Indian name of Fakir Singh and commenced the Salvation Army’s work in Bombay on 19th September 1882. The adoption of Indian food, dress, names and customs gave the pioneers ready access to the people, especially in the villages.
In addition to evangelistic work, various social programmes were inaugurated for the relief of distress from famine, flood and epidemic. Educational facilities such as elementary, secondary, higher secondary and industrial schools, cottage industries and settlements were provided for the disadvantaged classes. Medical work originated in Nagercoil in 1895 when Captain (Dr.) Harry Andrews set up a dispensary at the headquarters there. The medical work has grown from this. The Salvation Army is registered as a Guarantee Company under the Indian Companies Act 1913.
Contact as on 31st July 2013
Lieut Colonel Davidson Varghese
National Secretary, Salvation Army
Indian National Secretariat
37, Lenin Sarani, Dharmatala Post,
P. O. Box. 8994, Kolkata-700 013
Contact as on 31st July 2013
Mr. S. Madhu
Secretary, The National Organisation
of the New Apostolic Church
No. 5, Promenade Road
Adjacent to Santhosh Hospital
Fraser Town, Bangalore 560 005
Tel: 080-25577691, 25541310,
The Methodist Church is a church of Christ in which “the pure Word of God is preached, and the Sacraments duly administered.” This church is a great Protestant body, though it did not come directly out of the Reformation but had its origin within the Church of England. Its founder was John Wesley, a clergyman of the church, as was his father before him. His mother, Susanna Wesley, was a woman of zeal, devotion and strength of character who was perhaps the greatest single human influence in Wesley's life.
Nurtured in this devout home, educated at Oxford University, the young John Wesley, like a second Paul, sought in vain for religious satisfaction by the strict observance of the rules of religion and the ordinances of the church. The turning point in his life came when at a prayer meeting in Aldersgate Street, London, on May 24, 1738, he learned what Paul had discovered, that is not by rules and laws, nor by our own efforts at self-perfection, by faith in God's mercy as it comes to us in Christ, that man may enter upon life and peace.
The gospel which Wesley thus found for himself he began to proclaim to others, first to companions who sought his counsel, including his brother Charles, then in widening circles that took him throughout the British Isles. His message a double emphasis, which has remained with Methodist to this day. First was the Gospel of God's grace, offered to all men and equal to every human need. Second was the moral ideal which this Gospel presents to men. The Bible, he declared, knows no salvation which is not salvation from sin. He called men to holiness of life, and this holiness, he insisted, is “social holiness”, the love and service of their fellow men. Methodist meant “Christianity in earnest.” The General Rules which are still found in the Discipline are the directions which Wesley gave to his followers to enable them to test the sincerity of their purpose and to guide them in this life.
Wesley did not plan to found a new Church. In his work he simply followed, like Paul, the clear call of God, first to preach the gospel to the needy who were not being reached by the Established Church and its clergy, second to take care of those who were won to the Christian life. Step by step he was led on until Methodist became a great transforming movement in the life of England. He gathered his people in groups, in classes and societies. He appointed leaders. He found men who were ready to carry the gospel to the masses, speaking on the streets, in the open fields, and in private homes. These men were not ordained ministers but lay preachers, or “local preachers”, as they were called. He appointed these men, assigned them to various fields of labour, and supervised their work. Once a year he called them together for a conference, just as Methodist preachers meet in their Annual Conference sessions today.
Wesley thus united in extraordinary fashion three notable activities, in all of which he excelled. One was evangelism: “The world is my parish”, he declared. His preachers went to the people; they did not wait for the people to come to them, and he himself knew the highway and byways of England as did no other man of his day. The second was organization and administration, by which he conserved the fruits of this preaching and extended its influence. The third was his appreciation of education and use of the printed page. He made the press a servant of the Church and was the father of the mass circulation of inexpensive books, pamphlets, and periodicals.
From England, Methodists spread to Ireland and then to America. In 1766 Philip Embury, a lay preacher from Ireland, began to preach in the city of New York. At about the same time Robert Strawbridge, another lay preacher from Ireland settled in Frederick County, Maryland, and began the work there. In 1769 Wesley sent Richard Boardman and Joseph Pilmore to America, and two years later Francis Asbury, who became the great leader of American Methodism.
Methodism was especially adapted to American life. These itinerant preachers served the people under conditions where a settled ministry was not feasible. They sought out the scattered homes, followed the tide of migration as it moved west, preached the gospel, organized societies, established “preaching places”, and formed these into Societies. The Methodists numbered some fifteen thousand members and eighty preachers.
