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Church of South India Lay Anglican leaders Urge Kerala Chief Minister Not to Receive Welby

Church of South India Lay Anglican leaders Urge Kerala Chief Minister Not to Receive Welby

By David W. Virtue, DD
August 23, 2019

Lay Anglican leaders from the Church of South India (CSI) have petitioned Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan of the state of Kerala not to receive the leader of the Anglican Communion Archbishop Justin Welby as a state guest when he comes to India in September, arguing that Church's invitation will gloss over the deep corruption within the CSI.

An article in The New India Express ran with the headline, "Don't receive Canterbury Archbishop as state guest: Church of South India to Kerala CM."

In their petition, the "eminent personalities" said the Church's invitation to the archbishop was aimed at covering up several issues, including and especially corruption.

"The Archbishop of Canterbury has no relevance for faithful in the state. The CSI is according him such a mammoth welcome to cover up the rot that has set in the Church and the state guest status provides a semblance of respect to the Church," said Valson Thampu, former principal of St Stephen's College, Delhi.

The group of laymen also mentioned in the petition that the Church was trying to cover up criminal charges against bishops through extensive media coverage generated during the visit of the Archbishop.

"CSI former moderator Bishop Daivasirvadam was remanded in Vijayawada sub-jail for 40 days between December 2018 and January 2019 in connection with embezzlement of funds to the tune of 70 crore, ($1 Billion dollars)" said Jacob Mathew, secretary, CSITA stake-holders association.

"The Kerala High Court had cancelled the admission of 11 MBBS students in Dr Sommerwel Memorial CSI Medical College, Karakonam, as they were given fake community certificates by bishops in Kerala".

The petitioners also mentioned that it was not wise to spend money by according state guest facilities to the Archbishop of Canterbury when the state was reeling under the aftermath of flood and landslides.

"The Anglican Church is facing massive erosion in its membership and this Church is a remnant of the British colonial empire, which has no relevance as far as the Church of South India is concerned," Mathew said.

For several years, prominent lay Anglican leaders have been petitioning the courts to bring to justice the majority of Anglican bishops involved in major corruption.

The Rev. Dr. Joseph Muthuraj, theologian, activist and CSI historian says the warp and woof of the CSI life is corruption and lawlessness. "These two realities transcend all caste identities and it is this territory the Archbishop and his team must explore."


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