Inaugurating the Church of South India
These are the trunks and branches of the family tree of the Church of South India. "A" indicates the Anglican branch; "W" the Wesleyan branch; and "U" those other Protestant churches which formed the earlier United Church.
The Anglican branch, as we have already seen, began with the first chaplains of the British East India Company and grew sturdier as Danish and various English contributions were added. The Wesleyan branch began with the missionary renaissance of the early 19th century.
The United Church branch was originally formed by Scotch and English Presbyterians and the Reformed Church in America to which were later added English and American Congregationalists, Australian Presbyterians, and the Basel Mission of the Swiss and Germans.
These three branches unite in one great trunk to form the Church of South India, a spreading, living tree whose leaves are for the healing of the nations. While neither the Syrian Christians nor some Protestant groups are yet included, its members already number over a million and a half. It is the merger of these diverse forms of Christianity, whose origins lie so far apart in geography and history, that Dr. Coffin characterizes as the greatest miracle since Pentecost.
The solemn services inaugurating the new Church of South India were held in St. George's Cathedral, Madras, on September 27th, 1947. Three thousand worshippers gathered to witness the event. All who could crowded into the cathedral building; the overflow was accumulated in a temporary structure on the grounds.
Distinguished guests from many Christian bodies and from many lands were present. Among them were Dean Malcolm Pitt of the Kennedy School of Missions at Hartford and Bishop Mondol of the Methodist Church of India.