Thomas Carlyle said that the history of the world is but the biography of great men. Perhaps he should have included great institutions, too. In the 100 years its existence the Immanuel church has made an indelible impression in the history of this part of the world.
The Immanuel Church was first built in 1908 in the heart of Ernakulam town and overlooking the Cochin harbor. The great visionary the Rev. J.H. Bishop B.A., missionary of the C.M.S in Travancore and Cochin from 1867-1913 had envisaged that the first sight which entered Cochin’s beautiful harbor would be of that beautiful church. This fact was reflected in a letter dated 4th July 1970 from Rt. Rev. Richard Lipp of Sussen, Gneisenaustra, West Germany to the then Commissary C.S.I. Rt. Rev. K.C. Seth when he was vicar of the Immanuel Church, a passage of which reads as follows.
“Immanuel Church stands at one of the most important points of Ernakulam and even the ships coming in and going out of the harbor are witnesses whether there is a Christian church or not. I hope and pray that not only the building of Immanuel church is a witness to the world but that you all, my dear Christian people, are such living witnesses to the glory of God.”
The church was built in the memory of two eminent missionaries Rev. Edward Bacheller Russell and Rev. Alfred Forbes Sealy and was for that reason named the Russell-Sealy Memorial Church. Rev. Edward Bacheller Russell was a missionary of the Church of England in Tranvancore – Cochin from 1897 to 1899. Subsequently he became the Vicar of St. Mary, Leyton, England and died on 30th August 1900 following an accident.
Rev. Alfred Forbes Sealy served as the Director of Education, Cochin State and was the first Principal of the Maharajas College, Ernakulam from 1875 to 1892. When the F.A class was started in Maharajas College, Mr. Sankunny Menon, the Diwan of Cochin sought the help of the British Resident to secure the services of an eminent educationalist for the college. That was how Rev. Sealy came to Cochin and took charges as the principle of the college. He also served as a trustee of the St. Francis Church in Fort Cochin.
Rev. J.H. Bishop later wrote of Rev. Russell and Rev. Sealy’s work in Ernakulam and Trichur: “A Church was built at Ernakulam in memory of Mr. Russel and of his work for the diocese. As the plan for putting up the church took shape, it was decided that the name of Rev. Alfred Forbes Sealy should be connected witht that of Mr. Russel, Mr. Sealy was the founder and first Principal of the Government College at Ernakulam, the Capital of Cochin. He was a friend to Europeans and Indians alike, and was a powerful influence for God in Ernakulam. During the whole of the time that he lived in Cochin Mr. Sealy took great interest in the church life of the place. In the absence of the Chaplain he always conducted service for the European residents. Some years after his retirement Mr. Sealy decided to seek ordination and to return to Cochin as Chaplain. His desire was fulfilled. He returned to India full of hope in 1893, and was ordained Deacon by Bishop Gill in Banglore. The following year he was ordained Presbyter. His sudden death on Sunday morning October 28, 1894, just as he was preparing to celebrate the Holy Communion of the first time was a shock to the people in Cochin. This sad event was more pathetic, as Mrs. Sealy and her daughter had only a few days before joined Mr. Sealy, and their hopes of happy and fruitful service together were suddenly frustrated. It was felt that the memory of the life and work of Mr. Sealy should be perpetuated, and so the Church called the Russell – Sealy Memorial Church.”
In 1905 Rev. J.H. Bishop purchased 56 cents of land lying to the north of the present Banerjee Road and Chittoor Road near the Kacherrypadi Juction in Ernakulam from M/s. Kollamparampil Vareed Pailee, Chikku Ouseph and Vareed Peeru for four thousand five hundred rupees. This land was later sold and following suggestions from John Asan and some other members of the congregation, the present Church site was bought. Later for the convenience and with a special care to the seafarers he used the proceeds from the land to buy a land facing the back waters.
The petals of the Lotus and the arms of the Cross are beautifully intertwined together with the fiery tongues of the Holy Spirit.
This again is an authentic Indian expression of people’s communion with God. The colours being red (for life), purple (for piety and ecclesiastical) and the white backdrop (for purity) implicitly communicate the nature of the mystical union, where, an inseparable companionship is established which, again is a typical Indian thought form.
