Adapted from Gavin Drake, ACNS

The Church of South India celebrated its 70th anniversary by baptizing more than 700 new Christians. The Moderators of the Church of South India (CSI) and the Church of North India (CNI) and the Mar Thoma Church attended the service at St. George’s Cathedral, Chennai, and another 1,000 people were in the congregation.

CNI’s moderator, the Most Rev. Pradip Samantaroy, spoke about how the early Church related to its community. He said that today’s church need to repent and return to the experiences of being related and united to their communities, especially in the context of violence, terrorism, and atrocities against women.

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He asked why clergy are becoming alienated from the people, and why the church was “concerned about creating more space for ourselves as excluding us from the people.”

The Most Rev. Joseph Mar Thoma, Metropolitan of the Mar Thoma Church, stressed the need to continue “as a witnessing church.” He called on the church to “rededicate herself in the mission of God.”

The Rev. Rathnakar Sadananda, the province’s general secretary, said the CSI was a “people’s movement engaged in uniting people from all corners and boundaries” and, with the mind of Jesus, focused on the marginalized. The Church, he said, should be a foretaste of God’s “forgiveness and reconciliation.”

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