The Arcot Lutheran Church (formerly known as the Danish Lutheran Church) was founded by the Danish Missionary Society in Denmark.
History inspiringly unfolds the work of the mighty hand of God, enabling us to meet the challenges of the future. In 1706 the first missionaries from Halle University, Bartholomew Ziegenbalg & Heinrich Plutcho were sent to India by the Danish King Frederick IV. The German Missionary Ochs left the Leipzig Mission in 1863 on the question of tolerating caste in the Church and started an Orphanage in Melpattambakkam in South Arcot District, Tamil Nadu. In 1864 he was accepted by the Danish Missionary Society as their Missionary.
The Missionaries started school work. The preaching of the Gospel made them to establish congregations. It was the Danish Mission Church till 1950 and the Danish Missionaries were the leaders at every stage. In 1951 a new constitution was introduced and that paved the way for indigenous leadership and the church was named “The Arcot Lutheran Church”. From 1960 onwards Indian leaders are in the helm of affairs, having very good co-operation with fraternal missionaries from Denmark. The church in India and in Denmark accepts the transition from ‘giver and receiver relationship’ to “Partnership in the Mission of God”. The ALC from the year 2003 has entered into a Post Missionary Era due to the exit of the last missionary Miss Janne Garder. Episcopacy was introduced in 1981 and that has helped the Church in its growth and witness. The Church has partnership with DANMISSION, DANIDA, DANCHURCH AID, LUTHERAN PARTNERS IN GLOBAL MINISTRY, NORTHERN ILLINOIS SYNOD, DANISH MISSION COUNCIL DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT, EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH IN AMERICA AND CHRISTOFFEL BLINDEN MISSION.
The ALC is a member of UELCI, NCCI, WCC and LWF. It is a founder member of TAMILNADU THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, UNITED THEOLOGICAL COLLEGE and GURUKUL LUTHERAN THEOLOGICAL COLLEGE AND RESEARCH INSTITUTE. It is ecumenical in nature and has alter – pulpit relationship with sister Churches around like CSI and TELC.
The ALC works in several districts of Tamilnadu, including Puducherry which is a Union Territory. And recently it has extended its mission in Bangalore, Karnataka state. It is an evangelizing Church, working among local congregations and in service to the society through schools, orphanages, homes for women, hostels for students and working women, hospitals and community service centers in villages, towns and hills.
The School Project activities started in ALC in the eighties. ALC School project which is a major department supported by Danmission, redesigned its vision and mission to cater to the needs of the marginalized community with a special focus on women and children through a rights based approach. The role of the ALC School project thus has shifted from pure service delivery in the educational system to addressing violations of children’s and women’s rights in the community at large through civic educational empowerment of women and children.
The ALC has nearly 100 educational institutions starting from first standard to twelfth standard, two teachers training Institutes, one Bachelor of Education Institute (B.Ed. College) for those who have completed degree courses, and a Community College for School drop-outs.
The ALC provides medical services through Danish Mission Hospital at Tirukoilur and the eye care hospital namely ALC Pakkiyanathan Memorial Eye hospital at Chengam. Special medical care to tribal people at Kalrayan hills with the help of Christian Medical College (CMC) & Hospital and educational care by many schools with higher secondary education facility.
Women and Children are taken care of in 4 big boarding homes supported by the Lutheran Partners in Global Ministry, USA and small hostels supported by the Danmission, Denmark.
Special activities for women and children are focused at Tholudur and Kalrayan Hills which are rural ministry areas of ALC. Diaconal Ministry will soon be started in Thiyagaduruagam congregation.
After the 2004 Tsunami, Coastal Mission work has been introduced by the ALC, and some villages have been identified for Gospel outreach work. Land has also been purchased for the construction of Churches in the coastal belt.
Transgender Ministry is being facilitated at Perumbakkam pastorate, and Self-Help programmes are conducted by the ALC Women’s Fellowship department for their welfare. One person from that community has come forward to assist our Pastor for mission work.
At present Rt. Rev. Dr. RD. Vijayakumar is the Bishop-President of the Arcot Lutheran Church and his tenure will be from 2009 – 2014. (Email: email@example.com Cell : 9443877447).
More than 70 Pastors are conducting worship services in all the towns and rural places of the Church. We have experienced senior Evangelists for Gospel work, especially concentrating in the rural places.
The ALC has 40,000 members and 35,000 communicant members. It is growing day by day with the help of our Pastors and the Evangelists and through our Everyday Gospel work, Educational and Medical institutions/ministries.
The ALC’s main focus is Gospel, Education and Medical service to the community without caste or creed.
The ALC is going to celebrate its 150 anniversary in the near future under the leadership of Rt. Rev. Dr. R.D. Vijayakumar, Bishop-President.
The ALC is experienced in rights based approaches to development. It has a well-founded network with government institutions and seeks to develop its advocacy based work.
Aim of the Church:
To proclaim the Gospel through its Educational and Medical ministries.
- To endeavour to work towards the spiritual growth of the church.
- To gather the members into congregations for worship and for preaching the word of God and administering the sacraments.
- To instruct the children and young people on the fundamentals of Christian faith.
- To establish and administer schools, training institutes, colleges, polytechnics and other educational institutions for the benefit of the underprivileged especially the poor and needy among Christians and non-Christians, irrespective of caste, creed community or any other considerations.
- To establish and administer hostels, boarding homes, destitute homes, poor people homes and also institutions for promoting non-formal education, adult education and continuing education, and the benefit of all these shall be available to those in need, irrespective of caste, creed or community.
- To establish and administer hospitals and other medical institutions, caring for the sick, without profit motive and also maintain preventive medical work, especially among the hill tribes and most backward people in the rural areas, and to serve the poor and the destitute without any consideration of caste, creed or community.
- To preach the Gospel to Christians and non-Christians alike.
- To help the church to become financially self-supporting and to participate in the wider ministry of the Church in India through various institutions, such as the Bible Society, the Leprosy Mission, the National Council of Churches in India, Churches Auxiliary for Social Action, Medical institutions in India and abroad etc.
The Arcot Lutheran Church has:
- Coastal Mission
- Communication & Cassette Ministry
- Congregational Renewal Ministry
- Cross Community Centre at Tholudur
- Department for Dalit Concerns
- Gypsy (Vahiri) Ministry
- Jawadhu Hills Mission
- Junior Ministry for 10-15 years children
- Lambadi Ministry at Melthanda
- Quovadis – An Interfaith Dialogue centre at Tiruvannamalai
- ALC School Project
- Sunday School Department
- TransGender Ministry
- Women’s Fellowship Department
- Youth Department
ALC Administration – Office-Bearers :
- Rt. Rev. Dr. R.D. Vijayakumar, The Bishop-President, Arcot Lutheran Church
- Mr B Jesuadian, MA Med., Secretary, ALC.
- Rev Dr. VVJ Gurunathan, MA BD MTh., Treasurer, ALC
Other Officers of the ALC:
- Rev P Nalladoss Property Officer, ALC.
- Rev V Samuel Kennady, Central Manager for ALC Schools
Rt. Rev. Dr. RD. Vijayakumar,
The Bishop-President, Arcot Lutheran Church
(As updated in NCC Review November 2012)
Contact as on 30th July 2013
Rt Rev Dr.R. D. Vijayakumar
Arcot Lutheran Church
9, ALC Campus
Cuddalore 607 001 Tamil Nadu
Tel. 04142-230668 Fax: 04142-220668, Mob: 09443877447