A Church is Born: Church of South India Inauguration

Inaugurating the Church > Bishops Converge

Also gathered to participate were those bishops of the Anglican church whose dioceses were to be incorporated into the new church.

To the strains of the processional, the officiating clergy filed past the pandal or temporary building into the cathedral. Inside the crowd, representing many groups hesitatingly at first, and then in increasing volume, raised the grand old hymns of the church.

Representatives of each of the three uniting bodies, one after another, stepped forward, and each read the resolution of his churches accepting union. Then he placed upon the communion table a copy of the Constitution of the Church of South India and of the Basis of Union, signed and accepted by each bishop, presbyter, minister and deacon of his church. Bishop Elliot acts for the Anglican Churches.

Dr. Kell, of the Provincial Synod, represents the Wesleyan Methodists while Dr. Jacobs performs a like service for the communions represented in the United Church.

As the last assent is given, the presiding Bishop takes his place before the altar and, the congregation standing, solemnly declares —

"Dearly beloved brethren, in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church, who, on the night of His Passion prayed that His disciples might be one;

"and by the authority of the governing bodies of the uniting churches whose resolutions have been read in your hearing and laid in prayer before Almighty God;

"I do hereby declare that these three churches are be come one Church of South India and that those Bishops, Presbyters, Deacons and probationers who have assented to the Basis of Union and accepted the Constitution of the Church of South India, and whose names are laid upon this Holy Table, are Bishops, Presbyters and Deacons of this Church."

As his words cease the notes of the organ fill the vaults of the Cathedral and choir and congregation unite in that ancient Te Deum of faith and of thanksgiving,— "We praise Thee, 0 God; we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord."

The Bishops of the Anglican Church now present themselves and, kneeling before the altar, are commissioned Bishops of the Church of South India by Dr. C. R. Wierenga, of the former United Church, and the Rev. Paul Ramaseshan, former Wesleyan.

The morning closes with the first communion service under the new church. Here Bishops in white robes and saffron stoles, presbyters in simple white gowns, laymen in varying apparel, women in many-colored saris,— Europeans, Indians, Americans, — all commune together at a common table.

Nine new Bishops had been elected from the Wesleyan Methodist and United Churches to join with the Anglican Bishops in guiding the destinies of the new church.

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