Member Church Feature: Church of South India (CSI)


Introduction

Biggest Protestant church in India, Missional United and uniting Church on a pilgrim journey from past 70 years with the motto: That they all may be one. A National Church, very ecumenical, right from its inception.

The church was born in the year 1947, the same year India attained Independence. A church which stood as a model for Ecumenism to the Global Church.

Five southern states of India, four million believers, 15,000 congregations, 3,300 pastors, 3,000 missionaries.

Around 2,200 Educational Institutions, around 175 projects of Child Care, 67 Hospitals and Clinics.

Brief history

Five States of South India, Diaspora Churches in USA, United Arab Emirates, East Asia and Australia and so on.

The Church of South India is the result of the union of churches of varying traditions Anglican, Methodist, Congregational, Presbyterian, and Reformed. It was inaugurated in September 1947, after protracted negotiation among the churches concerned.

Discussions concerning union had begun at a conference at Tranquebar (now Tarangambadi) in 1919, and in 1947, after India attained independence, the union was completed. The Church of South India has its own Book of Common Worship and a Common Lectionary for Communion of Churches in India, both of which draw from several denominational sources. The union, especially in its reconciliation of the Anglican doctrine of apostolic succession with the views of other denominations, historical Episcopate in a constitutional form, is often cited as a landmark in the ecumenical movement.

On 27th September 1947, the General council of Church of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon, General Assembly of South India United Church (LMS and Presbyterian traditions) and South India Provincial Synod of Methodist Church joined together to from the CHURCH OF SOUTH INDIA as the largest united national church in India. The continued growth has been further enriched with the joining of the churches of Basel Mission and the Churches of SPG tradition of Nandyal. A unique church was born out of the blending of the Episcopal and non-Episcopal traditions as a gift of God to the people of India and as a visible sign of the ecclesiastical unity for the universal church.

The CSI is a united and uniting church moving forward with a dynamic vision for The Communion of Churches in India. The Church of South India, the Church of North India and the Mar Thoma Church are already members of this communion of Churches and are venturing into wider ecumenical relations to witness to One Lord Jesus Christ.

Notable contributions to/from CWM

Council for World Mission (CWM) and Church of South India has been in partnership in edifying, enabling and empowering each other in their mission journey for more than four decades. Sharing of resources and people has been happening constantly between CWM and CSI to witness each other’s support towards building missional congregations.

Active partnerships with CWM member churches: The Church of North India, and Presbyterian Church in India

Mission programmes/ministries of the Church

Department of Mission and Evangelism

  • Mission and Evangelism Department has encouraged, developed supported and strengthened peoples’ participation in the missio dei through observing Mission Sunday in congregations of CSI
  • Has promoted and explored the new models and strategies for mission to be adopted in the context of religious pluralism with various workshops and consultations in training missionaries.
  • Has motivated and organized people and resources for God’s mission through a Synod Mission Festival which brought together 1500 missionaries under one roof to celebrate God’s mission and to move forward in faith love and hope.

Department of Pastoral Concern

Department of Pastoral Concerns is always engaged in the task of equipping the clergy of CSI in various capacities, training them towards effective ministry within the grass root congregations. Special focus is given on training rural pastors on various managerial and administrative issues. Pre-Lenten retreats are held every year in preparing the clergy towards a meaningful ministry in Lent. Refresher courses on a regular basis and Institute of Pastoral Management, an intensive course on equipping the pastor’s ministry to the relevant context of challenges and issues are being looked at.

CSI SEVA; Social empowerment a vision in Action.(Department of Diaconal Concerns)

  • Programs for Women, Children (especially female), Youth, Otherwise-abled, Displaced, Sea-farers, Migrant Workers and countless number of people in the un-organized sectors
  • Focus 9/99 Girl Child Campaign, Assuring her Future
  • GEET: Gender Equity Enabling Timetable, campaign advocating the rights of women in Church and community
  • Strengthening of the education ministry and healing ministry of the Church
  • Running life-supporting and self-sustaining projects.
  • DISHA: Disability interventions solidarity towards Holistic action, a movement towards becoming a More Able Church.

Department of Youth

Training programs at the Diocesan, inter-Diocesan and the synod level on various issues like Leadership, Discipleship, Local capacities for peace in terms of consultations and work camps

Sensitizing programs on various issues like ecology, patriarchy, caste and class system, media and so on will be conducted in providing the right perspective about these issues and also enable them to formulate their responses.

MITHRA: Ministry of engaging with the Migrants laborers and students.

Child Care Ministry

Department of Christian Education trains the laity in becoming responsible teachers to edify the ministry among children in churches.

  • Syllabus for the children of the Church.
  • A Movement towards becoming Child Friendly Congregations.

Board of Child Care

  • Programs for the differently-abled
  • Child focused community development program
  • Day care program and residential care program
  • Programs and projects for Children at Risk

Dalit and Adivasi concerns Department

  • Solidarity programs with Dalits, Tribals/Adivasis
  • Consultations, Workshops, and Study Groups on issues related to livelihood, cultural, economic, political and theological concerns of Dalits and Adivasis in India
  • Pastoral concerns department takes care of networking and equipping the pastors towards building better congregations.

Ecological Department

  • Campaigns, programs focus on sensitizing the issues concerning Eco-Justice.
  • publications and consultations are a part of this process.
  • Green Church, Green Sundays School, and Green School Initiatives
  • Green Clergy and Green Teachers Fellowships
  • Water Conservation projects, Alternative energy initiatives, Waste Management workshops.

Women’s Fellowship engages in networking, equipping and steering the women’s ministry in CSI through various campaigns, sensitizing programs and self-supporting projects exclusively run for and by women.

Department of Communications

The Communications Department connects the life and ministry of the Church to the outside world through various media of communication. A website which depicts the mission and ministry of the church along with other social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp and so on is well connected. CSI LIFE, the official monthly magazine of the church, has a wide subscribed readership of more than 4,000 people and has always communicated the theology, life and witness of CSI to the world outside. Apart from these, the Communication Department is engaged in communicating the gospel through various art camps and other modes to revive the lost and ancient forms of communication to speak theology and leave a long lasting impression.

Future plans

  • Church is moving towards becoming a borderless Church, being and becoming Christ Communities.
  • Church has envisioned a TEMPLE (Transformational Empowerment for Missio-Pastoral Leadership Education)- A Mission Resource Centre
  • AIKYATHA- A women’s resource center and Women’s Hostel
  • A CSI Convention center for the use of the Church in its programs

Concerns for church and society

The passion of the Church to become more relevant to the issues in the society

Prayer requests

Pray for the continuing ministry of the Church and its mission in a context where secular, religious and political space is shrinking.

2018-10-19T02:22:44+00:00