Archbishop of Canterbury to lead memorial service in Delhi

Thursday, October 14, 2010

NEW DELHI - The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams will lead a commemorative service at the Indian Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (ISPCK) in the capital Friday to mark 300 years of service to the Indian community by the society.

The society that owns several book shops across the country is engaged in several charity projects like providing free education to migrants’ children and empowering marginalised women and children in the National Capital Region.

It also prints text books at special prices for poor students.

Rev. Williams will lead a thanksgiving and a re-dedication service at The Cathedral Church of Redemption in North Avenue at 3 p.m., a release issued here said Thursday.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, who came to India Oct 9, will be assisted by senior Church functionaries.

Other dignitaries who will grace the service include National Council of Churches in India’s president Bishop Taranath Sagar, Evangelical Church of India’s president Bishop Ezra Sargunam, Evangelical Fellowship of India’s general secretary Richard Howell and Archbishop of Delhi Vincent Concessao.

The ISPCK will be joined by executives from sister societies to celebrate the occasion. Simon Kingston, general secretary of Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge in Britain will also take part in the celebrations.

The Archbishop of Canterbury will release a two-part volume of ISPCK’s history at the service. Following the service, the ISPCK will host a civic reception at the Cathedral lawn.

The India chapter of the SPCK was launched in 1710 for missionary activity when the king of Denmark commissioned two German missionaries, Bartholomew Ziegenbalg and Heinrich Plutschau, to serve in India.

On arrival, they started a school and a church in Tranquebar in Tamil Nadu. They learnt Tamil and began to translate the Bible by hand. However, the work proved laborious, so they petitioned for a printing press.

The SPCK shipped a printing press, trained printer, types and paper to India, marking the beginning of SPCK’s support to the “East India Mission”.

Funds were raised through voluntary contributions.

The society was an ecumenical enterprise undertaken by German and Danish Lutherans with the support of a parent British Society. As more missionaries began to arrive, the SPCK moved the East India Company, which granted protection to the missionaries in areas under its jurisdiction.

The SPCK has been trying to spread education and promote literature since its inception.

The SPCK Press in Vepery in Chennai and the six depots set up countrywide for distribution of books became Christian literary hubs. Majority of the books were written by missionaries and some by Indians.

In 1958, the ISPCK became autonomous, independent of control by London. In 1963, the society established its Delhi headquarters on space leased by the St. James Church at Kashmere Gate.

The society is led by Ashish Amos, who has served the organisation for 25 years.

Filed under: Religion

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