Rt Rev Dr Oommen George Consecrated as the First Bishop of the CSI Kollam-Kottarakkara Diocese
Rt Rev Dr Oommen George has been consecrated as the first bishop of the newly born Kollam- Kottarakkara Diocese of the Church of South India. The consecration service was led by Most Rev Thomas K Oommen, the Moderator of the Church of South India, on the 10th of September 2017 at Christ Church Cathedral in Kollam, Kerala. Rt Rev Dr Vadapalli Prasada Rao, the Deputy Moderator, Rt Rev Baker Ninan Fenn (Bishop, CSI Cochin Diocese), and Rt Rev Royce Manoj Victor (Bishop, Malabar Diocese) assisted the Moderator in the Communion service. Bishop Royce Manoj Victor gave the consecration sermon based on the theme ‘Rise and shine’. Bishop reminded that “We are called or selected by God; not for ourselves but for others also. When we go among people we have to remove the darkness of others through the light of our life.”
Adv Robert Bruce, the Hon Treasurer of the Church of South India and the Diocesan leaders also gave leadership to the consecration service. People from various walks of life, the missionaries, heads of institutions, representatives from theological colleges, members of the neighbouring dioceses, and leaders and members of other denominations witnessed the consecration service. Rt Rev K J Samuel the former Moderator of the CSI, and Rt Rev Thomas Samuel, the former Bishop in Madhya Kerala, also attended the consecration service.
The Consecration Service started with the opening prayer by Rev David Habel, the Pastoral Board Secretary of the Kollam Kottarakkara Diocese. During the installation, Mr Varkey Jacob, the Secretary of the Diocese, read the instrument of election and selection. The congregation gave its assent. The Moderator then led the consecration and installation of the Bishop-elect. There was a solemn examination of the Bishop-elect, followed by the congregational hymn inviting the presence of the Holy Spirit. The Moderator and the officiating Bishops laid their hands on the head of the Bishop-elect and prayed that God ordains and consecrates him Bishop in God’s Church. The Moderator then presented the newly consecrated Bishop with the Bible and the Pastoral Staff, the symbol of the good shepherd, and the new Bishop was adorned with the Saffron Stole. The Deputy Moderator placed the episcopal Ring on his finger, a token of pledge and fidelity. The Bishops then welcomed the new Bishop to the council of the Bishops by giving the right hand of fellowship. The Moderator then declared Rt Rev Dr Oommen George as the Bishop in the Church of God, in the name of Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The congregation responded with a loud ‘Amen’ and sang the doxology.
Then the newly consecrated Bishop was led to his Episcopal chair. The lay officers of the Diocese, representatives of the laity and representatives of the Deacons and Presbyters and women workers promised all due obedience to the new Bishop.
In the first speech after the consecration, Rt. Rev. Dr. Oommen George told that he looks forward to following the ‘Banana- plant type leadership’ which allows others to grow in groups near and around. If one dies, others will grow. This type of leadership gives freedom and space for others and help them to grow and flourish.
A public reception followed the consecration service in honour of the newly consecrated bishop. Eminent persons, from various churches and political sphere, attended this meeting.
Rt Rev Dr Oommen has been serving the Madhya Kerala Diocese of the Church of South India and he was the Clergy Secretary of the Diocese when he was selected as the Bishop of the Kollam- Kottarakkara Diocese. He is the Secretary of the Kerala Regional Synod too. He had done his secular education at CMS College Kottayam Kerala, and his theological studies at HIET Chennai and Kerala United Theological Seminary in Kannammoola. He earned his Doctorate in Theology from Chicago. He has served many parishes in Kerala and abroad. He was a member of Synod Executive Committee Madhya Kerala Diocesan Executive Committee, President of CSI North American Council, Secretary of the Diocesan Mission Board and Pastoral Board, and Vice- President of the Diocesan Laity Fellowship. He is married to Ms Aleyamma Oommen and blessed with three daughters: Diana, Liza and Leena
May God bless him to lead this great diocese of the Church of South India with zeal and enthusiasm.
News courtesy: CSI Synod website