The words THAT THEY ALL MAY BE ONE, CHURCH OF SOUTH INDIA are embossed in a circle round the Lotus and the Cross. The words, as we know, are taken from the high priestly prayer of our Lord Jesus Christ who prayed not only for the ‘Church’ but also for the whole world. This universality is expressed by placing the words in a form of a circle symbolizing not only the universe but also the inclusive nature of the Church.
That they all may be one; as thou, father, art in me, and I in thee that they also may be one in us……” (John 17:21) is an inclusive affirmation showing explicitly that Christ is the Head and the Church, His body. It also symbolizes the prayer of the Church that not only Churches need to be united but all people of this country which can be interpreted as a meaningful prayer for national integration.
The imposing central position of the cross in the Logo conveys the idea that the indefatigable, self less supreme sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is the basis of the Church and its faith. The cross runs through the Lotus depicting its cleansing act working in the hearts of the members of the Church and restoring them to the pristine purity of heaven.
The four ends of the cross made of equal size symbolizes the equality and also the contextual peaceful co-existence and communal harmony. The Church of South India gratefully acknowledges the initiative taken by the Officers and the Executive Committee Members coinciding with the Silver Jubilee celebration of the CSI in 1972.
The foundation stone of the Russell-Sealy Church was laid in 1907 by Sir Arthur Lawley, the Governor of the Madras Presidency. The technical advice for the construction of the church was provided by Rev. Sealy’s son in-law, Mr. Browning, who was then the Chief Engineer of Cochin State.
Mr. Lazarus, a lay worker from Trichur, whose contribution to the Church will never be forgotten, supervised the construction of the Church. Once during the construction work Mr. Browning opined that the arch of the chancel was not strong enough and that it should be pulled down and a stronger one erected. Mr. Lazarus, however, insisted that the arch was strong enough and need not be pulled down. He went on to state that if it was pulled down he was not willing to supervise the work any longer. The matter was taken to Rev. J.H. Bishop who decided in favour of Mr. Lazarus so as to maintain the status quo. This arch, which was for long a topic of controversy, was demolished only in 2006 during the construction of the new church. It was a strong as any construction using modern technology and had to be brought down using a JCB and other modern equipment. According to an account of the Late. Rev. A.J. David, his father Mr. A.P. John (John Asan) who was in charge of the C.M.S. book depot was a witness to the argument between Mr. Lazarus and Mr. Browing. He was returning from the book depot when he happened to witness the altercation and stood there watching for sometime. Then when a stray thought struck him, he chuckled without realizing it. Mr. Browing heard that and assumed that he was laughing at them. He called him and asked, ‘Why did you laugh? You are an impertinent fellow. I will see that you are dismissed!” That evening the poor man went to the Travellers Bungalow where Mr. Browning was staying and explained to him what had happened. The Englishman, to his credit, understood and withdrew his threat to have him dismissed.
First baptism, funeral and marriage
That very year the Church conducted its first baptism, marriage and internment.
On 16th February 1908 Paul Anthaneercoil, a twenty tow year old convert was baptized by the Rev. J.H. Bishop.
On 28th June 1908, 65 year old college principal Mr. Duncan Cruikshank was laid to rest at a funeral service conducted by Rev. Bower, a missionary at Trichur.
On 10th September 1908, the marriage of twenty-four year old Mr. Mathunny Kaniamparumpil to fourteen year old Chachy Chackkathu was solemnized by the Rev. K.P. Varkkie.
John Asan and Mrs. Jane John, known as Jane Asatee were “Mission Agents”. They and Mr. K.P. Benny, known as Benny Asan, and his wife lived in a house on Market Road, taken on rent by Rev. J.H. Bishop. Before the construction of the Church building the first Immanuel congregation met in the central hall of this house for worship. Jane Asatee and Mrs. Benny were teachers in the Jewish Girls School started and run by the C.M.S missionaries for the benefit of the Jewish community in Cochin. In 1908 Mr. Benny donated a wooden call clock for the Church in memory of his wife. This is still used in the church vestry.
The first congregation consisted mainly of Anglican Christians hailing from Travancore. They were officials serving the Cochin Government. The C.M.S Missionaries were pioneers of education in this area and they started their work in Central Travancore with Kottayam as their headquarters. Therefore the Christians in Central Travancore had the privilege of having access to English education before others. These English educated people were in great demand not only in Travancore but also in the neighboring State of Cochin. This situation paved the way for the establishment of a small congregation of just thirty-one Anglican Christians at Ernakulam.
