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
The Ecological Concerns Department of the Church of South India Synod once again gets the international attention when the Website of UNESCO features an extensive article on the activities of the Department and its impact.
You can see the article in the following link:
Dr Mathew Koshy Punnackadu
Director, Ecological Concerns Dept.,
Reporters without Borders, an International Non-Government Organization released its annual World Press Freedom Index (WPFI) in May 2018. The index ranks 180 countries based on a consolidation of qualitative and quantitative analysis that examines pluralism, media independence, media environment and self-censorship, legislative framework, transparency, quality of infrastructure for news production, and violence against journalists and media persons. India ranked 138, ranked 136 in 2017, and 133 in 2016. Although the Press Council of India has rejected the Reporters without Borders ranking, citing “lack of clarity” in the methodology deployed.
The US state department's 2018 International Religious Freedom Report shows bias of the local media in favour of a particular party in India. The report, released on 21st June 2018, alleged that some senior leaders of the Ruling Party made inflammatory hate speeches against the minority communities. It also exposes that "mob attacks by extremist groups against minority communities which continued throughout the year amid the rumours that victims had traded or killed cows for beef.” The media is also playing a major role in diverting the attention of the public from major issues like unemployment, rapes, mob-lynching and the weak economy of our country to other issues which have no relevance for the country and its people.
In challenging situations like these, there is a necessity to continue research and documentation to bring into the notice of the Government agencies and human right institutions to safeguard the interests of minorities. This planned exercise involves acquiring information from newspapers and magazines, government records related to minority issues, human rights concerns, and reports/records of the government on incidents/matters related to FoRB (Freedom of Religion or Belief). However, most of the present documentations are fully dependent on the secondary sources like newspapers, magazines and so on. FoRB monitors are primarily meant to collect evidences from grass root level which are important to get a clear picture of incidents. It is envisaged that the FoRB monitors will complement the ongoing work of research, documentation and the fact finding by adding more stories of violation of FoRB from the local contexts which are not covered by our mainstream media.
The Mandapasalai Peace Center – Madurai Ramnad Diocese and other fifteen locations from all over India were identified and two people from each location who are working towards peacebuilding and communal harmony were trained to act as FoRB Monitors. The role of these FoRB Monitors is to analyse the violations and document them for the above-mentioned purpose. They may also expose them to the public through media intervention including social media and other sources. The three-day workshop had various input sessions predominantly on Fact finding – introduction, methods and steps, Introduction to various National and International mechanisms – Right to Information, Universal Periodic Review (UPR) – unique mechanism of the Human Rights Council (HRC) aimed at improving the human rights situation on the ground in the 193 Member states of United Nations. The History and constitution of India was highlighted to help the team remember the magnificence of ‘Unity in Diversity’ in the Pluralistic society that we live in. This kindled hope among the key people in order to rebuild a dream like community where there are no inequalities based on Caste, Gender, Class, etc. The preliminary training took for these key players jointly organized by National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) and Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS) took place between the 1st and 3rd of February 2020 at the premises of NCCI, Nagpur.
Praveen Daniel S
Program Executive – LCP
An Orientation programme on Child safety and Child Rights through Powerpoint Presentation and Puppet show was held at the Synod Centre, for the Primary students of Middle school , Satchiapuram of Madurai – Ramnad Diocese as part of their exposure visit to Chennai. Nearly 35 Students and 15 teachers were present. Mrs. Aruna Stephen and Mr. Santosh, staff of CSI-SEVA led sessions in Tamil on Child rights and context of abuse. Rev. J. Solomon Paul, Director-in-charge, CSI-SEVA, welcomed the gathering and gave a brief introduction about the programme. Rev. Dr. D. Jeyasingh Prince Prabakaran, the Correspondent of CMS Middle School, expressed his thanks to the SEVA Department, for the valuable input given to his students.Back
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 Christian Education Department in the text form, pdf form and video format are seen here.
CHURCH OF SOUTH INDIA
THE DEPARTMENT OF CHRISTIAN EDUCATION
TRIENNIAL REPORT FOR THE SYNOD COUNCIL JANUARY 2020
The Church of South India Christian Education Department (CED) is committed to working for the transformation of Churches to become missional congregations. Christian education serves the purpose of an instrument for transformation/ change. The aims and objectives of the department are to nurture local congregations of the CSI Dioceses to be Children- friendly. There are eleven categories put together constitutes children-friendly Churches. These categories are theological, missional and transformative in nature. Follows are the eleven categories of children-friendly Churches: Christ-centred, Missional, Gender-sensitive, Zero-tolerance to sexual abuse, Casteless, Inclusive, Eco-friendly, Integrating abilities, Rights-based, Safe learning environment and Border-crossing. In the triennium period (2017-2019), the department had developed a course outline that covers the aims and objectives of the department which is used to equip Sunday school teachers/ Sunday school directors/ Trainers. Following reports are details of the department activities for the triennium.
New Wings of Faith: Pedagogies for Missional Congregations
An important component of the Church or local congregations is children. Even though a statistical data is yet to be worked out on Sunday school children population as well as trained Sunday school teachers within CSI, children population in CSI is assumed to be around one million (100,000) population and above. In the past, the department had prepared resource book for the Sunday school called ‘Wings of Faith.’ In the light of aims and objectives of the department, ‘New Wings of Faith: Resource Handbook’ is prepared that provides details of Sunday school lessons for three years period covering a total of 225 lessons. It is a common curriculum for the whole of CSI that includes lessons for the beginner, primary, junior, intermediate and senior classes starting from the age group of four to seventeen years. The new syllabus is intended to cover only 30 weeks out of a total of fifty-two weeks in a calendar year.
What is ‘New’ in the ‘New Wings of Faith’? It is a paradigm shift. The previous approach to the Bible was the thematic, content-based approach. Feedback from previous experiences based on a thematic approach informs us that the Biblical text is sacrificed on the altar of themes. Another limitation of the thematic approach is the neglect of children language and children world view. Yet another limitation is the total neglect of context in which children live. The aims and objectives of the CED had to do with the living context of child-vulnerability and a vision to see the holistic development of every child. The paradigm shift takes the said vision and aims to transform the context of child-vulnerability. Inferring from the works of Paulo Freire on pedagogy, a Brazilian educationalist who worked with the World Council of Churches at one point of time, reading the scriptural text in the light of living context is adopted. Children are familiarised to the text as well as to the problems of children context.
Familiarising children to the Biblical text requires a theological approach to assist paradigm shift. It is ‘narrative theological approach’ adopted to introduce children to the text. Narrative theology can be very child-friendly in its adaptability to storytelling method. Narrative theology does not confine to any language binaries of secular and sacred language. Narrative theology can be applied to pick-up child-vocabulary, child worldview.
‘New’ in the ‘Wings of Faith’ recognises the importance of ‘incorporating child-abilities.’ The assumption is that every child has abilities which need to be nurtured at each age and given due opportunity to transform the context of child-vulnerability. An analysis of context through problem posing is an attempt to incorporate child-abilities.
The spirituality of the New Wings of Faith connects with the Wings of Faith and takes it further towards problem-solving and problem analysis and roots it with the Biblical text, appropriate prayers and memory verses. There are videos for almost all the lessons, where the children can see and be inspired by colourful moving pictures, music and narrative.
Sunday school teachers are mostly practising preaching as a method in the Sunday School where the children find no place; children imagination finds no room. The New Wings of Faith requires Sunday school teachers to be facilitator using the handbook as well as online Sunday school package, which can be downloaded for free of cost. They are encouraged to be facilitators for the holistic development of Children.
There are around 17 women and 25 men involved in creating this resource package called New Wings of Faith, who met as core-committee, lesson writers, artists and video editing. The core committee had completed editing one-year lessons (75) and it is yet to complete editing two more years of lessons. The journey of preparing New Wings of Faith is a long one; the first time they met at CSI Synod Secretariat on 01st and 16th May and 10th July 2018. The Core committee had to finalise the Biblical text, title for the text and fixing objectives for the lessons in its consecutive meetings on 9-10th, 24th April, and 02-03rd May 2019. Writing lessons were organised from 14-17th May and 23-27th July 2019. For three days 18-20th Sep’ 2019 artists worked to develop the activity. Video downloads and editing had been continuing for the past four months. Thanks to our General Secretary Rev. Dr D. R. Sadananda for initiating and persistently overseeing the project.
Training Christian Educators for Transforming Churches to be Missional Congregations
Christian education gives importance to pedagogy. As discussed above, Christian education pedagogy introduces perspectives from bellow, from the communities at the margins. For Christian education to be an instrument for transforming Churches to be missional, Christian educators need to be trained in line with the pedagogical perspectives from bellow and for liberation.
Pedagogical training programmes/ workshops are organised for the Sunday school teachers, Christian educators of all the CSI Dioceses in this triennium. The topics covered are in four major areas namely Christian education Pedagogies, Child-Counselling, Chid-Rights and Child-Abuse, and Children-friendly Churches. Every workshop is organised for three consecutive days mostly in regional languages. The Department had collaborated with the respective Diocese in organising the programme. In this triennium, a total of 19 workshops were conducted benefitting around 1500 Christian educators from rural as well as urban congregations. Majority of these trainers are female. Every year planning committee with Christian education directors from CSI Dioceses had been organised; one was on 03 May 2019. In spite of planning, the Christian Education Department had experienced organisational impediment with the sick leave of the then Director followed by her dropping from the office. In spite of unforeseen eventualities, the Director-in-Charge had to make-up the gaps to the possible extent. Following are workshops in the respective CSI Dioceses on the theme of Christian Pedagogies for Missional Congregations as well as Child-friendly Churches.
Christian Education Pedagogies for Child-friendly Churches
23-25 January 2017 at CSI Centre, Chennai.
The CSI Christian Education Department had organized three days’ workshop from 23-25 January 2017 on the theme ‘Training for Children’s Ministry: Child- Friendly Churches” at CSI Synod Secretariat, Chennai. Fifty- five (54) Sunday School teachers from the Diocese of Karimnagar had attended the workshop. The workshop was inaugurated by Rev. Priscilla Reuben, President of Women’s Fellowship of the Diocese of Karimnagar. In the inaugural address, she emphasized faith and obedience to God, perseverance and commitment in order to realise the possibility of a new world which is free from any kind of abuse. She encouraged the participants to be ‘change-makers’ in the lives of children.
The participants were introduced to ‘High Impact Teaching Skills’ which are relevant and useful to teach children of all ages by Mr Prabu, Director of Kids Kount, Bangalore. The teaching skills are centred on knowledge of story/subject, understanding story/subject and application of story. The participants learnt many creative ideas about Bible stories and missionary journeys, lesson preparation and presentation, and teaching memory verse. The participants were taught to make their own visual aids using the available, low-cost resources.
