[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] More than 700 new believers were baptised at a celebratory service held to mark the 70th anniversary of the Church of South India. The Moderators of the Church of South India (CSI) and the Church of North India (CNI) were both present at the service in St George’s Cathedral, Chennai, as was the Metropolitan of the Mar Thoma Church and other senior clerics. There were more than 1,000 people in the congregation.
In an address, the CNI moderator, Pradip Samantaroy, spoke about how the early church related to its community. And he said that today’s church needed to repent and return to the experiences of being related and united to their communities, especially in the context of violence, terrorism and the social evils such as atrocities against women.
He asked why clergy are getting alienated from the people, and why the church was “concerned about creating more space for ourselves as excluding us from the people.”
The Metropolitan of the Mar Thoma Church, Dr Joseph, delivered a message of greetings, during which he stressed the need for the church to continue “as a witnessing church”. He called on the church to “re-dedicate herself in the mission of God.”
The Province’s general secretary, the Revd Dr Rathnakar Sadananda, said that the CSI was a “people’s movement engaged in uniting people from all corners and boundaries” but, with the mind of Jesus, focused towards the marginalised. The Church, he said, should “be a foretaste for God’s forgiveness and reconciliation.”