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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Visit From India -- Greetings from the IELC

President Harrison, President J. Samuel, Mr. Ravi, Rev. Dr. Collver, Mr. Darin Storkson

Today, Rev. Dr. J. Samuel, President of the India Evangelical Lutheran Church (IELC), and Mr. Ravi came to the International Center to bring greetings to President Harrison. President Harrison and I had the privilege of visiting President Samuel in India a little more than a year ago. President Samuel is faithful to the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions, and has been working hard to promote Lutheran identity in India. He brought gifts.

President Samuel presents President Harrison with a chasuble for installation

President Samuel presents an alb.

The India Evangelical Lutheran Church (IELC) was the first mission field for the Lutheran Church -- Missouri Synod. Last January (2010), President Samuel came to Saint Louis for an India summit held at Saint Paul, Des Peres. There he retold the story that he told President Harrison and me in India, how Pastor Naether died of the plague bringing the Gospel to the people of India. With tear in his eye, he said, "Had Pastor Naether not given his life to bring to the Gospel to my people, I would not be a Christian now." President Samuel is greatly pleased to be here in Saint Louis for the installation service on 11 September.

President Samuel with Mr. Ravi, Deaoncess Grace Rao, and Mr. Darin Storkson


Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LC MS) was supporting the Leipzig Lutheran Mission (LLM) during 19the century. K. G. T. Naether and T. F. Mohn who were working in the South East part of Tamil Nadu broke away from LLM due to doctrinal difference with the Leipzig Church in Germany. These two missionaries then applied to LC MS to support their work in India directly. LC MS agreed to their request and the two missionaries moved to Krishnagiri and Ambur of Northern Tamil Nadu to start a new Mission enterprise in 1895.  The work was carried out under the banner of Missouri Evangelical Lutheran India Mission (MELIM). This marked the beginning of establishment of a number of churches in that part of India. However, the work of Naether lasted only for about four years. He sowed the seed of the Gospel and died of Plague along with his two daughters. His wife then returned home. Mohn continued his work for a few more years. Then, several batches of LC MS Missionaries arrived one after the other phase by phase. At one stage, the Ambur – Krishnagiri area grew up with an increased number of churches, schools and a health care clinic. There was a Macedonian call from the South Trivancore of present Kanyakumari District to establish MELIM station. LC MS sent a few missionaries to work in South Trivancore area that included the present Kerala. Churches and schools and a seminary were established during the next two decades. The first general assembly called ‘Prathanithikal Sangam’ of native Pastors and Lay representatives from congregations was held in Trivandrum. The Missionaries too participated in this assembly. This was the forerunner of all the three Synod conventions and IELC Convention of today.

The congregations in and around Ambur and Krishnagiri were organized  into Ambur Synod in 1949. The Tamil congregations around Nagercoil were organized into Nagercoil Synod and Malayalam congregations in Kerala into Trivandrum Synod in 1956. All these three Synods were formed together as India Evangelical Lutheran Church during its General Assembly held on 8 and 9 of January 1958. IELC celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 2008 remembering her forefathers and Missionaries with thanksgiving to God. The theme of the Golden Jubilee was, “Remember your leaders who have spoken God’s Word to you. Think about how their lives turned out, and imitate their faith” (Heb. 13:7).
Rev. Naether and his two children rest here, in Krishnagiri

Naether Memorial Church, Krishnagiri

1 comment:

  1. Will the installation service include the Sacrament? I ask because of the chasuble gift.