LETTER TO THE RESPECTED BISHOP
D. Jacob Reginald, Ph. 9447613860 Laksham Colony,
Munnar – 685 612, Kerala.
The Rt. Rev. B.N. Fenn, The Bishop,
CSI North Kerala Diocese, Shoranur.
Dear & Respected Iyah,
Warm and loving greetings in our Lord’s most precious name. First of all, I congratulate you on your consecration as the bishop of North Kerala diocese and wish you all the best. It is undoubtedly God’s immense grace that He has granted in you a Bishop to this great diocese who came from the grass roots level and knows the problems of the congregations. I appreciate very much your response speech immediately after the consecration at the church and your vision given in the press conference besides other aspects. I recall your ministry in the High Range area. You used to wear a big cross over your dress on all occasions and never ashamed to be a minister of Lord Jesus even in your early part of the priesthood unlike several others. Your zeal for the church has been incredible and you have never compromised the church or ministry for your personal gains. Your straightforwardness and clean image which you have been maintaining till now will always be remembered by every one. Your family has been a great model to all the other clergy. The various aspects in your interview, covering subjects such as your grand parents/parents, your call to the ministry, achievements, your life and vision will inspire thousands of other ministers of God and the members of the churches. When the new executive committee was installed, I had sent a letter dated 24.07.2011 to the officers of the diocese and members giving various suggestions. A copy of which is attached for your immediate reference. I would request you and executive committee to keep these suggestions also in mind while formulating policies for the diocese. I also attach the CSI mission statement hymn published in the CSI life during the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations of CSI a meaningful song to be used in our churches. The congregations including me were desperately looking for a personality like you to redeem the lost image of the diocese and you will definitely be a role model for all the bishops in the whole CSI. With the grace of God, you must occupy the top position of the CSI in the coming years to bring revolution in the CSI set up. I hope the same and pray that God will do great things through your leadership in the Church of South India so that the CSI mission statement hymn published in the CSI life during the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations comes true.
With kind regards and prayers,
Yours sincerely, (Jacob Reginald).
- THE GREAT CHURCH OF SOUTH INDIA
(The Church’s one Foundation Tune)
CSI mission statement hymn published in the CSI life
The great Church of South India, Strives on for unity
To bring the news of freedom, of peace and harmony
The good news of salvation, release from poverty
Sing out the joyful message; Christ’s truth shall make us free!
Four million all together, in Christ, may we be one
To carry on the mission, that God’s work may be one,
By Holy Scripture founded, up held by your good grace
Affirmed, confirmed and grounded, Lord may we seek your face
Lord bless your church’s union, and give us strength, that we
May help to heal the broken, restore community
May face each daily challenge, and heal our world of strife
Your cross goes on before us, a sign of hope and life
So bless, oh Lord the labour; your servants have begun
To reach out to our neighbors, that we may all be one.
All glory to the father, all glory to the son,
All glory to the spirit while end less ages run
- LETTER TO THE DIOCESAN OFFICERS24.07.2011
All the Officers of the Diocese,
Respected Officers of the diocese,
Warm greetings in our Lord’s most precious name.
I praise the Lord for having heard the cries of everyone who are concerned about the happenings in the diocese and brought a change in the administration. I congratulate both the interim administrators who conducted elections and yourselves and other members who won the elections for the various positions. God has given a great responsibility on your shoulders to take the diocese forward. May God bless you all and use you to the glory of God in a wonderful manner. I hope that you will discharge your responsibilities in a fair and just manner. I take this opportunity to give a few suggestions among various other aspects which came to my mind to make our diocese, the No.1 amongst the entire dioceses of CSI:
Spiritual Development and Evangelism -As stated in the constitution, we should give priority for the spiritual development of the entire families of the diocese and reaching the unreached of this country. The department of mission and evangelism should be strengthened with the induction of pastors and laity who are interested in the area. Our church believers should be motivated to reach the unreached neighbors being effective witnesses and service. We should have yearly target to start new worshiping groups or churches.
Youth, teens and children –Our children should be counseled and cared in a proper manner taking the present circumstances into consideration. Youth, teens and children are misguided and they need lot of counseling. We are required to give special concentration to our children. We can think of forming a 24 hour helpline to our youth/teen who are in trouble for the diocese and even for others. We should also conduct career counseling sessions for students of our diocese. The diocese level youth competitions are often conducted in namesake manner and concerned people don’t take interest that is required. Our traditional songs are totally neglected and the youth of our diocese should be motivated to learn the traditional songs. The beautiful histories of such songs should be narrated to the congregation.