On the third day Rt. Rev. Dr Prof. K. Rueben Mark, Bishop in Karimnagar, celebrated the Holy Eucharist. He exhorted the participants to have the mind of Christ, accept children who are most vulnerable in society. He further exhorted them to be compassionate like Christ in order to transform their lives. He encouraged them to be courageous like Christ to overcome the barriers and challenges that obstruct the ministry. Rev. K. James Cecil Victor, Director for Pastoral Concerns Department had taken session on ‘Child-friendly Churches.’ He enumerated necessity to pay attention to child-abuse, child-rights and children with disabilities for a holistic approach in Christian Education. The Most Rev. Thomas K Oommen, CSI Moderator, had encouraged the participants to make Christian education relevant to the context of every life. He reflected upon present generation children as techno-savvy and their world views shaped by media and technology. He challenged the participants to set an example in prayer, faith and conduct. The participants had an exposure visit to St. George’s Cathedral and other places of importance.
Through this triaging program, the participants were helped to understand teaching and mentoring as the crux of Christian Education. The feedback session was very encouraging as all of them said that it was a very useful and unique training program that made them realize their responsibilities more vividly. Participants had said that they could make new friends and learn from one another. Mrs Apolina Calvin said, “It is a comprehensive training program that helped them to fain confidence to teach effectively. She further said that Child-friendly Churches is a new perspective.”. Rev. Jeevarathnam, the Convener of the Diocesan Christian Education Board, proposed the vote of thanks. The program concluded with prayer and benediction by Bishop Rueben Mark.
Pedagogical Training Program towards Child-friendly Churches
29 March 2017 at CSI St. Paul’s Church, Sanatnagar, Hyderabad.
Pedagogical training program for the Sunday School teachers of the Diocese of Medak was held on 29th March 2017 at CSI St. Paul’s Church, Sanatnagar, Hyderabad. The program was jointly organized by the Diocese and the CSI Christian Education department. Around 250 Sunday school teachers from 110 Pastorates in the Diocese had attended the program with a lot of enthusiasm. The delegates were from the twin cities (Hyderabad and Secunderabad) as well as from the rural pastorates. For some participants, it was the very first workshop that they ever attended. The program was inaugurated by the Rt. Rev. Dr A. C. Solomon, Bishop in Medak. He had reminded that the training children to walk in the ways of God is the primary concern of Church. Mrs A. C. Vajra Santhosha Kumari Solomon, Bishop Amma; Rev. Dr T. Bhasker, Vice-Chairperson; Mr Dolkala David, Property Secretary and Mr P. Mervyn, Diocesan Youth Secretary, had felicitated the gathering. Rev. Shanthi Roberts, Chairperson for Town DCC offered prayer.
The purpose of Christian education was the main thrust in the first session. To lead children to experience faith in Christ; help the child to see the world through the word of God and overcome hurdles by trust in God. Dr Prabhu, the Director, Kids Kount, Bangalore, had initiated such discussions. In yet other sessions, he focused on various methods that help Sunday school teachers to present lessons innovatively. He explained 10 possible ways of communicating in Sunday schools. They are 1. Direct Experience 2. Made up Experience 3. Drama and Skits 4. Demonstration 5. Field Trip 6. Exhibition 7. Videos 8. Audios 9. Visuals and 10. Verbal. It was an eye-opener for most of the participants for they followed mostly verbal method. Rev. James Cecil Victor, CSI Director, Pastoral Concerns Department, took a session on Model Sunday School. He informed the participants that every Sunday school should be child- friendly, disabled friendly and gender-sensitive. He encouraged the teachers to create space for the children to express their views and doubts. He brought to their notice that Christian education is about transformation and discipleship. While today’s children are more susceptible to negative influences of pseudo ideologies presented to them on social media, even in cartoon networks, Christian education needs to mould the tender minds appropriately.
The feedback was very touching as most of them opined that the training program was very useful. Anita Thomas from SPG church said, “I have helped my mother and sister who take Sunday school but, I never took Sunday school by myself. I’m quite challenged and inspired today to take up this ministry seriously.” Mrs Feba Christina from Holy Trinity Church, Bollaram, expressed that the training had helped the participants to update themselves with creative and innovative teaching methods that are useful for both Sunday School and forthcoming VBS. The training program came to an end with the prayer by Rev. M. Jayanand, the presbyter in charge of St. Paul’s Church, Sanatnagar and vote of thanks proposed by Mr Samson Katamalla, the Sunday School Secretary of the Diocese.
Trainers of Trainees for Missional Congregations
22-24 November 2017 at CSI Synod Secretariat, Chennai
The CSI Department of Christian education had organized three days training program on the theme “Trainers of Trainees (ToTs) for Missional Congregations” for the Christian educators, Sunday school teachers from 22nd to 24th November 2017. The programme was organised at the CSI Synod Secretariat, Chennai. A total number of 76 participants representing 19 CSI Dioceses actively took part in the training programme.
The General Secretary of CSI, Rev. Dr D. Rathnakara Sadananda and Rt. Rev. Dr B. D. Prasada Rao, Bishop in Rayalseema, inaugurated the training program. In his inaugural devotion, Rev. Dr Sadananda appreciated the role of Sunday school teachers in leading the largest lay movement in the church, voluntarily and passionately, which marks the continuity of Christian faith in our churches. In his keynote address, Bishop B.D. Prasada Rao reaffirmed the role of Christian education in the mission and ministry of Church of South India.
Rev. Dr Bethel Krupa Victor led a session on the historical overview of Christian education and its impact on the ministry of Sunday schools in the CSI. Rev. Dr Arun Gopal, while speaking on the sub-theme, ‘educational psychology and ministry to children’ reminded the participants to understand every child in order to meet out to the differing needs of them with Christian values.
Sub-themes such as ‘human sexuality’, ‘ecological sensitivity,’ were introduced by Rev. Dr Jayachitra L. and Dr Mathew Koshy Punnackad respectively. Creative ways of communicating the gospel through various means such as puppets were also introduced. The training programme was concluded with challenging the participants to carry forward the mission to children by enhancing Child-friendly churches and Sunday schools all over the CSI.
Training for Ministry among Children
13 February 2018, Kollam- Kottarakkara Diocese
The CSI Department of Christian Education in collaboration with the Board for Christian education, Diocese of Kollam-Kottarakara organised a Sunday school teachers' training program on 13th February 2018. This took place at Craven High School auditorium, Kollam. Around 240 Sunday school teachers from the diocese of Kollam-Kottarakara had participated in the programme. The Rt. Rev. Dr Oommen George, Bishop in Kollam-Kottarakara, had inaugurated the event. He had exhorted the participants to commit oneself for the children ministry and expand the ministry all over the Diocese. Rev. Dr Bhanu Samuel, Vice President of the diocese, had highlighted rewarding the ministry among children, impact that the Sunday school teachers make on the Sunday School children. Rev. Dr Jayachitra L, Director for the CSI Department of Christian Education, recalled the first-century Palestinian context in which children were treated as 'no bodies' and it was in such a context that Jesus gave importance to the Children, theologically explaining the reign of God. She invited all to strive for a child- friendly Sunday school and church in their respective places. Rev. Aby K. Thomas led two sessions on the role of Sunday School teachers in the Children Ministry and on the methods of Bible Lesson Preparation. The feedback was highly appreciative of impetus to engage with Sunday school ministries.
Training for Ministry among Children towards Children-friendly Churches
27-28 February 2018, Melukaavumattom.
The CSI Department of Christian Education had organised two days training program for the Kerala region at Melukaavumattom in the Diocese of East- Kerala on 27- 28 February 2018. Total participants in the regional programme were 51 Sunday school teachers. They were representatives from six regional Dioceses. The programme was inaugurated by the Rt. Rev. Daniel, Bishop in East- Kerala Diocese, Melukaavumattom. In the inaugural session, Bishop Daniel had underlined the importance of ministry among the Children. He emphasised the importance of Christian education where secular educational institutions demand classroom education at the cost of the creative imagination of the children. The training program dealt with different sub-themes namely Child-friendly Churches and Child-friendly Sunday schools; Preparing Bible Stories for Sunday School; Planning and Preparation for Sunday School and Pedagogies for Sunday School. Feedback from the participants was very encouraging.
Training for Children-friendly Churches
11 March 2018, Karimnagar
One-day training program for Sunday school teachers of the Diocese of Karimnagar was organised at Centenary Wesley Church, Karimnagar, on 11th March 2018. Rev. Priscilla Reuben, President of Women's Fellowship, Karimnagar Diocese, had inaugurated the program. Rev. Dr Jayachitra L, the Director of the CSI Department of Christian Education shared greetings and exhorted to strive towards ensuring children-friendly Sunday schools in the diocese. The session was conducted in regional language. A total number of participants were 127 from four Group Church Councils of the Diocese namely Warangal, Karimnagar, Jagtial and Parkal. Sub-themes dealt within the programme were Children-friendly Sunday schools and Child– friendly Churches; Biblical methods in Counselling Children, and Counselling Different Age groups. Rev. Priscilla Reuben inaugurated the programme and said that Sunday School in the rural Diocese such as Karimnagar is very important for the rural children to find fewer opportunities to learn, compared with the cities. Therefore, special efforts should be made to organise Sunday schools in rural areas in the Diocese. Mr Syrus discussed Biblical methods of counselling. He says that the Bible can be approached as a book of care and counselling for different age groups. Therefore, sharing the Bible with the children should bring out the dimension of care and counsel for children. Discussing on Care and Counselling, Syrus emphasised homes, as well as educational institutions, should serve the purpose of care and counselling for the children. Rev. Jeevarathnam dealt with the Child-friendly Sunday School and Child-friendly Churches. He discussed different signs to identify the need for Child- friendly Sunday schools and Churches. The programme was concluded with a prayer by the local Pastor. The participants were happy over the classes. They all said that counselling was a new area of their training programme for they had not approached the Bible from care and counselling point of you. They further asked more classes on the new subject of counselling.
Christian Education Pedagogy for Missional Congregations
6 April 2018, Nandyal
The CSI Department of Christian Education had organised one-day training program for the Sunday school teachers of Nandyal Diocese at Vishvasaalayam, Bishop's Chapel, Nandyal. The theme for the workshop was ‘Sunday School Teachers Training.” The Rt. Rev.Dr. E. Pushpalalitha, Bishop in Nandyal, inaugurated the program. Rev.Dr.Jayachitra L, CSI Director, Christian Education Department, took classes on the sub-theme ‘Children-friendly Sunday schools’. Mr.Syras Kumar led a session on the sub-theme ‘Biblical Basis for Counselling Children’ and ‘Counselling Different Age group Children.’ In the inaugural session, Bishop said that Sunday school activities are mostly dependent on the Sunday school teachers. If the teachers are adequately equipped, by all means, we can expect Sunday schools to get organised with enthusiasm and participation. Dr Jayachitra taught the importance of perspective such as ‘Child-friendly Churches and Sunday schools’ in grooming the Sunday school. Mr Syras Kumar presented counselling as an important component in child development. He based his Biblical presentation on the book of Deuteronomy and Gospels. The participants numbered around 100, mostly women. Feedback from the participants was very encouraging. ‘We are helped in approaching the Bible as a story of counselling which is a new idea’ is the response from all the participants.
