The Good Shepherd lays down His life for His sheep (Matthew 20:25-28)

Here a Shepherd Waging a War on His Flock

There is a saying in Malayalam, “A mother-in-law will suffer the death of her son to see the tears of her daughter-in-law”. Sadly, the same is the attitude of Bishop Kuruvilla. He doesn’t mind even disturbing worship services on Sundays to make his power and authority prevail. He refuses to recognize that his authority derives from the Gospel mandate –“Feed my sheep” and the CSI constitution. customs of the Church, those being named and defined in the later chapters of the Constitution.” (Ch.2/11a). What we have is a “constitutional episcopate”.


Rev V L Micheal trying to intrude with the help of police
 The events happening in the two parishes of Kalamassery and Elamkulam during the last few months have been highly revealing of the Bishop’s understanding of his Pastoral responsibilities. Sorry to say that he thinks in terms of power and authority and exercising of it in worldly terms, instead of following the Good Shepherd of the sheep, our Lord Jesus Christ. The Rev. P. J. Jacob has completed only one year as vicar of the All Saints Church, Kalamassery. What was the compulsion to enforce a premature transfer? He is the only person who knows the details of the dubious land deals in Fort Kochi and has resisted it. It is very obvious that his transfer is vindictive. But, he is loved and respected by his congregation for the kind of pastoral leadership he has been rendering. They are solidly behind him whatever may come.


Bishop K P Kuruvilla
Elamkulam has been suffering for the past many years due to lack of adequate pastoral care. Hence, they were awaiting the posting of a pastor who can be a good shepherd to them. But then, the bishop’s priorities were different; he treated transfers as opportunities to doll out favors to his chamchas , who would do any mean job for him. It is learned that Bishop is eyeing on a piece of property in Thiruvankulam which belongs to Christ Church and the fixed deposits of the Elamkulam church. So he wants a pastor who will act according to his dictates and designs. Bishop Kuruvilla has agreed to the pastorate committee in November 2009, that the frequent transfer of pastors from Elamkulam will not be repeated and a minimum of three years will be provided to the pastor. Instead of keeping the promise or discussing the matter with the concerned, transfer orders were issued to the lone pastor in arbitrary manner, violating the constitution. They requested that the available pastor will be allowed to continue till he completes his term of three years. But he ignored the promise and the pastor became the victim of his personal grudge. On enquiry by the pastorate committee, the reply was quite highly arrogant. The Elamkulam congregation has made only one request to the bishop that Rev. Thomas Korah should not be transferred to their parish for reasons obvious to both parties. Not only that the Bishop did not pay heed to their representation but reacted with disdain and in fact abused the elders from these churches who went to meet him. What he wanted from them is obedience to “ecclesiastical authority”. The Bishop never cared to evolve a negotiated settlement considering the sentiments of the congregation and the very sensitive personal difficulties of the pastors. If that is the situation, what is the need for a pastor, who believes only in “lording over” and oppressing the flock?
This is the context in which that the congregations themselves went to the court against the transfers of their pastors.  Even when there was an injunction from the Hon. Munsiff court in favor of the congregation, the bishop was insistent that he would send his pastors to take over the parishes and conduct services against the advice of the police. This had provoked the police and they deployed a large contingent of force at Eloor, Kalamassery and Elamkulam anticipating law and order problems.
When this has failed, now he is out to divide the pastors and make them fight each other. Unfortunately some of the pastors prefer to be pawns in the hands of the bishop, rather than standing up to safe guard their dignity and Christian witness. Rev. Michael and Rev. Thomas Korah got injunctions, at the instance of the bishop, restraining Rev. P.J.Jacob and Rev. Praise Thyparambil respectively from entering the church and also preventing them from conducting worship services in these parishes. But the Pastorate committees exercised their rightful authority to restrain the pastors from entering the church, especially when the very legitimacy of the transfer is under the scrutiny of the Hon. District Court of Ernakulam.
Hope the bishop would realize that his authority derives from the CSI constitution and the constitution of this country and he cannot violate them with impunity.  The CSI constitution, Chapter 2/9 reads, “---every pastorate shall have general administrative authority within its area, shall have certain responsibilities in Church discipline and shall have an opportunity of expressing its judgment both as to the appointment of its pastor and selection of candidates for ordination from that pastorate.”
When a bishop submits an affidavit in a court of law, we expect integrity and truthfulness in the statement that he makes both in terms of language and content. Sadly that is missing in his affidavits. It is learned that he has sworn several times in various courts that there are no norms with regard to transfer of presbyters. Having no norms would lead to arbitrariness, vindictiveness and nepotism. It is obvious that the bishop has been using the “power” of transfer for controlling pastors and subverting any form of criticism or protest.
Now it has come to light that in the North Kerala Diocese, there are norms with regard to transfer of presbyters. The norms laid down by the Executive Committee states that a pastor shall be allowed to continue in a parish for three to five years in general. This resolution was passed in the Executive Committee of 12/02/2001 with an advice to the Pastoral and Ministerial Committee to endorse the same. The Pastoral and Ministerial Committee, met on 27/02/2001, ratified accepted the decision of the EC. The relevant extracts of the minutes are appended*. Bishop Kuruvilla cannot continue as an ecclesiastical functionary making statements which are obviously false and meant to subvert justice.
The bishop cannot treat people in the pew like dirt. All this drama had taken place when the lectionary for the Sunday (25/07/2010) was “Pastoral Ministry of the Church.” Nobody can command respect and it is to be earned; it can be earned only by respecting even the smallest person in the pew. Episcopal authority and Cannon Law are old stories. We are living in a democratic country and the constitution of CSI reflects this democratic aspiration and ethos which is actually a product of reformation and enlightenment. But it seems that Bishop Kuruvilla still lives in the middle ages. He should better take lessons from these verses from Acts of the Apostles and 1. Peter:
“Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.” (Acts 20: 28)
“Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.” (1 Peter 5: 2-4)
The shepherd is for the flock, which Jesus bought with his own blood. The congregation should be at the center of the life of the church and not the bishops and presbyters. That is our reformed and protestant ethos. We do not believe in the inerrancy of the bishops. We do not believe in an episcopacy that is “greedy for money” and “Lording it over”. We cannot allow our properties and goodwill offerings to be squandered betraying the trust reposed on them. Imagine a bishop waging a war on his flock! This is the sad predicament in which we find ourselves. We have been forced to make these decisions and they have never been easy. We know that there is no winner or loser in this battle; what will be lost are our Christian witness and our mission to a suffering world. But we cannot be indifferent or neutral.
We still pray that good sense will prevail and we may be able to find an amicable settlement. While the matter of the transfer is still pending before the court, the bishop has already proceeded with the constitution of a diocesan court, suspending Rev. P. J. Jacob and Rev. Praise Thayparambil, the validity of which is again questionable. There was status co order from the honorable munsiff court from 24th April to 12 July and the so called suspension orders were issued on 30th June revealing his contempt to the judicial system of the country. The suspension order will not stand in the eyes of the law the funning thing is that, the suspension order is yet to be served to both the pastors.   They had no other choice other than to obey the secular court and they did it on our behest.  We will not let them down. We believe that there is a God who watches over his flock and whatever we do at this time, with all the human frailties, be raised up and “redeemed” for the glory of God and the reformation and renewal of His Body, the church.

