CSI Synod organized and conducted a consultation on rethinking ecclesia from ‘Prophetic Diakonia Perspective’, attributed towards a borderless church by being and becoming Christ communities. This consultation was held in CSI Synod Center on the 15th and 16th May 2018. The consultation was inaugurated by the Most Rev. Thomas K. Oommen, Moderator, CSI., where 40 participants from different professions, including Bishops, pastors, social concern directors, people’s movement and interns from seminary and social work colleges actively participated.
It was an exercise of introspection and rethinking Ecclesia, in the context of 500th anniversary of reformation and 70th anniversary of the Church of South India. Keynote address was delivered by Rev. V. J. John who set the tone for the discussion by expounding 1) Ministry from biblical and theological perspective, 2) Practice of ministry within the church and 3) Rethinking mission (in line with the mission task of Jesus, the Nazareth manifesto). There were a total of 12 presentations on life-affirming activities in the community facilitated by different community organizations, peoples movements and networks. The panellists include Dr. K. Krishnan, Foundation for Sustainable Development, Ms. Geetha Ramakrishnan of Unorganized Workers Federation, Dr. TMN. Deepak of December 3 Movement, Dr. Faizur Rahman of Islamic Forum for the promotion of moderate thought, Mr.Martin, Mr.Siva and Dr.Ramki of Nirangal, Orinam and SAATHI, Ms.Loretta Johanna of International Justice Mission, Dr.Paul Divakar of National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, Ms.Kousalya Periyasami of Positive Women Network (PWN+), Dr.Richard Devadoss of Cornerstone Trust and Rev.Asir Ebenezer, Director, CSI – SEVA. These life-affirming experiences shared by the panellists challenged participants to see Jesus mandate carried out by many others in the community, including those who do not believe in religion. Respondents to the panellists were the theologians and pastors, including Rt.Rev.Mohan Manoraj, Rev.Jacqulin Jothi, Dr.Mohan Larbeer, Rev.Dr.Samuel Rajadurai, Rev. Dr. Isaac Kadirvelu and Rev.Milanton Rajareegam responded to the panellists and tried to capture the learning and challenges. They suggested ways and means to rethink ecclesia toward a borderless church.
The entire deliberation of the 2 days consultation suggested that to redraw the border of the Ecclesia, making it liberative and inclusive, is possible only when the church comes outside and experiences salvation, as concluded by the General Secretary of CSI Synod.