Thought for the day

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."
- Matthew 7:7-8

Daily Reading

EXODUS

3:1-22



  • CSI- EMS Liaison Office: Triennial Report 2017- 2020 CSI EMS

    The Departments of the Church of South India Synod adopted a novel way to present the triennial reports during the 36th session of the CSI Synod, which was held at the Bishop Heber College in Trichy from 11th to 14th January 2020. The Departments presented full- length videos of their work during 2017- 2020 along with the full-colour book contains the printed form of the reports.

    The report of the CSI- EMS Liasion Officein the text form, pdf form and video format are seen here.

    CHURCH OF SOUTH INDIA
    CSI-EMS LIAISON OFFICE
    TRIENNIAL REPORT FOR THE SYNOD COUNCIL JANUARY 2020
    The Church of South India (CSI) is a member Church in Evangelical Mission in Solidarity (EMS), Germany. In India EMS is CSI. The CSI-EMS liaison office is intended to strengthen relationships through the strengthening of synodical departments, a direct partnership between the CSI dioceses and German Churches, and partnership concerns with the theological educational institutions which are in EMS fellowship. It is an important desk for CSI international relationships. The model of CSI-EMS liaison office is unique in the EMS fellowship and EMS is planning to take the same model to other member Churches in Korea, Japan and elsewhere. The CSI-EMS liaison office work since Sep’ 2018 onwards is reported bellow.

    Appointment of CSI-EMS Liaison Officer
    Rev. DrPerumalla Praveen Prabhu Sudheer, an ordained minister of the CSI Diocese of Karimnagar, Professor in Social Analysis at Andhra Christian Theological College, Hyderabad, and also first Auxiliary Secretary of the Bible Society of India Telangana Auxiliary, was appointed as CSI-EMS liaison officer in September 2018; Installed to the office by the Moderator the Most. Rev. Thomas K Oommen, in the presence of CSI General Secretary Rev. Dr D. Rathnakara Sadananda and directors of the Synod and staff members.

    Mission Among the Children: EMS Partnership with CSI Children Homes
    There are eight EMS supported homes spread across South India, CSI Girl’s Boarding Home, Mulki; CSI Boy’s Boarding Home, Udipi; Basel Mission Girls Orphanage, Sumaddi; Basel Mission Boy’s Orphanage, Gadag; BEM Girl’s Home, Chambala; CSI Bethania Girl’s Home, Kannur; CSI Industrial School, Manjeri; and Empowerment & Skill development Centre, Meppadi. All these children homes are taken care by the CSI Board of Child Care (CSIBCC). These homes are for girl and boys, who stand below the poverty line, and also for the orphan children. These children come from different revenue administrative districts. It is reported that around 400 underprivileged children had been taken care of by these homes. The liaison officer had visited children homes at Udipi, Mulki in Oct’ 2018 and children homes at Kannur and Chambala in Aug’ 2019. Some of these homes are engaged to provide intercultural exposure to German young volunteers for the past few years under the project of EMS called Ecumenical Youth Volunteer Programme (EYVP). EYVP volunteers from Germany had been placed in Kannur home and boy’s home in Udipi.

    A conversation with the inmates and staff of the homes had brought to light new challenges. Respective State governments are restricting the homes from giving admission to children in the name of non-local. The government authorities are periodically scrutinizing the children homes to disqualify them for violating non-local admission. These authorities also verify other components to disqualify our mission with children in the name of building fitness and hygienic standards. The CSI needs to revisit the mission with children in a context of changes in state cooperation with the Churches mission with the children.

    Transformative Mission Engagements: EMS Partnership with CSI Synod Department
    EMS partnership with the synodical departments is an important function of the CSI-EMS liaison office in terms of processing the synodical projects and work closely with the CSIGS office in sending the reports on scheduled time. In the year 2018 and 2019, the CSI Synod Departments had received fourteen projects, which is the second-highest of all the support projects and programmes of the EMS. Statistically, it speaks of a strong relationship with the EMS. Challenges before the CSI Synod is to take complete advantage of the EMS support in strengthening Diocesan ministries and local congregations. Let each diocese provide adequate information on the issues pertaining to each project and appropriate the project fruits and report back changes from the local congregations. The EMS is interested to see the transformation in local congregations through its ministerial partnership.

