A Church is Born: Church of South India Inauguration

Introduction > Significance of the Film

The unification of the Church of South India is considered one of the most important in the Church Union movement, because for the first time after centuries of division, churches with various ministries were brought together in a collective Episcopal Church. The reconciliation it reached between Anglicans and other denominations on the doctrine of apostolic succession is often cited as a landmark in the ecumenical movement.

Discussions concerning a union amongst Protestant denominations in India began in 1919 at a conference in Tranquebar (now Tarangambadi), but the union was not completed until after India gained independence from Britain.

After nearly twenty-nine years of negotiation among Anglican, Wesleyan (Methodist), Reformed, Presbyterian, and Congregationalist church leaders, the Church of South India was inaugurated on September 27, 1947.

The Church of South India is currently the largest Protestant church in India, with twenty-two dioceses, its own prayer book, and its own communion service that draws from several denominational sources.


The following pages in the Introduction section will describe the history of the collections, why the Burke Library undertook such a project, and how we conducted our research to locate any potential copyright owners. Specific information regarding the Church of South India Records is as follows:


Finding Aid

The finding aid for “A Church Is Born” Records, 1947-1948 is available to researchers online.


The text that accompanies the images in this online exhibit is the script provided with the original images. The document was scanned and is available in full: http://library.columbia.edu/content/dam/libraryweb/locations/burke/archives/MRL3ChurchIsBornRecords_CommentaryScan.pdf.

The Burke Library (Columbia University Libraries) / 3041 Broadway at 121st Street / New York, NY 10027 / (212) 851-5606 / burke@libraries.cul.columbia.edu