Christian Education Pedagogies for Missional Congregations
21-23 May 2018 at CSI Synod Centre, Chennai:
The CSI Department of Christian Education organised a workshop on the theme ‘Christian Education Pedagogies for Missional Congregations’ for the Christian educators/ Sunday school teachers from the Diocese of Dornakal for three-days at CSI Synod Secretariat, Chennai from 21-23rd May 2018. The total number of participants was sixty. Rv. James Cecil Victor, Director, CSI Pastoral Concerns Department, had taken a session on the sub-theme ‘Basic Principles of Christian Education Pedagogies’ emphasising on its relevance in promoting missional congregations. Rev. Dr Rohan Gideon, Assistant Professor of Theology, UTC, Bangaluru, had taken a session on the sub-theme ‘Reading and Interpreting the Bible from children’s perspectives.’ This session had enabled the teachers to come out of their adult bias in reading and interpreting the Bible and to focus on identifying child experiences in the Biblical passages as well as from the contemporary life context.
Mr Syras Kumar, a Counselling Trainer, had taken a session on the sub-theme ‘Counselling in the Sunday School Ministries’ and he had introduced the participants to see the need to address child emotional growth to be more positive and affirming. Therefore, the psychological dimension of the Sunday School ministries should give enough importance. Further, he had facilitated in training the participants to understand basic components of counselling and application in the Sunday school education. Rev. Dr Jayachitra L, the Director for the Department of Christian Education, Mrs Suhasini Cecil, both of them had taken sessions on the sub-theme ‘Child Rights and Child Abuse’ respectively. They had emphasised upon different forms in which abuse of children takes place, on both male and female children. They wanted to see that the church along with the trained personal through such workshops should strive towards ensuring a safe learning environment in churches. Rev. Dr D. R. Sadananda, the CSI General Secretary, had exhorted the participants to go back to their respective congregations as ambassadors of CSI Synod Christian Education goals of capacity building, for teachers of Christian education and train children through holistic Christian education. A special word of thanks is recorded to The Rt. Rev. Dr V. Prasada Rao, the Deputy Moderator and Bishop in Dornakal and to Mr K. J. Subhakar Ashirvadam, Diocesan Treasurer. The participants expressed the importance of learning counselling skills to meet out to the pressing issues faced by children.
Training Christian Educators for Child-Friendly Churches
29-31 May 2018 at CSI Synod Centre, Chennai:
A group of forty- three Christian educators/ Sunday School teachers from the Karnataka Northern Diocese had attended a three-days’ training program of the CSI Department of Christian Education at CSI Synod Secretariat, Chennai, from 29- 31 May 2018. The theme for the programme was ‘Training Christian Educators for Child-friendly Churches.’ Rev. Hanna Niranjan, President of Diocesan Women’s Fellowship a senior presbyter of Karnataka Northern Diocese, had inaugurated the program. They gave a call to reach out children with a commitment to establish God’s reign in our times. She appreciated the participants’ voluntary initiative to instil Christian values in children and encourage them to equip themselves with the skills to communicate. Dr Kamala Dhawale, Principal, CSI College of Commerce, led the first session on “Teaching Methods in Sunday School” in which she explained adopting various teaching methods in order to enhance learning experiences of children in the Sunday School. It was a good start to the program as it set the tone for participants to focus on their basic methods of teaching that would result in a better learning environment.
Rev. Dr Rohan Gideon, Assistant Professor of Theology, United Theological College, Bangaluru, had spoken about ‘Reading and Interpreting the Bible from Children Perspectives.’ His presentation had inspired the participants to recall and relive their childhood aspirations in reading the Bible as children. A thorough analysis of prejudices behind the adult reading of the Bible exposed the need to do an intentional reading of the Bible from the viewpoints of children. The participants prepared Bible lessons by re-reading the select Bible passages from the lived experiences of children. They demonstrated through innovative methods of teaching re-creating classrooms and transforming the whole approach to the Bible narratives. This session had enabled teachers to come out of their adult biases in reading and interpreting the Bible and to focus on children's experiences in the Bible passages and the contemporary context of living. Rev. Solomon Paul, Director, CSI Director, Department of Youth, spoke about the preparation of Bible lessons in view of the contemporary challenges such as ‘culture of materialism’ and ‘culture of Hatred.’ Such an approach helped the participants to relate the familiar Biblical passages to various socio-cultural and political issues of our society.
Ms Vincy Venugopal and Ms Nancy Susanna, two trained student counsellors, had taken sessions on the sub-theme ‘Child Emotional and Psychological Needs’ relating it to the context of Sunday Schools teachings. They trained the participants in the basics of counselling and applying in Sunday school education. Many participants expressed the urgency to learn counselling skills to meet out to the pressing issues faced by children.
Rev. Dr D. R. Sadananda, the CSI General Secretary had inspired the gathering in the valedictory session. He highlighting the scope of instilling Christian values in children for the growth of the Church in the Indian scenario. He challenged the participants to go back to their respective congregations as ambassadors of Synod Christian Education goals of capacity building for Sunday school teachers and train children towards holistic Christian education.
The Rt. Rev. Ravikumar J. Niranjan, Bishop in Karnataka Northern Diocese needs to be thanked for bringing the participants for the workshop and Professor Immanuel S. Malekar, Honorary Secretary of Karnataka Northern Diocese for coordinating the training program along with the CSI Department of Christian Education.
Sunday School Teacher’s Workshop on “Christian Education Pedagogies for Missional Congregations” 09-1 Nov’ 2018 at Bishop Heber College, Trichy.
Three days Sunday school teachers’ workshop was organised at Trichy for two Dioceses Trichy-Tanjore and Coimbatore for three days, 09-11 Nov’ 2018. The programme was held at Bishop Heber College, Trichy. Inauguration of the programme was done by the Rt. Rev. Dr D. Chandrasekaran, Bishop in Trichy-Tanjore. This programme dealt with the subjects on Child- friendly Sunday school, Child- friendly Homes and Churches. The presentations included ‘Approach to the Bible from the experiences of children,’ ‘Safeguard Child Rights and Holistic Growth of Children.’ Resource persons were Rev. James Cecil Victor, Synod Director, Pastoral Concerns Department, Rev. Maxcin John, Synod Director, Mission and Evangelism Department and Rev. Solomon Paul, Synod Director, Youth Department.
Training for Christian Educators for Child-friendly Churches at Thoothukudi-Nazareth Diocese 16-17 November 2018
The Christian Education Department of the Church of South India organized a two days Camp to train potential young women along with the elderly women to conduct “Women’s Bible School”. The Women’s Bible School was a new initiative in the diocese by Bishop the Rt. Rev. Dr Samuel Ebenezer Clement Devasahayam and Bishop Amma Mrs Shanthini Devasahayam. It was a program to nourish the faith of women in the Church with a deeper understanding of the Bible. The theme of the Women’s Bible School (WBS) was ‘Love.’ A syllabus for this program was framed under the leadership of Bishop Amma with the help of eminent clergies in the diocese. WBS was a three days program. Three different titles were framed as follows, Family Bounded with Love, Church Bounded with Love and Society Bounded with Love. The lessons for each day consist of a story from the Bible, a short devotion, the inspiring life story of a missionary and the missionary journey of St. Paul. There was special space in the syllabus for the ecological concern as well. New songs were composed in accordance with the theme.
The workshop of this program was held on 16th & 17th of November 2018. The Bishop Rt. Rev. Dr SEC. Devasahayam chaired the program. Special speakers from various Department of CSI participated in the Camp. On the First day Rev. Solomon Paul, the director of the Youth Department delivered a special keynote address to the gathering. The Second day Rev. Cecil Victor, the director of Pastoral Aid Department gave a lecture to the participants. Nearly 350 women participated in the program. It was a great awakening among the women in the Diocese. The women who participated in the workshop said that they are blessed to the new initiative to come together as young and old women of the Diocese approach the Bible, their own missionary history.
Sunday School Teacher’s Workshop on “Christian Education Pedagogies for Missional Congregations.” 23 – 25 May 2019 at Secunderabad.
The CSI Department of Christian Education had organised three days workshop in collaboration with the Diocesan Christian Education Department for the Sunday School teachers in the Diocese of Medak on the theme ‘Christian Education Pedagogies for Missional Congregations’ from 23-25 May at CSI Medak Diocesan Office, Secunderabad. The workshop was inaugurated by the Rt. Rev. Dr A C Solomon Raj, Bishop in Medak. In every Pastorate in the Diocese of Medak Sunday school will be revived says Bishop in Medak in his inaugural speech. The programme started with the lighting of the lamp by the Bishop and the Diocesan Officers, clergy in- charge of Sunday school in the Diocese, Diocesan Sunday school secretary Mr K. Samson and Synod Directors Rev. K. James Cecil Victor and Rev. Dr P. Praveen Prabhu Sudheer. Bishop exalted the gathering of around 120 Sunday school teachers, encouraging them to carry on the vision to have active Sunday schools in the village pastorates as well, not to confine to the urban alone. The Diocesan Women Fellowship President Smt. A.C. Vajra Santhosha Kumari Solomon, Diocesan Vice-Chairman Rev. Dr T. Bhaskar, Diocesan Secretary Rev. Dr U. Daniel, Diocesan Lay Secretary Dr K. Dayanand, Diocesan Treasurer Prof. Dr B. Vimal Sukumar, Rev. C. Shanthi Roberts and others greeted the occasion. There was a total of nine sessions of presentations with discussions and an inaugural as well as valedictory session. Following resource persons were assigned with different sub-topics namely Rev. James Cecil Victor initiated the discussion on ‘Sunday school movement; Introduction to CSI Department of Christian Education and Childly-friendly Churches.’ Rev. Dr Praveen PS. Perumalla has taken session on the sub-theme ‘Reading the Bible with Children, Like Children (Pedagogies)’; Mrs Nancy Agustine and Ms Usha had taken sessions on the sub-theme ‘Child-friendly Educational Methods (Skills in Teaching, games and arts)’. Dr Samson Gandhi had taken a session of the sub-theme ‘Child Development and Psychology.’ Dr Jyothi Victoria had taken a session on the sub-theme ‘Christian Education and Evaluation Methods.’ Mrs V. Keerthi James had spoken on the sub-theme ‘Child Rights and Child Abuse.’ Mrs Tabitha had taken a session on the sub-theme ‘Personal Safety Education for Children.’ Some of the responses from the participants as follows: “Learning Christian Education Pedagogies is capacitating us to continue child-friendly atmosphere in teaching professions outside of the Church as well”; “A number of sub-topics dealt with have introduced us to a wide range of concerns pertaining to children”; “An introduction to the Bible as a book with poetry and stories has interested us to teach children instead of a set of doctrines and philosophy”; “Rural children concerns are given enough space in the interactions.” Rev. C. Shanthi Roberts as well as Rev. Dr U. Daniel led the Bible study cum devotion for two days. The delegates cherished hospitality extended by the Diocese.