In the beginning Wesley had thought of his fellows not as constituting a Church but simply as forming so many societies. The preachers were not ordained, and the members were supposed to receive the Sacraments in the Anglican Church. But the Anglican clergy in America were few and far between. The Revolution had severed America from England, and Methodism to all intents and purposes had become an independent church. Wesley responded to appeals for help from America by asking the Bishop of London to ordain some of his preachers. Failing in this, he himself ordained two men and set aside Dr. Thomas Coke, who was a presbyter of the Church of England, to be a superintendent, “to preside over the flock of Christ” in America. Coke was directed to ordain Francis Asbury as a second superintendent.
At the Christmas Conference, which met in Baltimore, December 24, 1784, some sixty preachers, with Dr. Coke and his companions, organized the Methodist Episcopal Church in America. Wesley had sent over The Sunday Service, a simplified form of the English Book of Common Prayer, with the Articles of Religion reduced in number. This book they adopted, adding to the articles one which recognized the independence of the new nation.
Our present Articles of Religion come from this book and unite us with the historic faith of Christendom. Our Ritual too, though it has been modified, has this as its source. However, the forms for public worship taken from the Book of Common Prayer were not adapted to the freer religious life of American Methodist and never entered into common use. Instead, Methodism created a book of its own, its Discipline. This contains today the Articles of Religion, Wesley's General Rules, the Ritual and other forms of worship, and a large section which deals with the ministry, the various church organizations, and the rules governing the life and work of the church.
In this history of Methodism two notable divisions occurred. In 1828 a group of earnest and godly persons largely moved by an insistence on lay representation, separated and became the Methodist Protestant Church. In 1844 there was another division, the cause being construed by some as the question of slavery, by others as a constitutional issue over the powers of the General Conference versus the episcopacy. After years of negotiation a Plan of Union was agreed upon; and on May 10, 1939, The Methodist Episcopal Church, The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and The Methodist Protestant Church untied to form The Methodist Church.
The Methodist Church believes today, as Methodism has from the first, that the only infallible proof of a true Church of Christ is its ability to seek and to save the lost, to disseminate the Pentecostal spirit and life, to spread scriptural holiness, and to transform all peoples and nations through the gospel of Christ. The sole object of the rules, regulations, and usage of The Methodist Church is to aid the church in fulfilling its divine commission. United Methodism, thanks God for the new life and strength which have come with reunion, while realizing the new obligations which this brings. At the same time it rejoices in the fact that it is a part of the one Church of our Lord and shares in a common task. Its spirit is still expressed in Wesley's words; “I desire to have a league, offensive and defensive, with every soldier of Christ. We have not only one faith, one hope, one Lord, but are directly engaged in one warfare.”*
(*From: The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, 1976 Historical Statement, pp 7-11.)
THE METHODIST CHURCH IN INDIA
The Methodist Episcopal Church began its work in India in the year 1856, when William Butler came from America. He selected Oudh and Rohilkhand as the field of effort, and being unable to secure a residence at Lucknow, began work at Bareilly. The first War of Independence broke up the work at Bareilly, but in 1858 Lucknow was occupied and Bareilly re-occupied and the work of the Mission started anew.
By the year 1864 the work had grown to such an extent that it was organized under the name of the India Mission Conference. Additional stations were occupied in Oudh, Rohilkhand, Garhwal and Kumaon, and by the year 1870 The Methodist Episcopal Church had established work both along evangelistic and educational lines, that was to furnish the foundation for the largest and most successful Mission of the Church.
The year 1870 marked the beginning of a new era in the history of Methodism in India. On the invitation of James M. Thoburn, who was already an acknowledged leader in the Mission, the famous evangelist William Taylor was invited to India to hold special revival meetings. On his arrival he started his work at Lucknow, but subsequently went to Kanpur where markedly successful results led to a request from the converts that a Methodist minister be stationed at that city. The work had thus far been confined to the territory East and North of the Ganges, but by reason of this request from Kanpur it was carried beyond that river. This was the first step in the process of an expansion that resulted in putting The Methodist Episcopal Church on the map of all Southern Asia. The work of William Taylor, resulting in a spiritual revival in every city he visited, brought together groups of men and women who asked to be organized into churches. Thus there came into existence Methodist congregations in Kanpur, Bombay, Poona, Calcutta, Secunderabad, Madras, Bangalore, Nagpur and other cities. It was this that changed the course of Methodism in India and led our Church out of its provincial boundaries and made it a national factor.
In 1873 the churches established by William Taylor were organized into the “Bombay-Bengal Mission.” The next step in the development of our Church in India was taken in 1876 when the South India Annual Conference was organized, taking in all the territory outside the bounds of the original Upper India field. This was followed in 1888 by the organization of the Bengal Annual Conference, and by 1893 the work had so far expanded that the Bombay and North-West India Annual Conferences were also set apart. Between the years 1871 and 1900, The Methodist Episcopal Church, from being a mere provincial organization with a dozen mission stations, became a great national Church throughout all Southern and South-Eastern Asia, with work carried on in twelve languages, extending from Manila to Quetta and from Lahore to Madras. In the same period our Christian community had increased from 1,835 to 1,11,654. No more romantic chapter can be found in the annals of missionary history than this that tells of such phenomenal expansion and growth under the blessing and guidance of God.
