Melukavumattom, Kerala India
The East Kerala Diocese is one of the twenty-four dioceses of the Church of South India covering the eastern part of Kerala.The diocese headquarters is at Melukavu, Kottayam.
The Church Missionary Society began work in this area in 1848 and Rev. Henry Baker Junior came as the first missionary. He is now remembered as "The Apostle of the Hills". History tells that people from Melukavu met Rev. Henry Baker at Kottayam and said, â€œYou must know we know nothing right. Will you teach us or not? We die like beasts and are buried like dogs! Ought you to neglect us? Cholera and fever carried off members of our familyâ€�. Henry Baker decided to move eastward and mission work started immediately. The believers were persecuted by the local Kingâ€™s servants - W.S. Hunt writes,"They were made to stand in water up to their necks, kept in stocks for days, chillies rubbed in their eyes, heads tied in bags filled with large black ants and red wood ants".
As a growing Church we have about 65,000 members in the Diocese. Number of Churches - 237, Mission Fields -53, of which 3 are in the Slums of Delhi. Our growth in 25 years is more than 3 times in terms of number of Churches and efforts for Human Resource Development in rural areas.
Liberation became part of Baker's mission and is still a major part of our work today. When he began his work, untouchability, 'pollution by sight' and caste distinctions prevailed and human beings were bought and sold as slaves. Inspired by Godâ€™s love, Baker spent his whole life among these people, establishing places of worship, schools and shelters for the sick and dying. These were pioneering efforts to free lower castes from a state of servitude and shame.
Freedom to learn, to enter the premises of law courts, to own property in one's own name and freedom to worship all became realities. The new members of the Diocese are mostly from Tribal (Adivasi) and Dalit backgrounds, Tamil plantation labourers and other smaller communities. We are blessed with great cultural diversity and the richness of both Malayalam and Tamil languages. For many of these people the support and love of God's Church is their only hope for a better and more fulfilling life.