The Archives of the Church in North India - Monograph Collection

The Archives of the Church in North India - Monograph Collection
The Archives of the Church in North India: Monograph Collection

A collaboration with Yale University, The Archives of the Church in North India Online comprises archival and printed material from the Gujarat Diocese of the Church of North India. The Monograph collection includes:
- Monographs printed by the Irish Presbyterian Mission Press in Surat, India.
- Monographs printed by other mission presses in India.
- Monographs printed outside India and relevant for research purposes.

Number of titles: 248
Languages used: English, Gujarati
ISBN: 978 90 04 23558 8

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Background

In 1840 the Presbyterian Church in Ireland commissioned its first foreign missionaries, Alexander Kerr and James Glasgow. Together with their newly married wives they sailed for India, arriving in Bombay in 1841. After consultation with the Scottish missionary Dr John Wilson they chose the Kathiawar Peninsula as the field of their labours and work was begun in Rajkot. Alexander Kerr died in August 1841 but the commitment of the Irish Presbyterian Church to the area continued and by 1843 four new missionaries had arrived and mission stations were set up in Porbander and Gogha.

The work gradually grew, new stations were opened and the IP Mission took over as other missionary organisations withdrew. In 1847 the London Missionary Society closed its work in Surat and the IP Mission was invited to take over the church, mission house and the printing press there. In 1863, the IP Mission restarted missionary work in Ahmedabad, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel having withdrawn in 1851. In 1859 when the LMS withdrew completely from Gujarat the IP Mission took responsibility for a number of stations including the first Christian village in Gujarat - Khashivadi near Borsad - founded in 1847. Further Christian villages were founded at Ranipur near Ahmedabad (1862) and later at Wallacepur, Khadana, Porda, Anand, Brookhill and Nadiad among others. Supplemented in 1873 by the Ladies' Association or Zenana Mission and in 1889 by the Jungle Tribes Mission the work of the IP Mission expanded encompassing evangelistic work, educational and medical work. The famine of 1899-1900 led to the expansion of the orphanages run by the mission.

The first theological training course was set up in 1864; and in 1892 Fleming Stevenson Divinity College opened under Rev G P Taylor. At first it was accommodated in the IP Mission High School, Ahmedabad and student accommodation was in the group of houses still known as Dr Taylor's Chawl. In 1913 a new building was opened, designed by Fleming Stevenson's son J Sinclair Stevenson. Meanwhile the Methodist Mission (USA) had founded the Florence B Nicholson School of Theology in 1906 in Baroda and the Church of the Brethren (USA) had founded the Bulsar Bible School in 1913. These three schools combined to form the Gujarat United School of Theology in 1942. Initially housed in Baroda it moved to Ahmedabad in 1953 to the former Stevenson College buildings. After the formation of the Church of North India in 1970 it continued as a joint CNI and Methodist Institution for some years.

From the arrival of the missionaries until 1900 the workings of the Irish Presbyterian (IP) Mission and of the Presbyterian Church in Gujarat were intertwined. The missionaries served in the Presbytery of Kathiawar and Gujarat, a presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. In 1900 the autonomous Presbytery of Gujarat and Kathiawar was formed. In 1904 all the Indian Presbyterian Missions of different origins - American, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, New Zealand were united to form the Presbyterian Church of India. In 1924 the Presbyterian churches in North India united with the Congregational Churches to form the United Church of Northern India (UCNI), and the Presbytery of Gujarat and Kathiawar was now known as the Gujarat Church Council. In 1970 the UCNI, Anglican and Brethren churches in Gujarat were united as a result of the establishment of the Church of North India. Existing structures in Gujarat passed on to the CNI Diocese of Gujarat.

On the establishment of the Presbytery of Gujarat and Kathiawar in 1900 a Mission Council formed solely of missionaries became responsible for outreach work (educational, evangelistic, medical, property etc), while the Presbytery undertook full responsibility for the life of the local congregations. In 1948 the administrative work of the Mission Council was taken over by a Joint Board consisting of twelve representatives of the Gujarat Church Council (Presbytery) and twelve missionary representatives. The Mission Council continued, with limited responsibilities for the welfare of missionaries and their families. In 1957 the Joint Board became the General Board with all twenty four members appointed by the Church Council. All mission property apart from churches, manses and cemeteries was vested in the IP Mission Trust Association which implemented any decisions made by the General Board of the Gujarat Church Council. In 1969 the trustees of the IP Mission Trust Association were changed to those of the UCNI Trust Association. In place of the General Board the Gujarat Christian Service Society was appointed to act as managers of the Trust. This framework was handed on when the CNI was inaugurated in 1970. These administrative changes reflected the growing strength of the indigenous Church and the resulting gradual withdrawal of the Irish Presbyterian missionaries from Gujarat. However strong links still continue between the Churches in India and Ireland.
 Location of originals

Gujarat United School of Theology, Ahmedabad
 
 

Cite this page

The Archives of the Church in North India - Monograph Collection, Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2012 <http://primarysources.brillonline.com/browse/church-of-north-india-monograph-collection>