In 1904 the field was again sub-divided by the organization of the Central Provinces Mission Conference, which was followed by setting the work of Burma apart and organizing it as a Mission Conference. In 1921 two Annual Conferences, namely Lucknow and Gujarat, were brought into existence and another division of the field was made in 1922 when the Indus River Annual Conference was organized. In 1925 the Hyderabad Annual Conference was separated from the South India Annual Conference. In 1956 Agra Annual Conference was separated from Delhi Annual Conference and Moradabad Annual Conference from the North India Annual Conference. In 1960 the Karachi Provisional Annual Conference was organized. Thus in 95 years from 1865 to 1960, the one Conference in India had grown into 13, covering the whole of Southern Asia.
But while the work in India itself had been growing so rapidly, the work of the Methodist Episcopal Church had also spread far beyond the bounds of India. Under the leadership of James M. Thoburn, Burma was entered in 1879, where John E. Robinson became the pioneer missionary, and in 1885 the work in Malaysia was begun by the establishment of a mission at Singapore, the pioneer here being William F. Oldham. But this was not the limit of expansion. In 1899, when the Philippines came into the possession of the United States of America, the farsighted James M. Thoburn promptly entered Manila and established the work of our Church in those islands. Here another of India's missionaries, Homer C. Stuntz, became one of the great pioneer workers. All these missionary leaders later became Bishops of the Church.
The year 1870 is remarkable in our history not only because of William Taylor's visit but for another reason as well. It was the year that marked the coming of the first missionaries of the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Two young ladies arrived that year: Isabella Thoburn, to start her wonderful work of education among India's girls and women; and Clara Swain, to inaugurate our medical work among the women of this land, she being the lady doctor to undertake such work in Asia. It was fitting that the first missionaries of the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society should come to India, for Mrs. Lois S. Parker, who with her husband Edwin W. Parker had come to India in 1859 and Mrs. William Butler who had served in India still earlier were the leading spirits in the organization of the Woman's Society in Boston, USA, in 1869. The growth of the work supported by our Woman's Division (formerly Woman's Foreign Missionary Society) has been even more phenomenal than that of our Board of Foreign Missions, and in all lines of missionary endeavour it has met with remarkable success.
The Methodist Church in India has emphasized some departments of missionary endeavour more than others, but it has been wide in its scope from the beginning. Evangelistic, educational, medical, literary and industrial lines have all been followed up vigorously, and our field has not been limited to any particular class of people. We were, however, early led into an evangelistic work in the villages of Northern India that resulted in the baptism of large numbers of people from among the depressed classes. Thus started our Mass Movement work, which has brought several hundreds of thousands of converts into our Church in the rural areas. During the twenty years from 1904 to 1924 The Methodist Church baptized six hundred thousand of these people, but even so it has been able to receive only a fraction of those who were willing to be baptized and throw in their lot with Christianity. In this mass movement work God has granted to our church a very large place of leadership but the opportunities demand of us larger resources, more missionaries and Indian evangelists, a more adequate educational work in the villages and a more consistent and vigorous policy.
The Methodist Church has been fortunate in the leadership granted it in India. The zeal and foresight of the founder, William Butler, was followed by the daring faith and statesmanship of James M. Thoburn, the energy and practical wisdom of E.W. Parker, the evangelistic fervour of Francis Wesley Warne, and the devotion, vision, and versatility of scores of others, who in the various parts of India gave themselves with unremitting toil to the task of the Church. Nor should we fail to mention the devoted labours and Christian spirit of the ever-increasing number of Indian men and women who in the ministry and among the laity have given themselves with faith and courage to the tasks of the Kingdom. Beginning with the saintly and enthusiastic Joel Janvier, a preacher lent to our Church by the American Presbyterian Mission when William Butler started his work, Indian brethren and sisters have borne the heat and burden of the day in Christ's vineyard in India to their great credit, and the glory of their Lord. The Methodist Church in this land has indeed been blessed in the type and number of its indigenous workers.
