Seven Theological consultations in commemoration of CSI 70 and Reformation 500 came to fruition with the final consultation from the Global Ecumenical Perspective on the 24th 25th and 26th of October 2018 at the CSI Synod Secretariat, under the theme “Being and becoming Christ communities – towards a borderless Church”. The theme as in the seven consultation which began on October 2017 witnessed a total of 130 presentations reflected from a) Biblical perspective, b) Theological and Ethical perspective, c) Liturgical and Missiological perspective, d) Prophetic diaconal perspective, e) Empowerment and Educational perspective, f) Healing and Reconciliation perspective, g) National Ecumenical perspective and h) Global Ecumenical perspective by theologians, pastors, church leaders, practitioners in the field of social work, and other walks of life.
The final consultation which brought this process to an end paved way for a new beginning within the life and work of CSI to capture the imagination of people for a renewed vision and faith journey. 15 scholarly presentations with a panel on Inclusive Church was the crux of this consultation acknowledging the life of CSI along with challenging the church in being true to the changing context of this country.
The Global Mission partners of CSI like the CWM, WCC, CCA, EMS, USPG, PCK, Church of England and Partner Theological institutions both in India and abroad had sent their representatives to come and present papers from various perspectives on ‘Being and becoming Christ communities: Towards a borderless church’ This consultation also had the Bishops of the Church of South India, Theologians, pastors, activists, and practitioners from various walks of life to attend, reflect and engage in meaningful discussions.
The Moderator of the Church of South India, Most Rev Thomas K Oommen, who inaugurated this consultation along with the other Officers of the Synod remarked that the theological exercise of Rethinking Ecclesia consultations has helped the Church to find new directions in the pilgrim journey of CSI. He said that these explorations should continue to challenge the church and its mission and also make way for newer forms of ministerial engagements with the people at the grassroots.
The Deputy Moderator of CSI, Rt. Rev. Dr. Vadapalli Prasada Rao, and the Treasurer, Advocate Robert C Bruce, gave their felicitations and honoured the participants who were present.
The General Secretary of CSI, Rev. Dr. Rathnakara Sadananda, who steered these consultations also remarked how these consultations has enabled the church to make a theological audit of CSI, create a network of theological educators who are CSI and gave opportunity for the seminary and the church to bridge the existing gaps in working closely with one another for the sake of a united mission.
These three days witnessed new Theological insights and gave way for fruitful reflections on various themes that were presented alongside the meaningful liturgy and worship that were planned everyday morning with a taste of Indian cultural programs planned on two evenings after a long day’s serious reflection.
The various topics that were presented during this final consultation were:
1 Dr. Matthias Zeindler: On the Road to Jerusalem: Ecclesiological Reflections from a Reformed Perspective.
2 Dr. Sunil Caleb: Towards New forms of Boundary-less Congregations
3 Dr. George Zachariah: Borderless Church and Beyond
4 Rev. Dr. Rachele (Evie) Vernon: Rethinking theological education
5 Mr. Felix Weise: “Do not say anything is not pure” – Rethinking ecclesia from the perspective of the Youth
6 Canon prof. Mark Chapman: ‘Symbolic Identities and Borders: Reflections from Church and State’
7 Rev. Dr. Kyo Seong Ahn: "The Idea of 'a Borderless Church' and Its Ecumenical Significance"
8 Dr. Peniel Rajkumar: Re-Membering the Dis-membered: A New Body Politic for a Borderless Church
9 Ms. Grace Moon: Rethinking Ecclesia from Liturgical and Missiologigal perspective
10 Dr. Sudipta Singh: Building life affirming communities: Prophetic diaconal occasion of Indian Church
11 Dr. Santano Pathro: Re-visioning ‘Bottom Up’ Secularisation: towards healing and reconciliation
12 Dr. Joseph Daniel: Ecclesia’s commitment to Christ community formation: a call to alternative church life and witness in a changing nation
13 Dr. Bimal Charles: Who Touched Me?
14 Rev. Dr. Collin Cowan delivered the Key note address on Being and Becoming Christ Communities: towards a Borderless Church
On behalf of the Church of South India Officers of the Synod, we thank all the Global mission partners for sending their representatives and also the participants who contributed to this process of Rethinking Ecclesia. All the papers presented will be published and circulated for wider reading in the days to come as the Church continues to strive in finding new meanings of understanding Godself and communicating the same to the people beyond borders.