Rt. Rev. H. Sharma Nithiyanandham has been consecrated as the new bishop of the Vellore Diocese of the Church of South India. He is the sixth Bishop of the Diocese.
The consecration service was led by Most Rev. Thomas K. Oommen, the Moderator of the Church of South India, on 19th of May 2019 at CSI Central Church, in Vellore. Rt. Rev. Dr. Vadapalli Prasada Rao, the Deputy Moderator, Rev. Dr. Daniel Rathnakara Sadananda, the General Secretary, Rt. Rev. Prasana Samuel (Bishop, CSI Karnataka Central Diocese), Rt. Rev. S. E. C. Devasagayam (Bishop, CSI Thoothukudi- Nazareth Diocese) Rt. Rev. M. Joseph (Bishop, CSI Madurai- Ramnadu Diocese), The Rt. Rev. Dr. J. J. Christdoss (Bishop, CSI Tirunelveli Diocese), Rt. Rev. Mohan Raj (Bishop, CSI Karnataka Southern Diocese), Rt. Rev. Timothy Ravinder (Bishop, CSI Coimbatore Diocese), Rt. Rev. Pushpalalitha (Bishop, CSI Nandyal Diocese) Rt. Rev. Jayaraj George Stephen (Bishop, Madras Diocese), Rt. Rev. A. C. Solomon (Bishop, CSI Medak Diocese) and the retired bishops of CSI, Rt. Rev. William Moses and Rt. Rev. Rajavelu assisted the Moderator in the Communion service. Bishop M. Joseph gave the consecration sermon. Adv. Robert Bruce, the Hon. Treasurer of the Church of South India and the Diocesan leaders also gave the leadership in the consecration service. People from various walks of life, the missionaries, heads of institutions, representatives from theological colleges, members of the neighbouring dioceses, and leaders and members of other denominations witnessed the consecration service.
During the installation, Rev. Dr D. Rathnakara Sadananda, General Secretary of the CSI, read the instrument of election and selection. The congregation gave its assent. The Moderator then led the consecration and installation of the Bishop-elect. There was a solemn examination of the Bishop-elect, followed by the congregational hymn inviting the presence of the Holy Spirit. The Moderator and the officiating Bishops laid their hands on the head of the Bishop-elect and prayed that God ordains and consecrates him Bishop in God’s Church. The Moderator then presented the newly consecrated Bishop with the Bible and the Pastoral Staff, the symbol of the good shepherd, while the Bishop was adorned with the Saffron Stole. Rt. Rev. Jayaraj George Stephen (Bishop, Madras Diocese) placed the Episcopal Ring on his finger, a token of pledge and fidelity. This important practice has been customarily done by the Madras bishop since the formation of the Vellore Diocese bifurcated from the Madras Diocese. The Bishops then welcomed the new Bishop to the council of the Bishops by giving the right hand of fellowship. The Moderator then declared Rt. Rev. Sharma Nithiyanandham Bishop in the Church of God, in the name of Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The congregation responded with a loud ‘Amen’ and sang the doxology.
Then the newly consecrated Bishop was led to his Episcopal chair. The lay officers of the Diocese, representatives of the laity and representatives of the Deacons and Presbyters and women workers promised all due obedience to the new Bishop.
Rt. Rev. Sharma Nithiyanandham has been elevated to this high office after a long and effective ministry in the diocese in various capacities. Bishop is fifty-six years old; married to Mrs. Jessie Sophia Sharma, who serves CMC Vellore as the Charge Nurse, and blessed with a son, Mr. Irenaeus John Mariyan, a Plus Two student. Bishop started his ministry as a probationer at CSI Gangatharanellore pastorate and moved to Jabalpore for his BD studies at Leonard Theological College. Later he had done his MTh in Social Analysis from the Tamilnadu Theological Seminary in Madurai. He has a rich and diverse experience of pastoral ministry both in urban and rural areas. He served the diocese in different capacities: Chairman of youth board, hostel board, and mission and evangelism department; Director of the Dalit and Adivasi Concerns; Interim Director of Agricultural Institute, Kasam; General Convener of the 40th anniversary of the diocesan formation; and the Hon. Secretary of the Diocesan Council.
May God bless the new Bishop to lead this great diocese of the Church of South India with zeal and enthusiasm.