Dedication of the Russel- Sealy Church
On 11th February 1908 at 4:30 pm the Metropolitan of India and Ceylon, the Most Rev. R.S. Copleston, a classmate and friend of the then Viceroy Lord Curzon, dedicated the church for divine worship. During the service the Metropolitan dwelt on Haggai 2:9 “The latter splendor of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of Hosts, and in this house I will give prosperity.”
The Rt. Rev. Dr. C.H. Gill, Bishop in Travancore and Cochin was a participant in this service and Rev. J.H Bishop was the officiant.
The pulpit for the church was donated by Carl C. Baron D’ Albedyhll in the memory of his father Carl Christa Gustav Baron D’ Albedyhll, Chief Justice in Cochin State who died on 24th June 1880 and also of his sister Annie Eliza D’ Albedhll, C.E.Z.M missionary (1895-1906) who died in Cairo on 7th February 1907, en route to England.
During the years 1908 to 1910 Justice S. Doraiswamy lyer helped in conducting the services. He was a Brahmin convert and a pious Christian who contributed greatly to cause of the Anglican Community of that time in Ernakulam.
On 17th May 1913 the Rev. J.H. Bishop, through whose efforts this Church was built, was called to eternal rest.
In 1926 Rev. G.A.N Shackle purchased the compound with two buildings on the southern side of the church for ten thousand five hundred rupees. This is where the parsonage (built in 1940) and the Moore Bhavan were constructed.
First Pastorate Committee
From 1908 to 1927 the Church was administrated from Trichur. On 11th February 1927 the first pastorate committee was appointed comprising:
Rev. C.K. John Chairman
Mr. G.T. George Warden
Mr. P.C. Abraham
Mr. P.I. Thomas
Mr. George Kurien
Mr. Kuruvilla Koshy
Mr. P.P. Philip Secretary
Administration from Trichur 1908-1927
Although Cochin is Kerala’s commercial capital and has been so for a very long time, the headquarters of the diocese is not here but in Shoranur. In the old days too the arrangements was not dissimilar to that of today. The church was administered from Trichur till 1927.
Independent Pastorate: By 1928 the church was designated as an independent pastorate with Mulavukadu as its substation.
Rev. C.K. John was the first ordained clergy of the church. He served the Church as a lay worker from May 1926 and was made a deacon in 1929. This was the first ordination service conducted at the Immanuel Church. He received full ordination as presbyter in 1930 at the Holy Trinity Cathedral Church, Kottayam.
In 1929 Titus II, the Metropolitan of the Marthoma Church attended the Easter Service in Immanuel Church and delivered the sermon.
The Zenana Mission & Boys Club
The immense contribution of Miss. A.C.E. Robbins, missionary of the Church of England, to the Zenana Mission can never be forgotten. She, together with her women workers, lived in the adjoining building, the C.E.Z.M Bungalow which was located where the parking area of the C.S.I shopping complex now lies. She was in charge of the mission at Cranganore (Kodungalloor), then an outstation of Immanuel Church and also served as organist during the church services. Miss. Robbins was also responsible for starting in 1925, the Boys’ Club, a night school and club for street urchins, a year in which she also constituted a special committee for annual Christian conventions. When she retired from service as a missionary a choral programme was arranged in her honour on 8th November 1941.
These Christian conventions were very popular and a host of renowned speakers: Rev. Canon W.E.S. Holland, Rev. W. Tomlinson, Dr. Stanley Jones, Rev. C.K. Jacob, who was later ordained the first Indian Bishop of the C.S.I, preached in these conventions of the Immanuel Church, which were held in the Maharajas College Hall. In 1925 the Immanuel Church arranged a public meeting in the Maharajas College Hall, when Deenabandhu C.F. Andrews a great friend of Mahatma Gandhi, passed through Ernakulam after attending the historic Vaikom Sathyagraha camp. He was escorted by Sarvodaya Sri. K. Kelapan and the Marxist leader Mr. A.K. Gopalan who were at the time young Congress workers.
Silver Jubilee 1933
In 1933 the church celebrated 25 years of existence with great gusto. The celebrations were presided over by the Rt. Rev. EAL Moore, Bishop of Travancore and Cochin.
