As part of the celebrations of the 70 years of the formations of the Church of South India (CSI), a meeting of the international and national partners of the CSI was held at the Synod Centre in Chennai on the 25th of September 2017. Representatives of international mission agencies such as World Council of Churches, Council for World Mission, USPG, Church of England, Church of Scotland, Reformed Church in America, Church Mission Society, Mission to Seafarers, Methodist Church in Britain, Presbyterian Church of Korea, KORIND MISSION, KNH, ICCO, KIA, Friends of Church in India, attended the conference along with NCCI, NMSI, CISRS, CLS. The overseas CSI Congregations in North America, Middle East and Gulf also sent their representatives, which was a novel initiative. The presence of the national partners made the meet more inclusive.
Most Rev. Thomas K. Oommen, the Moderator of the CSI, inaugurated the Global Partners’ Meet. Rev. Dr. Daniel Rathnakara Sadananda, the General Secretary of the CSI, welcomed the guests from India and abroad. The Directors of the various departments of the Synod Secretariat honoured the guests with shawls in the Indian custom of honouring the guests, and presented mementoes which denote the celebration of 70 years of the CSI. The Moderator, in his Presidential Address, pointed out that the Church is proud and happy that more than 50 partners were helping and journeying together with the mission and ministry of the Church in myriad ways. He stated that seven decades of the united and uniting CSI Church gathered strength from the partnerships that shared diaconal concerns and thankfully reminded all partners to continue in solidarity.
During the opening worship, Rt. Rev. Dr. Daniel Thiagarajah, the Bishop in Jaffna Diocese of CSI, presented the Bible Study based on the theme ‘A Borderless Church for a Borderless world?’ and highlighted the need to transform our relationships of self and others into the inclusive (borderless?) embrace of Christ’s new creation. In the keynote address, Rev. Dr. Daniel Rathnakara Sadananda emphasized on the concept of the borderless church. Partnerships that CSI has across India and other countries reflect on the Church’s nature to shred off its borders and embrace wider solidarity and continue as a uniting force.
The Departments of the CSI Synod: Pastoral Concerns, Youth, CSI-SEVA, Communications, Dalit & Adivasi Concerns, Christian Education, Mission & Evangelism, Ecological Concerns, CSI Board of Child Care (CSI BCC) and CSI Women’s Fellowship made presentations which explained the work and mission of the respective departments. An Art Exhibition, in which artists from various dioceses of the CSI expressed their socio-political concerns with theological insights through their paintings, was organized as part of the Global Partners Meet.
The representatives of the organizations – our global partners - responded to the activities of the Church of South India and expressed their willingness to continue to be in solidarity and support. Rt. Rev. Vadapalli Prasada Rao, the Deputy Moderator of the Church of South India and Adv. Robert Bruce, the Hon. Treasurer of the CSI also addressed the gathering. The Global Partners Meet came to a close with the prayer and benediction by the Moderator, CSI.