Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. Pslam 37:5
News & Events
01 Jan 1970
Welcome to St Pauls CNI Malayalam Church
In the early 1940's, during the World War II, there was an inflow of Christians to Pune, particularly from the central Travancore in search of employment. Pune was an important destination because it was the 'arsenal' supplying arms and ammunition to the war front from its many ordnance factories and depots. With the ongoing war, jobs were in abundance and recruiting agents were camping at railheads, eyeing for prospective candidates.
True to the saying, "Birds of the same feather flock together," Christians of different denominations, worshipping with English congregations, commenced fellowship meetings in Christa Prema Seva Sangh (CPSS) Ashram in Shivajinagar. Late Rev. W. Q. Lash of the Anglican Church was the Acharya there. Late Rev. Lash encouraged the Malayalees to start Holy Communion services in their own mother tongue. In the beginning, Holy Communion was in English, celebrated by Late Rev. Lash in St. Paul's Church, Pune, interspersed with Malayalam songs and scripture readings.
In 1947, Late Rev. Lash was consecrated as Bishop of the then Bombay Province, comprising the present Maharashtra and Gujarat States. On his shifting to Bombay, Late Rev. K. A. Lazar took charge of the Malayalee congregation. With the industrialization of Pune in the 60's, inflow of people to Pune began to grow; so also the population of CSI denomination.
Formation of the Parish
During 1970, Late Mr. N. V. John, a teacher of the Bishop's School, Pune, had the vision of forming a CSI Malayalam congregation. On 22 February 1970, a group of CSI laities from the Madhya Kerala Diocese (MKD) met at the residence of Late Mr. N. V. John at No. 1, Napier Road, Pune, and resolved to form a CSI Malayalam Parish in Pune. The gathering was of seven persons viz., Late Mr. N. V. John, Late Mr. M. M. Oommen, Late Mr. P. K. Joseph, Mr. P. K. Kurien, Mr.Thomas Eapen, Mr .A. V. Chacko and Mr. Scariah Mathen.
The next meeting was held on 1st March 1970 at 1530 hrs. at St. Paul's Church, Pune. Attendees included Mr. P. K. Koshy, Late Mr. P. N. Ninan, Mr. C. T. Thomas, Mr. T. V. Abraham and Late Capt. P. J. Thomas, Mr. C T Ninan, Mr. K.V Kurien, Late Mr. C K John besides the genetic group of seven. This meeting decided to print admit form and visit the CSI Diaspora spread all over Pune. During those days, fellowship meetings at the residences of members were almost a weekly feature. Attendance at these meetings satisfactorily grew.
Permission for CSI Malayalam Congregation
Mr. P. K. Koshy and Late Capt. P. J. Thomas were entrusted to seek the Bombay Diocesan Bishop's permission for the formation of a Malayalam congregation. Simultaneously, the subject was taken up also with Late Rt. Rev. M. M. John, Bishop of MKD.
By end June 1970 permission to form a CSI Malayalam congregation was accorded by Late Rt. Rev Robinson, the then Bishop of Bombay Diocese. It is worth recording the support received from Late Rev. Canon Arthur, Vicar of St. Paul's Church, in obtaining this permission. The Bishop also allotted St. Paul's Church, Pune, for conducting service in Malayalam on second, fourth and fifth Sundays of every month. On the other two Sundays Orthodox Syrian Congregation was conducting service, hence the church was not available to us. Bishop Robinson advised the CSI Parish to give a donation of Rs. 25/- every month to St. Paul's Church towards maintenance.
The first Holy Communion service of the CSI congregation was held on 12th July 1970 in St. Paul's Church, Pune, celebrated by Late Rev. Canon Arthur. Subsequently, the Bishop appointed Late Rev. Paul Mategaonkar the Asst. Vicar of St. Paul's Church as our Presbyter. By December, the congregation grew to 57 subscribing members. The Holy Communion Service was partly in English and partly in Malayalam. On confirmation of Rev. TM John's deputation to Pune, Late Rev Paul Mategaonkar's service was discontinued from December 1971.
In 1971 Rev. P O Ninan (Missionary in - charge of Andhra Mission) came and gave leadership to our Passion Week service.