During the Silver Jubilee Thanksgiving Service held on 13th January 1933. Rt. Rev. E.A.L. Moore, Bishop of Travancore and Cochin unveiled a tablet in memory of J.H. Bishop, about who he said “….. conceived the idea of building Immanuel Church, and who despite frequent discouragements with tenacious faith and persistent labour, began the work and brought it to completion.”
In 1934 the Marthoma Church was given permission to conduct worship services in the Immanuel Church for the two Marthoma families then living in Ernakulam.
Electrification: In 1938 the Church was electrified. This was made possible through the generous contribution of Mr. N.I. Varkey. On 17th December 1938, Rt. Rev. B.C. Corfield, Bishop of Travancore and Cochin, dedicated the Altar Cross which was donated by Mr. George Kurian.
The choir too became more organized and members were outfitted in choir robes for the very first time.
Floating Dispensaries 1939: This was a great innovation. The church operated floating dispensaries in country boats to take medical aid to out of the way places in waterlogged areas, each in charge of a doctor.
It was by all accounts a great success and continued for about 20 years.
World War II
During the Second World War (1939-45), British and Australian Army, Navy, Air-force officers, chaplains, men, the British Diwans and Residents of Cochin took active part in worship, the choir, and all other social activities of the Church. Chaplains used to conduct services at the Immanuel Church, Rev. N.I. Joseph was the vicar of the church during this period. (1938-1950) and he was given the privilege of ministering to needs of the sick and wounded in the Military Hospital and to conduct services in the Naval Chapel in Willingdon Island, Cochin.
The first “In-gathering” was held in 1945. In the same year on 21st October, the foundation stone of the Westcott Hall (the old parish hall) was laid by Sir. George Boag, Diwan of Cochin in memory fo the Most Rev. Dr. Foss Westcott, Metropolitan of India, Burma and Ceylon. The construction was completed in 1950 and the building electrified in 1952. This construction was sponsored by the Women’s Fellowship. This hall was demolished in 2007 at the time of the new construction.
First Harvest Festival
The first Harvest Festival was held on 23rd February 1946. The proceeds amounted to two hundred and twenty rupees, five annas and six paise. On 9th March 1947 a farewell service was held at the Immanuel Church in honour of Sir. George Boag, at which the Rt. Rev. C.K. Jacob, Bishop of Travancore and Cochin preached the sermon.
The Immanuel congregation recognized the need for a church on Mulavukadu Island and in 1948 a church was built there. The Maharaja of Cochin gifted the required timber for the church construction and the church bell was donated by the Immanuel Church Women’s Fellowship.
A floating dispensary was also started for the benefit of the sick in the Mulavukadu Island.
The Church Missionary Society, which was founded in the Castle and Falcon, a hotel in London, on 12th April 1799, celebrated its 150th anniversary. The CMS, presently over 200 years old, together with the London Missionary Society, which was founded 4years before in the very same hotel, formed the largest missionary organization in the world. The Immanuel Church celebrated the CMS anniversary with great enthusiasm.
Youth League 1951
The Youth League was formed 1951.
Apostle Thomas 1952
The Apostle Thomas is believed to have landed at Kodungallur in 52 AD. The Immanuel Church celebrated the 19th centenary of that event with great enthusiasm. Tamil Service 1952 Today the Immanuel Church holds services in Tamil once a month. It is amazing to think that this tradition now barks back more than half a century.
In December 1955 Rev. George Koshy published the first Newsletter and christened it “Immanuel Church News”.
Poor Fund 1956
The Poor Fund is another tradition of the Immanuel church that has stood witness to more than half a century of service.
Golden Jubilee 1958
The Golden Jubilee was celebrated with a thanksgiving service on 9th February 1958 conducted by Rt. Rev. Richard Lipp, Bishop of North Kerala .
On this occasion the choir’s black robes were changed to red robes . A choir festival, arranged and conducted by Mr. G.K. Kurien, Director of the Immanuel church choir, was held in connection with the jubilee celebration. The other churches that participated in this choir festival were U.C. College Alwaye , St. John the Baptist Church , Alwaye and St. Francis Church , Fort Cochin. The public meeting in connection with celebrations was presided over by Dr. John Mathai the then Vice Chancellor of Kerala University.
On 10th February 1958 Rt. Rev. Richard Lipp laid the foundation stone of the cemetery chapel. This Chapel was dedicated in June 1958.