Sunday School Teachers Workshop “Christian Education Pedagogies for Missional Congregations.” 29-31 May 2019 at Calicut.
A three days’ workshop for the Sunday school teachers in the Diocese of Malabar was organised by the CSI Department of Christian Education in collaboration with the Diocese of Malabar. The workshop was inaugurated by the Rt. Rev. Dr Royce Manoj Kumar Victor, Bishop in Malabar in the presence of Diocesan Clergy and Evangelists. Evg. Shaiju M J. and Rev. Sam Prakash offered prayers. Diocesan Sunday school General secretary had welcomed the dignitaries and the participants. Rev. NK Sunny the Clergy Secretary, Mrs Sophia George the secretary of Women’s fellowship, Rev. Sinoj Manjooran the General secretary of the Youth Department, Area Presidents Rev. P.T George and Rev. Koshy George offered felicitations. Evg. Sibin Stanly expressed thankfulness to the dignitaries and to the participants. Evg. PA Thomas offered a closing prayer followed by the benediction by The Bishop. Rev. Sam Prakash gave a short introduction to the classes. The Christian education, Child rights and Child Development Psychology classes were taken by Adv. Lincy Vivek, who shared serious issues which had been happening in the present-day context. She conducted the sessions using an interactive method. Rev. Sam Prakash taught a song to the teachers and he took a class on the sub-theme ‘Christian Education Department’, Role of Sunday School Teacher.’ He engaged the session using an activity that makes the participants think about their role as Sunday school teachers. On the sub-theme ‘Child Development- Counselling’, ‘Psychology of Child Development’ Evg. Sibin Stanly had taken a class. He explained about what is counselling, how we should take care of our children, what are the goals of the counselling, how to build self-esteem in children and Psychology of child development and stages of child development. It was an interactive session; this class was fully addressing different concerns related to personality development. The delegates had shared their experiences of working with the children in their respective parish. Rev. Dr T. I. James took a class on the topic ‘Child Education and Child-Friendly Churches.’ He concentrated on the legal dimension of Children education and inspired the class with new ideas to be Child-friendly churches. He further discussed disabled children and their life in society as well as in Church. He explained how the service pattern could change according to the children and the possibilities for their active participation in the Church service. It was an eye-opening session to all those who were there. Evg. P.A Thomas had addressed the topic ‘Child-friendly Educational Method.’ It was very effective and helped in keeping the full attention of the children in the classroom. Mr Nivin Thomas, Project co-ordinator and Social Board Convenor of the CSI Malabar Diocese, had spoken on the topic ‘Forms of Child Abuse- Sexual, Cultural, and Physical & Spiritual.’ This class was related to our present situations and the problems faced by our children. He explained about ways and means to help the children who face the problems of child abuse. The sub-theme of ‘New Sunday School Syllabus’ was dealt by Rev. Sam Prakash. He clearly explained about new features, new methods and activities in the New Sunday School Syllabus of CSI. Rev. James Cecil Victor, Director from Synod, had dealt with the sub-theme ‘Reading the Bible with Children.’ He explained about relating the Bible to the Children in order to be Child-friendly and the importance of caring for children through the Bible stories telling. Morning devotions were conducted by Evg. Sibin Stanly and P.A. Thomas consecutively for two days.
In the valedictory programme Rev. Sam Prakash, the Sunday School General Secretary of CSI Malabar Diocese had expresses thanks to all the participants as well as resource persons the to the CSI Synod Christian Education Department. Prayer and the benediction were said by Rev. P.T George.
Sunday School Teachers Workshop “Christian Education Pedagogies for Missional Congregations,” 07- 09 June 2019 at Madurai.
Three days Sunday school teachers workshop was organized by the CSI Department of Christian Education in partnership with the CSI Diocese of Madurai- Ramnad, in Madurai. The theme of the programme was “Christian Education Pedagogies for Missional Congregations.” The Rt. Rev. Dr M. Joseph, Bishop in Madurai- Ramnad Diocese, had inaugurated the programme. He had encouraged the work of the Christian Education Department in the Diocese. Bishop shared about ‘Grace of Children Mission’ in the Diocese from his own experiences, which was an inspiration to the participants. He thanked the CSI Christian Education Department for a meaningful programme in the Diocese. Rev. A. David Jebaraj, Clergy Secretary of the Diocese, had spoken on the topic ‘Introduction to the Sunday School Movement.’ He had enlightened the gathering about Sunday School history within the Diocese of Madurai- Ramnad and in India, connecting with the history of Sunday school mission worldwide. It was very useful and inspirational. Rev. Dr Praveen Perumala had dealt with the topic ‘Re-reading the Bible with Children as Child.’ He used a PowerPoint presentation method. His presentation enabled the participants to realise different limitations in the present methods of Sunday School. The session helped the participants to work towards Child-friendly method of reading the Bible. The topic of ‘Child Psychology’ was taken by Mr Selvakumar. This session was conversational and participatory in approach. The conventional practices on teaching lessons were modified through the session. The participants were introduced to various levels in child psychology using biblical narratives. On the topic of ‘Managing Stress’ Rev. A. Peter Joseph, director for Christian Education in the Diocese, used Biblical paradigm to deal practically with stress. The Diocesan Lay Secretary Adv. C. Fernandas Rathina Raja presented on the topic ‘Child Rights.’ The children of today’s world are said to be extremely under threat while they pursue their life ambitions. He further emphasized on violent contexts that the children are exposed to. Through this session, the participants got awareness and clarity in constitutional protections and child rights. Mr D. Benedict Abraham, an activist and social worker, initiated the discussion on the topic ‘Today’s Challenges for Children at Home, School, Society and at Church.’ The participants were asked to analyse the present day’s struggles. He made a strong point that children had been reduced to a thing with some use value and not as persons. The consequences of viewing children as a commodity are explained in terms of child abuse, child labour, sexual assault on children. This session helped the participants to consider the value of children and change their old perceptions of children. The participants gave feedback that the sessions were highly educative and inspiring.
Sunday School Teachers Workshop “Christian Education Pedagogies for Missional Congregations” 28- 30 June 2019 at Kadapa.
Sunday school teachers workshop on “Christian Education Pedagogies for Missional Congregations” was organised by the CSI Christian Education Department in collaboration with the Diocese of Rayalaseema Christian Education Department from 28- 30 June 2019 at CSI Central Church Sunday School Hall, Kadapa. Around seventy Sunday school teachers had enrolled for the workshop. The workshop was inaugurated by the Rt. Rev. Dr B. D. Prasada Rao, Bishop in Rayalaseema by lighting a lamp. Soon after the inauguration, the first session was taken by Rev. Nischal on ‘Historical and Biblical foundation of Christian Education.’ Morning devotion was organised by the local Presbyter at CSI Christ Church Kadapa. The session followed was taken by Rev. P. Shanthi Swaroop on ‘Child Development and Child Abuse,’ followed by a session by Rev. P. Isaac Varaprasad on ‘Child Rights and Child-Friendly Methods in Christian Education,’ Rev. Dr Praveen PS Perumalla, Director in-charge of CSI Department of Christian Education, had taken session on ‘Reading the Bible with Children’ followed by a session by Rev. Devanand Subuddi on ‘Sunday School syllabus.’ Rev. C. Ananda Rao, Director, Diocesan Christian Education Department, had successfully organised the workshop with the support of Bishop and Diocesan officers Rev. C. Mathaiah, Administrative Secretary, Mr G. Prabhakar Rao, Financial Administrator. Rev. Bharat was very helpful in organising the workshop. On Sunday, all the participants along with the resource persons had joined the worship service in the Central Church, Kadapa, where Rev. Dr. Praveen PS Perumalla was invited to preach the word of God. In the worship service, Bishop B. D. Prasada Rao had exhorted the participants, led them in a prayer of the pledge to serve the Children through Sunday school ministries, offered a prayer of dedication and distributed certificates, declared that the certificate awardees are authorized to serve as Sunday School Teachers in the Diocese of Rayalaseema. Feedback from the participants was very encouraging. They all expressed the desire to have similar workshops periodically as the Diocesan Sunday school teachers are more spread across the Diocese, which is mostly rural Diocese. They stated that giving importance to the Bible in Sunday school that too from children's experiences is something inspired them as a new thought. Giving certificates is appreciated as an incentive to continue in Sunday school ministries with much vigour. They further expressed the need for new songs to be taught at the time of such workshops.
Sunday School Teacher’s Workshop “Christian Education Pedagogies for Missional Congregations” 23-25 July 2019 at Vijayawada.
“Sunday School ministries are very important ministries of the Church,” says the Bishop in Krishna- Godavari Diocese the Rt. Rev. Dr T. George Cornelious. A three days’ workshop was inaugurated by the Bishop along with Bishop Amma, President for the Diocesan Women Fellowship Smt. Rev. D. Joshua Kumari Cornelious, in the presence of Mr G. Samuel Sudhir, Diocesan Secretary, and Rev. V. Issac Ratna Raju, Diocesan Treasurer, Rev. K. James Cecil Victor, Synod Director and Rev. Dr Praveen PS. Perumalla, Synod Director. Around fifty people participated in the workshop in spite of heavy rain, impaired state transport.
It was heavily raining in the State at this time. The venue had to be changed on the second day of the workshop. There was a field exposure programme for the participants to visit children home. Following sub-topics are covered: Rev. K. James Cecil Victor presented on ‘Sunday school ministries’ and ‘CSI Department of Christian Education’; Rev. Dr Praveen PS. Perumalla on ‘Reading the Bible with Children as Children’ and ‘Child Rights’; Smt. Rev. D. Joshua Kumari Cornelious on ‘Child- friendly Educational Methods’; Mr T. Ravi Kumar on ‘Child Abuse and Child Rights.’ Morning devotions were led by Rev. Dr Ananda Rao, Presbyter of All Saints Church. There were feedback and discussion session at the end of the programme. Three questions were given to discuss. For the first question on what is learned, their responses were the importance of finding creative ways and means to motivate children; develop moral values among children; work toward making them disciples; teach the bible stories, make it attractive and desirable learning. They reported that they could learn Christian Education and Child Rights importance, both within the Church as well as in society. They further said that the workshop gave them good knowledge and importance of providing moral support to others.
