Today, we will look at the history of the Church of North India (CNI) in this blog post. Before, let’s see the beginning of the Church Union Movement in India.
The Church Union Movement
As an immediate impact of pietism, evangelicalism, and revivalism Protestant countries initiated missionary societies. They sent missionaries to various countries around the world. India formed a prominent mission center. That resulted in the formation of various churches according to their traditions in India.
The consequence was the rise of denominationalism in the form of Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodists, and so on. However, in the vast country of India, Christians were only a meager minority. In such a context, the leaders of the Indian churches and the mission societies felt the need for unity.
During the 19th century itself, this need was recognized and brotherly feelings, co-operation, and consultation on common problems between the denominations started shaping in while maintaining their differences.
This urge for unity became more felt as the world moved into the twentieth century. Leaders saw it as their responsibility to break the barriers and come together.
Development of Church Union Movement in India
Missionaries from Europe and America working in the Southern part of India used to gather in the hill stations like Kodaikanal, Coonoor, and Ootacamund once in a year. The main intention was to avoid the intense heat during the summertime.
They also utilized this time for informal fellowship between the missionaries. Here, they exchanged their views regarding their work and shared their experiences.
Slowly these informal meetings led to the formation of the South Indian Missionary Association in 1897. This association took the initiative and responsibility of organizing the South Indian Missionary Conference of 1900, in Madras.
- Serampore Mission
- Roman Catholic Church
- Northern Evangelical Lutheran Church
- Christian Conference of Asia
This period additionally saw the emergence of many non-denominational organizations in India. Among them, the Christian Literature Society (CLS), the Christian Endeavour, and the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) are the examples.
Corporations like Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) treated Europeans and Indians, and additional members of different denominations equally. Those non-denominational organizations prompted to look at the opportunity of union actions.
Church of North India (CNI)
The Church of North India (CNI) is the communion of six Christian Churches of North India. It was born on Nov. 29, 1970, in Nagpur. The United Church of Northern India, the Baptist Churches of Northern India (British Baptists), the Churches of the Brethren in India, the Disciples of Christ (Anglican), the Methodist Church (British and Australia Conference) constituted the union.
A short history of the Church of North India
Deliberations towards the unity of Churches took off in 1929. It was the first round-table conference at Lucknow that proposed the idea of unity. The Australian Churches of Church Mission, Australian Methodist Church, the Wesleyan Methodist Church, the Methodist Episcopal Church, and the United Church of Northern Indian were the promoters.
On the basis of negotiations and suggestions prepared by the round-table conference in 1939 and revised in 1940 a plan of Church Union was drawn up. In 1957, the Church of the Brethren and Disciples of Christ joined the unity negotiations.
A new negotiation committee became installed in 1961, with representatives from all member church buildings. The efforts reach its fourth and final degree with the aid of 1965. The charter, ‘white eBook’, became made. It was amended in 1974 and 1977. On the premise of those deliberations, the ‘church of north India’ becomes born. All negotiating church buildings, besides the Methodist church in southern Asia, got united into one.
The Synod of the Church of North India
The supreme administrative and legislative body of the Church is Synod. It meets once in three years. Executive Committee of the Synod meets in between to take provisional decisions. The Synod elects a moderator to head the Church.
He should be a bishop. There is a general secretary who manages day-to-day administration. There are synod boards in charge of various ministries: Secondary, Higher, Technical and Theological Education, Medical Work, Social Service, Rural Development, Literature, and Media.
The Services of the Church of North India
The Church is doing wonderful service to the people through its 65 hospitals, nine nursing schools, 250 educational institutions, and three technical schools. The Church of North India has about 12, 50,000 believers, and 26 dioceses.
The CNI is for the unity of all Churches in India. The joint council of CNI, CSI, and Marthoma Syrian Church of India is a major step in this direction.