Kuttanadu Mission: Evangelization at the Rice Bowl of Kerala
Locale of Kuttanadu
Kuttanadu is a region covering the Alappuzha and Kottayam Districts, in the state of Kerala, India, well known for its vast paddy fields and geographical peculiarities. The region has the lowest altitude in India, and is one of the few places in the world where farming is carried around 1.2 to 3.0 metres (4 to 10 ft) below sea level. Four of Kerala’s major rivers, the Pamba, Meenachil, Achankovil and Manimala flow into the region. Therefore, flood is quiet normal during the heavy rainy season, especially in the monsoon period. It is a well known fact that burned black wooden logs were mined from paddy fields called as ‘Karinilam’ (Black paddy fields) until the recent past. This fact throws some light on this theory of Chuttanad evolving to Kuttanad. In Kuttanad most of the place names end in kari (meaning burnt residue or charcoal). Some familiar place names are Ramankary, Puthukkary, Amichakary, Oorukkary, Mithrakary, Mampuzhakary, Kainakary, Chathurthiakary and Chennankary.
Missionary Endeavour in Kuttanadu
The Church Missionary Society under the leadership of the then missionaries like Rev. Thomas Nortan, Rev. Harding, Rev John Hawksworth, Rev Joseph Peet, Rev Henry Andrews, Rev R H Maddox, Rev Rev Oommen Mamen, Rev George Matthan, established Schools, Churches for the underprivileged section of Kuttanadu region. The missionary engagement with the agriculture labourers opens a new horizon of freedom and self identity, henceforth they embraced Christian faith. This has also paved the way of socio-economic upliftment of the backward community. Many churches were established during the missionary tenure. Bethel Ashram has taken another initiative of evangelization called Harvest Mission (Koythu Mission). Ashram sisters and other well-wishers visit Kuttanadu during the Harvest season. The important mission works were preaching, visiting, distribute medicine for the sick and conduct meetings in the churches. Later in 2007, the Diocese started ‘Kuttanadu Mission’ for the Spiritual and Material wellbeing of the believers of the Kuttanadu Churches.
Kuttanadu Mission- Now
Kavalam is the center of Kuttanadu Mission. Presently, Kavalam, Kunnamkery, Venattukadu, Eera, Koikary, Kidangara, Mepral, Chatthenkery, Pallathuruthy, Chekkidikadu, Kumarakom North and Kumarakam churches of Pallom, Thiruvalla and Kottayam Clergy Districts falls in Kuttanadau Mission. The important mission works are house visits, public meetings, Gospel work during the Onam Festival, Temperance Movements, Micro Financing, Family Self Help Group, Distribution of Educational Aids for the Students, Youth Meeting, Talent Search Programs, Prayer Meetings, Missionary Meeting etc. New church and Mission House were constructed at Kavalam, and Karumady with the help of Sharjah CSI Congregation and Muscat CSI Congregation respectively. A new mission house was constructed at Venattukadu with the help of Pannimattam Pastorate.
Needs of Kuttanadu Mission
The majority of the people in Kuttanadu Mission churches are economically and socially backward. They are seasonal employers. Untimely flood and Mechanization of paddy cultivation affects people’s normal life and employment. The economic empowerment, social upliftment and spiritual growth have to continue. We request your prayer and support for the missionary activities. We welcome you all for a visit to this place which is one of the best back water tourist destinations in Kerala. The Most Rev Thomas K Oommen Thirumeni (Moderator CSI and Bishop in Madhya Kerala Diocese), Rev Jacob George (Diocesan Mission Director) and the Mission Board wholeheartedly supports Kuttanadu Mission in various events. Rev John Mathai, and Rev Baiju Eapen were pioneer missionaries of Kuttanadu Mission. Rev Johny Andrews and his family serve here as the missionary in charge of Kuttanadu Mission