Southwest India Union Section

By Gordon E. Christo

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Gordon E. Christo, Ph.D. in Old Testament and Adventist Studies (Andrews University). Christo is retired and working on contract as assistant editor of the Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists and assistant editor of the Seventh-day Adventist International Biblical-Theological Dictionary. He is currently setting up a heritage center for Southern Asia Division. Some of his research on Adventist history can be seen at https://sudheritage.blogspot.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/SUDHeritage/.

Southwest India Union Section is part of the Southern Asia Division of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Southwest India Union Section was organized in 2000 and reorganized in 2003. Its headquarters are in Kerala, India. It covers the state of Kerala; the district of Mahe in the union territory of Puducherry; and the union territory of Lakshadweep; comprising the Alappuzha-Pathanamthitta, Idukki, North Kerala, and South Kerala Sections; and the Malabar Region.1

Statistics (June 30, 2017): Churches, 236; membership, 37,338; population, 37,435,910.2 

Background

When the Southern Asia Division organized in 1919-1920, it designated the Malayalam mission as a part of the South India Union.3 By 1942 the union recommended dividing the Malayalam and Tamil Missions and received permission from the division to form what became the North and South Malayalam Missions.4 During January 1949 administration changed the names of the missions to the North and South Kerala Missions and at the same time shifted the portion of South Travancore south of the Kulitara river to the South Tamil Mission.5 Then in January 1952 the South India Union merged the two missions into the Kerala Mission with A. F. Jessen as president and L. C. Charles as the secretary and assistant president.6 Four years later the union recommended to the division that the “Kerala Section be divided as in 1950, and that the division go into effect at the Budget Session in March 1956.”7 But by 1963 the union stated that it could not afford so many sections either in terms of funds or personnel. The current situation had slowed down church growth in the region. Consequently, administration decided to consolidate those sections that spoke the same languages. The action applied to the two Andhra sections, the two Tamil sections, and the two Kannada sections. The union combined the two Kerala sections under the leadership of V. D. Edward.8 In 1974 the division committee approved the renewed request of the South India Union to divide the Kerala Section once more with the understanding that it would request no additional funds.9

Organization

A major administrative action starting in November 2000 split the four unions in India into seven units. The reasons cited for it were considerable growth in the Central India and South India Unions and authorization by the General Conference to experiment with alternate structures within denominational guidelines.10

Administration then carved the Kerala Attached Field out of the South India Union. Its president was to function in the same category as a union president and would serve on the division committee. Two days later on November 16, 2000, the presidents of the fields were elected, and voted as members of the division executive committee.11

However, the division administration had not sought the counsel and consent of the General Conference prior to altering the boundaries of the unions or in the creation of new ones. Thus, they amended the two actions of November 2000 to request the General Conference for permission to reorganize the two unions and subdivide them into “attached fields” as a temporary special relationship while awaiting the consent of the General Conference.12 In May 2002 the division recorded GC approval to form the Kerala Attached Field,13 and the same day approved a request to the GC to constitute a commission to study the formation of the field into a union.14 In May 2003 T. P. Kurian and Babu Judson were elected officers of the Kerala Union.15 A formal action taken at the 2003 year-end meetings changed its name from Kerala Union to the South West India Union.”16

At the time of separation from the South India Union into the Kerala Attached Field, the North and South Kerala sections and the Wayanad/Malabar Region were the constituent field units. When the union was organized in 2003, leadership also structured the Alappuzha-Pathanamthitta and the Idduki Regions.

Educational Institutions

Ernakulam Seventh-day Adventist Higher Secondary School.
Kaloor Post; Kochi 682 017.

Seventh-day Adventist Secondary School.
Keezhur Post; Iritty 670 703.

Kottarakara Seventh-day Adventist Higher Secondary School.
Karickom Post; Kottarakara 691 531, Kerala; India.

Kuttapuzha Seventh-day Adventist Higher Secondary School.
Kuttapuzha Post; Thiruvalla 689 103.

Nedumkandam Seventh-day Adventist Secondary School.
Nedumkandam Post; Idukki 685 553.

Ottapalam Seventh-day Adventist Higher Secondary School.
Kanniampuram, Post; Ottapalam 679 104.

Palakkad Seventh-day Adventist Higher Secondary School.
Puduserry Post; Palakkad 678 013.