To the second question about their plans to implement what is learned, responses are: The Sunday school teachers should strive to impart a biblical world view of life through systematic Bible study. They said that the parents of the Sunday school children should be encouraged to be sensitive to various needs of the children belonging as per their age groups and turn homes as centres of care. The participants had said that the Churches should radicalise distribution of gifts, practice charity based on need. For instance, gifts given to the Sunday school children should not be of any plastic goods but health-related and education-related goods. To develop our Sunday School to be Children-friendly, it requires work to bringing change among the Sunday school children, also among the parents and elders within the families. In this workshop, we learned good activities for Sunday school children when compared to the activities we had done before. For instance, our bible cover should be a story-oriented coloured picture.
Feedback on the final question about activities of Sunday school needs to be improved, the responses were: impart discipleship among the children as well as among the family members of the children. Make use of technology to teach children animated stories, craft making and innovative games and songs. Such an approach in teaching will impress on the heart and mind of a child. Through such innovative approaches, the feedback report says, it is possible to prepare every child as a shining star to the future generations.
Sunday School Teacher’s Workshop “Christian Education Pedagogies for Missional Congregations” 22-24 August 2019 at Shoranur.
A three days’ workshop for the Sunday school teachers of the CSI Cochin Diocese was conducted on 22 – 24 August 2019 at CSI Retreat Centre, Shoranur. The workshop was organised by the CSI Department of Christian Education in collaboration with the Diocese. The workshop was inaugurated by the Rt. Rev. B. N. Fenn, Bishop in Cochin, & Kerala Regional Sunday School Chairman, in the presence many clergies from the region of Kerala. Rev. Sujin Jacob (South Kerala), Rev. Satu P. Roy (Kollam-Kottarakkara), Rev. Sam Prakash N (Malabar, Rev. Johnson Kunnappilli (Madhya Kerala), Rev. Mathew Gorge (Cochin Diocese), Rev. K. A. Lukose (East Kerala) had felicitated the occasion. Rev. Dr Mervin Shinoj Boas had presented the keynote address on the Theme ‘Christian Pedagogies for Missional Congregations’. The participants were around 100 Sunday School Teachers at the workshop. Dr P. R. D. Prabhu had taken a session on the sub-theme ‘Child- friendly Education Methods’ which was very interactive based on activity involvement that enabled the participants to grasp quickly. He emphasised on visual presentations of the Biblical characters and Bible stories that enables quick grasp of the subject matter by the Children. Dr Prabhu took a class on the sub-theme ‘Child development’ impressing on the audience importance of psychological approach. After morning worship, Mr Bensic Miranda had led the session on “how to counsel new generation children’. An umbrella was gifted to everyone. Rev. Mathew George, General Secretary, Christian Education Dept., Cochin Diocese, had organised the programme satisfactorily. The feedback from the participants was very encouraging as they all said that it was good educative sessions.
Sunday School Teachers Workshop “Christian Education Pedagogies for Missional Congregations” 8- 10 September 2019 at Mangaluru.
The CSI Department of Christian Education in collaboration with the South Karnataka Diocese had organised three days’ workshop for the Sunday school teachers in the Diocese from 8-10 Sep’ 2019 at Sahodaya, Mangaluru. The participants had taken part in women Sunday in the CSI Shanthi Cathedral Balmatta. The participants were from six different areas of the diocese. The programme was inaugurated by the Bishop, Rt. Rev. Mohan Manoraj by planting a sapling in the programme venue and made the inaugural address. The office-bearers of the diocese were part of the inaugural programme. Mr Vincent Palanna, treasurer of the diocese, addressed the gathering, spoke about the importance of Sunday school. The sessions followed started with Introduction to Sunday School Movement and Aims, Objectives of the CSI Christian Education Department. Mr D. William Carey, Secretary of KSD had spoken on the sub-theme ‘Reading the Bible with Children as Children’ from his experiences. Two sessions were taken by Rev. Icon Palanna, Presbyter, CSI Karunya Church, Krishnapura, on the sub-themes ‘Forms of Child Abuse – Sexual, Cultural & Institutional’ and ‘Forms of Child Abuse – Physical, Emotional, Spiritual.’ He shared from his expertise in Law and work with various organization. A highlight of his presentation was about the problem of child abuse in Church and society, which otherwise was not visible. There was activity based on the topic organised by Rev. Palanna. A session was taken by Dr Prabhu, Director, Kids Kount, Bangaluru. He had explained about the psychology of children under the sub-topic ‘Child Development’ (Counselling, Psychology of Child Development). Rev. Adrian Deepak, Assoc. Presbyter, CSI Shanthi Cathedral, Balmatta & Co-ordinator, KSD Sunday School Dept, had taken a session on the sub-theme ‘Sunday School Syllabus and Evaluation Methods.’ Rev. Noel P. Karkada, Presbyter, CSI St. Paul’s Church & Co-ordinator, KSD Youth Dept, had taken a session on the sub-theme ‘Christian Education & Child Rights.’ He highlighted the importance of Christian education and child right through biblical and social sciences understanding. Mrs Rekha Barnabas, Secretary, CSI Shanthi Cathedral, had taken a session on the sub-theme ‘Christian Education for Child-friendly Churches. She emphasised the importance of Child- friendly church in the present context. Her presentation was followed by activities and games designed by her. Dr Prabhu, Director, Kids Kount, Bangaluru, had spoken on a sub-theme ‘Child- friendly Educational Methods’ (skills in teaching, games, arts, etc). There were morning devotions lead by Rev. Adrian Deepak and Rev. Sudhakar, Convenor, Christian Education Department. In the morning devotion, one Bible study was led by Bishop Mohan Manoraj and following day Bible study was led by Rev. Sudhakar. A cultural evening was organised for the participants. Each area had to present one event. Participants enjoyed presenting songs and dance from each region. Group discussion and feedback was organised. Participants actively participated in the sessions by sharing their experiences. Their feedback was in written form. The valedictory programme was chaired by Rev. Sr Sujatha, Vice President. She brought greetings from CSI KSD on behalf of the Bishop. She expressed a few encouraging thoughts for conducting a teachers’ training program and shared her experience in God’s ministry. She congratulated all the participants for choosing children ministry and working hard in bringing children towards Christ. Rev. Prakash Dasar, Sunday school Area coordinator of Chamarajanagar, Rev. Hemachandra, Area chairman of Kodagu district were present. The programme concluded with the prayer by Rev. Hemachandra and vote of thanks by Rev. Sudhakar.
Sunday School Teachers Workshop “Christian Education Pedagogies for Missional Congregations” 7-9 Oct’ 2019 at Panigiri,
A three days’ workshop for the Sunday school teachers was organised at Panigiri for the CSI Diocese of Karimnagar by the CSI Department of Christian Education in collaboration with the Diocese. Fifty Sunday school teachers, mostly youth from rural Churches, had participated in the workshop. For the first half of the workshop, all the clergy from the Alair Group Church Council were invited to understand the importance of Sunday school ministries. The workshop was inaugurated by the Bishop Rt. Rev. Dr Prof. K. Reuben Mark, Bishop in Karimnagar, in the presence of Diocesan Treasurer, Rev. Christopher, Diocesan Ministerial Secretary Rev. E. Paul, Diocesan Sunday School Director Rev. R. Jeevaratname, Panigiri Pastorate Chairperson Rev. Purushotham, Alair GCC Chairman Rev. AmruthaRao and other clergies. Rev. Dr Praveen PS, Perumalla, Director in-charge for the CSI Department of Christian Education, was present at the inauguration programme. The Bishop had emphasised about Children and ministry among the Children and also dedication on the part of Pastors as well as Sunday School teachers for ministry among the Children. Rev. Dr Praveen P.S. Perumalla had discussed ‘Reading Bible with Children as Children,’ ‘Child-friendly Churches’ and ‘Child Rights.’ He elucidated on the importance of approaching the Bible from Child world view, in a language understandable to the children, and introducing the Bible to Children as a book for Children. For which unlearning on the part of Sunday school teachers were the first requirement, followed by relearning, he said. On the sub-them ‘Child-friendly Churches’ he talked about giving a due place for the child participation in the liturgy, in the worship service; need to make deliberate attempts to create space for the children. Any kind of humiliating tendencies, belittling children by the elderly needs to be overcome, he said. On the sub-theme of ‘Child Rights,’ he emphasised on the citizenship of children and the constitutional rights of children that needs to be always reminded and observed. Different State agencies to protect Children Rights needs to be watched closely by the Church as well as Sunday School in order to deliver goods to the needy children. Mrs Purushotham had presented on the sub-theme ‘Child Abuse and Role of Sunday School.’ Her presentation brought out local variant in Child abuse, which otherwise was not visible and the importance of being sensitive towards children needs by the elders. She further emphasised on the role of Sunday school teachers in training Children to recognise different forms of Child abuses and importance to teach Children to resist any kind of abuse. On the sub-theme ‘Children Education Methods’ and ‘Child Psychological Development’ Rev. R. Jeevarathnam had discussed rural children requirements while teaching Sunday school. Importance of folklore usage was emphasised which needs to be integrated with Christian teachings. He further explained that the rural Children needs differ based on gender.
In the feedback session four questions were given to them, what did you expect from this workshop? What is your opinion on the given topics and the way they are dealt with? What did you learn from this workshop? What are your future plans for the Sunday School in your village?
The feedback report says that their expectations were learning new songs, action songs in the workshop. They were surprised by an introduction to important sub-themes at the workshop. They said that the topics were very informative and educative. They said that many new aspects are introduced to them such connecting psychological component with the spiritual such as praying for children by the Sunday School teacher and praying with each child as the time demands and also praying with the children as a group. They said about learning the Bible as a book of stories and Child Rights as the constitution has given rights; Churches to be Child-friendly are innovative thoughts that inspired them. They were saddened to learn that the Child abuse culture surrounding them but they were not sensitive to children. They all committed to serving the children in their respective villages and they asked for more opportunities to come together for learning and time to learn new songs as well as puppet shows and Children videos. They expressed the desire to incorporate audio-visual methods in teaching to the children as well as to the teachers. Morning devotions were taken by the Sunday School teachers with the help of local Pastor.
Peter Cater Scripture Examinations and Awards:
In the triennium, Peter Cater Scripture examination was conducted in different centres within the CSI Dioceses in four regional languages and in English. For two levels scripture examination was conducted, one for the lower grade, class 9, and another higher grade, class 11. Both classes covered the Biblical books, from First testament as well as New Testament and Psalms for memory verses. We had around 400 and above children writing scripture examination every year. Awards were declared for all the five languages for each category three awards – first, second and third. Synod level awards were also declared in three categories- first, second and third. The award was in the form of a certificate, memento and cash award. The prize distribution for 2017 scripture examination took place on 13th Jan’ 2018 at CSI Synod Secretariat and for 2018 awards on 27th Sep’ 2019 at CSI LITE Auditorium, Chennai.