Indian Methodism's Episcopal leadership has been developed on the field itself. Of the fourteen men who have been elected Bishops for India, twelve had previously served on the Indian Mission field. In 1888 James M. Thoburn became the first Missionary Bishop for the Methodist Episcopal Church in India. In the year 1900 Edwin W. Parker and Frank W. Warne were elected for India, and in 1904 William F. Oldham and John E. Robinson. In 1912 John W. Robinson and William P. Eveland were elected, and in 1920 Frederick B. Fisher and H. Lester Smith. In 1924 came the election of Brenton T. Badley and at the close of 1930 the Central Conference of Southern Asia elected Jaswant Rao Chitambar, as first national Bishop, marking the beginning of a new era. This was hailed with great satisfaction all over the field, and also brought encouragement to friends of the Church throughout America. At the close of the year 1935, J. Waskom Pickett, after and unique experience in mass movement work, was elected Bishop by the Central Conference.
The year 1939 marks a turning point in the history of worldwide Methodism, by reason of the union of The Methodist Episcopal Church. The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and The Methodist, Protestant Church, to form The Methodist Church. This union affected the work of the Methodist Episcopal Church in India only by the inclusion of one mission station, Dhulia, belonging to the former Methodist Protestant Church, and the addition of their one missionary family and two lady missionaries, resident there, to the missionary personnel of The Methodist Church in Southern Asia. This union, long prayed and worked for, strengthened the work in India as elsewhere.
In the latter part of 1940 was recorded a serious loss to the church in the death of Jaswant Rao Chitambar, Indian Methodism's first national Bishop. A few months later Bishop John W. Robinson, who had officially retired at the General Conference of 1936, but in 1939 was assigned to an Area by the Uniting Conference, laid down his Episcopal duties at the Delhi Central conference, after twenty-nine years in the Episcopal office. These two vacancies were filled at the Central Conference session held at Delhi, December 28, 1940, to January 7, 1941 by the election to the Episcopacy of Shot Kumar Mondol of the Bengal Annual Conference and Clement Daniel Rockey of the North India Conference. The election of Bishop Mondol as the second national Bishop of Southern Asia Methodism was widely welcomed, and Bishop Rockey, as a second generation missionary, came to the Episcopal office with a wide experience and a remarkable use of the vernacular of Upper India. Bishop Badley after 20 years in Episcopal service retired from the Episcopacy at the Central Conference held at Lucknow in January 1945, and his place was filled by the election of John A. Subhan of the Indus River Conference. Bishop Subhan was the third Indian to be elected to the Episcopacy in our Church and the first Muslim convert to hold this high office among us.
At the Central Conference of 1948-49, the Burma Conference, which had for years been a member of the Southern Asia Central Conference, asked for permission to join the proposed South-East Asia Central Conference to enable it to organize. The Central Conference met in Singapore in early February 1950. Burma then ceased to be a member of the Southern Asia Central Conference.
On August 15, 1947 India celebrated her first “Independence Day” making it a national holiday. On January 26, 1950 India became officially a Republic. The leadership of all departments of political life became Indian. In keeping with this, on the retirement of Bishops Pickett and Rockey on November 11, 1956, two new Indian Bishops were consecrated, namely, Mangal Singh with his experience in schools and pastoral work coming from the Delhi Conference and Gabriel Sundaram with his years of experience in the educational work of the church from the Hyderabad Conference. Thus all four of the College of Bishops for India were now Indians.
The partition of the country in 1947 and declaration of Pakistan as an Islamic Republic led the Indus River Conference to ask the General Conference for a separate Bishop for Pakistan.
The Council of Bishops approved the appointment of Bishop Rockey to supervise the West Pakistan Area. At the Central Conference in 1960-61, recognition was taken of the fact that the work in Pakistan had been organized as the Pakistan Provisional Central Conference in 1960 with the creation of the Karachi Provisional Annual Conference. Bishop C.D. Rockey continued to administer the work there.
From October 31 to November 3, 1956 was celebrated the India Centenary of Methodism marking the completion of 100 years of service and beginning the second century. The centenary meetings were held in Lucknow in a big tent (pandal) on the athletic field of the Lucknow Christian College and attracted visitors from all parts of India, also a large number of American visiting pastors and laymen. Some visitors came from other countries where Methodism is at work. Official visitors were also welcomed from sister churches in India. There was a stirring, instructive and inspirational programme ending with a very impressive Communion service at which about 3,000 people partook of Communion in unison and in solemn silence. As a particular feature of the Centenary a most attractive and inspirational exhibition featured the growth of individual and group abilities in a way that opened the eyes of all to the latent and developing skills and abilities in our Christian community.
The Centenary was immediately followed by the Central Conference which met in the auditorium of the Isabella Thoburn College. The consecration of the two newly elected Bishops. Mangal Singh and Gabriel Sundaram, took place in Central Methodist Church, Lucknow, on the 11th November 1956.
Official Episcopal visitors to the Central Conference were Bishop Arthur J. Moore, representing the Council of Bishops and President of the Board of Mission; Bishop Ivan Lee Holt representing Ecumenical Methodism and Bishop Raymond L. Archer who had just retired from the supervision of the South-East Asia Central Conference.