CSI Women’s Hostel
The CSI Women’s hostel, located within the property of the Immanuel Church on Broadway, and administered by the diocese. Was established in August 1958.
Commercial Complex 1959
Plans were initiated for constructing the commercial complex on the northern side of the Immanuel church’s property.
New Liturgy 1959
The year witnessed the new liturgy of the Church of South India being used for the very first time. The new liturgy had elements drawn from the different denominations that make up the Church of South India.
Christian Lyrics 1965
The Immanuel Church started an English Congregation. Over time Malayalam services were introduced, but the songs sung during the service were Malayalam versions of English hymns. Original Malayalam tunes called Christheeya Geethangal were introduced for the first time in regular worship. These are now part and parcel of every Malayalam service in the Immanuel Church.
Microphones were, installed for the first time in 1968. In the same year, Rev. George Issac, later to become Bishop of the North Kerala Diocese, was appointed as assistant to the vicar. He served the parish for one year and received his ordination as presbyter from Rt. Rev. T.B. Benjamin on 11th May 1969 at a service held at the Immanuel Church.
By the 1960s, with about 200 families as members, it was found that the small and beautiful old Church was insufficient to accommodate the increasing numbers. In 1964, during Rev. N.I. Joseph’s secon term as vicar of the Immanuel Church, the Pastorate Committee decided to extend the church. On 19th February 1970 Rev. K.C. Seth laid the foundation stone for the extension. The world renowned British born architect Mr. Laurie Baker, who till his death in 2007 resided in Trivandrum, was the mastermind behind the plan for the extension. He designed the façade, which fitted well into the Gothic structure of the church, and the two vestries, one for the clergy and the other for the choir. The notes of the beautiful hymn “The Church’s one foundation” written by Samuel John Stone (1839-1900) was set into the grills of the windows of these vestries. The renovated church was dedicated at 5.00 pm on Sunday 16th August 1970 by the Most Rev. P. Solomon, Moderator of C.S.I. and the Bishop of Dornakal.
The celebrations of the Platinum Jubilee lasted for four months. Rt. Rev. Dr. K.C. Seth inaugurated the Jubilee celebrations on 2nd October 1982. The Valedictory function of this celebration was held on 12th February 1983. This was presided over by the Most Rev. I. Jesudasan, the then Moderator of C.S.I. The Thanksgiving Service was held on 13th February 1983.
Junior Choir was started in 1985.
CSI Christ Church, Elamkulam
By the late eighties the numerical strength grew and a bifurcation of the church was inevitable. A new Church, the CSI Christ Church was constructed at Elamkulam, Ernakulam as an Immanuel Project. The church was dedicated on 6th January 1991 by the Bishop of North Kerala Rt. Rev. Dr. P.G. Kuruvilla and nearly two hundred families were transferred to the new pastorate from the Immanuel Church. Rev. Jacob Thomas who was the vicar of the Immanuel Church took charge as the new Vicar of Christ Church.
The long cherished desire of the congregation to have a parish hall became a reality in 1997 when Rev. M.J. Chacko was the vicar of the church. The foundation stone of the parish hall was laid on 15th March 1995 by Rt. Rev. Dr. P.G. Kuruvilla and on 17th November 1996, on a Harvest Festival Sunday, Rt. Rev. T.B. Benjamin blessed the hall. On 16th March 1997, Rt. Rev. Dr. K.C. Seth dedicated and inaugurated the hall in the presence of Rt. Rev. Dr. P.G. Kuruvilla. Mr. Suresh Oommen Mani and Mr. Koshy Thomas, both members of the Immanuel Church, were the architect and the works engineer respectively.
Rt. Rev. B.N. Fenn took charge as vicar in May 2000. By then, the congregation had grown and in January 2001, with there being a sizeable numbers of Tamil speaking people, it was decided to conduct services in Tamil at 3.30 pm on every third Sunday. From 2007 onwards Tamil Service had been conducted in every Sunday.
Church at Kakkanad
Under the leadership of Rev. B.N. Fenn, a plot was purchased at Kakkanadu to build a new church, again as a project of the Immanuel church. Rt. Rev. Dr. George Issac laid the foundation stone on 3rd june 2001 on Pentecost Day and he dedicated the church on 19th May 2002 in the presence of Bishop Rt. Rev. T.B. Benjamin and Rt. Rev. Dr. P.G. Kuruvilla. About 140 families were transferred from the Immanuel Church to the new CSI Ascension Church. Mr. K.P. Philip was the general co-ordinator and Mr. Suresh Oommen Mani the architect. From 1st September 2002, the CSI Ascension Church became an independent pastorate with Rev. P.K. Mammen as its first vicar.