For the Peter Cater Scripture examination awardees, half a day retreat was organised at the CSI Synod Secretariat. Sessions were taken by Rev. Dr Rohan from UTC Bangaluru and Rev. Dr Jayachitra, Director, CSI Christian Education Department. They had encouraged children to grow in Scriptural knowledge. The Peter Cater Scripture examination award ceremony was organised for the year 2018 clubbed with the CSI Formation Day celebrations at CSILITE Auditorium amidst of Dalit and Adivasi Cultural Programme. The awards were given out by the CSI Deputy Moderator the Rt Rev. Dr V. Prasada Rao, and the Rt. Rev. George Stephen, Bishop in Madras, Rev. Dr D. R. Sadananda, CSI General Secretary, and Adv. C. Robert Bruce, CSI Synod Honorary Treasurer.
Child Protection Policy (CPP), Children Rally, Child-Champs, Children liturgy and Green Parables for Sunday School.
The department of Christian education works related to children within the CSI Dioceses were organised in collaboration with some of the Synodical departments. CSI- SEVA was engaged with preparing Child Protection Policy (CPP) for the CSI, and they organised Children Rally and Children liturgy; Youth Department organised Child-Champs and Ecological Concerns department prepared Green Parables for Sunday School. All these works do contribute to reaching the aims and objectives of the Christian Education Department.
The Department of Christian Education looks forward to taking Christian Education to the Dioceses and through Dioceses, it reaches to the local congregations. In order to realise the Department aims and objectives, a scientific approach is needed to assess the need, measure the extent of work undertaken, feedback from the local congregations for improvisation. Each Diocese does have its focus on Christian Education. Therefore, the CSI Synod Christian Education Department is bound to look into congregational requirements as envisioned by the respective Dioceses and integrate it with the Synodical programmes for a vibrant partnership. Besides concentrating on Sunday school teachers and Sunday school children alone, Christian Education needs to explore areas that come under Christian Education. For which listing to the local congregations within each Diocese is an important way forward.
I express thanks to the CSI Moderator Most. Rev. Thomas K. Oommen, Deputy Moderator Rt. Rev. Dr V. Prasada Rao; CSI General Secretary Rev. Dr D. R. Sadananda and Adv. C. Robert Bruce, Synod Hon. Treasurer for placing your faith on me to take care of the Department of Christian Educa
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 Communication Department in the text form, pdf form and video format are seen here.
CHURCH OF SOUTH INDIA
THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNICATIONS
TRIENNIAL REPORT FOR THE SYNOD COUNCIL JANUARY 2020
The Communication Department of the Church of South India Synod (CSI) works with a vision to help the CSI Synod to communicate the image of the Church, her mission, life and witness using effective means of communication and also to equip the congregations to communicate God's message and love relevant to our times. The Department has aims and objectives to facilitate communication centres/cells in all the dioceses, share resources and expertise, to help the CSI Synod in the documentation of events, projects and programmes and provide communication assistance to the CSI Synod in the publication of magazines, bulletins, diaries and calendars, to organize programmes sensitizing the community on social issues using latest and relevant media, to establish and facilitate media relations with the secular media, and to provide support to the creative persons of the CSI and thus strengthen the human resources of the Church. In order to achieve this goal the department organises Seminars/conferences on information and communication technology, developmental communication, traditional and alternative communication, courses on communication for clergy and the laity for the effective proclamation of Gospel, workshops/seminars for lyricists, musicians, artists, writers, photographers, theatre artists, and cartoonists, and Summer music courses in the Synod level and short music courses in the local levels.
The Department is vested with the responsibility of making and providing video documentaries on various issues pertaining to projects, development activities and life of the church. The official Magazine of the CSI, ‘CSI Life’, is designed and prepared for publishing by the department.
The Department operates the websites of the CSI Synod, www.csi1947.com and www.csisynod.com
The Department is happy to present the report for the triennium 2017- 2020, mainly because the special efforts taken with the support of the officers of the synod to cope with the changing times being in tune with the technological developments in the field of communication technologies. In the triennium, the focus was specifically on probing the rich treasure of creative human resources the church has and strengthening them by giving the needed training and spaces to perform.
One Church; One Web
One of the most ambitious projects of the Communication Department of the Church of South India (CSI), ‘One Church; One Web’, which brings the activities, projects, news and information of both the CSI Synod Secretariat and the 24 dioceses under one webspace, the new website www.csi1947.com, was launched in the public meeting in connection with the Seventieth Year Celebration of the formation of CSI held on 27th September 2017 in Chennai. Most Rev. Thomas K. Oommen, the Moderator of the Church of South India, switched on the new website during the ceremony and Rev. Dr Daniel Rathnakara Sadananda explained the concept behind the website.
“Brush, Paint and Canvas: Harmony of Justice and Peace” CSI 70th Year Art Camp
Sixty artists and sculptors from the five different states of South India who belong to the Church of South India gathered in the CSI Synod Centre to do a wide variety of painting and sculptors to commemorate the seven decades of the CSI. The ‘CSI 70 Years Arts Camp’ organised by the Synod Communication Department titled “Brush, Paint and Canvas: Harmony of Justice and Peace”, was inaugurated by Rev. Dr. Daniel Rathnakara Sadananda in a function chaired by Rt. Rev. A. C. Solomon Raj, the Chairperson of the Communication Department and the Bishop in Medak. The inaugural worship was led by Rev. Sunil Raj Philip, The Director of the Department. Rev Maxcin John led the meditation, who began his words by asking a pertinent question about art and its relation to Almighty God. ‘What is art' was the initial query echoed during the meditation discussion. The sermon brought out the wonderful idea of the relation between art and God. He portrayed God as a great artist who created the universe from chaos, beautiful world from nothingness and finally he exhorted that the purpose of an artist is to take part in God's creative endeavour.
In the inaugural function, Rt. Rev. A. C. Solomon Raj made a remarkable note on the importance of communication. He also stressed upon the need to celebrate the historical moment in CSI life by unleashing creativity and identifying creative spirit through art, which is an important resource for communication.
The inaugural address was delivered by Rev. Dr Daniel Rathnakara Sadananda, who reiterated the concept of God as the great artist. As his address set the pretext for the camp, he stressed upon the different social and cultural aspects of art. He related art with six social functions, to begin with, he said that art is a medium of imagination where an artist has the liberty to imagine and create artefacts from nothingness. Moreover, he attempted to establish the biblical truth behind creation. The second function that he reiterated was the relationship between art and communication, where he provided examples of how art could convey messages and taking its role in communication. The third concept revolved around the idea of art as the tool for expression, where one unleashes his imaginative power that eventually transforms society. This was followed by the next concept of art as protest, where he focused on the necessity of art that stand against exploitation and marginalisation. One could also consider art for liberation by identifying the liberating potential art often provides. The concluding idea was art as a resource for affection. The speech was followed by felicitations by Rev. James Cecil Victor, Rev Solomon Paul and Rev. Maxcin John.
The camp was held from 22nd to 25th of July 2017. The artists and sculptors are creatively engaged in responding to social issues with the perspective of Christian spirituality.
The paintings from the art camp had been used as book covers, CSI Synod calendar designs and the cover designs of the CSI Life magazines. The paintings will be published as a coffee table book.
‘Powerful Palettes: Harmony of Justice and Peace”
CSI Synod Art Camp of South Indian Artists inaugurated by Minon, the National Award-Winning Actor
Seventy acclaimed artists and sculptors from the five southern states of India came together under one roof for four days at the Church of South India (CSI) Synod Centre in Royapettah to paint and sculpt under the theme ‘Powerful Palettes: Harmony of Justice and Peace” with a specific focus on the Dalit and Adivasi concerns. Master Minon, the National Film Award winner of best actor in 2012 who himself is an artist, inaugurated the four- day art camp on 15th July 2019 morning at 10 am. The Art Camp has been organised by the Communication Department of the Church of South India aiming at promoting justice concerns and communal harmony, with a specific focus on denouncing caste-based discriminations. Rev. Sunil Raj Philip, the Director of the Department, informed that the artists were given the freedom to express their perspectives through their artworks because the brushes, paints, and palettes are powerful tools of social transformation. Rt. Rev. A. C. Solomon Raj, the Chairperson of the Department, presided over the inaugural function. The artists include many of the trained artists from the reputed institutions such as Hyderabad Central Varsity, Fine Arts College, Trivandrum, and College of Fine Arts, Chennai. Mr Vinu Vadakkedathu, who caught the attention of the connoisseurs in the Kochi- Muzirus Biennale with his large sculptures, also attends the Art Camp.
A seminar has been organised along with the Art Camp, which will critically evaluate Indian art from different perspectives such as art and Indian politics, subalterns in India and Indian art, Art and theology, Indian art and literature, male gaze in Indian art, and art as a tool for social change. Ms Shobana P. Mathews (Professor, Christ College, Bangalore), Dr Sajin P. J. (Art Critique, Documentary Film Director, Kerala), Rev. Sam Mathew (Communications expert/artists, Kerala), Dr Gladston Jathanna (Mangalore), and Rev. Paul Karunakar Nalla (Warangal) presented papers in the seminar.
The Art Camp was led by the Synod officers, Most Rev. Thomas K. Oommen; Moderator, Rt. Rev. V. Prasada Rao; Deputy Moderator, Rev. Dr Daniel Rathnakara Sadananda; the General Secretary, and Adv. Robert Bruce; the Treasurer.
The Church of South India (CSI) Synod Art Camp, which witnessed around seventy artists from the five states of South India and more than ninety paintings they have done during the camp, came to a close on 18th July 2019 at the CSI Synod Centre in Chennai. Rev. Dr Daniel Rathnakara Sadananda, the General Secretary of the Church of South India Synod gave the concluding speech and distributed the participation certificates for the artists.
The Paintings from these art camps were featured as the cover designs of Books and CSI Life Magazine and in the CSI Calendars. The paintings from both camps will be published into two Coffee Table Books.
Two of the artists from these camps were invited by CWM to attend an international art camp held in Taiwan.
The Selfie Spot of Church of South India Synod Awaits you!
When you visit the CSI Synod Centre in Chennai next time, the Synod Selfie Spot will welcome you!
This attractive wall is the creation of the young artists who attended the CSI Synod Art Camp 2019 organized by the Communication Department. We are sure that you will agree with the fact that they have done commendable work!
The graffiti on the wall speaks about different campaigns and concerns the Church of South India has been engaged with such as girl children's safety, the rights of Dalit Christians, Adivasis, seafarers, Gender equality, missional congregations, Youth Against Addiction and Abuse (YaAA), disability interventions, pastoral concerns, communication for social justice etc.
