Consecration and Installation of
RT. Rev. Dr. John Stephen Sadananda
as Bishop of Karnataka Southern Diocese
Consecration and Installation of Rev. Dr. John Stephen Sadananda as Bishop of CSI in Karnataka Southern Diocese (KSD) was held on 28th August 2009 at 3:00pm at Shanthi Cathedral, Balmatta, Mangalore. The worship service was led by the Moderator of the Church of South India, the Most Rev. Dr. J. W. Gladstone and was graced by the Rt. Rev. Christopher Asir, Deputy Moderator, CSI, Rt. Rev. Vasanth Kumar, Bishop in Karnataka Central Diocese, Rt. Rev. Dr. K. P. Kuruvilla, Bishop in North Kerala Diocese, Rt. Rev. J. Prabhakara Rao, Bishop in Karnataka Northern Diocese, Rt. Rev. Yesuvaraprasad, Bishop in Rayalseema, Rt. Rev. Dr. Aloysius Paul D’Souza, Bishop of Mangalore Roman Catholic Diocese and Rt. Rev. Dr. C. L. Furtado, Retired Bishop of Karnataka Southern Diocese. It was a day of joy, hope, thanksgiving and celebration for the whole diocese and the cathedral was overflowing with people.
The consecration and installation ceremony began with a prayer by Bishop Kuruvilla a the residence of the Principal, Karnataka Theological College and a procession of Deacons, Presbyters, Bishops, the Officers of the Synod, the Moderator along with the newly elected Bishop, the officers of the Diocese and the Executive Committee members started towards the cathedral. The solemn worship service began as the procession entered the already overflowing Shanthi Cathedral as the Balmatta Musical Association orchestra played the Prelude. Bishop Prabhakara Rao, Moderator’s Commissary, KSD welcomed the Moderator, officers of the Synod, Bishops and the dignitaries. Vice-President of KSD, Rev. Premkumar Soans presented the Bishop-elect to the Moderator, CSI, along with 6 other senior presbyters. Rev. Moses Jayakumar, General Secretary of the CSI read the instrument of election and selection. The congregation gathered gave its assent by saying - “we trust that he is, by God’s grace, worthy to be consecrated as Bishop.” The Moderator preached an inspiring message on the role of the Bishop as shepherd in equipping the whole congregation for God’s mission of love, justice and peace.
The Moderator then led the consecration and installation of the Bishop-elect. There was first a solemn examination of the Bishop-elect, followed by the congregation prayer-fully singing a hymn invited 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 ordain and consecrate him Bishop in God’s church. The Moderator then presented the newly-consecrated Bishop with the Bible and the pastoral staff, while the Deputy Moderator adorned him with the saffron stole. Bishop Yesuvaraprasad presented the cross while Bishop Kuruvilla placed a ring on his finger. The Bishops then welcomed the new Bishop to the council of Bishops by giving the right hand of fellowship. The Moderator then declared that Rt. Rev. Dr. John Stephen Sadananda is Bishop in the Church of God, in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The congregation responded with a loud ‘Amen’ and sang the doxology.
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. The Diocesan Secretary, Prof. Austin Raj presented copies of the Constitution of the CSI and of the KSD.
Inaugural Message of the new Bishop
In his Inaugural Message the new Bishop, Rt. Rev. Dr. J. S. Sadananda said that he was a visionary who saw dreams, as well as a faithful worker. He exhorted all to work together in his vision of doing justice, practising mercy and walking humbly before the Lord. He reiterated his commitment to:
- Give effective pastoral oversight and care together with all presbyters and deacons by entering into personal relationship with the people.
- Help the pastors and the people of God through worship, study and exposure to rediscover their images so that all will be equipped for a fuller life.
- Foster the true unity of the Karnataka Southern Diocese and make it a reality by bringing together congregations from different church traditions which are normally geographically separate from each other.
- Identifying the brokenness and various kinds of barriers in the Church and Society in order to build the community of love, compassion and justice..
