Church of North India

Church of North India
CNI-Seal-Trans JPEG.jpg
Logo of the Church of North India
OrientationUnited and Uniting denomination,[1] Anglican High Church as well as Low Church (especially in the North-East), as well as Presbyterian and Congregational
ModeratorMost. Rev. Dr. Prem Chand Singh
AssociationsAnglican Communion, World Methodist Council, World Council of Churches, World Communion of Reformed Churches, Council for World Mission, Christian Conference of Asia, Communion of Churches in India, National Council of Churches in India
RegionAll of India except Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Lakshadweep, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu
Origin29 November 1970
Branched fromChurch of England in India
Merger ofChurch of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon, The United Church of Northern India, the Baptist Churches of Northern India, Church of the Brethren in India (since left), Methodist Church (British and Australian Conferences), and Disciples of Christ
SeparationsUnited Church of Northern India - Presbyterian Synod[2] Church of the Brethren in India
Congregations3500 congregations in 3000 parishes and 26 dioceses[1]
Hospitals65 hospitals and nine nursing schools.
Secondary schools550+ educational institutions and three technical schools.

The Church of North India (CNI), the dominant United denomination in northern India, is a united church established on 29 November 1970 by bringing together the Anglican and Protestant churches working in northern India; it is a province of the worldwide Anglican Communion. It is the successor of the Church of England in India along with the Church of Pakistan and the Church of South India. The merger, which had been in discussions since 1929, came eventually between the Church of India, Pakistan, Burma and the Ceylon (Anglican), the United Church of Northern India, (Congregationalist and Presbyterian), the Baptist Churches of Northern India (British Baptists), the Church of the Brethren in India, which withdrew in 2006, the Methodist Church (British and Australian Conferences) and the Disciples of Christ denominations.

The CNI's jurisdiction covers all states of the Indian Union with the exception of the four states in the south (Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu) and has approximately 1,250,000 members (0.1% of India's population) in 3,000 pastorates.[2]


Ecumenical discussions with a view to a unified church was initiated by the Australian Churches of Christ Mission, the Methodist Church of Australia, the Wesleyan Methodist Church, the Methodist Episcopal Church and the United Church of Northern India during a round table meeting in Lucknow in 1929.

A negotiation committee was set up in 1951 using the plan of Church Union that resulted from the earlier consultations as its basis. The committee was composed of representatives from the Baptist Churches in Northern India, the Church of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon, the Methodist Church (British and Australian conferences), the Methodist Church in Southern Asia and the United Church of Northern India (UCNI).[3][4] The Methodist Episcopal Church, however, did not join the discussions and, in 1981, it became the Methodist Church in India (MCI).[5] In 1957, the Church of the Brethren in India and the Disciples of Christ denominations joined in the negotiations as well.

A new negotiation committee was set up in 1961 with representatives from all the above-mentioned denominations. In 1965, a finalised plan of Church Union, known as the 4th Plan of Union 1965, was made. The union was formalised on 29 November 1970 when all the negotiating churches were united as the Church of North India with the exception of the Methodist Church in Southern Asia, which decided not to join the union.

Beliefs and practices[edit]

The CNI is a trinitarian church that draws from the traditions and heritage of its constituent denominations. The basic creeds of the CNI are the Apostle's Creed and the Nicene Creed of 381 AD.


The liturgy of the CNI is of particular interest, as it combines many traditions, including that of the Methodists and such smaller churches as the Church of the Brethren and the Disciples of Christ. Provision is given for diverse liturgical practices and understandings of the divine revelation.


The polity of the CNI brings together the episcopal, the presbyterial and the congregational elements in an effort to reflect the polity of the churches which entered into union. The episcopacy of the CNI is both historical as well as constitutional. There are 26 dioceses, each under the supervision of a bishop. The main administrative and legislative body is the synod, which meets once every three years to elect a presiding bishop, called a moderator, and an executive committee. The moderator acts as the head of the church for a fixed term; another bishop is elected Deputy Moderator.

Social involvement[edit]

Social involvement is a major emphasis in the CNI. There are synodal boards in charge of various ministries: Secondary, Higher, Technical and Theological Education, Health Services, Social Services, Rural Development, Literature and Media. There is also a synodal Programme Office which seeks to protect and promote peace, justice, harmony and dignity of life.

The CNI currently operates 65 hospitals, nine nursing schools, 250 educational institutions and three technical schools. Some of the oldest and well-respected educational institutions in India like Scottish Church College in Calcutta, La Martiniere Calcutta, Wilson College in Mumbai, St. James' School, Calcutta, Hislop College in Nagpur, St. John's Diocesan Girls' School, Calcutta, St. Paul's School in Darjeeling, St. John's College in Agra and St. Stephen's College in Delhi, Bishop Cotton School in Shimla, Sherwood College in Nainital are under the administration of the CNI.