In the Central Conference of 1964 at Lucknow the two national Bishops, namely Shot K. Mondal and John A. Subhan retired. These vacancies were filled by electing Bishops Alfred J. Shaw and P.C.B. Balaram. The 1968 Central Conference elected three national Bishops namely Joseph R. Lance, Ram Dutt Joshi and Eric A. Mitchell to fill the vacancies caused by the retirement of Bishops Mangal Singh and Gabriel Sundaram and the sudden demise of Bishop P.C.B. Balaram. In the 1972 Central Conference Bishop Shaw retired and M. Elia Peter was elected Bishop. Following the 1976 Central Conference Bishop R.D. Joshi passed away. The Council of Bishops reactivated Bishop A.J. Shaw to supervise the Bombay Episcopal Area until Bishop Shantanu Kumar Parmar was elected on January 5, 1979.
The Methodist Church in India has always believed that its largest usefulness depended on adjusting itself in every possible way to indigenous conditions on this field. As a consequence our missionaries here saw very early in our history the need of a District Conference. The idea was adopted and the success was so signal that the General Conference afterwards put the District Conference into the regular structure of the Church. The same thing happened when in 1885 Indian Methodism brought into existence the Central Conference. By 1920 the value of this addition to our ecclesiastical organization had been recognized, and the General Conference arranged for organizing Central Conferences in each of Methodism's great mission fields. And a third piece of India's church organization later demonstrated its value on the field, viz., the Executive Board. We are seeking to promote our work in keeping with the great indigenous developments and national movements of the present time. To give the Indian spirit and genius the best possible opportunity of expressing itself is a definite policy of The Methodist Church. From the beginning our aim has been not to perpetuate a mission, but to establish a Church that shall combine the best that the West can bring and the best that the East can give, to the glory of God and the establishment of His Kingdom of earth.
Many years ago The Methodist Church in India got a vision of the need and possibility of organizing a Society in order to carry on a missionary work within its own borders by means of an indigenous agency and the use of funds collected in this country. This resulted in bringing into existence the 'Desi' Missionary Society in the Upper India field. After several years, there came a wider vision of a missionary work by Indians for India, organized so as to take in all the Conferences. This resulted in the organization, in 1920, of our Methodist Missionary Society, with Indians as its office-bearers, directed by a board composed of both Indian men and women. The first Corresponding Secretary was Jaswant Rao Chitambar with Mrs. Nathaniel Jordan as the first Recording Secretary and field chosen was Bhabua in the Province of Bihar, Rev. W.H. Soule, a member of the Central Provinces Conference, was appointed the first missionary and a very promising work was opened up, with Bhabua as headquarters.
In 1938 Rev. and Mrs. I.B. Kristmukti from Gujarat were commissioned as our missionaries to work among the non-Christian Indian Gujarati community who are settled down over the years in Southern Rhodesia, Africa. They sailed in May 1938, and with their headquarters at Umtali worked among them for eight years when in 1946 they returned on furlough and the work was discontinued thereafter.
At the end of 1956 the Bhabua field was incorporated in the Lucknow Annual Conference and the Methodist Missionary Society was thus enabled to devote its attention to the missionary work in Nepal and Sarawak in Borneo. Rev. and Mrs. Terence Joseph were appointed missionaries from our Church to that foreign field.
The Central Conference of Southern Asia in session 1960-61 reorganized the Methodist Missionary Society by creating in its place the Board of Missions of the Methodist Church in Southern Asia; Bishop Gabriel Sundaram was appointed as the chairman of the Board whose headquarters then remained in Lucknow. For the quadrennium 1965-1968 Bishop Alfred J. Shaw was appointed as the chairman of the Board.
In 1963, the Board of Missions of the Methodist Church in Southern Asia took a further step in its missionary enterprise by loaning the services of Rev. D.L. Jordan to the British Methodist Church as a missionary to Fiji Islands to work among the Indian Christian and non-Christian communities.
The Central Conference in 1960-61 approved consultation toward the taking over of the work in Andaman Islands which up till this time had been associated with the work of the Burma Annual Conference. The General Conference in session at Pittsburg, USA in 1964, voted to transfer the work in Andaman Islands to the Central Conference of Southern Asia, and accordingly the territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands was accepted as part and parcel of the Methodist Church in India by the Central Conference of 1964-65, and the Board of Missions of the Methodist Church in Southern Asia gladly accepted the work as part of its home mission project. The Andaman Islands mission field continued to be administered by the Board of Missions (MCSA) and the successor MCI body, the Council of Evangelism and Missions, until 1985. The 2nd Regular Session of the General Conference of the Methodist Church in India held in January 1985 at Jabalpur passed legislation whereby the Andaman Islands mission field was transferred to South India Conference. At the time of this transfer the work in Andaman Islands consisted of four established local congregations at Haddo (Port Blair), Bamboo Flat, Shoalbay and Namunagar, comprising a total Methodist community of 800 members inclusive of baptized children and probationary members.
