One diocese in India has seen its numbers grow by three and a half times in just 17 years since its formation, with between fifteen and twenty new congregations being added every year.
The Diocese of Kerala was founded in April 1983 and has seen enormous growth in its faith, witness, renewal and giving. Nearly all the faithful in the diocese are poor farmers who work for daily wages, including people working in tea gardens and in high ranges, hill tribes and many belonging to low castes.
A recent rally was held in Thodupuzha, attended by representatives from every parish in Kerala and the Moderator of the Church of South India. Every congregation in the diocese is seen as a missionary congregation, and the mass rally was an opportunity to launch the priorities and projects for the new millennium.
The Moderator, the Most Revd K Samuel announced a multi-point plan during the rally that included ambitious and challenging projects for the diocese to undertake in the coming years. It is planned to construct 5,000 houses for homeless people by 2005, and to work with the Government and other agencies to improve the infrastructure in the diocese.
Education is a key priority for the diocese, with projects to eliminate illiteracy, enhance training in basic skills, encourage self-help schemes, improve health and environmental awareness, and the establishment of a new university. There are plans to launch a computer academy and establish a network throughout the diocese.
The Diocese of Kerala is also planning campaigns to strengthen families, and to work for national reconciliation. The diocese is looking to equip local congregations for outreach and ministry, and to send 100 missionaries to different parts of India.
Item from: South India Churchman