When Anjay and Nisha, a young couple from Kerala, were married at St Thomas’ Church in Punnackadu, last month, they planted saplings as part of the Church of South India’s new “Green Wedding” protocol. The couple were the first to be married in the CSI since the Green Protocol for Green Discipleship policy, which includes weddings, was agreed by the CSI synod in December. In addition to the planting of saplings instead of the traditional lighting of a lamp; couples are encouraged to avoid plastic bottles at their reception by serving water in glasses.
Anjay and Nisha’s wedding, on 27 December 2018, was conducted by the Moderator of the CSI, Thomas K Oommen. He blessed the jackfruit saplings before they were handed to the couple by Dr D R Sadananda, the General Secretary of the CSI Synod. The Bishop of Kollam Kottarkara, Dr Oommen George, was amongst a number of dignitaries present at the service. The couple went further than the protocol by giving wedding guests small packets of vegetable seeds to encourage vegetable cultivation.
The CSI is the only Indian Church to have an Eco Award from the UN Development Programme. It agreed its 12 point Green Protocol for Green Discipleship, prepared by the Church’s Department of Ecological Concerns, the Synod’s Executive meeting on 20 and 21 November.
It covers a wide range of areas including energy and water conservation, the prevention of plastic waste, fellowship meals, meetings, and transport, in addition to weddings.