Mission work in Goad commenced on 1st January 1968 while Bishop A.J. Shaw was chairman of the Board of Missions of the Methodist Church in Southern Asia; the Rev. and Mrs. George Samraj were appointed as first missionaries. George Samraj died in October 1973; however, the work was carried on by his wife who was subsequently ordained by Bombay Annual Conference. The Goa Mission field was transferred to South India Conference in 1979 and thereafter came under Conference jurisdiction. At the time of this transfer, Methodist work in Goa consisted of the Church at Panjim, two other preaching centres at Margoa and Ponda, together with three Methodist Primary Schools in and around Panjim.
Since 1928 the Methodist Church was engaged in negotiations with other Churches in North India to enter into an organic union. By 1966 the Fourth and final agreed plan of Church Union in North India was prepared. This plan was commended to the Annual Conferences of the MCSA by the Central Conference of 1968. The Annual Conferences accepted the Plan by more than two-third majority. However, the Special Session of the Central Conference in 1970 voted against the plan of union. Subsequently, following a ruling by the Judicial Council, the Central Conference of 1972 appointed a committee to continue conversation with the newly formed Church of North India to clear specific matters relating to the Methodist Church. These negotiations did not bear any fruit because the Church of North India had already moved with their new Constitution following the Union in 1970.
The Central Conference of 1976 then resolved to consider the status of an Affiliated Autonomous Methodist Church in India with the United Methodist Church, U.S.A. Under the authority of this Conference, a draft Constitution and a draft Plan of the new Church were prepared by the Committee on Structure of Methodism and Church Union (COSMACU); these were adopted unanimously by the 2nd adjourned session of the 29th Session of the Central Conference held in May 1979 at Bangalore and ratified by more than 2/3 votes by the subsequent Annual Conferences held in 1979. In response to the Petition of the Executive Board (MCSA), on behalf of the Southern Asia Central Conference, the General Conference of the United Methodist Church: 15-25 April 1980 at Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A. granted the necessary Enabling Act authorising the Central Conference of the Methodist Church in Southern Asia to reorganize and become the Methodist Church in India and to become an affiliated autonomous Church of the United Methodist Church. The 30th Regular Session of the Central Conference in 1980 at Jabalpur received the Enabling Act and took the requisite steps to reorganize and approved the Declaration to become an affiliated autonomous church. This was communicated to the 1980 Annual Conferences for their endorsement. The Adjourned Session of the said 30th Regular Session of the Central Conference held on 7th January 1981 at Women's Christian College, Madras, did in fact reorganize the church and inaugurate the Methodist Church in India.
Accordingly, the Methodist Church in India became a self-governing church in whose establishment the United Methodist Church had assisted and with which it is cooperating through the Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church. The formal status of the Methodist Church in India in relation to the United Methodist Church is therefore that of an Affiliated Autonomous Church according to Para 670 of the UMC Book of Discipline, 1976, Edition.
The historic Services were held in Ecumenical Methodist Church, Madras. Thereupon the first General Conference of the new Church was constituted and was in session, 7th 15th January 1981. Bishop James M. Ault, representing the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church, attended this first General Conference of the Methodist Church in India, and presented the official message and greetings of the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church. At that first General Conference of the Methodist Church in India, active Bishops J.R. Lance, E.A. Mitchell, M. Elia Peter and S.K. Parmar declared that they had chosen to become Bishops of the Methodist Church in India. The General Conference resolved that in addition to the four active Bishops of the MCSA who had been accepted as bishops of the MCI, two additional bishops be elected making a total of six active bishops in the new Church. In the ensuing Episcopal election, Rev. Dr. Karriappa Samuel and Rev. Elliot D. Clive were elected Bishops of the Methodist Church in India.
The 2nd Regular Session of the General Conference was held in January 1985 at Jabalpur. Bishop Eric A. Mitchell was retired during this session. However, the Conference was not able to elect a new bishop or to complete its business. Accordingly an Adjourned Session of the 2nd Regular Session was authorized and Bishop Mitchell was reactivated for the interim period. The Adjourned Session of the General Conference was held 6-13 October 1985 in New Delhi. Bishop Elias G. Galvan represented the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church. Rev. Stanley E. Downes was elected third bishop of the Methodist Church in India.