A Gospel meeting was held from Nov 5th to 7th 1971 and Br. Paul Namboothiripad gave leadership. 1st official convention was held in1981 October 23rd to 25th and Rev. Mathew Mathew was the speaker. Since then we have been holding the annual convention for the spiritual growth of the congregation.
The Parish published its first news bulletin in October 1970. Envelopes for birthday and wedding anniversary offerings were also printed and distributed amongst the Parish members. Now the news bulletin, christened as â€œTRUMPET,â€ is published on the last Sunday of the month. It is the Parishâ€™s official mouthpiece and contains the Vicarâ€™s message, almanac and program for the month, reports on previous monthâ€™s events, birthday and wedding anniversaries, articles by members and an exclusive section for the Youth.
Carols Round & Covenant Service
The first Carols Round of the parish was during 22-24 December 1970; though a formal church choir was non-existent then. Enthusiastic members assembled on rotation in the houses of Mr. P. K. Koshy, late Mr. P. N. Ninan, Mr. Thomas Eapen and Mr. Oommen Chacko & T Koshy John for carols practice. The uniqueness of the event was that parents and children together participated in the carol rounds. From 1974, late Pastor Hutton, from Spicer Memorial College, taught the songs and rendered accompaniment on his violin. He had taught carols and led the rounds for almost 12 Years without caring for his age and failing health. The Parish gratefully acknowledges the selfless services rendered by late Pastor Hutton.
The mode of transport for these rounds was Military truck on amenity. The collect from the first carols round in 1970 was Rs. 429/-. The first community dinner was on 26th December, 1970. Carols round in 1971 was abandoned due to emergency and blackout imposed during the Bangladesh Liberation War. First carols service was combined with the Christmas Holy Communion Service on 25 December 1971. New Year Covenant Service followed by community dinner was on January 01, 1972. Membersâ€™ contribution to the dinner was a Rupee each for children below 10 years and Rs. 2 each for others! The members residing in Pimpri-Chinchwad organized carol rounds there under the leadership of Late Mr. John Isaac, visiting residences of our members as well as non-Christian friends.
During November 1970 Church of North India was formed and Kolhapur became one of the four Dioceses, comprising Pune, Solapur, Osmanabad, Latur, Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur, Nipani, Goa and Belgaum. In June 1999 Pune Diocese was culled out with four Districts of Pune, Solapur, Osmanabad and Latur.
Allotment of Parsonage
On the Parishâ€™s request, the then Bishop of Kolhapur Late Rt. Rev. I P Andrews kindly allotted us a parsonage, adjacent to St Mathewâ€™s Church in 1972 where Rev. T M John stayed. For better convenience, on the Bishopâ€™s advice the parsonage was shifted to All Saints Church Compound, Kirkee in May 1973, after major renovation.
Appointment of Malayali Priest
MKD graciously deputed Rev. T. M. John to Pune on 12th January 1972 and he was installed as the Parishâ€™s Vicar by Late Rt. Rev. Luther, Bishop of KDC, at a service in St. Paulâ€™s Church, Pune, on 13.02.1972.
Allotment of All Saintâ€™s Church, Khadki
A considerable number of members were residing in Khadki and Cottage Prayer meetings were regularly held there on first and third Sundays Bishop of KDC Late Rt. Rev. Luther granted permission to use All Saintsâ€™ Church Kirkee on first and third Sundays. Regular service commenced in this church from 16th January 1972. The Bishop asked the Parish to pay All Saintsâ€™ Church, Rs. 25/- every month towards maintenance.
Late Rt. Rev M. M. John, Bishop of MKD visited the parish in July 1971. The Scroll of Honours of the Priests who have served the Parish is as below:
Though MKD members were the pioneers, today the Parish includes members from all the four CSI Dioceses of Kerala, working together for the glory of His Kingdom.
As most of the members were middle class government employees earning low salaries, raising funds for any activity was extremely difficult. Main sources of finance, in those days, were Harvest Festival and Christmas Carols Rounds.
A few senior members of the parish left the church on their own due to certain issues related to amendment of the Parishâ€™s Bylaws at the AGM in 1984. The subsequent Managing Committee relentlessly tried to strike a compromise with those who left, but its efforts were sadly in vain. However, as time is the best healer of wounds, the Parish recouped from this loss as the time passed by.