So, when you will here next time, your social media accounts will be vibrant with this selfie spot!
EMS International Communication Network Meeting Held in CSI Synod
It is important to know the human interest stories from different parts of the world, share the concerns related to justice and equality and have a common platform for sharing the news and ideas among the member churches of the Evangelical Mission in Solidarity (EMS, Stuttgart, Germany), felt the Communication leaders of the member churches who had an international meeting in the CSI Synod Centre in Chennai hosted by the Church of South India Synod. The conference, led by Ms Regina Karasch-Böttcher, the Secretary/Head of Corporate Unit Press and Public Relations of EMS. While inaugurating the conference, Rev. Dr Daniel Rathnakara Sadananda, The General Secretary of the Church of South India, suggested that by the process of Christian Communication one is expressing, exposing and exegeting the truth. He expressed his hope that the conference will be eventually helping the member churches to speak the truth loudly and stand for the truth firmly.
The conference went underway on the 3rd of March and had its conclusion on the 7th of March 2018. The delegates from the Member Churches, Mr Thomas Lohnes (EMS, Germany), Ms Nadine Angel Cloete and Ms Janine Thyssen (Moravian Church, South Africa), Rev. Hyon Mo Pyo (Presbyterian Church in Korea), Rev. George Ezekiel Larbi (Presbyterian Church in Ghana), Ms Mega Kamase Sambo (Pastor in Toraja Church in Indonesia), and Rev. Sunil Raj Philip (CSI), had a meaningful and fruitful time of discussion and deliberations and eventually made a pattern of working more closely and effectively. As part of the conference, the team visited CSI Special Children’s Home at Puthuir and Anbagam CSI Home for Aged in Adyar under the auspices of the Madras Diocese of the Church of South India.
Photography Workshop for of CSI Synod Led by Thomas Lohnes
As part of the capacity building process, a photography workshop was organised for the photographers of the Church of South India across the 24 dioceses by the Communication Department of the Church of South India Synod. Thomas Lohnes, an internationally acclaimed photographer, led the workshop. Twenty- five photographers from the five states of South India along with a group of select staff from the CSI Synod Secretariat attended the workshop. The workshop was inaugurated by Ms Regina Karasch, the Secretary/Head of Corporate Unit Press and Public Relations of the Evangelical Mission in Solidarity (EMS, Stuttgart, Germany), inaugurated the workshop, which was held at the CSI Synod Centre in Chennai on the 4th and 5th of March 2018. Rev. Dr Daniel Rathnakara Sadananda, The General Secretary of the Church of South India, addressed the photographers and encouraged them to be the voice of the voiceless through their photos because "a picture is worth a thousand word". Rev. Sunil Raj Philip welcomed the photographers and expressed the gratitude of the CSI Synod to Mr Thomas Lohnes and Ms. Regina Karasch for the great support they extended to make the workshop materialized.
The participants of the workshop unanimously agreed upon the fact that it was a time of great learning and realizing that 'photography is not merely a profession, but is a way of living'.
“The Mighty Keyboard” Synod Level Missional Workshop for the Writers in the 21st Century
A synod level workshop for the young writers' in the Church of South India Synod (CSI) was organised at the CSI Retreat Centre in Kozhikode (Calicut) in Kerala under the auspicious of the Malabar Diocese. The Workshop was inaugurated by Rt. Rev. Royce Manoj Victor, the Bishop in the Malabar Diocese. Ms Shahina K., an eminent writer in Malayalam and a film director and critique, gave the keynote address. Rev. Shibin Varghese spoke on the theme "Writers in the 21st Century: A Theological Quest". Prof. Reeba Sara Koshy (Dept. of Communication, Devagiri College, Calicut) took a class on "Disruptive language: Zeitgeist of social media". Rev. Joseph Samuel spoke on "Is writing suicidal in India?". Rev. Sunil Raj Philip, the Director of the Communication Department of the CSI Synod, led a workshop on Poster Designing.
Rev. Joe Varghese Malayil gave leadership in the local arrangements of the programme. Mr Desmond Babu, the Treasurer of the Malabar Diocese, gave the felicitation speech in the inaugural session.
The Workshop continued on the second day at the Malabar Christian College and the English Department Faculty under the leadership of Dr Premanand, the Head of the Department, takes the classes on the second day at the Audio Visual Centre in the Malabar Christian College in Calicut. The sessions at the Malabar Christian College were inaugurated by Dr Godwin Samraj (Principal, Malabar Christian College). Mr Jayapal Samuel (Manager, Malabar Christian College) and Rev. T. I. James (Corporate Manager for Schools, CSI Malabar Diocese) also spoke in the occasion.
In the forenoon, Dr Premanand (English Dept., Malabar Christian College) led the session on "Writing Across the Boundaries: The Message and the Medium". Prof. Subin Varghese (English Dept., Malabar Christian College) conducted an interactive session on "Proclaiming the Message using Social Media- Use of Twitter, Facebook & WhatsApp".
Prof. Saigeetha and Dr Premanand led the practical session on "The Digital Inner Voice - Using Podcasts to spread the Message". As the final session, Prof. Subin Varghese and Dr Premanand M E helped the participants in "Preparing an Infographic".
The participants were taken to the Archives of the college, which is a treasure of documents on the work and witness of the missionaries of Basel Mission. The participants got some awareness on how the work of the missionaries influenced the progress of the Northern Parts of Kerala and the Southern Parts of Karnataka especially in the field of education and healthcare. Education was given to all irrespective of caste and creed. The intervention of the missionaries in the field of literature and the positive results of those interventions were enlightening information for the participants.
The participants had an outing to the Calicut beach in the late evening.
The final day of the workshop started off with the morning worship service. The participants of the workshop spend one hour on creative writing. They wrote Christmas Carols, which have relevance in the 21st century.
Ms Maleeha Raghaviah (renowned Journalist, former Senior Editor of the Hindu) took the class on "Writing, Editing, Layout". Dr Jaiprakash Raghaviah (Journalist) led a session on "Book Writing".
In the concluding meeting, Mrs Bindu Royce Victor, the President of the CSI Malabar Diocesan Women's Fellowship greeted the participants. She distributed the certificate of participation to the participants.
CSI Synod Writers Workshop: ‘The Mighty Keyboard’ Second Phase
The second phase of the Writers’ Workshop titled ‘The Mighty Keyboard’, which has been organized by the Communication Department of the Church of South India was inaugurated at the CSI Synod Centre in Chennai on the 7th June 2019. Rev. Dr John Samuel Ponnusamy, the Principal of the Gurukul Lutheran Theological College in Chennai who is an eminent Old Testament Scholar delivered the keynote address.
Rev. Shibin Varghese, a research scholar, spoke on “To Fetter or Free? Exploring Biblical Writing”. Prof. J. E. Kunnath (Dept. of English, CMS College, Kottayam, Kerala) took the class on the writing on Social Media under the title “The Cyber Scribes”. The last session on the day was by Mr Steve Kunnath on Writing for the Stage and the session was titled “As You Write It”.
The second day started with a presentation titled “When God Hugs as a Mother: Feminist Theology and Indian Writings” by Dr Vedha Kani. This session was followed by a class by Rev. Gladson Jathanna (Professor, Gurukul Lutheran Theological College, Chennai) on “The Reciprocity of Indian Christian Writings and the Indian Secular Writings: A Critical Appraisal”. Rev. Joseph Samuel (Research Scholar, The United Theological College, Bangalore) spoke on “Writing in Such a Time as This”.
Mr Manoj Ebenezer, a freelance researcher and historian, explained the rich treasure of the missionary documents in his speech titled “Digging the Gold Mines: Archival materials and contemporary writings”
The final day, which was a Sunday, started off with the Holy Communion Worship led by Rev. Sunil Raj Philip. Mr Sherry Roy (Associate Director, Film Industry, Hyderabad) took a practical session on “Kollywood, Mollywood, Tollywood, Sandalwood: Writing for the Screen”. The final session was by Prof. Sayujya Sankar (Stella Maris College, Chennai) on “Voices from the Margins: Identity Politics in Indian Writings”
There were sixty potential writers from the 24 dioceses of the CSI, who are from all the five southern states of South India.
This workshop was organised on a concept that being an Indian church, the communication tools, forms and practices of the Church of South India aim at a radical, indigenous, and identifying with the marginalized, fine-tuned with the changing times, and making more bridges and harmony that will form missional congregations. When the Church of South India uses her communication tools and activities, she is not only touching the lives of her congregation members, who form a massive 4.5 million people but also to the social matrix of five southern states of India as well as Jaffna in Sri Lanka.
'The Mighty Keyboard': Communication Workshop for the Pastors of CSI Madurai Ramnadu Diocese
A workshop for the pastors of the Church of South India (CSI) Diocese of Madurai Ramnadu has been organised on 'Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and its effective use in the church and the ministry. This workshop was jointly organized by the CSI Synod Communication department and the Department of Communications of the Madurai Ramnadu Diocese at the American College, Binghamton Hall, in Madurai. Rev. Sunil Raj Philip, the Director of the Department of Communications of the CSI Synod, led three components of the topic: Information and Communication Technology, the Layout and designing of pamphlets, booklets, etc., and the tips for making effective PowerPoint presentations. Rev. Joe Daniel, The Director of the Communication Department of the Madurai Ramnadu Diocese, gave effective leadership in organising the Workshop.
Earlier in the inaugural session, Rt. Rev. Dr M. Joseph, the Bishop in the Diocese, released the official WhatsApp group of the pastors of the Diocese, which aims and seamless and faster communication. Mrs Dr Leela Manohari Joseph, the Vice-President of the CSI Synod Women's Fellowship, and the officers of the Diocese- Rev. Dr A. Yakkobu; the Deputy Chairman, Rev. A. David Jebaraj: Clergy Secretary, Adv. Fernandes Rathinaraja; Lay Secretary and Mr Edwin Chelliah; Registrar, participated and Grace the Workshop.
Communication Workshop for the CSI Presbyters Held in Thoothukudi
A Communication Workshop has been organised by the Department of Communications of the Church of South India (CSI) Synod at Thoothukudi for the Presbyters of the Thoothukudi Nazareth Diocese of the CSI on the 23rd November 2019. Rt. Rev. S. E. C. Devasahayam, the Bishop in the Diocese, inaugurated the workshop. Rev. Sunil Raj Philip took interactive classes on ‘need for effective communication in pastoral ministry’ and a practical session on ‘how to make effective PowerPoint presentations’.