Church in Kandiyoor, Attapadi
After building, as mission projects, two large churches in Ernakulam city, the Immanuel church was able to build a Church in Kandiyoor, Attapadi. This was for the benefit of the Adivasi tribals of the Silent Valley hills and was funded entirely by the Immanuel congregation. The construction began in 2001 and the Church was inaugurated on 6th March 2001 by Rt. Rev. Dr. George Issac. Ateam from the Immanuel Church congregation was present at the time of its dedication.
In 2002 discussions began for celebration of the centenary in 2008. It was also decided that a new parsonage should be constructed. A fund named the Immanuel Church Centenary Fund was started. The pastorate committee and the congregation also began thinking of reconstructing the Church.
Rt. Rev. Dr. George Issac laid the foundation stone of the parsonage complex project on 17th November 2002.
A special memento was given to Mr. M.J John, Senior Organist as a token of appreciation for the completion of 50years as organist in the Immanuel Church, Ernakulam.
Sunday School Children’s Club
The Sunday School Children’s Club was inaugurated on 14th July 2002 by Rev. B.N. Fenn with the aim of finding hidden talents in our children and to encourage them to develop their talents. The Sunday School Children’s Club meets every second Sunday between 1.30 pm and 3.00 pm.
Family Care Unit
Rt. Rev. Dr. George Isaac inaugurated the Family Care Unit on 9th March 2003. The Family Care Unit concerns itself with the physical and spiritual needs of the members of the church. It was later renamed the “Family Care Fellowship”.
Rev. Julie Bird
On 3rd August 2003 Rev. Julie Bird, from the Grace Presbytery Texas, USA joined Immanuel Church as the Assistant Vicar. Her husband Mr. Adrian Bird was appointed a Lay Minister.
Feeding of the poor
The Feeding Programme for the needy and homeless was started on a trial basis from 19th to 24th December 2003. About 410 needy people were fed on those days. Thereafter it was decided that breakfast should be served to the poor and needy on two Fridays every month. Bishop Dr. George Isaac inaugurated the Poor Feeding Programme on 16th January 2004. The Youth Fellowship and Women’s Fellowship were active participants in this programme, which was conceptualized by Rev. Julie Bird and Mr. Adrian Bird. The Late Dr. Cherian Jacob was its co-ordinator for 3 years. From January 2005 breakfast is served every Friday.
A Friday English Bible Study was started at the residence of Dr. Cherian Jacob in 2004. This was led by Rev. Julie and Adrian Bird.
On 18th May 2003 a farewell was given during the service, to Mr. P.P. John who had served the church as sexton for 52years.
Rt. Rev. Dr. George Isaac dedicated the ground floor of the newly constructed parsonage on Friday, 30th April 2004 at 5.30 pm. The Honorary Secretary Mr. J. Oommen, handed over the keys to the Bishop. Choir Robes for Junior Choir New Choir robes were provided for our Junior Choir at a dedication service in November 2004.
On 30th December 2004 the foundation stone of the parsonage of CSI St. John’s Church Mulavukad, was laid by the Bishop Rt. Rev. Dr. George Isaac.
Anakkulam Mission Field
In December 2004 the mission filed at Anakkulam in the high ranges, about 55km from Adimali town was identified. This village is in the Mankulam Pachayath, the only panchayath in Idukki District without electricity and the population is largely Muthuvan tribals.
Land extending 11 cents was provided by a Muthuvan while the church paid for the labour involved in constructing a 20’ x 14’ hall for the center. This was constructed of bamboo and locally available materials. On 8th March 2005, the dedication of the land and the shed was conducted by Rev. T.I. James and Rev. Sunder Jacob and thereafter the Day Care Centre was inaugurated. Later with the Bishop, Rt. Rev. George Isaac, having given permission, the diocese’s building near the Adimali CSI Church was made available to start a full time home under the guidance of a missionary couple, so that the children could pursue their studies. The Immanuel home was inaugurated on 2nd June 2005.