In May 1857, Joel Janvier, preaching to the first congregation of our Church in India, took as his text, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” Within ten minutes of the close of the sermon that little flock had been scattered by the soldiers and many of them killed. But the blood of the martyr is the seed of the Church and today that “little flock” numbers than half a million persons, with Christian work extending from Lahore to Madras and Quetta to Rangoon Malaysia and Philippines. Under the blessing of God, we have been able to establish a living Church, indigenous to the soil, working in ever-increasing harmony with Indian ideals and methods, and every year, commanding a greater measure of India's appreciation and support in twelve distinct languages aside from various dialects, we are giving the Gospel message to India's millions.
The establishment of the Methodist Church in India on 7th January 1981 as an “autonomous affiliated” church in relation to the United Methodist Church USA, ushered in a new era for Indian Methodism. There began the travail of coming to terms with a new identity and status as an independent church rooted in India yet belonging to the church universal; of building on the heritage of the past and becoming relevant to the contemporary Indian context; of articulating and expressing our Mission in India; of ordering our life and work so as to be faithful to the Divine purposes. One of the first steps in this ongoing process was publication of the MCI Book of Discipline in February 1982 (first Edition). The Constitution and Bye Laws of the Methodist Church in India were adopted by the first General Conference after having been framed and processed through previous Central Conferences. The Executive Council authorized publication of the First Book of Discipline which action was formally ratified by the Adjourned Session of the 2nd Regular Session of the General Conference held in October 1985 at New Delhi.
As the Methodist Church goes forward with its work a new era of vision and achievement has begun; we realise more fully than ever before the unchanging truth of the declaration; “Not by right, nor by power, by my Spirit, said the Lord of Hosts.” In His name have we set up our banners; in Him is our trust. These were the banners that were set up at the first General Conference at Madras: “Looking Back with Praise”, “Looking Ahead with Faith”.
Beneath these banners the Methodist Church in India marches on. Bishop Warne in saying good-bye on the last visit to Mary Reed, patron saint of the Leper Asylum at Chandag Heights, gave this parting word: “Hitherto the Lord hath helped us.” Miss Reed's response; “Henceforth!” bespeaks our confidence in the future. This is the grateful tribute that was emphasized at the Centenary of the Methodist Church in Southern Asia in 1956 at Lucknow and again at the inauguration of the Methodist Church in India in 1981 at Madras.
i. Total No. of Members (including children) 8,00,000
Total No. of Males 3,50,000 Females 3,00,000
ii. Total No. of Communicant (full/baptized and confirmed) members 6,00,000
Total No. of Male Communicant Members 3,50,000
Female Communicant Members 2,50,000
iii. No. of Dioceses/Prebyteries/Associations/etc in your Church:
12 Regional Conferences 6 Episcopal Areas
iv. No. of churches/congregations 3,000
v. No. of Ordained Ministers 2,500
Male Ordained Ministers 2,400
Female Ordained Ministers 20
vi. No. of Missionaries/Evangelists 450
vii. No. of Educational Institutions of your Church:
Schools 137, Colleges 30, Professional Training Institutions 05
3. Affiliation to different bodies NCCI, CCA, WCC, WMC
4. Year of joining NCCI
5. Names of present Office Bearers
1. Bishop Dr. Taranath Sagar President COB
2. Rev. M.A. Daniel General Secretary MCI
3. Dr. J.N. Hanchinmani Central Treasurer MCI
6. Activities/Mission/Programme: Evangelism, Educational Institutes, Medical Centers, Social, Literary, Agricultural, Socio-economic, Vocational, Technical Institutes, Industrial and many other activities.
7. Contribution to the Ecumenical Movement:
- Bishop Dr. Taranath S. Sagar President of NCCI (second term)
- Members of Christian Conference of Asia
- Members of Church's Auxiliary for Social Action
- Members of Holistic Child Care
- Members of World Council of Churches
- Members of National Council of Churches in India
- Members of Ecumenical Church Loan Fund
8. Contact Postal Address (including Telephone/Fax/Cell Nos/Email IDs and Website):
Rev. M.A. Daniel
Methodist Church in India
21, YMCA Road, Mumbai Central,
Mumbai 400 008
Tel: 022-23074137, 23094316 Fax: 022-23074137
Contact as on 31st July 2013
Rev. M. A. Daniel
Methodist Church in India
21, YMCA Road, Mumbai Central
Mumbai 400 008, M.S.
Tel: 022 -23094316 Fax: 23074137
What was hailed as one of the greatest miracles ever performed by God in the first half of the 20th century was the church union movement in South India which eventually resulted in the birth of the Church of South India (CSI) on September 27, 1947.