Worship in Pimpri
The prevalent power shortage necessitated staggering of industrial holidays. Consequently, the Pimpri-Chinchwad industrial belt was compelled to observe Thursday as weekly off. This greatly upset the Christian community living in this area because it was deprived of the Sunday worship. To mitigate this loss of CSI believers, worship services were held on Thursdays, first in the â€˜Faith Centreâ€™ and later for 15 years in Catholic Church Pimpri. From 2nd April 1992 the service started in UCNI Marathi Church, Pimpri. The worship service in this area commenced during the tenure of Rev. P. T. Thomas in 1974. The first Holy Communion service at Pimpri was celebrated on 17th March 1977.
The first Confirmation Service was held on 22nd July 1979 by Late Rt. Rev. I P Andrews Bishop of Kolhapur, in St. Paulâ€™s Church, Pune and 10 candidates were accepted as Communicant members of the Parish.
Need grew for building the Parishâ€™s own place in the industrial belt, as it was becoming more and more difficult to find a suitable place for worship. As if godsend, Rev Fr. George Kavunkattil, Vicar of St. Alphonsa Church, helped the Parish to locate an appropriate plot in Kalewadi. The Parish greatly appreciates his assistance in finalizing the land deal. The parish indeed struggled in raising the requisite funds but succeeded in acquiring the land during Rev. Joy C Danielâ€™s time in 1989. Next year Rt. Rev. M. C. Mani, Bishop of MKD, laid the corner stone for a Chapel in this plot.
Owing to severe financial crunch, construction of the Chapel could be completed only in 1995. It was jointly consecrated on Saturday, 11.3.1995, by Rt. Rev. M. D. Claudius, Bishop of KDC and Rt. Rev. Sam Mathew, Bishop of MKD, during the tenure of Late Rev. David Gabriel. The Parish wishes to put on record the dedicated and selfless services rendered by Mr. Tharian Mathew, Mr. V. G. Thomas, Mr. Mohan Thomas Mr. Godwin Jose and late Mr. John Issac during the construction activities of the chapel.
The past Pastorate Committees have toiled in adversities. Nevertheless, its sustained efforts and good deeds are bearing fruits. The Parish will ever remember the dedicated and selfless efforts of the past Vice Presidents, Secretaries and Treasurers. The introduction of publishing individual contributions and meticulous maintenance of account have put confidence in members to give more to the Parish corpus.
The Scroll of Honours of the past and present Managing Committee officials is as below:
Disclaimer: The list shows who all have served the Parish as office bearers and in what capacity. It may not be in sequential order and the grouping has no relevance.
The Parish continues to derive strength from its constituents like Womenâ€™s Fellowship, Youth Movement, Choir and Sunday school. The yearly Activity Plan of each organization is published during AGM.
Womenâ€™s fellowship unit started in our parish in the year 1981. Womenâ€™s fellowship members raise funds through mite box collections and mini Harvest Festival auctions. Their notable contributions are the sponsoring of a Mission house in Parakkal, jointly with the Youth Movement, and contributions to â€œAsha Bhavan,â€ - a home for the differently-abled. Mite box offerings are received during the Womenâ€™s Fellowship anniversary. Special sessions of counselling and cooking are conducted for the benefit of the participants. Bible quiz and games are played to invigorate their minds. Eminent personalities are invited to lead Womenâ€™s fellowship retreats.
In the year 1979 Church Committee asked Mr. P K Kurien to give leadership to Youth fellowship and the 1st meeting of our youths was held on 14th January 1979 at St. Paulâ€™s Church, Pune. Every year the Youth Movement supports Mission works. It visits various orphanages in and around Pune and share lunch with the inmates and offer medical help to the needy. Weekend retreat in ideal locations is another activity. A promise it made to Parakkal Mission, during a visit there, was fulfilled in 2010 by financing, jointly with the Womenâ€™s Fellowship, a house for its missionary. Youth Movement retreat is held on Independence Day, every year. Eminent personalities are invited to lead the youth during camps and retreats. Special counselling sessions are also held for youth, teens and young couples.
In the year 1976 Church Committee asked Mr. Korah Abraham to give leadership to Church Choir Over time, it has won accolades from prominent musicians and it is considered one of the best choirs in Pune Diocesan Council. The leadership given by Mr. Shibu Pothen, Mr. Sachin Roy, and Mr. Korah Abraham in training and conducting the choir is incomparable. The Parish is indebted to them and all the choir members and accompanists for their dedicated service.