- Give emphasis on spirituality, not as a mere ritualistic spirituality, but with focus on justice, freedom and search for peace through Biblical reflection in the light of issues of life, e.g. human dignity and equality, liberation perspectives, eco-spirituality etc.
- Working with, and becoming part of the movements which strive for communal amity, understanding and co-operation between believers of different faiths and world-views collaboration with people in a wider ecumenical sense.
- Be open to discern the signs of the time and act together with all people for unity and wholeness. At the same time surrendering to the directionality of the Holy Spirit to venture into the unknown for the glory of God.
Various prominent leaders of the society offered felicitation to the new Bishop including the Bishop of Mangalore, Rt. Rev. Dr. Aloysius Paul D’Souza on behalf of the Roman Catholic community in Mangalore, Dr. Ravi Tiwari, Registrar, Senate of Serampore College University, on behalf of the Serampore University and Dr. Nitte Vinaya Hegde, Chancellor, Nitte University on behalf of Mangaloreans. Rev. Premkumar soans, Vice president KSD, Mr. Richard Maben, President, UBM Church, Mumbai, and Mr. Satyaprakash Simon, President, Dubai Kannada Church also greeted and wished the new bishop God’s blessings in Episcopal ministry.
The worship service continued with the Breaking of the Bread with the Moderator being the Celebrant, and Bishop Vasanthkumar and Bishop Furtado assisting him as co-celebrants. Rev. Samuel Jathanna, Treasurer of the Diocese, Rev. I. L. Soans and Rev. S. D. Aiman, Presbyters of Shanthi Cathedral assisted the Moderator during the worship service. The choirs of the Balmatta Musical Association, Udupi Area and students of Karnataka Theological College rendered special songs.
After the worship service, the Bishops, the dignitaries, the congregation members and the general public greeted the newly-consecrated Bishop with garlands and bouquets. Prominent among those who felicitated were Honourable Dr. M. Veerappa Moily, Minister of Law, Government of India, Shri. K. Abhayachandra, Chief whip of the Opposition, Karnataka Legislative Assembly, Shri. Vinayakumar Sorake, Mr. Ivan D’Souza, and other political leaders of the region.
Brief Bio-data of the New Bishop
The new Bishop of KSD, Rt. Rev. Dr. J. S. Sadananda hails from Udyavara near Udupi. He brings along 40 years of rich, ministerial and administrative experience to the office of the Bishop. He was ordained Deacon in 1969 and Presbyter in 1975. He was pastor in village and urban congregations and has spent 35 years of his ministry in theological education. He has an earned doctorate in theology from the Georg August Univeristy, Goettingen, Germany. As an Old Testament Professor of repute, he was Principal of the Karnataka Theological College (KTC) and Secretary, Karnataka Christian Educational Society (KACES), an umbrella organization with sixteen educational institutions in Mangalore, Bailur and Tumkur, since 1992. He has served the KSD and CSI in various capacities. He was member of the Executive Committee of KSD, Convenor of the Synod Theological Commission and member of the CSI-CNI-MarThoma Joint Council. After serving in many capacities as Senator, Secretary of the Board of Theological Education, he is presently serving in a second term as the President of the Board of Theological Education in India and President of the Senate of Serampore College.
He is a scholar in the Scriptures, a linguist, a gifted preacher and an eloquent public speaker. Under his leadership, KTC/KACES experienced phenomenal growth – New Block of KACES hostel, KTC chapel, Sahodaya-KTC programme centre, Kalaasangama-KACES Audio-video Recording Studio, New Library and Archives-KTC, Bishop Jathanna Auditorium and 4 new classrooms-KTC, Library block of Union Christian College-Tumkur, ‘Sanjeevana’, a home for retired pastors, Housing Projects for pastors in Karnataka, ‘Souharda’, Rural Theological Vocational Training Centre-Bailur with 10 acres of land and basic infrastructure; affiliation of Karnataka Theological Research Institute to Kannada University, Hampi for M.Phil. and Ph.D.
Bishop John Sadananda receives inspiration and support from his wife, Agnes Pushpalatha Sadananda and daughter Vandana Sadananda