“Rejuvenate the spirit of the mission as Christ instructed us, which is rooted in love, compassion and service to the humankind”, was the challenge Rt. Rev. Vadapalli Prasada Rao posed to the missionaries who are near to thousand in number from the five southern states in India representing the 24 dioceses of the Church of South India (CSI) attending the CSI Synod Mission Festival at the Cathedral premises in Dornakal. The Mission Festival, which has been organised by the Department of Mission and Evangelism, will be held from 11th to 13th October 2019, in which speeches on mission from different perspectives, rally, cultural programmes, and worship services are included.
Rev. Dr. Daniel Rathnakara Sadananda, the General Secretary of the CSI, hoisted the flag at the Festival venue after the inaugural rally, marking the official commencing of the Festival. In the keynote address, the General Secretary vividly compared the handful of flour and a little oil of the Zarephath’s widow, to the piece of bread and a jar of water in which God fed Elijah. In both the cases, God shows us the vitality of missionary. And mission becomes the response to the call “Go and be the witness”. This opens up the hidden resources and builds community.
The lighting of the lamp to inaugurate the function was a novel experience because it was done by a group of women- the wives of the Bishops and the Women’s Fellowship General Secretary- affirming the gender equality and justice. The Festival is organised with a theme ‘BE SMART’, which is an acronym for ‘Sustainable Mission Accompaniment towards Radical Transformation’. Dornakal, the place where the Mission Festival takes place, has the traces of the reminiscences of the late Rt. Rev. V. S. Azariah, the first Indian Anglican Bishop who was a great missionary with zeal.
Rev. Maxcin John, the Director of the Mission and Evangelism Department of the CSI, welcomed the gathering. Rt. Rev. J. J. Christdoss, the Chairperson of the Mission and Evangelism Department of CSI and the Bishop in Tirunelveli, Rt. Rev. M. Joseph; Bishop in Madurai Ramnadu Diocese, Rt. Rev. Timothy Ravinder; Bishop in Coimbatore, Rt. Rev. Royce Manoj Victor; Bishop in Malabar, Rt. Rev. Chandrasekaran; Bishop in Trichy, Rt. Rev. Sharma Nithianandam; Bishop in Vellore, Rt. Rev. V. S. Francis; Bishop in East Kerala, Rev. Christopher Vijayan; General Secretary, NMSI, Rev. Dr. Packiam Samuel; Director, Henry Martyn Institute, Rev. Dr. T. Arul Dhas; CMC, Vellore, Ms. Leela Manohari (Vice- President, CSI Women’s Fellowship), and Rev. Dr. John Samuel Ponnusamy; Principal, Gurukul Theological College spoke in the inaugural meeting in the evening.
Rev. Packiam T. Samuel spoke on the theme ‘Practical Engagement in the pluri- Faith Context in India’. Rev. Dr. Arul Dhas presented a lecture on ‘Healing and Reconciliation Perspective’.
Earlier, a rally started from the Bishop’s House to the venue, which was led by the Deputy Moderator, Bishops, and the Dornakal Diocesan Officers. Various dances, mainly Tribal Dances and singing sessions added a festive mood to the programme.
Rev. Maxcin John,
Mission and Evangelism Dept.,