Pathanamthitta Seventh-day Adventist Higher Secondary School.
Makkamkunnu Post; Pathanamthitta 689 645.

Thirumala Seventh-day Adventist Secondary School.
Thirumala Post; Thiruvananthapuram 695 006.

Thiruvilwamala Seventh-day Adventist Higher Secondary School.
Thiruvilwamala Post; Thrissur 680 588.

Thrissur Seventh-day Adventist Higher Secondary School.
Moosepet Road; Thrissur 680 005.

Vellarada Seventh-day Adventist Higher Secondary School.
Vellarada Post; Thiruvananthapuram.

Headquarters

When first organized, the offices of the Kerala Attached Field occupied rented quarters on St Vincent D’Paul Convent Rd in Ernakulam. Once the union became established, the headquarters of the North Kerala Section on Evergree Lan, Moospet Road in Thrissur made a floor available for the union office.

Executive Officers

Presidents: T. Pothen Kurian (2000-2005); Stanley Samuel (2005-2010); Yovan Selvamony (2010- ).

Secretaries/secretary-treasurers: B. Judson (2000-2005); C. D. Mathew (2005-2010); P. H. Paulson (2010-2013); P. A. Varghese (2013-2016); Joy T. Varghese (2016- ).

Treasurers: Johnkutty (2010); Chandran Joseph (2011-2016); Ajith C. George (2016- ).

Sources

“Acknowledgement;” and “Preamble.” Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Executive Committee, November 23, 2001.

“Amalgamation of Local Missions: Officers for Kerala Field Appointed.” Minutes of the South India Union Committee, January 16, 1952.

“Biennial Conference Actions.” Eastern Tidings, January 1 and 15, 1920.

“Kerala Bifurcation.” Minutes of the South India Union Committee, November 13, 1974.

Minutes of the South India Union Committee. Southern Asia Division Archives, Krishnagiri Dist., Tamil Nadu, India.

Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Advisory Council. Southern Asia Division Archives, Krishnagiri Dist., Tamil Nadu, India.

“Report of the Committee on Territory Re-Alignment.” Minutes of the South India Constituency Meeting, January 26, 1949.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1920.

“South India.,” Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Executive Committee, January 11, 1942.

Notes

  1. “Southwest India Union Section,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook, accessed April 16, 2020, https://www.adventistyearbook.org/entity?EntityID=20213&highlight=South|India.

  2. Ibid.

  3. “Biennial Conference Actions,” Eastern Tidings, January 1 and 15, 1920, 22. See also Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1920), 277.

  4. “South India,” Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Executive Committee January 11, 1942, # 7794, 2059.

  5. “Report of the Committee on Territory Re-Alignment,” Minutes of the South India Constituency Meeting, Jan 26, 1949, # 6474, 1790.

  6. “Amalgamation of Local Missions: Officers for Kerala Field Appointed, Minutes of the South India Union Committee, Jan 16, 1952, # 7631, 2162.

  7. Minutes of the South India Union Committee, January 3-5, 1956, #56-21, 12.

  8. Minutes of the South India Union Committee, August 23, 1963, # 63-449, 162.

  9. “Kerala Bifurcation,” Minutes of the South India Union Committee, Nov 13, 1974, # 74-274, 66; Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Advisory Council, Nov 27, 1974, # 74-3448, 211.

  10. Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Executive Committee, November 14, 2000, # 2000-137 and 2000-138, 78, 79.

  11. Minutes of the Division Executive Committee, November 16, 2000, #2000-139/25, 104.

  12. See the acknowledgement in the Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Executive Committee, November 23, 2001, preamble to #2001-243 and #2001-244 on 126, 127.

  13. Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Advisory Council, May 21-23, 2002, # 2002-61, 33.

  14. Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Advisory Council, May 21-23, 2002, # 2002-64, 34.

  15. Minutes of the Division Executive Committee, May 20-22, 2003, # 2003-94, 44.

  16. Minutes of the Division Executive Committee, November 11-13, 2003, # 2003-148, 93.

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Christo, Gordon E. "Southwest India Union Section." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Accessed January 19, 2022. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=7AML.

Christo, Gordon E. "Southwest India Union Section." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Date of access January 19, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=7AML.

Christo, Gordon E. (2021, April 28). Southwest India Union Section. Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved January 19, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=7AML.