    Mission through Direct Partnership with CSI Dioceses The CSI Dioceses are in direct partnership with German Churches that are in fellowship within EMS. There are eight CSI Dioceses in direct partnership with the German Churches. Protestant Churches of Hessen-Nassau is in direct partnership with the Dioceses of Krishna-Godavari and East Kerala; The Deanery of Villingen in partnership with the Diocese of Karnataka Southern Diocese; The Deanery of Pforzheim in partnership with the Diocese of Coimbatore; The Deanery of Heidelberg in partnership with the Diocese of Malabar; The Deanery of Waiblingen in partnership with the Diocese of Tirunelveli; The Evangelical Churches of Kurhessen Waldek (EKKW) in partnership with the Diocese of Northern Karnataka and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Wurttemberg, Degerloch & Schew, Gmund, in partnership with the Diocese of South Kerala. Such a partnership enables the mission to be in solidarity.

    Baden Churches stood in solidarity with the people of Kerala, sent flood relief to their partner Dioceses. The Deanery of Villingen Churches sent flood relief to the Southern Karnataka Diocese. The CSI-EMS liaison office reports to the EMS Stuttgart on flood situation as well as flood relief works. There had been mutual visitations of the CSI Diocesan Bishops, congregation members to Germany as a part direct partnership. The German Churches had been observing Indian Sunday Worship Services in their respective Churches raising support for their partner Dioceses in CSI. In such special services, Indian preachers are engaged. In 2019 at Pforzheim Deanery Rev. Dr, John Samuel was the preacher and in Degerloch Church Rev. Solomon Benjamin, EMS Liaison secretary for India/ East Asia was the preacher. The German Churches looks forward to getting mission work reports from their respective partner Dioceses that can be presented at the Indian Sunday Worship Service. The CSI-EMS liaison office assists the Dioceses in strengthening direct partnership relationships

    Direct Partnership Meeting with Rev. Michael Starck of Baden Churches at Malabar
    State Church representative for the Church Development Services of the Protestant Churches in Baden Rev. Michael Starck had visited the Diocese of Malabar on 5-6th Aug’ 2019 along with Rev. Solomon Benjamin, EMS liaison secretary and Rev. Dr Praveen PS, Perumalla, liaison officer. Three Diocesan Bishops of the Basel Mission Region namely Bishop Timothy Ravinder, Bishop in Coimbatore; Bishop Mohan Manoraj, Bishop in South Karnataka and Bishop Royce Manoj Kumar Victor, Bishop in Malabar, met at Calicut and discussed active partnership. Following day Rev. Starck visited children homes that are supported by the Baden Churches, at Kannur and Chambala along with the liaison officer and Mr Nivin, project manager of the Malabar Diocese. They also visited flood relief works in the district of Wayanad. The Baden churches are very much eager for active partnership with the CSI Dioceses.

    Mission Intercultural Exposure: Ecumenical Youth Volunteers Programme (EYVP)
    The CSI-EMS Liaison Office had organised EYVP intercultural exposure for the German young volunteers under the programme North-South volunteers. These volunteers work in various CSI projects, schools, and children homes for a period of 10 months, starting in September to end of June. These youths will get to know churches and cultures, contribute their experiences to congregational work. They make use of time to develop their personality in a culturally pluralistic context. A total of 16 German volunteers had availed the EYVP programme since 2018 and 2019. Ten CSI homes across the CSI had catered these youths for inter-cultural exposure. These home are St. Mary´s Rehabilitation Centre, Khammam; Asha Nilaya, Udupi; Wesley Girls´ Hostel, Secunderabad; CSI Boys Boarding Home Udupi; Elwin Centre, CSI Home for Mentally Retarded, Satchiyapuram; Bethania Girls´ Home, Kannur; Women Workers´ Training Centre, Nagalapuram; Balar Gnana Illam, Salem; Holy Cross Boarding Home for Girls Nandyal; and Hardwicke Boys Boarding Home, Mysore. Thanks to the respective Bishops as well as wardens for their cooperation in an ecumenical partnership.

    Every year the EYVP officer concerned at Stuttgart Ms Kathrine Lehbeah visits the volunteers for mid-terms evaluation. In the year 2019, the mid-term evaluation took place at Hendry Martin Institute, Hyderabad. At the time of her visit, EYVP placement homes are visited along with the liaison officer or person delegated. In the year 2018, homes in Kerala region were visited; in 2019 homes in Telugu region was visited. These intercultural exposures bring goodwill among the German youths who experience Indian realities and CSI ministries. They share their experiences back home within the EMS Youth Network that facilitate more youths to visit CSI under EYVP programme.

