East Central 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/.

The East Central India Union is the largest union in terms of membership in the Southern Asia Division.

The Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, and Telangana; and the district of Yanam in the union territory of Puducherry; comprising the East Telangana, Hyderabad Metro, North Andhra, North Rayalaseema, Northeast Andhra, Orissa, South Andhra, South Rayalaseema, Southeast Andhra, and West Telangana Sections; and the Guntur, North Orissa, and Vishaka Metro Regions.

Statistics (June 30, 2020): Churches, 2,595; membership, 575,158; population, 146,518,295

Background

When the Southern Asia Division was organized in 1919-1920, the North Telugu Mission and the South Telugu Mission were part of the South India Union Mission.1 The north-south partition in the Telugu territory was drawn arbitrarily at the 17o lattitude.2 This north-south division did not last long, as the leadership felt that it would be good to “locate at one station.” In 1922 the two missions were amalgamated into the Telugu Mission. 3 Twenty years later the work had developed and spread in various parts of the union, to the point where, in a significant reorganization, in 1942, the Telugu Mission was (as also were the Tamil and Malayalam Missions) divided into North and South Mission Fields.

The North Telugu Mission Field included the territories of East and West Godavery Districts, and the territory north of Orissa. Its headquarters were to be in Rajahmundry. The South Telugu Mission Field had the territories of Krishna and Guntur Districts and the territories south up to Madras (Chennai). 4 In 1955 the Division Committee took an action restricting the use of the term “Mission,” and favoring a replacement by the terms “Section” or “Region.”5 Accordingly the North and South “Telugu Missions” were renamed “North Telugu Section” and “South Telugu Section.”

In 1959, three years after the state of Andhra Pradesh was formed, combining the Andhra State with the Hyderabad State, the names of the Sections were changed to North Andhra Section and South Andhra Sections.6 However, in 1963, the South India Union stated that it could not afford, either in terms of funds or personnel, so many sections, and cited a breakdown in progress. Thus the union voted to once more combine those sections that spoke the same language. This move also applied to the two Tamil sections and the two Kannada sections.7 Thus was formed the combined “Andhra Section” that encompassed the entire state of Andhra Pradesh.

At the beginning of 1971, in a major reorganization of the division’s unions, the Andhra Section was removed from the South India Union and combined with the Western India Union (minus Goa, which went to the South India Union), to form a new much-larger Union named the Central India Union. This union also included the southern part of Madhya Pradesh, which was taken from the Northeast Union, and the state of Orissa. Bombay would be the headquarters.8

This reorganization resulted in a more even set of unions in terms of membership. Earlier, the South India Union had a membership of 31,968 at the end of 1970, the Western India Union’s membership was 2,878, the Northwestern India Union’s 3,157, and the Northeast Union’s 4, 713.9 After the reorganization at the end of the first quarter of 1971, the South India Union had 22, 240, the Central India Union 14, 861, and the Northern Union 8, 289 members.10

Organization

In a significant action starting in November 2000, the division leadership divided the four unions of India into seven. The initial action was taken citing authorization by the General Conference to experiment with alternative structures within guidelines, and because of considerable growth in the Central India and South India Unions which suggested they could be further divided.11 However, the division administration had not sought the approval of the General Conference which, by policy, reserved the right for a final decision when territorial adjustments were to be made between union missions/sections;12 and which was to send a survey team when new union missions/sections were to be organized,13 or which needed to approve a proposal when union missions were to be merged.14 All of these applied to this reorganization.

Thus, the Southern Asia Division administration 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 arrangement while awaiting General Conference authorization.15

By these actions the states of Andhra Pradesh and Orrisa remained in what came to be called the Central India Attached Section. Maharashtra and Gujarat, which were removed, were formed into the Western India Attached Field. The officers of these Fields were elected and voted as members of the division executive committee.16 After the General Conference officially recognized/approved the decisions, a formal action was taken at the 2003 year-end division meetings, and the names of the two portions were adjusted to the East Central India Union and the Western India Union.17

The East Central India Union at the time of formation included the states of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa, and comprised the North Andhra, South Andhra, Southeast Andhra, and West Andhra Sections, and the Hyderabad Metro, Northeast Andhra, Orissa, Southeast Andhra, and South Rayalseema Regions. The number of churches were 387, and the membership was 253,890.

Later Developments

Following extremely rapid growth in the 1990s, when Global Mission pioneers and volunteers of numerous organizations, such as Gospel Outreach, baptized new members by the tens of thousands, the union grew to be one of the largest in the Adventist church, with membership approaching a million. Thus administrative units multiplied to care for the new churches more closely.

In 2003 the Northwest Andhra Section, the North Rayalseema Section, and the North Orissa Region were organized. In 2006 the North Andhra Section was reorganized for the formation of the Visakha Metro Region.18  In 2008 the South Andhra Section was reorganized to form the Guntur Region. This Guntur Region was upgraded to Guntur Section in 2019.19

Several units were reorganized in the mid-year meeting of 2009: the South Rayalaseema Region was upgraded to South Rayalaseema Section;20 the Northwest Andhra Region was upgraded to Northwest Andhra Section;21 and the North Rayalaseema Region upgraded to North Rayalaseema Section.22 In 2010 the Northeast Andhra Section and the South Rayalseema Sections were reorganized. In 2013 the Adilabad Region was organized out of the West Andhra Section.23

Three years after the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and the creation of the state of Telengana in 2014, the Northwest Andhra Section was renamed the East Telengana Section, and the West Andhra Section was renamed the West Telengana Section.