Requesting your prayers,


Pastorate committee,

Christ Church, Elamkulam.
All Saints CSI Church Kalamassery
Appendix
 
North Kerala Diocese
Church Of South India

Minutes of the Executive Committee met on 13-02-2001
EC 34/2001 Term of Service of Pastors and Church Workers

  • Resolved to suggest to the pastoral and Ministerial Committee that the term of service of pastors and Church Workers in Parishes might be 3 years in general.

Minutes of the pastoral committee this was met on 27-02-2001 PMC 30/2001(4) – 

  • As per the suggestions of the Executive committee, pastors and Church workers will be in one station 3-5 years in general.

10 comments:

j.samuel said...

what is the other office beareres, like Clergy Secretary,Lay Secretary and Treasurer are doing, these are not ex-officio posts, but elected by the Diocesan Council with constitutional powers.

Anonymous said...

for the second week in elamkulam christ church that rev thomas korah achen was not allowed to enter the church. He was sitting on the church gate floor. that shows his attitude and the Bishop who has sent him. We as a congregation do not accept this tranfer and we do not want Rev korah to come to our church. Its a very disappointing situation that achens are behaving like this, under the instruction of the greatest fraud KP Kuruvilla. First achen finish off the case at trissur REGARDING THE FUND MANUPULATION OF around 13 lakhs and then come with a clean chit. I think our Bishop is undergoing some mental problems. If someone knows Rev korah personally, please tell him not to come next week, even if the bishop tells his to go..it does'nt look good seeing him sitting at the church gate during the service.

Anonymous said...

Today my daughter asked my why is Achen sitting outside the church. I had no answer, if the church men did'nt allow Korah Achen to enter the church then there is valid reasons for it and we members of the church are convinced with it. how long can Achen come to the Church with Police protection? now police is also fed up with this Achen. Why is bishop not turning up for talks that itself shows that our Bishop is not bothered about the church and its members.

Anonymous said...

put a good photos of our bishop, let everyone see his face properly.

