NEW DELHI – Christians from the Church of North India on Friday kicked off a three-day program to celebrate the 40th year anniversary of their unity.
The Nov. 27-29 event marks "40 years of Unity, Witness and Service" of CNI, which is a union of Protestant churches that merged in 1970 in Nagpur.
"This is the time to celebrate thanking God for what He has done and asking forgiveness for what we have done. This is also the time to seek His direction to do what He wants us to do," said CNI General Secretary the Rev. Enos Das Pradhan in his keynote address. "It is necessary to introspect and retrospect so that we can work more effectively for His coming kingdom."
"Thirty-nine years is but an evening gone," he continued. "We are waking up to a new dawn as we step into the 40th year of mission of unity, witness and service. This is now the time to visualize our mission in the growing context of poverty, illiteracy, militarism, fundamentalism, denial of justice and absence of peace."
He urged the representatives of the church to be "equipped with skills and characters to understand our roles and responsibilities in protecting the oikoumene."
He said the "legacy left behind by our missionaries should be our strength to energize us and to enthuse us in our mission paradigm and praxis."
On Friday, participants also joined in worship and Bible reading and heard sermons by the Rev. Dr. Paul Dhinakaran, president of Jesus Calls Ministries and chancellor of Karunya University.
In his message drawn from Mathew 16, Dhinakaran outlined Church as the "cornerstone of Christ that connects people with His great body." Church must continue to lead God's people in following the commission to spread the Gospel, he urged.
As part of its celebration, CNI is also organizing a seminar on "Recapturing Missional Praxis of Local Congregation" and a consultation on "Education and Minority Empowerment." Additionally, a "United Worship Service" is being planned for Sunday at Cathedral Church of Redemption.
The Church of North India is the dominant Protestant denomination in northern India. It is a conglomeration of six churches – the Council of Baptist Churches in Northern India, the Church of the Brethren, the Disciples of Christ, the Church of India (Anglican, formerly known as the Church of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon), the Methodist Church (British and Australasian Conferences) and the United Church of Northern India.
The Church has about 1.3 million members and 3,500 congregations in 26 dioceses. Its headquarters are located in New Delhi.