The Provincial Conferences of the missionaries which were held during 1850’s, during which, missionaries from various parts of India participated, became an impetus towards the church union movement. The Centenary Missionary Conference, held in 1888 in London, which focused on issues such as Indianization, Self-support and Self-government encouraged the efforts of church union movement to gain momentum. The formation of the South Indian Missionary Association in 1897 and the periodical missionary conferences held under its auspicious also became a great leap towards the formation of the CSI. The South India Missionary Conference of 1900 held in Madras, where about 150 missionaries representing 45 different missionary organizations and a Christian community of 3, 50,000 participated, was considered to be a clear sign of their will towards co-operation.
The founding of various organizations and movements like Christian Literature Society, Christian Endeavour Convention, Young Men Christian Association, Student Volunteer Movement of India and Ceylon, Indian Missionary Society and National Missionary Society, which brought together different European and Indian Church Leaders of diverse denominations on a common platform and for a common cause, also was instrumental in the formation of the CSI. Some of the Indian church leaders who deserve special mention here are G.S Eddy, V.S.Azariah., K.T.Paul, C.J. Lucas, V. Santiago and A.J. Appasami.
Another major factor that led to the formation of the CSI was the evolution of South India United Church (SIUC) on July 24, 1908 which in itself was an amalgamation of the American (Dutch Reformed) Arcot Mission (AAM), the United Free Church of Scotland Mission (UFCSM), the London Missionary Society (L.M.S) and the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM), representing the Presbyterian and Congregationalist traditions. Following the formation of SIUC, the famous World Missionary Conference that met in Edinburgh in 1910 which laid great emphasis on the need for united action and close co-operation among the different missionary bodies and churches in the mission field also contributed towards the church union in South India. In fact, it seems to have created a temper that was never again being lost.
The historical meeting which was held at Tranquebar in May, 1919 at the Jerusalem Church of the Lutherans, where the Lutherans, Methodists, Anglicans and SIUC were present, re-affirmed the need for unity among the denominations. After negotiations, the members proposed union on the following basis:
With great hope and great expectations, the Church of South India was formed at the St. George’s Cathedral, Madras on September 27, 1947. The CSI included the Madras, Travancore and Cochin, Tinnevelly and Dornakkal Dioceses of the Church of India, Burma and Ceylon and the Madras, Madura, Malabar, Jaffna, Kannada, Telugu, and Travancore Church Councils of the South India United Church: and, the Methodist, comprising the Madras, Trichinopoly, Hyderabad and Mysore districts.
Today, the Church of South India has grown to become the second largest Church in India, next to the Catholic Church, with more than 4 Million members spread across the 21 Dioceses in the 4 South Indian States (Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala & Tamil Nadu), 1 Union Territory (Pondicherry) and 1 Diocese in Jaffna, Srilanka. There are more than 15, 000 Congregations and 3000 Presbyters. The members of the CSI who hail from 4 Traditions (Anglican, Congregational, Methodist & Presbyterian) belonging to a number of communities speaking at least 11 languages (Bangada, English, Hindi, Kannada, Kongini, Malayalam, Oria, Singala, Tamil, Telugu & Tulu) are now spread all over the world as Diaspora communities in America, Australia, Europe and Middle- East Asia.
The ministries of the Church at the Synod Level are carried out through the following departments:
The Educational Ministry of the Church is carried out through more than 200 Colleges, 1800 Schools, 25 Teachers Training Colleges, 25 Polytechnics, 5 Engineering Colleges and 1 Law College. The Healing Ministry of the Church is accomplished through 60 Hospitals (out of which 35 are in the Villages), 1 Medical College, 22 Nursing Schools and 18 Para-Medical Institutes. Apart from these, there are at least 210 Boarding Homes & Hostels and more than 30 Institutes for Physically Challenged. The missionary outlook of the Church is very much evident in the hundreds of Mission Fields within and outside the geographical area of the dioceses, many of them being located in the North India.
Regarding the ecumenical commitment of the Church, the CSI continues to remain as a united and uniting Church, striving towards wider ecumenism engaging herself in various inter-faith and ecological activities. In fact, the Church of South India is part of a number of international and national ecumenical bodies, including WCC, WCRC, EMS, CWM, ACC, CCA, NCCI and CCI. The story of the people of God in the Church of South India is a testimony of how the Almighty has guided the Church through these years, growing in strength, receiving richer experiences, fuller life and greater participation towards building an alternative community, as a United and Uniting Church.
(As updated in NCC Review December 2012)
Rev. Dr. D. R. Sadananda
General Secretary, CSI
No. 5, Whites Road
P.B. No.688, Royapettah
Chennai 600 014 Tamil Nadu
Tel.: 044-28524166 (O), 28524121 (R)
Contact as on 31st July 2013
Rt. Rev. Dr. H.A. Martin
Tamil Evangelical Lutheran Church
Tranquebar House, Post Box 86
Tiruchirapalli 620 001, T.N.
Tel & Fax: 0431-2414843 (O)