The Journey thus far...



In the last couple of decades, the Malayalam Diaspora in Bangalore has seen an exponential growth.The burgeoning IT Industry with its million jobs, the cooler climes and the cosmopolitan culture has seen a large influx of Keralites during this time. Evidently, with their more conservative and traditionalupbringing, these large number of people, moving into a new place, looked first at communities wherethey felt comfortable and where they could continue with their strong spiritual background. This was especially true about the Christians who have flocked to Kerala in the recent past. The Syrian Orthodox and the Marthoma Churches started smaller congregations across Bangalore and the Church Of South Indian Christians from Kerala were not too far behind. Where twenty years back there was one CSI Church, the Malayalam Congregations now boast of six churches where they can go and worship. But the road was long with many a winding turn and there were people, both from the Clergy and the Laity, who worked hard over these years to ensure that new migrants from Kerala have a readymade community and Church to go to in their neighbourhoods. The long journey of a small Prayer Group to what we know of now as St.James CSI Malayalam Church is no different.

In the early 1980’s, several temporary Malayalam Worship Services were started in several places in East Bangalore, including in Divya Shanti Church and finally in 1985, the ‘Bethel Prayer Group’ was started by Mr. P.M. John (our current sexton) and Mr. Varghese George. Though there were never any formal Clergy representation, this Prayer group went from strength to strength and in 1990, Mr. P.C. Oommen from East Parade Church, formalised this Prayer group and organised for regular Cottage Prayers,Bible Studies and Carol Rounds. In August 1993, Rev. Thomas Oommen, who was the Presbyter at East Parade Church, started a formal Worship Service at EMPACS hall in Maruthi Seva Nagar. Mr. George Varghese, Advocate and Member of East Parade Church took over the leadership and this Worship Service at the Hall grew stronger with the help of EMPACS and the support of the Pastorate Committee of East Parade Church.

Several leading members of the Clergy including Rev. KJ Chacko, Rev.Dr. Christopher Jacob Kurien, Rev.Dr. George Oommen and Rev. Felix Mathew led the worships at EMPACS hall. Several of the initial Lay Workers dedicated a lot of time to ensure what we are enjoying now, including Mr. T.V. Varghese, Mr. Saji P. Mathew, Mrs. Mary John, Mr. A.K. Jacob (Thampi), Mr. T.P. James, Mrs. Thankamma James, Mrs. Jessie Abraham, Mr. P.N Abraham, Mr. Jacob George (Sunny), Mrs. Achamma George and Mr. Jose Thomas. We remember all these committed people with gratitude for what we have now.

In 1995, Worship shifted to Mr. Rajappa’s Building in Hennur road, which forever will be remembered affectionately as the ‘Kozhi Palli”. Worship continued at the Prem Prayer Hall for 16 years and Mr.George Varghese, Advocate and Member of East Parade Church will be remembered always by the Congregation of St. James for his wonderful gesture of paying a sum of Rs. 10.00 Lakhs for the lease of the land in 1995. Finally, in 2011, when the Congregation, moved into our own current Church, Mr. George Varghese was kind enough to get this money back from Mr. Rajappa’s family and donate it for the building of our new Church.

During the period 1995 to 1999, pastoral care and leadership were given selflessly by several students from United Theological College, Bangalore, including Rev. Felix Mathew, Rev. Velvet John, Rev. K. Sathynadh and Rev. Christopher John. The First Carol Service and Carol Rounds were started in 1998. In 1999, there was an official move to upgrade the congregation and under the auspices of Rev. Victor
Joshua, Secretary KCD, Rt. Rev. Vasantha Kumar, Bishop, KCD, declared the Congregation as St. James Church on 2nd May 1999. The First Presbyter of the Church was Rev. Babu Jacob, who was deputed form the East Kerala Diocese and assumed office on 15th May 1999. On 28th August 1999, the First Advisory Committee was constituted. Rev. Babu Jacob was succeeded by Rev. D. Johnichen in 2001 who continued till 2003 followed by Rev. K. Sathyanadh, from the Karnataka Central Diocese.

Rev. K. Sathyanadh served as Presbyter for a full term of 5 years from 2003 to 2008 and it was during his time that the momentum to have our own worship place started. Rev. John Joseph, from the North Kerala Diocese, took over as Presbyter in the year 2008 and the following year, the New Advisory Committee,under the stewardship of Mr. Sankey Prasad took it upon themselves the mission of building a New Church for the congregation of St. James Malayalam Church.

The, then, Advisory Committee, worked with zeal and enthusiasm for several years to bear this dream to reality. Mr. Sankey Prasad, Secretary, very soullessly donated 5000 Sq Ft of land in Kacherkanahalli for the building of the Church. The Members of the Church will be forever indebted to Mr. Sankey Prasad and his family for their wonderful gesture to turn a dream into reality. This was allied by the support of
the Moderator of the CSI, Most Rev. K. Vasantha Kumar and other Officers of the Diocese, who supported the Church Building Project with great zest. The Foundation Stone for the New Church Building was laid by Mr. Padmanabhan Reddy, Corporator, BBMP on 5th July 2010. Every Member of the Congregation added to this and finally on 14th August 2011, the new Church was consecrated by the Moderator of the CSI, Most Rev. K. Vasantha Kumar.

Rev. John Joseph, moved over in the year 2012 before his full term was over to Kanamoola Seminary, Trivandrum as a Faculty. He was succeeded by Rev. V.L. Michael, also of North Kerala Diocese, who served as presbyter till 2014. It was during his time that the first Pastorate Committee of the Church was elected unanimously in May 2013, with Mr. Thomas George as the Secretary and Mrs. Shirley Sadanandan as Treasurer. Rev. V.L. Michael was recalled back to his North Kerala Diocese in May 2014.

In these many years, some of the activities in the Church has slowly grown and become institutions by themselves. In the year 1999, the 1st Annual Thanksgiving and Harvest Festival of the Church was held and the 16th was held in the year 2015, during which time, it has grown by leaps in bounds both in terms of Collections and Participation. Similarly, the Annual Conventions and Carol Services moved into a more professional setup with increased participation and commitment from all involved. The Vacation Bible School started in the year 2003 was conducted in a small way and has increased to a massive Activity of the year with the last year recording more than 80 Students. The Scroll, the Monthly Newsletter of the Church was started in September 2009 and the St. James Malayalam Church Website was launched in 2012 and has been maintained very dedicatedly and professionally by Mr. Sajan Rhine since the beginning. Two Confirmation Services have been conducted at the Church so far, one in 2008 and the other in 2014.

Rev. Anish M.G. Padikkamannil took over in May 2014 thereafter Rev. Aneesh M K Kurian started his tenure from Apr 2017 and is serving as Presbyter till date.