DIOCESE OF DELHI
(The Church of North India)
- HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: AD 1800-1970.
On 29th November, 2015, the Diocese of Delhi completed 45 years of its life as Diocese of the Church of North India (CNI) within the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Although the title “Diocese of Delhi” has been adopted from Anglican polity of the erstwhile Province of the Anglican Communion, the present Diocese of Delhi is not an Anglican Diocese. It is one of the 26 Dioceses of The Church of North India which evolved from the historic Union of the following six Churches which took place on 29th November, 1970, at Nagpur :-
- Several Congregations of the Council of the Baptist Churches in Northern India (CBCNI).
- The Church of the Brethren in India (CBI).
- The Disciples of Christ (DC).
- The Church of India (Also known as the Church of India, Pakistan, Burma & Ceylon (CIPBC).
- The Methodist church: British and Australasian Conferences (MC_D & AC).
- The United Church of Northern India (UNCI).
- COMPOSITIONS OF THE DICOESE OF DELHI
The present Diocese of Delhi is composed of the erstwhile Methodist Church (British and Australasian Conferences), the Baptist Congregations of Baraut and Khekra and those who were member of Green Park Free Church and Free Church, Sansad Marg, New Delhi, the United Church of Northern India in Haryana, and the Church of India (or CIPEC) in Delhi and Haryana areas.
It is from this stream of the Baptists that the CNI Diocese of Delhi has inherited the Delhi United Christian School (which also includes a substantial contribution of the Anglicans) the congregations of Free Church, Sansad Marg, (New Delhi), Green park Free Church (new Delhi), and the congregations of Baraut and Khekra in UP., as well as the Church-buildings, Parsonages and land related to these. In the Free Churches that joined the CNI in the Diocese of Delhi there has also been a very rich contribution of the Methodist Church (British & Australasian Conferences including the most valuable plot of land at No. 16 Pandit Pant Marg, (New Delhi) upon which the present CNI Bhavan (the Headquarters Building of the CNI) was constructed during 1980-1982.
In the north Presbyterian missionary work began in Punjab as early as 1834, and around middle of the 19th Century (1855) the United Presbyterian Church in North USA began its work in Punjab though the United Presbyterian Mission. This, along with the Church of Scotland and Presbyterian Church in New Zealand, contributed richly to the growth of the Presbyterian and Congregational Churches in Punjab, Himachal, Rajasthan and in what is now known as the State of Haryana. From these traditions the present CNI Diocese of Delhi inherited the erstwhile UCNI congregations in Haryana along with Philadelphia Hospital (Ambala City), United Church Girls School (Ambala City), Chiristian Hospital (Jagadhri), St. Thomas School (Jagadhri) and the church-buildings and Parsonages at Ambala City, Ambala Sadar, Yamuna Nagar, Mustafabad, Kurukshetra, Pehowa, Nilokheri, Jagadhri, Mandoli, Kalawar-Din, as well as the land related to these institutions and congregations.
The Church of England work began in northern India as early as 1808, and the name of Henry Martin shines out from that period. Till 1826 the Church of England congregants in Delhi were served by chaplains from Meerut (in UP) Delhi along with other neighboring areas, including Rajasthan was part of the then Diocese of Lahore. The Diocese of Delhi [Pre-CNI] was established (carved out of the Diocese of Lahore) on 21st April, 1947, and Bishop Aurobindo Nath Mukherjee, formerly Principal of the Delhi United Christian School, who had already been consecrated in October, 1994 as Assistant Bishop of Lahore was appointed the 1st Bishop of the Diocese of Delhi. At that time the Diocese of Delhi included Sirsa, Karnal, Rohtak, Jind, Hissar (all these are now in the State of Haryana and still in this Diocese) and almost the whole of Rajasthan.
When in 1970 the 19 Dioceses of the Church of North India were established with different boundaries RAJASTHAN was marked as a separate Diocese and was actually separated from the Diocese of Delhi on 29th November, 1981. In 1970 the whole of the State of Haryana and Khekhra and Baraut in UP were included in the territory of the Diocese of Delhi.
From the Church of England the present Diocese of Delhi inherited Queen Victoria Girls School, St. Elizabeth’s Home, St. Stephen’s College, Delhi United Christian School (with a large contribution of the Baptists), St. Michael’s School (Jangpura), Queen Mary’s School, St. Paul’s Hostel (now Paulus Sadan), St. Thomas School (Mandir Marg, New Delhi), St. Crispin’s School, The Brotherhood of the Ascended Christ, Community of St. Stephen’s, St. Stephen’s Hospital, St. Mary’s Home, the I.S.P.C.K. and the congregations of St. Stephen’s (Fatehpuri), St. Paul’s (Fatehpur Beri), St. John’s (Mehrauli), St. James (Kashmere Gate), St. Thomas (Hissar), Emmanuel Church and Ascension Church (at Karnal), St. Paul’s (Cathedral) Church (Ambala), Christ Church (Basai Darapur), St. Peter’s Church (Moth-Ki-Masjid), Epiphany (Gurgaon), St. Thomas (Mandir Marg), 1st John’s (Kalka), All Saints (Rohtak), St. Andrews (Rewari), Cathedral Church of the Redemption, Holy Trinity (Turkman Gate) all these along with the church-buildings, parsonages and land related to these institutions and congregations. The Church of England also contributed the Episcopal system of pastoral care and the diocesan structure of church organization.
History of the Diocese of Delhi shows that the years from about 1800 to the establishment of the Anglican Diocese of Delhi on 21st April 1947 (about 147 years) were a most creative period not only for the Anglicans in North India but also for the Baptists, Methodists (British and Australasian), the Congregationalists and Presbyterians (later the UCNI). All the medical, educational and other institutions and congregations mentioned above (which now form the CNI Diocese of Delhi) were established during this period and all the church-buildings and original institutional buildings mentioned above were built during this period.