( By Bobi Chandy, CSI Congregation of Great Lakes.)


"The Lords unseen hand guides, directs and preserves His children by working out circumstances, very often, in the most unexpected ways".

The CSI Congregation of Great Lakes, Michigan was formed on May 06, 1990 by the ingenious efforts and initiative of Rev. Christopher J. Kurian, a Presbyter of the CSI Madhya Kerala diocese. One evening, in April 1990, I had a surprise telephone call from the Presbyter, who was obscure to me in person. During the course of the conversation, he delineated to make arrangements for a Holy Communion service. Though I felt pessimistic at that time, I assured him that I would reciprocate if my efforts work out well.

With prayer, I called a few of my friends- Bajee Thomas (Mallappally), Joy John (Mundiappally), Mathew Varghese (Thalavady), & Johnson Stephen (Quilon), whom I knew were CSI members in Kerala, and informed them of my dialogue with Presbyter. The information given to me by them enabled me to contact some more CSI families- George Chandy (Kottayam), Saraja Samuel (Mallappally), Shaji Thomas (Mallappally), Jayaraj Thomas (Trivandrum) and Varghese Kurian (Kottayam). Subsequently, reinforced with optimism, I called Presbyter and asked him to come to Michigan. Mr. Thomas Koshy, a CSI member from Christ Church, Chicago, took the initiative to bring copies of the CSI order of service and drove Presbyter to Detroit. With the help of Bajee Thomas, we visited all the CSI families on the same day itself, though the visits lasted till early morning.

The following day, Sunday, May 06, 1990, at 9:30 a.m., a Holy Communion service was conducted with the participation of nine CSI and four non-CSI families in the basement of Mr. Johnson Stephen. That blessed service planted a seed of CSI in Michigan. After the service, a meeting was convened where I was entrusted to coordinate another meeting at a later date to attempt to form a CSI congregation in the Detroit area.

After two weeks a prayer meeting was arranged at the residence of Mr. Joy John. After the prayer meeting, our discussion focused on forming a CSI Congregation in Michigan and our decision was unanimous. We decided to bring Rev.Christopher Kurian once a month for Holy Communion service and to have cottage prayer meetings on the other Sundays. Prayer meetings helped families to come together as one family and that good-fellowship laid the foundation for the future. Mr. Jayaraj Thomas and Mr. Mathew Varghese conducted prayer meetings and helped in conducting worship services. Later three more families joined with us. Mr. Santosh Abraham, Mr. Santosh Mathew and Mr. Itty Mathew. Our desire for a permanent church building was fulfilled when we received information that the First United Methodist Church of St. Clair Shores, a magnificent facility might be available for us to use between 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. every Sunday. Rev. Christopher Kurian was notified of our situation and all the formalities were accomplished on the Pastoral level through his initiative.

In September 1990, our congregation was inaugurated. All the pastors and members from the local congregations of Indian origin as well as the pastor and members of the United Methodist Church participated in the inaugural service. This was the first worship service ever held in the Detroit area with the participation of all the churches of Indian origin. By this we were reverberating the CSI motto and the message that "we are one in Christ".


Church of South India, Congregation of Great Lakes, Michigan