In January 2005. “Immanuel the monthly bulletin of the CSI Immanuel Church was brought out in a better format containing about 24 page of news, photographs, church programmes and birthday and wedding anniversary lists.Multicolour pages started
A senior Citizens’ Fellowship, aimed at church members who are 55 years or more, was begun on 19th February 2005. It was decided that meetings will be held at the Church on the third Saturday of every month from 9.30 am to 1.00 pm. At these meetings there would be meditation, singing, group discussions and interactive sessions followed by lunch for all participants.
On 5th September 2004, during the 7.30 am English Service the new hymn and CSI Order of service book “Sing & Worship Immanuel” was released.
Later that day during the 9.30 am Malayalam Service, Immanuel Vol I, Cassette and CD sung by the Immanuel Choir was released.
In what could be called a small beginning for the reconstructing the Church, the children of the primary class in the English Sunday School donated Rs. 1000 which they had saved from their pocket money.
A special forthrightly bulletin under the name “New Immanuel was launched on 28th August 2005, All details about the Church reconstruction project, collections and progress of the construction were updated in this.
21st August, 2005 which was observed as Choir Sunday, was a landmark day in the history of the Immanuel Church. www.csiimmanuel.org, the Church’s official website was dedicated and launched by Rt. Rev. Dr. George Isaac.
The Mulavukad parsonage was dedicated on 31st December 2005 by Rt. Rev. Dr. George Isaac.
Following the visit in January 2006, by a seven-member delegation led by Rev. Thomas, the Moderator of the Grace Presbytery of Dallas, Texas, USA, the initial step for a partnership between the Fist Presbyterian Church, Dallas and Immanuel Church was taken.
New Place for Worship
With the old church being pulled down to build the new church, church services were temporarily shifted to the Parish Hall on 6th January 2006 after a dedication service.
On 30th April 2004, the fist floor of the three-storied parsonage complex comprising accommodations for the assistant vicar and a gust suite was dedicated by Rt. Rev. Dr. George Isaac. On 19th May 2006, the second floor of the parsonage complex, comprising the New Westcott Hall was dedicated by the vicer, Rev. T.I. James.
The new Church at Mulavukad was dedicated on 11th April by Bishop, Rt. Rev. Dr. George Isaac. It is gratefully acknowledged that the entire cost of Rs. 32.75 lakhs was borne by Mr. K.O. Mathew and family.
Biblical Counseling Course
A course on Biblical Counselling was started from August 8th, 2006. This course dealt with basic counseling skills. Dr. Alex Mathew, Director, CSI counseling center and other counseling experts took classes from 7.30 am to 8.30 am. A contributory breakfast was provided.
The Centenary Celebration of the Immanuel Church began on 25th January 2006 after a meeting of the Centenary Celebration Planning Committee which was held the day before.
A Centenary Thanksgiving Service was held on 29th January 2006 exactly a hundred years after the foundation stone of the old Church had been laid by His Excellency Sir Arthur Lowley, the then Governor of Madras Presidency. This was led by Rt. Rev. Dr. J.W. Gladstone, the Moderator’s Commissary who delivered the sermon and Rt. Rev. Dr. Sam Mathew who celebrated the Holy Communion. The Thanksgiving Service was followed by a public meeting which was attended by the Most Rev. Dr. Daniel Acharuparambil, Archbishop of Varapuzha and the Most Rev. Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom.
The highlight of the centenary celebrations was its inauguration on 19th December 2006 by His Excellency Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam, President of India. The inauguration was held at the Kerala Fine Arts Hall, and was attended also by Mr. R.L. Bhatia, Governor of Kerala, Mr. M.A. Baby, Education Minister Kerala, Mr. S. Sharma, Fisheries Minister, Mr. K.V. Thomas MLA and the Moderator’s Commissary Bishop J.W. Gladsotne.
Among what Dr. Kalam mentioned was that Kerala’s top rank among Indian States in the Human Development index and in the high quality of education and health was due in large measure to the Christian missionaries who has played a crucial role in this.
As a part of the centenary celebration, the first house of the house construction project was dedicated on 8th December 2007 and handed over to Mr. Shyraj and Mr. Shyamala Shyraj a needy family of the Mulavukad Church.
