Church History

“…the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth”.

John 4:21-24

The area Chidambaranagar came in to existence in the year 1953. At that point of time there were 9 christian families . Later when the number of Christian families residing in Chidambaranagar increased and they were looking for a place to worship. They had to travel long distances to attend worship. The nearest church was five kilometres away. This caused a need and a desire to construct a church. The believers of Chidambaranagar gathered together and began to pray to our Lord for a new church. They fasted and prayed continuously and in the Lord’s appointed time they owned a land at Chidambaranagar. On 2nd December 1966, the then Bishop of Tirunelveli Diocese, Rt. Rev. A.G. Jebaraj B.A, B.D. laid the foundation stone. A prayer fellowship was formed by the women believers namely Mrs. Joy ammal. Mrs. Glory Aroan, Mrs. Chella thangam Durairaj, Mrs. Gunaseeli Ponnuthai, Mrs. Sundariammal along with the others. They regularly met in the purchased land and prayed for the construction of the church.
In those days, the worship services were conducted at IELC Lutheran church, Bryant Nagar by the Circle Chairman Rev.S.T. Paul Gnaniah and the pastorate chairman, Rev. John Samuel. A Construction committee was formed by the men of faith namely, Mr. D.Ratnaraj Daniel, Mr. M.V. Chelliah, Mr. Luke Devasirvadam, Mr. P.N Stephen Asirvatham, S.D.A Durai, D. Jacob, Mrs. Joy Devadoss, Mrs. Glory Aaron. The committee was assisted by Mr. Ponraj, Mr. J.Daniel, Mr. Agathas James, Mr. Er.J.I Koilpillai. The Engineering works were carried out under the charge of Er. J.I Koilpillai (Ex. Tuticorin Port Chairman and Chief Engineer). All the faithful believers of Chidambaranagar prayed and gave cheerfully for the construction of the House of God.
By the abundant grace of our Lord, the construction work got completed very quickly. The newly constructed Church was named as Abishehanathar Church and was dedicated by the Rt. Rev. A.G. Jebaraj, Bishop of Tirunelveli Diocese on 02nd February 1968. In those days, the new church was a branch church of Shunmugapuram Pastorate. Mr. Anbunathan was the first to serve as Catechist of Abishehanathar Church. He was succeeded by Mr. P. Jebamani who served as a Catechist for 23 years. With the blessings of our good Lord, the member strength of the church expanded. In the year 1985, Chidambaranagar Pastorate became an independent pastorate. It included the following churches namely, Abishehanathar Church of Chidambaranagar, Holy Immanuel Church of Bryantnagar and Caldwell Memorial Church of Caldwell colony. The first Pastorate chairman was Rev. T.Samuel. He was succeeded by Rev. V.S. Manickam. Mr. T.D. Moses Paul served as a Catechist for 11 years. During the period of Rev. M. Fedrick Ratnaraj, the pastorate chairman, the church was renovated and extended. The extension and renovation was dedicated on 25th May 1996 by Rt.Rev. Jason Dharmaraj, the then Bishop of Tirunelveli Diocese. The Silver Jubilee of the church was celeberated on 2nd February 1993. At that point of time, there were 203 families in the church as members.
The multipurpose hall was constructed at the rear of the Church during the tenure of Rev. Chellappa. Recently, the tower was rebuilt. The current Pastorate chairman is Rev. Selwyn Durai. Today, there are 320 member families in the church.

“…And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved”

Acts 2:47

Rev. James Paul B.D. (1967 – 1970)
The church was constructed during his period. He had a close and personal relationship with the Church congregation.
Rev. M. RajaManuel B.A., B.D. (1970 – 1971)
He was known for the bold delivery of our Lord’s message.
Rev. N.Packiaraj B.D. (1971 – 1974)
Great things were experienced during his time
Rev. Fredrick Samuel L.Th (1974 – 1981)
The church choir and youth took shape in his period.
Rev. T. Samuel, L.Th. (1981 – 1985)
Chidambaranagar Pastorate was formed during his tenure and he was the first chairman of the Chidambaranagar Pastorate in 1985 (April – May)
Rev. V. Samuel Manickam,B.A., B.D. (1985 – 1986)
He served as the Pastorate chairman as well as Council chairman.
Rev. P.D. Edwin B.D. (1986 – 1991)
It was during his period, the parsonage was built in the Church campus.
Rev. Dr. J.B. Buttrick B.Com. D.D. (1991 – 1992)
This scholar of the Bible knew several of the Biblical languages including Hebrew and Greek.
Rev. M. Fredrick Ratnaraj M.A., B.D. (1992 – 1997)
The church was renovated and extended during his time as a result of his efforts.
Rev. S. Jesudason, M.A., B.D. (1997 – 2000))
During his tenure, a guest house, a house for Catechist and Sexton were constructed in the Church Campus.
Rev. S. Immanuel Vonstuck B.Sc., B.D. (2000 – 2004)
A new Baptism tank was constructed and the parsonage was extended. Two churches were constructed and dedicated in the mission fields during his time as a result of his effort.
Rev. P.Chellappa M.A., B.D.(2004 – 2007))
The Multipurpose hall was constructed during his period.
Rev. R.A.J Selwyn Durai, B.Com., B.D.(2007 – 2012)
Revolutionising things have happened during his tenure as a result of his efforts. A total of 12 churches were constructed in various mission fields. Moreover 11 missionaries were dedicated from our church. The baptism tank of our church was used to baptize 93 men and women who had accepted Christ as their saviour through various ministers. Permission has been granted for a school for the mentally challenged to be run at nominal rates. The church tower has been elevated and rebuilt.
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