Communication Workshop for the Theologically Trained Catechists Held in Thoothukudi
A Communication Workshop has been organised by the Department of Communications of the Church of South India (CSI) Synod at Thoothukudi for the theologically trained catechists of the Thoothukudi Nazareth Diocese of the CSI on the 22nd November 2019. Rt. Rev. S. E. C. Devasahayam, the Bishop in the Diocese, inaugurated the workshop. Rev. Sunil Raj Philip took interactive classes on ‘the relevance of communication in ministry in the 21st century’ and a practical session on ‘how to make effective PowerPoint presentations’.
Writers’ Workshop Held at Madhya Kerala Diocese
A writers’ workshop named ‘Sahithi 2019’ was held at the CSI Eco- spirituality centre in Othara, in Kerala under the auspices of the Madhya Kerala Diocese with the help of the Communication Department of the Church of South India. The workshop was inaugurated by Dr Babu Cherian, the former Head of the Malayalam Department of the CMS College in Kottayam and a Researcher in the field of missionary history. The inaugural programme was chaired by Rev. Nelson Chacko, the Secretary of the Literature Board of the CSI Madhya Kerala Diocese. Rev. John Isaac (Clergy Secretary, Madhya Kerala Diocese), Rev. Sabu K. Cherian (District Chairman, Madhya Kerala Diocese), Mr SRD Solomon, Mr Shibu Joy (coordinators of the programme), Mrs Shalu Jomon, Mrs Asha Binu (Joint Conveners of the programme), and Mr Philip Varghese led the inaugural function. Rev. Sunil Raj Philip, the Director of the Communication Department of the CSI Synod, explained the concept of the workshop.
Eminent Novelists from Kerala Mr Benyamin, Mr S. Hareesh, poet Mr Renukumar, poetess Ms Muse Mary, short story writer Mr Francis Norona, and writer-director Aju K. Narayanan led classes on various topics.
Church Music Workshop for Vocalists, Choir conductors and Pianists, at Chennai
Aiming at the formation of a Synod Choir and helping the musicians to fine-tune their talents, a Church Music Workshop was organised by the Department of Communications and the Department of Youth of the Church of South India (CSI) Synod in two phases. The second phase was held at the CSI Synod Centre in Chennai from 6th to 10th of August 2019.
This workshop, which was organised to help young musicians and vocalists to attain a greater level of clarity and proficiency in music to be trained in the nuances of modern church music especially voice training and helping them to form as a Choir, was attended by around 40 select musicians from various dioceses of the CSI.
Rev. Dr Daniel Rathnakara Sadananda, the General Secretary of the CSI, inaugurated the workshop in Chennai. He suggested that the interaction between the Indian musicians and the western musicians will be an occasion of mutual learning and mutual respect. He expressed his hope that the musicians from the dioceses of CSI will definitely be benefitted from the five- day workshop.
Rev. Dieter, in-charge of Basel Mission German Branch was also present to share his greetings and participated throughout the music workshop with the young people of CSI. Every morning he led a brief bible study, which helped the participants to have a better biblical understanding of church music.
Mrs Hannah Schussler, church music expert from Germany was the main resource person who facilitated this workshop and training the musicians in vocals, choir conducting and technical insights on piano.
The second day started with vocal and physical warm-ups through the first session of each day and explained the importance and use of the same. This was followed by the singing of canons to start with and slowly teaching how harmony should be achieved. The delegates learnt the role of the conductor and how one should follow the instructions. As part of this, Mrs Hannah also taught the art of choir conducting to all the delegates while paying special attention to the choir conductors (present and aspiring). This was very necessary and insightful for the delegates. The choir conductors present in the delegation were also given in-depth training into the movements, positioning and attitude while conducting and following this, they were given a chance to conduct the delegates for a song of their choice. With every day, the delegates learnt to follow the conducting of Mrs Hannah and the conductors improved their techniques. Mrs Hannah had brought along and distributed the music scores for some beautiful songs which were practised and sung by the choir. The end result of the practice and singing was beautiful, to say the least, and the delegates enjoyed themselves while singing in harmony.
During the workshop, the participants had the opportunity to visit St. George’s Cathedral for two evenings where they were able to perform with the piano and the pipe organ as accompaniment.
On a penultimate day, the participants of the workshop organised a cultural night with full of singing and even a couple of skits.
On the final day, the delegates and Mrs Hannah performed all the pieces which they had practised to the delight of everyone. Rev. Dr Daniel Rathnakara Sadananda gave the concluding remarks and requested Ms Hanna to distribute the certificates to the participants. This workshop was a revelation to the church about what can be achieved when young people are brought together from various places to sing to the glory of God. This was a time of learning, not only singing and choir conducting but also the means of communicating with God and people through music.
Mobile App for the CSI Book of Common Worship Released
The Mobile/Tab App for the Church of South India (CSI) Book of Common Worship prepared by the Communication Department of the CSI Synod with the help of Pastoral Concerns Department was officially released on the 27th September 2019 by Rev. Dr Daniel Rathnakara Sadananda, the General Secretary of CSI, during the Dalit and Adivasi Cultural Festival organised by the Dalit- Adivasi Concerns Department of the Synod.
You can download this from Play Store and will be available in the App Store soon.
The worship orders in the regional languages (Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil & Telugu) will be added to the App in due course of time.
Please do spread this news with others and write a review in the Play Store.
CSI Synod Communication Department Organised Photography Competition
The Communication Department of the Church of South India (CSI) Synod announced a photography competition with awards to the best entries. It was open for any of the CSI Members. The first 12 entries were featured in the 2019 calendar of the CSI Synod and the next 12 appear as the Cover Photo of The CSI Life magazine, which has been published both as hard copies and soft copies and has a wide reach across the world.
Communication Department Helped in Coordinating Flood Relief
During the devastating floods in Kerala and Karnataka in 2018, the Dept. coordinated the photographers and reporters from various places and shared the news and with the partner churches and agencies, which helped the relief work. Photographers who were part of the photography workshop organised by the communication department helped to get original good quality photos of the flood, and channelized through the Communication department and eventually were published in the websites of the international agencies.
Calendar, Diary, Designing of Book Covers, Banners, Badges, Brochures, Standees and Making of Videos
The Department of Communication organises, designs and brings out the Diary and Calendar of the Church of South India Synod. In the last triennium, the department initiated to bring out the diary with multicolour cover and this was the first time in the history of CSI. Paintings from the art camp were used in the two years of the calendars, the first time in the history, all the cathedrals of CSI were featured in the calendar and in one-year photographs from the photography competition were used. The department helped other departments in making book covers, banners, badges and brochures etc. The department is helping to make videos too.
Under the leadership of the officers of the Synod, especially the General Secretary who is techno-savvy, the department has seen a great leap in the area of infrastructure development. The department now has high-resolution cameras, professional video cameras, high-end computers and original software such as Corel Draw (designing) and Adobe Premiere Pro (Video editing). The department took the lead to purchase LCD projectors to all the three auditoriums and the board room, a new Yamaha Keyboard, and a rhythm pad.
International Communication Networks
The Director of CSI Synod Communication is part of the International Communication Networks of EMS and CWM. He has taken part in the meetings of the network of EMS held in South Africa and Chennai and Singapore meeting by CWM. He has joined CWM for a month as a working intern and attended the General Assembly of EMS at Neustadt as part of the Communication team. The CSI hosted the Communication Network meeting from 3rd to 7th March 2018.
The International Meetings the Director of Communications Attended
The General Council Meeting of WCRC in Leipzig, Germany
The General Council of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) began on the 29th of June 2017 at Leipzig, Germany and went on with the presentations from the famous theologians like Jurgen Moltmann, deliberations, and major business sessions till 7th of July. World Communion of Reformed Churches has more than 220 member churches and the General Assembly was attended by more than a thousand people from across the world.
Rev. Sunil Raj Philip, the Director of the Communication Department was invited to attend the General Council as part of the Communication Team. The reports and photos by the director appeared on the website of WCRC.
Communication Network Meeting of CWM, Singapore
The Council for World Mission (CWM) organised a Communication Network Meeting in Singapore from 27th to 31st of August 2017 in which the Director of the CSI Synod Communications attended. The Director thanked the Council for World Mission for the support the CSI received in organising various workshops for communication such as Photography Workshop, Writers’ Workshop, Art Camp etc.
Exposure Visit to the Protestant Church in Baden, Germany
Rev. Sunil Raj Philip, the Director of the Communication Department, was invited to have an exposure visit of three days with the Communication Department of the Synod Centre of the Protestant Church in Baden from 27th to 29th November 2018. This visit to the Church, who will host the World Council of Churches Assembly in 2021, is a possible initiative for a further strengthening of the relationship between the Communication Departments of both the CSI and EKIBA (Evangelische Landeskirche in Baden- Protestant Church in Baden).
General Assembly of EMS at Neustadt, Germany
The General Assembly of the Evangelical Mission in Solidarity (EMS) was held at Neustadt from 6th to 9th December 2018 as part of the Communication team. The General Meeting of the Evangelical Mission in Solidarity (EMS), which is a major mission partner of the Church of South India (CSI) was attended by Most Rev. Thomas K. Oommen, the Moderator of CSI, Rev. Dr. Daniel Rathnakara Sadananda, the General Secretary, and Dr. Susan Thomas, the President of the CSI Women's Fellowship representing CSI. The General Meeting was attended by the delegates from the member churches of EMS from 24 countries from various continents.
Visits to the Middle East Countries
Rev. Sunil Raj Philip, the Director of Communications of CSI visited the CSI Malayalam Congregation in Abu Dabhi for delivering the Passion week sermons in 2017, Bahrain in 2018 and Dubai in 2019. These visits were utilised by the Director to spread awareness among the diaspora CSI communities about the communication processes of the Church of South India.
All praises to God the provider for the last triennium in which the Communication Department became more active. I should not be showing restricting my words and should be profusely thanking and appreciating Rev. Dr Daniel Rathnakara Sadananda for his vision supported by his techno-savvy attitude and the support he had given to the department to venture new areas. Most Rev. Thomas K. Oommen, the Moderator of the Church of South India, Rt. Rev. Dr Vadadapalli Prasada Rao, the Deputy Moderator, Adv. Robert Bruce, the Hon. Treasurer, and Rt. Rev. A. C. Solomon, the Chairperson of the Department contributed to the growth of the Department with their experiential wisdom and support. I would like to record my gratitude to them.
I would like to express my gratitude to the Bishops of the Dioceses of the CSI who always have shown their interest in the activities of the Communication Department and extended their support. The officers of all the dioceses should be mentioned here for the support they extended, especially in organising programmes in the regional and diocesan levels.
The staff of the Department, Mr John Bharati, Mr Joshua Rajkumar, Mr Elavazhagan, and Mr Simson, should be specially mentioned for their creative support. Mr Eby Mathews from the Malabar Diocese rendered special support towards the end of the triennium to the Department.
Thank you very much!
Let us together continue to spread the good news!
Rev. Sunil Raj Philip,
Department of Communication,
Church of South India Synod.