Anonymous said...

read chapter 2 para 9 of the c s i original(1947)constitution. It says..every pastorate comittee shall be given opportunity to express its opinion at the time of the appointment of its pastors. That means, a chance (right) to reject non committed, unclean pastors by every pastorate committees. North kerala diocesen ''minutes'' in 2001 advocates for 3 to 5 years service period for a pastor in a church, unless he is refused by the people of his church. This gives safety for those pastors who are good in pastoral services. Rise and advocate for establishing these two rights for the members/pastorate committee which will make our pastors clean in future. All dirty, ununclean, non committed pastors should be rejectd by the members. All good vicars should be supported and promoted by the people and diocese. This is the only way to clean our ministry. Unite, Wake up and work for a clean (Pastors)ministry and save C S I.

Anonymous said...

what has happened in cathedral and puthiyara? he simply suspended two members cathedral and five from puthiyara from primary membership without asking the pastorate commitee,not proved the of puthiyara people charge,stopped enguiry commission,collected church tax ,denied voting power,almost one and half years left. understand that they never got reply for letters. is this a private limited company? when you react he says that all are against the church. He suspended two of our good cathedral elders(moopen),court said to take them back.but not given respect to the court!! not doing things as per constitution,not obeying the court.the government, what a dangerous situation? A YOUTH member from csi cathedral.CALLICUT

csipass puthiyara said...

see,now our church is like a private limited company!no care we can expect from these people who do not have trust in God.educating people is the only remedy.in puthiyara they couldnt defeat us.

ajit k john said...

In Puthiyara Pastorate committee members (ie The Committee It Self) prevented the Achan from Taking Sunday Service That's why They were suspended.

csipass puthiyara said...

can anybodty come forward and prove that the committee members prevented achan,why the enquiry commission was stopped by bishop.he knows pretty wll that the mafia inside the church persuaded the achan to create a problem deliberately.why why why it was not proved till date.almost two years completed.still the csipass challenging anybody in the world in the presence of media people to come forward and justify this childish action.you can not cheat the written records welcome to mr.ajith.k.john.any midnight.puthiyara is not far away.only 12 rupees charge for auto.dear friend please come.do not go through gosipps or imaginations.csipass,puthiyara.we are your brothers in christ

csipass,puthiyara said...

DEAR MR.AJITH, We understand that You are a teacher working in a Government school and also a pastorate committee member of the Feroke csi church.

Please be kind enough to note that the CHURCH TAX for the year 2008.2009 and 2010 were already collected from the expelled members.They are out from the primary membership of the church since November 2008.

The allegations leveled against them were not proved till date.THEY ARE TAKING HOLY COMMUNION,ATTENDED IN CHURCH MEETINGS,SIGNED AS WITNESS IN A MARRIAGE.

The Bishop prevented them from taking holy communion,attending meetings and signing as witness in marriages.

But they all have taken Holy communion from this same BISHOP itself at Gundert memorial church,calicut.Hundreds of church members have seen it with their naked eyes.

But few people like you(you are doing a devine job-teaching) propagating that they had prevented achan from taking service.Why this fairy tale was never proved.???.Bishop has not reinstated them back till date.!!!!

You have not replied to our challenge till date!!!!!.

The priest who is responsible for this childish/foolish play is your church chairman now.

He has given a criminal case in the kunnamangalam criminal court AGAINST THE EXPELLED ONES alleging that they 'DEMOLISHED'(ANOTHER BABRI MASJID) church and abused him.Do you know the present position of the case now?

The christian community completely lost its credibility and image inside the court because of his childish and foolish performance during the time of argument.Moreover one witness suggested by him did not turn up till date.The respected judge was forced to pass order to arrest and bring him.The Hon.court felt pity on our community for this fairy tale.

NOBODY KNOWS WHETHER SUCH A PERSON IS ALIVE IN THIS WORLD OR NOT.

Being a colligue of Rev.TREVER JYOTHISH we beg you to help him to bring the witness to the court and save the image of our great church.The CSIPASS has decided to file defamation cum criminal case against this priest and his Boss soon after the verdict comes.He made all foolish statements in the court and the advocates working in the court were totally perplexed to see such a pathetic situation of a christian church.These type of priests are spoiling the goodwill and image of our church.You do not want to open the mouth against this atrocity?

AJIMASTER,DO YOU STILL THINK THAT WE ARE AGAINST THE CHURCH AND PRIESTS?

YES,WE ARE AGAINST CERTAIN PEOPLE THOSE WHO GIVE DISREGARD TO THE LAWS OF THE LAND AND ALSO AGAINST THOSE WHO HAVE COME TO STEAL.DESTROY AND KILL OUR CHURCH AND ITS PEOPLE.

STILL WE CHALLENGE YOU TO PROVE THE ALLEGATIONS .

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