This week, the Church of South India celebrated the 75th anniversary of its foundation together with more than 10,000 participants. The Church was founded as a "united and unifying church” only a few weeks after the end of colonial rule, thus expressing the dawn of a new era.
Today, the Church of South India has more than 4.5 million members. Two thirds of them are Dalits, so-called "Untouchables" or "casteless".
EMS President Klaus Rieth conveyed the congratulations of EMS members in his sermon at the anniversary service: "This is the reason why God founded our church: so that we are not alone on the path, but that we live our lives in togetherness. So that we help each other and we never forget who our greatest help is, namely our Lord Jesus Christ, on whom we rely."
The representatives of the Church of South India took the opportunity of the anniversary to appeal to the Indian government to end discrimination against Christians in India. "We are very concerned to see that the constitutional rights of Dalits and other minorities in India are being further eroded by the Hindu nationalist government. We demand full legal recognition for Christian Dalits," urged the General Secretary of the Church of South India, lawyer C. Fernandas Raja.
As part of the anniversary, the CSI organised an international mission conference. General Secretary Dr Dieter Heidtmann presented the EMS focal theme of the "Preservation of the Creation". For many years, the Church of South India has been intensively committed to greater environmental protection and to combating climate change, the effects of which are particularly felt by the poor in India.