Executive Officers

Central India Union Attached Section 2001-2003

President: John Victor; Secretary: P. J. Jesurathnam; Treasurer: M. Shadrach

East Central India Union

Presidents:

John Victor (2003-2010); Victor Sam (2010-2012); Measapogu Wilson (2013-2015); John Victor (2015- )

Secretaries: R. Anand Moses (2003-2004); Measapogu Wilson (2004-2005); M. D. Edward (2006-2011); T. D. Francis (2011-2016); Samuel Paul (2016- )

Treasurers: LeRoy Samuel (2003-2008); D. Alfred Raju (2008-2011); M. Shadrach (2011-2013); Edward Prasad Pilli (2013- )

Sources

“(Territorial) Adjustments Between Unions.” General Conference Working Policy (GCWP), 1999-2000, B 35 10.

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

“Change of Names of the Telugu Sections.” Minutes of the South India Union Mission Committee, #59-58, June 9, 1942.

“Formation of Adilabad Region.” Southern Asia Division Committee Minutes 2013, 35, 37.

“Local Section Status.” Minutes of the South India Union Committee, Aug 23, 1963, # 63-448.

“Merger of Union Missions.” General Conference Working Policy, 1999-2000, B 40 25.

“Mission—Elimination from Organization Name.” Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Committee # 54-560, Dec 30, 1959.

“Organizing New Union Missions.” General Conference Working Policy 1999-2000, B 30 20.

“Quarterly Statistical Report for the Quarter Ending Dec 31, 1970.” Southern Asia Tidings, April 1971.

“Quarterly Statistical Report for the Quarter Ending Mar 31, 1971.” Southern Asia Tidings, July 1971.

“Telugu Mission Reorganization Minutes of the South India Union Mission Committee #8589, June 9, 1942, 1299.

“Territory of Various South India Union Missions.” Minutes of the South India Union Mission Committee, February 10, 1920.

Cecil B. Guild, “India Unions are Re-aligned.” Southern Asia Tidings, January 1971.

East Central India Union Executive Committee Action No. 2006-128, June 7, 2006.  

East Central India Union Executive Committee Action No. 2009-96, June 7, 2009.

East Central India Union Executive Committee Action No. 2009-97, June 7, 2009.

East Central India Union Executive Committee Action No. 2019-67, June 5, 2019.

East Central India Union Executive Committee Action 2008-74, June 10, 2008.

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

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

Minutes of the Plans and Resolutions Committee of the South India Union Conference, Nov 14, 1921 #273.

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

Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Executive Committee, November 23, 2001, preamble to #2001-243 and #2001-244.

Notes

  1. “Biennial Conference Actions,” Eastern Tidings, January 1 and January 15, 1920, 23.

  2. “Territory of Various South India Union Missions,” Minutes of the South India Union Mission Committee, Feb 10, 1920, 1.

  3. Minutes of the Plans and Resolutions Committee of the South India Union Conference, November 14, 1921, #273.

  4. “Telugu Mission Reorganization,” Minutes of the South India Union Mission Committee #8589, June 9, 1942, 1299.

  5. “Mission-Elimination from Organization Name,” Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Committee # 54-560, December 30, 1959, 34.

  6. “Change of Names of the Telugu Sections,” Minutes of the South India Union Mission Committee #59-58, June 9, 1942, 1299.

  7. “Local Section Status,” Minutes of the South India Union Committee, August 23, 1963, # 63-448, 162.

  8. Cecil B. Guild, “India Unions are Re-aligned,” Eastern Tidings, January 1971, 1.

  9. “Quarterly Statistical Report for the Quarter Ending Dec 31, 1970,” Southern Asia Tidings, April 1971, 8, 9.

  10. “Quarterly Statistical Report for the Quarter Ending Mar 31, 1971,” Southern Asia Tidings, July 1971, 8, 9.

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

  12. “(Territorial) Adjustments Between Unions,” General Conference Working Policy 1999-2000, B 35 10.

  13. “Organizing New Union Missions,” General Conference Working Policy 1999-2000, B 30 20.

  14. “Merger of Union Missions,” General Conference Working Policy 1999-2000, B 40 25.

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

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

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

  18. East Central India Union Executive Committee Action No. 2006-128, June 7, 2006.  

  19. East Central India Union Executive Committee Action No. 2019-67, June 5, 2019, 45.

  20. East Central India Union Executive Committee Action No. 2009-97, June 7, 2009, 53.

  21. East Central India Union Executive Committee Action No. 2009-96, June 7, 2009, 53.

  22. East Central India Union Executive Committee June 7, 2009, 53 was intended to include the North Rayalseema Section but seems to have been inadvertently overlooked. However, the recommendation to the division mentions this section too. See Action 2008-74, June 10, 2008, 16.

  23. “Formation of Adilabad Region,” Southern Asia Division Committee Minutes 2013-35, 37.

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Christo, Gordon E. "East Central India Union Section." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Accessed December 06, 2021. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=AAK8.

Christo, Gordon E. "East Central India Union Section." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Date of access December 06, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=AAK8.

Christo, Gordon E. (2021, April 28). East Central India Union Section. Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved December 06, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=AAK8.