The department of Pastoral Concerns has conducted a conference for the Young theologians in partnership with the Department of Christian Education and Ecumenical Christian Centre, Bengaluru. The conference was held with an emphasis on ‘Borderless Church: A Paradigm for Ministry’ from 11-13 October 2017 at ECC, White Field, Bengaluru. The Inaugural Worship was led by the Deputy Moderator of CSI Rt. Rev. Dr. Vadapally Prasada Rao. Bishop Prasada Rao encouraged the participants to be filled with the Spirit of God in order to be engaged in the mission of God. Rt. Rev. Prasanna Kumar Samuel, the Bishop in Karnataka Central, has delivered the Key Note Address where he emphasised on relationships, reconciliation and redemption to make the church borderless. According to him, “relationships are sensitive and more important than the rituals, partnering is important than pioneering, covenants relationship is important than the commandments, synergy is important than strategy in order to become a borderless church”. The forenoon sessions were by Mr. Inbaraj Jeykumar, General Secretary SCMI on Transformative Ministries; Dr. Jayachitra on Child Friendly Churches and Dr. Mary Thomas on Human Sexuality. Inbaraj said, “engagement in social realities requires clarity in spirituality and understanding of the contemporary challenges”. Jayachitra raised a pertinent question whether our churches are child-friendly and encouraged the participants to ensure protection of children form every kind of abuse and exploitation. Dr. Mary explicated the human sexuality very lucidly that enabled the young theologians to understand the intricacies and complexities.
The young theologians had the privilege of listening to the Moderator's Manki Baat. Most. Rev. Thomas K Oommen, the Moderator of CSI urged the young theologians to uphold the ethos of the church and carry forward the legacy of the church of uniting and standing by the vulnerable. Moderator reminded that integrity, commitment and trustworthiness are the important values that make the church relevant. Rev. Viji Varghese Eapen took sessions on the importance of Liturgy and Lectionary. For Viji, "It is always better to use love and humility rather than power and authority while bringing corrections in our worship styles. Let us not 'command' changes, rather sufficiently enlighten our congregations, so that they get convinced and they themselves propose the changes. While bringing changes let us also ensure that the changes are in line with the ecclesiological affirmation of the Church of South India." Rev. Solomon Paul took Bible study on Borderless Church and encouraged the participants to connect the seminary and sanctuary. Recalling to mind how the church assimilated the new media from time to time, Rev. Dr. Sham P. Thomas encouraged the participants to explore the possibilities of border-less-ness in a mediated world.
Rev. K. James Cecil Victor, Director, Pastoral Concerns has lead a Bible Study on the ‘Mind of Christ’ that opens the possibilities for being and becoming borderless. Dr. John Samuel, Dean, ISET has conducted the Holy Communion service and shared the word of God. He has beautifully brought forth the movement towards borderlessness in the Bible. He challenged the participants to carry forward the vision of the church of breaking the barriers and hierarchies. The participants have had a discussion and panel presentation on the ways in which the church can become borderless. Rev. Phanuel said that the conference was contextual and need of the hour. Rev. Praisy asserted that the follow up is essential to see where we stand after couple of years, with the insights received in the conference. Rev. Sabi Mathews responded by saying “This conference has helped me in a great deal to understand the challenges and possibilities in ministry. The conference has helped me understand the rich heritage and importance of our liturgy.”
Rev. K. James Cecil Victor
Director, Pastoral Concerns