A seminar on Peace was also arranged on 13th April 2008 on the theme “The relevance of Shalom in the present day Kerala Context”. The seminar was inaugurated by His Excellency Shri. K. Sankaranarayanan, the Governor of Nagaland. Prof. Mercy Williams, the worshipful Mayor, Cochin Corporation, presided over the function, Reflections on the theme were presented by Dr. K.S. Radha Krishnan, Vice Chancellor, Sanskrit University, Adv. T.P.M. Ibrahim Khan, President CBSE Schools Association and Rev. Dr. Royce Manoj, Old Testament Professor from Kerala United Theological Seminary. Rev. T.I. James was the moderator.
The Centenary Celebrations ended on 17th August 2008 with a valedictory session presided over by the Rt. Rev. Dr. K.P. Kuruvilla and the Moderator of the Church of South India, the Most Rev. Dr. J W Gladstone delivering the valedictory address at a public meeting with Mr. Sebastian Paul, MP, Prof. K.V. Thomas MLA and Corporation Councilor Mr. Leno Jacob on the dais.
New Choir Robes for Women
New Choir robes for women were introduced on 15th December 2007 during the new Church dedication service.
The new Immanauel Church
The towering new Immanuel Church with a floor space of over 23500 sq.ft was dedicated on 15th December 2007 by Rt. Rev. Dr. K.P. Kuruvilla. Rt. Rev. Dr. George Isaac, Rt. Rev. M.C. Mani, the Clergy Secretary, the Diocesan Treasurer, the Lay Secretary and many Achans from the diocese and other churches, a host of friends and well wishers from sister churches and other churches and all the members of Immanuel Church were present for this service.
A special choir of a Hundred Voices under the leader ship of Mr. M.J. Varkey, Choir Master, sang special songs during the service.
Later that day the Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil inaugurated the public function organized in connection with the opening of the new church building. At the meeting Mr. Patil stated that “One has to believe in the unity of humanity and hold other religions in high esteem….” and that “Places of worship are areas where the knowledge of life is imparted to believers. Here, people meet each other, forgetting their mundane problems. It is place where problems that have relevance to humanity and the cosmos gain the upper hand. Christ’s love for humanity was beyond measure. Gandhiji’s policy of ahimsa is derived from Christ’s philosophy of love”.
Kerala’s Home Minister Mr. Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, the opposition Leader Mr. Oommen Chandy, Joseph Marthoma the Metropolitan of the Marthoma Church, Rt. Rev. Dr. George Isaac, Rt. Rev. Dr. K.P. Kuruvilla and Mr. K.V. Thomas MLA, were also present at the meeting.
First Christmas Carol Service in the new church
The first Carol Service in the new Immanuel Church was held on 19th December 2007 with the Valiya Mertropolitan of the Marthoma Syrian Church, Philipose Mar Chrysostam as the chief guest.
CSI Women’s Hostel
The Golden Jubilee celebrations of the CSI Women’s hostel was held on 8th August 2008 at CSI Immanuel Church Parish Hall with Rt. Rev. Dr. K.P. Kuruvilla inaugurating the one-year long celebration. The valedictory function was held on 2nd April 2009.
On 1st October 2008, Rev. Dr. K.P. Kuruvilla dedicated the Counselling Centre located in the room below the sweeping front steps of the church.
The largest number of ministers were ordained in an ordination service on 1st October 2008 in our Church. 12 deacons were ordained as Presbyters and 4 BD probationers were admitted as Deacons of the Church of South India. The ordination retreat was held from 28th to 30th September 2008 in our Chapel. Accommodations were provided in the parsonage complex.
This was the fist time in the North Kerala Diocese that 16 persons were ordained at one ordination service. Our Bishop Rt. Rev. Dr. K.P. Kuruvilla was the chief celebrant. Rt. Rev. Dr. Sam Mathew (Madhya Kerala Diocese) delivered the message Rt. Rev. Dr. K.G. Daniel led the Holy Communion Service. 72 Achens, including the newly ordained attended the service. A public reception was arranged soon after the service. Our Bishop Rt. Rev. Dr. K.P. Kuruvilla presided over the function and His Grace Thomas Mar Athanasius was the Chief Gust. Prof. K.V. Thomas delivered the felicitation address. Around 2000 persons attended the service.
Vault in the cemetery
The Vault in the CSI cemetery was completed by April 2009. The dedication ceremony was conducted on 25th April by Rt. Rev. Dr. K,P. Kuruvilla.