    Challenges faced in organising EYVP is registering the German volunteers with the respective CSI children homes. The government agencies are demanding document after document with no end. There is an urgency to take up EYVP volunteer registration matter seeking a long-term solution.

    The mission at Asian Regional Level: Indo -Korean Mission Council
    Three days Indo- Korean Mission Council took place at CSI Synod Secretariat, Chennai, from 20th to 22nd August 2019, hosted by the CSI. The participants were from six churches in Asia and one mission organisation in Germany. Leadership from the Presbyterian Church in Korea (PCK), Presbyterian Church in Republic of Korea (PROK), Church of South India (CSI), Church of North India (CNI), Presbyterian Church in India (PCI) and Evangelical Mission in Solidarity (EMS), Germany, had participated in the mission council. There were six presentations in the mission council, which stimulated serious thinking to consolidate the vision of forming regional council and strengthen South-South Fellowship, and it had come out with a mission statement to that effect.

    The delegates were taken for exposure with the Ponneri Pastorate, Diocese of Madras, where they interacted with the self-help groups of the CSI, children of the fishing community. The beneficiary women who attended the meeting were poor. No priority based on religious identity is given to them but, based on their poverty and determination to overcome poverty. These women shared may liberative stories about Churches involvement in lending loans to the poor women of self- help groups. They asked Churches to continue supporting the poor women through small loans and not to withdraw from liberative path.

    Theological Educational Mission: EMS Partnership with Theological Institutions
    EMS has a partnership with five theological educational institutions namely Andhra Christian Theological College, Hyderabad; Karnataka Theological College, Mangaluru; Kerala United Theological Seminary, Trivandrum; Tamilnadu Theological Seminary, Madurai, and United Theological College, Bangaluru. These colleges/ Seminaries continue to receive support from the EMS partnership in terms of project support, exchange of human resources and providing intercultural engagement. Liaison officer was invited by TTS, KUTC, KTC and ACTC and discussion to improve partnership relationship with EMS if shared between the liaison office and respective theological college/ seminary. The liaison officer could visit KTC, TTS and yet to visit KUTS and ACTC. Some of these theological college Principals had visited the EMS Secretariat at Stuttgart and some of them had visited CSI-EMS Liaison Office. EMS is interested to work more closely with the theological educational institutions in the days to come.

    Mission through EMS International Bible Workshop
    EMS Bible Workshop was held from 29th September to 6th October 2018 at United Theological College, Bangaluru. The workshop was attended by delegates from 8 countries namely Cameroon, Germany, Ghana, Hongkong, India, Indonesia, South Africa and South Korea. Out of all the 19 delegates attended, 8 were women. The Principal of UTC Rev. Dr Ch. Vasantha Rao warmly welcomed the delegates in the community worship service, where Rt. Rev. Dr Royce Manoj Kumar Victor, Bishop in Malabar, introduced the workshop theme “Reading the Bible through the Eyes of Another” in his preaching. The Bible workshop included a public lecture on “Mother Tongue Hermeneutics” by Prof. Philip Laryea from Ghana. A team exposure programme was organised as part of the programme; one team visited the CSI Karnataka Southern Diocese and Karnataka Theological College, Mangaluru, and another team visited Tamilnadu Theological Seminary, Madurai. The participatory approach, contextual reading of the text, was conceived as “Bible Sharing” that takes seven steps: Opening prayer or song; Listening to the Bible text; giving voice to the biblical text; Meditation in silence; Sharing insights; Acting together; Closing with prayer or song. The Biblical texts used for reflections were St. John 14, Book of Ruth, St. Mark 9, Galatians 3 and St. Luke 24 respectively. Five academic papers on different themes were presented. The Bible workshop method is helpful in overcoming monologue, insensitivity towards others, reflecting beyond one’s political state boundaries, etc. It is more probable that such a workshop can lead towards inter-religious sharing of scriptures.

