Rt. Rev. V. S. Francis has been consecrated as the new bishop of the East Kerala Diocese of the Church of South India. He is the Fourth Bishop of the Diocese.
The consecration service was led by Most Rev. Thomas K. Oommen, the Moderator of the Church of South India, on the 8th of July 2019 at CSI Christ Cathedral Church, Melukavu in East Kerala. In the consecration service, which started with a procession from the parsonage to the church at 8.30 in the morning, Rt. Rev. Dr Vadapalli Prasada Rao, the Deputy Moderator, Rev. Dr Daniel Rathnakara Sadananda, the General Secretary, Rt. Rev. Prasana Kumar Samuel (Bishop, CSI Karnataka Central Diocese), Rt. Rev. S. E. C. Devasagayam (Bishop, CSI Thoothukudi- Nazareth Diocese), Rt. Rev. Mohan Raj (Bishop, CSI Karnataka Southern Diocese), Rt. Rev. B. D. Prasada Rao (Bishop, Rayalaseema), Rt. Rev. M. Joseph (Bishop, Madurai- Ramnadu), Rt. Rev. Dharmaraj Rasalam (Bishop, South Kerala), 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. Dr Oommen George (Bishop, CSI Kollam Kottarakkara) Rt. Rev. A. C. Solomon (Bishop, CSI Medak Diocese), Rt. Rev. Dr Chandrasekaran (Bishop, Trichy- Tanjore), Rt. Rev. Sharma Nithiyanandam (Bishop, Vellore), Rt. Rev. K. G. Daniel, and the retired bishop of CSI, Rt. Rev. K. J. Samuel (former Moderator, CSI), assisted the Moderator in the Communion service. Rt. Rev. Dr Dharmaraj Rasalam delivered 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, Directors of the CSI Synod, 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 presented the Pastoral Staff, the symbol of the good shepherd, while the Bishop was adorned with the Saffron Stole by Rt. Rev. B. D. Prasada Rao. The Rt. Rev. P. K. Samuel placed the Episcopal Ring on his finger, a token of pledge and fidelity. The Bishops then welcomed the new Bishop to the council of the Bishops by giving the right hand of fellowship. The Moderator then declared V. S. Francis as 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.
Rt. Rev. Dr. K. G. Daniel, the Bishop in East Kerala Diocese, informed the Moderator and the officers of the Synod that he is relinquishing the charge of the East Kerala Diocese to enable the installation of the newly consecrated Bishop as the Bishop of the East Kerala Diocese and that he will retire as Bishop of CSI as per the provision of the CSI Constitution on 10th of July 2019 on attaining superannuation. The worship continued with the installation service and the new bishop entered the Church from the main entrance when the ringing of the bless stopped. The moderator installed Rt. Rev. Francis as the new bishop in office and dedicated him ‘unto God’s gracious protection and mercy.
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.
Bishop thanked the Synod officers, fellow- bishops, diocesan leadership, and people and shared his vision about the future of the diocese.
Dr. Josemon George, the Diocesan Secretary, proposed the official vote of thanks.
Born on the 18th of May 1961 of (Late) Mr V.I. Samuel and (Late) Mrs Annamma Samuel, who hailed from Ellumpuram, a village in the eastern hill station in Kerala, Rt. Rev. Francis began his education at CMS School in Ellumpuram, and continued his schooling at Thudanganadu and Vazhathoppu. He had finished his Pre-degree in Accounting & Book Keeping before he dedicated himself for the ministry in 1985. He joined the Union Biblical Seminary in Pune for the Bachelor of Theology in 1986 and was ordained in 1989 after finishing the theological studies. He served congregations in Chemmannar, Kattappana, Konnathadi, Kaliyar, as vicar and held additional charge of the congregations in Ozhuvathadam Karimpan, Bonahmi, Pambanar, and Perumbavoor.
Rt. Rev. Francis held many of the important responsibilities of the Diocese at the leadership level. He was the General Secretary of the Diocesan Sunday School, Bishop’s Chaplain and Secretary, District Chairman, Synod Executive Committee member, Synod Finance Board member, and the Director of the Diocesan Mission board. His active leadership to the Mission Board as the Director with a vision helped the diocese to have the greatest number of inland mission fields. Currently, he is leading the ambitious project of building the Diocesan Office complex cum centre in the capacity of the Diocesan Treasurer.
Bishop Francis is married to Mrs Darly Francis and blessed with a son- Mr Franklin Francis (P.G. Student) and a daughter- Miss Fechma Francis (+ 1 Student).
May God bless the new Bishop to lead this great diocese of the Church of South India with zeal and enthusiasm.