Missionary societies -The missionary societies which are associated with CSI and recognized by the Synod may be allowed to share their ministry experience to our churches to revive our churches. Their experiences will inspire our believers to sacrifice and win the unreached for Christ.
- Corruption and injustice -We must take a pledge to root out corruption from our diocese. It is absolutely essential to exhibit transparency in the entire functioning of the diocese. A system like the one provided in the Right to Information Act may be put in place in the diocese to get any information by any communicant member with regard to property deals, minutes of the committees, appointments etc. from the diocese. The minutes of the General Body or Pastorate Committees or other committees or District councils should be circulated to the church members immediately but not later than 7 days of the meetings by way of displaying on the church notice boards. Minutes should be prepared in the particular meetings itself. All members of the church have the right to know what is happening in the diocese. It is pertinent to note that since June 2008, my request to the Bishop to give a copy of the agreement made with SN group in Munnar by the diocese is pending till date. That itself proves that something corrupt has taken place in the entire deal.
Disciplinary action -During the tenure of the present Bishop so far, he has totally acted against the principle of natural justice and debarred or dismissed the laity. This must be stopped. Whether it is clergy or laity, the principle of natural justice should be exercised if pastorate committee is bypassed. The church constitution should not be misused. When people like me were debarred from the General body for filing cases, members like Aron James who filed cases against moderator is still a member of the diocesan council. It is ridiculous.
Grievance Procedure -Any grievance given by members either to diocese or to the various committees should be redressed then and there. This is one of the important area and when we fail, matters are taken to streets. Just because, the bishop was deliberately sitting on an appeal against Munnar pastorate’s election, a member namely Mr. Bhagiaraj filed a case and the Munnar elections still in a mess. There are so many instances in the diocese.
Amendments to the constitution -Certain clauses of the constitution is totally detrimental to the development of the diocese should be amended. General assembly of all the churches should be conducted at least once a year and accounts of the pastorate should be passed in the assembly. A copy of the accounts passed by the G.A. should be sent to the diocese for information. If church assemblies are conducted regularly, matters will not be taken to streets. The constitution should be translated in Malayalam and Tamil and should be made available on demand.
Economically weak amongst the Laity -Each pastorate should find out the families which are economically weak besides members suffering from deadly diseases and the diocese should help them in all possible manner. A certain percentage of jobs in the diocese should be reserved for such families. The scholarships to the students should be enhanced several folds and we should make arrangements to disperse the payment at district level itself in the presence of scholarship committee members.
Marriage counseling -This should not be made compulsory whereas every year there should be an annual counseling camp or bi-annual camp for teens over the age of 16 years and married couple separately with the participation of experts. The presbyters should not deny the conduct of the marriage under any circumstances quoting this as a deficiency which is illegal.
Training for the Clergy, elected representatives and Church workers –Regular training should be conducted to equip them better in communication, inter-personal relationship, leadership qualities etc. with the help of experts.
Salary & amenities of full time workers –Considering the cost of living and other aspects, they should be paid well in par with the benefits being given by other dioceses. Economically weak full time workers should be identified and helped by the church in all possible manners. Whereas there should be norms or ceiling for the usage of electricity, phone bills etc. as many are misusing such amenities.
- Under utility of experts amongst our members –God has blessed this diocese with several prominent personalities (Rtd. IAS/IPS officers, Rtd. Professors, Judges, Defense officers etc.) who have enormous experiences in various fields. Such people are not utilized gainfully by the diocese. They must be approached and they should be co-opted to different committees as a special case to make such committee’s functioning very fruitful.
Suggestion scheme -The diocese should invite suggestions from the members of the diocese on various issues so that concrete steps could be taken on various issues.
Women power –Mothers should be encouraged to pray and visit church members regularly. They may be encouraged to form area prayer groups which will strengthen the fellowship. The church workers or pastors may keep an eye on such prayer groups.
Self assessment of full time workers -All the full time pastors and church workers may be given a diary to make entries about their daily activities to assess their own performance by themselves. An annual assessment should be done by a panel of clergy for each presbyter and accordingly they should be encouraged to perform better.
Planning –The diocese should have annual plans, bi-annual plan and five year plan etc to achieve various projects and to forward with the development.
Like the above, you may have got lot of suggestions from several quarters. I hope that positive steps would be taken by your good selves for the development of our diocese.
With kind regards and prayers,
c.c. The Executive Committee Members