Definitions

lords-table

Kerala brethren

The Kerala Brethren are a subgroup of the larger Christian movement known as the Plymouth Brethren. Kerala is a small state in India, where this movement started in 1898 with the baptism of four men from traditional churches. Soon this movement spread all over Kerala and India, and today there are more than 600 Brethren churches in Kerala, and almost 2200 throughout India.

At a Glance

India has had a Christian presence ever since Saint Thomas, the doubting disciple, brought the Christian message to this country. The middle of 1800 was a time of great spiritual awakening and revival among Indian Christians, more so for Christians in the state of Kerala. Itinerant preachers from India and abroad were warmly welcomed in revival meetings that were common in Kerala those days.

Of the preachers, VD David, popularly known as Tamil David, had a great impact upon many in the Mar Thoma and Jacobite churches. Many of them left these churches to embrace a non-episcopalian type of church pattern. On 19th March 1899, a worship meeting with the Lord's Supper as per the New Testament pattern was conducted at Kumbanad. A communion service was conducted without any priest for the first time. This was the beginning of Kerala Brethren.

History of Kerala Brethren

Anthony Norris Groves, who was one of the founder leaders of Plymouth Brethren Movement in England, was the first Brethren Missionary to arrive in India. John Arulappan was one of his disciples. Mathai, a CMS Evangelist from Thirunalveli who was a disciple of Arulappan, came to Kerala with a novel message in 1872. He spoke of the death of Jesus Christ, His second coming and millennium regime in his messages. This paved way for the commencement of Brethren movement in Kerala, the place being known as God's own country.

1875 Yusthos Joseph alias Vidwankutty, a Tamil Brahmin and CMS priest, along with his fellow brethren started preaching gospel in Kerala. But one his fellow brethren had a 'revelation' that on completing 6 years from the year 1875 Jesus would come. This had become their subject of preaching from then. Being terribly mistaken in this matter, the movement of Vidwankutty had weakened. But his hymns and sermons helped to reach gospel among the Christians in Kerala.

1894 In December 1984, a well-known gospel preacher, Tamil David visited Kerala. He spoke of Assurance of Salvation very evidently in his messages. An eleven year old boy named KV Simon accepted the Lord during one of his meetings held at Puthencavu.

1896 The Kerala visit of J Gelson Gregson, the famous Kesvik Convention Speaker, had become a cause for the start of Brethren Movement in Kerala. Gregson was a Baptist missionary. But he joined Kesvic team because of their swing to Modernism. It was CP Thomas of Iroor organised his Kerala visit. Gregson took various sessions among the priests and laymen within the Marthoma Church. Many were received assurance of salvation as a result of his preaching. Baptism was also brought in as a subject in his classes. Following these sessions, some of the priests and laymen had decided to receive baptism. This development attracted fury of the Church leaders against Gregson and they barred him from ministering in the Church. In the year 1897, PE Mammen (Kumbanattachen), vicar of Kumbanad and Eraviperoor parishes, received baptism from a Brethren missionary, Hardley Bird, at Kunnamkulam.

1897 The first instance of the Holy Supper according to the New Testament pattern was conducted in Kunnamkulam under the leadership of V Nagal. But that was not a gathering resulted from complete separation from Nominal Christianity.

1899 PE Mammen (Kumbanattachen) had learned the idea that redeemed children of God need to gather for Holy Supper on every Sunday from Hardley Bird. On 19th March 1899, a worship meeting with Holy Supper as per the New Testament pattern was conducted at the residence of Kuttiyil Mathai in Kumbanad. PE John, P.C. John, Kuttyil Mathai and PC Chacko participated in the Lords Table, following Songs, Prayers and Message. PC Cherian from Kallissery, PC Mammen, Cheruvallethu Koshy Mathunni, PN Ninan were also present in this meeting, though they were not partaken from the Lord's Table.

PC Mammen was baptised in the afternoon same day. Due to the protest of the parish and family members of PE Mammen, they were not able to continue the gathering in the following week in the same house. An attempt to conduct the meeting outside the house in the garden was also foiled. Many who believed were baptised in places like Kuriyannur and Nedumprayar and joined this new movement.

Pioneers

P.E. Mammen (Kumbanattachen), P.C. John Upadeshi, Mahakavi KV Simon, Missionary E.H.Noel.

Conventions and Conferences

Annually the largest Kerala Brethren Conference is held at Kumbanad in the last week of December.

Institutions

Medical Mission
This includes the TMM Hospitals at Tiruvalla, Mannmaruthy, & Vazhoor and the College of Nursing at Tiruvalla
Schools

1. Noel Memorial High School, Kumbanad.

2. Noel Memorial High School, Kariamplavu. 3. Brethren English Medium High School, Kumbanad.

There are other Upper and Lower primary schools in Noel Memmorial Management

Bible Schools
1. Bethany Bible School, Kumbanad.

2. Brethren Bible Institute, Pathanamthitta

3. Gospel Training Centre, Perumbavoor

4. Vedanadam Bible school, Kannoor.

5. Rehaboth Theological Instittute, Thrissur.

6. V. Nagel Bible School, Kunnamkulam.

7. Sathyam Theological seminary, Idukki.

8. Gujarath brethren Bible institute, Gujarath.

9. Brethren Bible Training Instittute, West Bangal.

10. Stewards bible collage, Tamil Nadu.

11. Madurai Bible School, Madurai.

12. North India Bible Institute, Alwar, Rajasthan

Orphanages
1. Bethesda Boys Home, Irinjalakuda.

2. Rehboth Girls Orphanage, Thrissur.



3. Daya Vihar Orphanage, Thiruvalla.

Old Peoples' Homes
Brethren Mercy Trust, Kumbanad

See also

Lang, G.H., The History and Diaries of An Indian Christian: J.C.Aroolappen, U.S.A., Schoettle Publishing Co., Inc., 1988

External links

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