    On Duty Visit of CSI- EMS Liaison Officer to Germany The CSI-EMS Liaison officer was invited by the EMS acting General Secretary Rev. Dr Kerstin Neumann from 6th to 22nd Nov’ 2019. The itinerary was well prepared by Rev. Solomon Benjamin, EMS Liaison Secretary for India and East Asia, and by Ms Regine Nagel. The following Churches/ Deaneries, offices are visited during the time: Waiblingen Deanery; Esslingen Deanery; Pforzheim Deanery; Heidelburg, Headquarters of the Church of Baden at Karlsruhe, Villingen Deanery, Degerloch Church in Stuttgart and Zentrum Okumene in Frankfurt. Some of the highlights of the visitation are participation in the EMS Mission Council held on 21st Nov’ onwards at Hohenwart; Participated in Indian Sunday Service observed by two partner Churches, one at Pforzheim and other Degerloch Church, Stuttgart; Lectured on the theme of ‘Indian Political and Church Scenario’ at Pforzheim and at Villingen; Participated in Baden Churches Staff Meeting at Karlsruhe and briefed on Church and political context of contemporary India; A lecture on ‘Diversity and Church Music in India’ was delivered for young musician gathering at Esslingen, which was followed by a meeting to explore possibilities for a music concert in India; Two Bible studies were taken, one for the Partnership group at Oberhausen in Nidda and other one at the EMS Chapel, Stuttgart; An academic presentation was made on the theme ‘Indian Experiences in Greening Initiatives: Christian Responses’ on 16th Nov’ at Indian Seminar organised by EMS for the German Churches in fellowship within EMS. There was time to interact and learn with different EMS departments at the Stuttgart Office. Time to interact with the acting EMS General Secretary Rev. Dr Kerstin Numann, where I was introduced to different administrative documents, policies of EMS; time to meet Public Relations Department Jorg Conzelmann, Regina Karasch-Bottcher, Thorsten Kruger along with Solomon Benjamin. The discussions were very helpful in reporting, news related matters and need to think of information hub. Time was allotted to interact with the Programmes and Projects department unit support headed by Christine Grodzinger, who made a PowerPoint presentation to explain about EMS policy on project-related matters, finances, and reports. Their expectations from the CSI-EMS liaison office was also explained. There was time to listen to Intercultural Learning and Gender department headed by Gabriele Mayer, who gifted a book, which is an outcome of the Bible Workshop organised at UTC, Bangaluru in Oct’ 2018, and suggested to start similar Bible study groups with the Theological Educational Institutions that are in partnership with the EMS. Time was allotted to interact with the department of EYVP Northe-South headed by Ms Kathrin Lehrbach, who explained about EYVP programme, discussed on recent challenges in registering the EYVP volunteers; discussed next mid-term evaluation schedule as well as next batch of EYVP volunteers posting. Time with Rev. Solomon Benjamin, EMS Liaison Secretary for India and East Asia and Regine Nagel was meaningful to learn about CSI-EMS liaison work and way forward. There was also time to know the work of EMS among the children. The Diversity book was introduced with a request to integrate it with the CSI ministries, preferably with the Christian Education Department. There was time to get introduced to the staff members of EMS Secretariat, Mr Rudolf Bausch, Head of Admin and Finance Department, Birgit Grobe- Slopianka, head of EYVP South-North programme/ Youth networking, Uwe Grabe, Liaison Secretary Middle East, Hans Heinrich, Liaison Secretary Indonesia, George Meyer, Liaison Secretary Africa, Dieter Bullard-Werner, Executive Secretary Basel Mission German Branch and also contact person with Esslingen Church, Cathrin Kaufmann, head of Human Resouces and Dorothea Wagner, Head of Distribution Unit and others.

    Thanking …
    I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the CSI Synod Officers the Most. Rev. Thomas K. Oommen. Deputy Moderator the Rt. Rev. Dr V. Prasada Rao, General Secretary Rev. Dr D. R. Sadananda and Hon. Treasurer Adv. C. Robert Bruce, for placing trust on me to lead the CSI-EMS Liaison office in India. I do express my gratitude to the officers concerned in EMS, Stuttgart, especially to Rev. Dr Kerstin Neumann, Acting General Secretary, for welcoming me to the office of the liaison of EMS in India. I am thankful to my Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Dr Prof. K. Reuben Mark, Diocese of Karimnagar, and the ministerial committee for sending me to serve as liaison officer for CSI-EMS.

    Rev. Dr Praveen Perumalla
    CSI- EMS Liasion Officer

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