CSI Bishop Denies Severing Ties With Kerala Council of Churches

Published 06 September 2017  |  
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The Church of South India (CSI) on Sept. 2 has denied its decision to pull out of the Kerala Council of Churches (KCC), an ecumenical forum of non-Catholic Protestant Churches in Kerala.

In the wake of a news report of the CSI severing ties with KCC, the church's moderator Bishop Thomas K Oommen said the church had never taken such a decision. However, it was noted by the New Indian Express that the church has decided not to cooperate with the KCC's declaration of offering membership to Believers Church's K. P. Yohannan.

Also, Bishop Oommen said a pastoral note will be read out in CSI churches this Sunday clarifying the stand of the church to its parishioners.

The CSI is against KCC's decision to consecrate Yohannan and include Believers Church in the council. Bishop Oommen said the church will take a non-cooperative stance towards the KCC.

"I asked our members to keep alive their KCC memberships. We will never withdraw our membership as we are the founder members. At the same time, since the KCC took a decision against the CSI, our members should not participate in KCC activities and not let out our premises for its functions in the prevailing situation. This will be our stance till the KCC rectifies its mistake," he said, noting the CSI and other churches in the state wanted the continued existence of the KCC.

"While ecumenism is the focal point of the CSI, we also demand a discipline in ecumenism. We expect more discussion on the induction of the Believers Church into the KCC before its next assembly," he added.

The CSI is fervently against self-made bishops. Also, the church doesn't consider Believers Church head Yohannan a bishop.

"The CSI never considers the Believers Church as an episcopal church or accept its leader, K.P. Yohannan, a bishop. As per the CSI view, K.P. Yohannan is a layman and the KCC decision, overlooking the CSI objection, was unfortunate," said Bishop Oommen.

The bishop, also the constitutional head of the CSI, said that there were certain norms to consecrate a person as a bishop.

"As per the constitution, decision and resolution, CSI have no links with the Believers Church or K P Yohannan. If they are confident, they can prove the constitutional authorisation after submitting authentic documents in this regard," said Bishop Oommen.

"A vast majority in various churches are dissatisfied with the KCC's decision to include the Believers Church as its member," he added.

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