On 7th March 1976 Sunday school officially started at Khadki with 13 students and on Pune it began on 14th. Mr. Scariah Mathen and Late Mr. John Peter gave leadership to Sunday School. In the beginning Sunday School was held on 1st and 3rd Sundays in Khadki and 2nd and 4th Sundays in Pune. In 1976 itself a Sunday school stated at Pimpri during Rev. P. T. Thomasâ€™ tenure, with children of all denominations. Classes were held in the houses of Late Mr. John Isaac, Mr. Tharian Mathew, Mr. Mohan Thomas and Mr. George Kurien. It is noteworthy that both Mr. Tharian Mathew and Mr. V. G. Thomas took considerable initiative in organizing and conducting the Sunday school.
The Parish gratefully remembers the leadership given by Rev. Thomas K. Oommen , Mrs. Susan Thomas and Mrs. Elizabeth Jacob (all from UBS) to the Pune Sunday School.
Presently Sunday school is held at all the three worshipping centres, with about 55 students and 10 teachers. In the absence of a proper place, classes are held in Pune during worship service, thus partly depriving the teachers and students of the worship service.
The Parish gladly records the dedicated services rendered by the Sunday School Teachers for sparing their valuable time in imparting Biblical knowledge and teaching inspiring songs and choruses to the children. The Parish also acknowledges the support given by the members and parents in the formation and conduct of Sunday school in all the three centres. Lately Malayalam classes are conducted with a view to teaching the mother tongue to the children.
CSI Students from UBS, as a part of their weekend ministry, take an active role in worship service and Sunday schools. Their services are a real help to the Parish.
In addition to the contribution to charities by the Womenâ€™s Fellowship and Youth Movement, the Parish also grants a sizeable amount towards charity. Educational help, medical help, sponsoring orphanage activities, financial assistance for marriages of orphans etc., are some of the charitable activities undertaken by the Parish.
The Parish records its gratitude to the Bishops of Madhya Kerala Diocese for supporting it with appointment of devout and dedicated priests from time to time. Likewise, the Parish has received excellent support from the past Bishops of KDC and the present Bishop of PDC, Rt. Rev. Vijay B. Sathe. The Parish is thankful to the Presbyters of St. Paulâ€™s Church, Pune, and All Saintsâ€™ Church, Khadki, and their Pastorate Committees for the assistance they continue to offer us.
Looking back to the long journey of 40 years, how can we ever not praise our Loving Lord a million times for his infinite mercy in guiding us through? In the early part of the parish making, there was such financial crunch that even salary payments to the Priest was a heavy burden. See how abundantly God has blessed the Parish. Today the Parish is financially self-sufficient because the Almighty has caused its members and their children to prosper with well-paying jobs and given them comfortable houses to live in. The Almighty has helped the congregation to build its own Chapel in Pimpri and buy its own Parsonage in Aundh. The Parish is confident; the living God who walked along with it will continue to guide it through the right way in the coming years, too. The present vision is to build a church by 2020.
The mustard seed sowed in 1970 by a small group of seven people has grown into a mighty tree with three strong branches as worship centres. This culmination of spiritual evolution was possible with the fervent prayers of its members and well-wishers. When celebrating the Ruby Jubilee, the Parish remembers with reverence all its laity and Priests who have struggled to nurse and nurture the St. Paulâ€™s Malayalam Parish, Pune.
As the Parish celebrates the 40th anniversary, let us praise God for all the blessings showered on this Parish. Now the parish has about 155 subscribing members and about 275 communicant members. The Pastorate Committee, wish to put on record its gratitude to all past and present members who have contributed immensely, both physically and financially to help grow the parish to the current healthy and vibrant status. The attendance during the church services is a testimony, which indicates that the seed sown in around forty years back is bearing fruit. We are sure, with the pious Rev Kurian Mathew at the helm of affairs, the Parish will rise to greater heights.
Disclaimer: This brief history is compiled by Mr. Korah Abraham based on the minutes available in the Parish archives and based on inputs given by Mr. Tharian Mathew and Mr. P. K. Kurien. Every effort has been taken to present events and persons as accurate as possible. Any omission or inaccuracy is unintentional.