The CNI participates in many ecumenical bodies as a reflection of its commitment towards church unity. Domestically it participates in a joint council with the Church of South India and the Mar Thoma Syrian Church known as the Communion of Churches in India. It is also a member of the National Council of Churches in India. Regionally, the CNI participates in the Christian Conference of Asia and on an international level it is a member of the World Council of Churches, the Council for World Mission, World Alliance of Reformed Churches, World Methodist Council and in full communion with the Anglican Communion. The CNI is also in partnership with many other domestic, regional and international Christian agencies.


Present administrators[edit]

  • Moderator: Prem Chand Singh, Bishop of Jabalpur
  • Deputy moderator: Bijay K. Nayak, Bishop of Phulbani
  • General secretary: Alwan Masih
  • Honorary treasurer: Jayant Agarwal

As of October 2017.[6]


Diocese of Calcutta[edit]

When originally founded in 1813, the fourth overseas diocese of the Church of England covered all the subcontinent, all Australasia and some of Africa. With its 1835 split to create Madras diocese, Calcutta was made metropolitan over all its original area, and has been split many times since. The Bishop of Calcutta remained Metropolitan of India until the CNI's 1970 creation; the current diocese covers West Bengal and the bishop is Probal Kanto Dutta, the Deputy Moderator.[7]

Diocese of Mumbai[edit]

Split from Calcutta diocese in 1837,[8] the Diocese of Bombay was the last new Indian diocese of the Church of England before all colonial dioceses became independent in 1863. Like Calcutta, Mumbai diocese has been a very large Church of England diocese, a diocese of the independent Indian Anglican church, and now a United Church diocese. The CNI diocese today covers Maharashtra, and the bishop is Prakash D. Patole.[9]

Diocese of Chotanagpur[edit]

Founded from Calcutta diocese in 1890,[8] the current diocese is based in Ranchi, its territory is Jharkhand and the bishop is B. B. Baskey.[10]

Diocese of Lucknow[edit]

Erected 1893[8] from the Diocese of Calcutta, the current CNI bishop is Peter Baldev;[11] the diocese is headquartered at Allahabad and serves Uttar Pradesh.

Diocese of Nagpur[edit]

Sharad Y. Gaikwad is the current Bishop of Nagpur,[9] based in Nagpur itself. The diocese was originally created in 1902/03, from Chotanagpur diocese.[12][13]

Diocese of North East India[edit]

The CNI Northeast diocese, based in Shillong, North East India is headed by bishop Michael Herenz.[14] It originated as the Diocese of Assam, in the Anglican Church of India, erected from Calcutta in 1915;[15] and became known by the present name before 1986.[16]

Diocese of Nasik[edit]

In 1929, Nasik diocese was founded from Bombay;[17] her present bishop is Pradip Kamble.[18]

Name Founded Headquarters Location Bishop Website
Diocese of Delhi 1947, from Lahore[19] New Delhi Delhi, Haryana Warris K. Masih[9] (prev. Rajasthan)[7]
1990–?: Pritam Santram[20]
Diocese of Amritsar 1953, from Lahore[21] Amritsar Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir P. K. Samantaroy[9]
Diocese of Barrackpore 1956, from Calcutta[22] Barrackpore West Bengal Paritosh Canning[10]
Diocese of Andaman & Nicobar 1966, from Calcutta[23] Port Blair Andaman and Nicobar Islands Christopher Paul[24]
Diocese of Jabalpur 1970, from Nagpur[25] Jabalpur Prem Chand Singh (Moderator)[10]
Diocese of Patna bef. 70 Patna Bihar P. P. Marandih[26]
Diocese of Cuttack 1970 Cuttack Cuttack, Odisha Surendra Kumar Nanda[27]
Diocese of Bhopal betw. 70-79, from Jabalpur Bhopal Madhya Pradesh Manoj Charan
Diocese of Rajasthan 1981, from Delhi[28] Ajmer Rajasthan Darbara Singh[29]
Diocese of Gujarat betw. 70-96 Ahmedabad Gujarat Silvans Christian[30]
Diocese of Kolhapur betw. 70-96 Kolhapur Maharashtra Sandeep Suresh Vibhute[9]
Diocese of Durgapur betw. 70-96 Durgapur vacant[7]
Diocese of Chandigarh 1974, from Amritsar Ludhiana Chandigarh, Punjab Younas Massey[31]
Diocese of Agra 1976, from Lucknow[32] Agra Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand Prem Prakash Habil[33]
Diocese of Eastern Himalaya bef. 1987 — Darjeeling, renamed c. 1992,[34] from Barrackpur Darjeeling West Bengal, Bhutan vacant
Acting: Purely Lyngdoh[10]
Diocese of Sambalpur bef 96[35] Pinuel Dip[10]
Diocese of Phulbani 1997,[36] from Cuttack Kandhmal Odisha Bijay K. Nayak[26]
Diocese of Marathwada c. 2000[37] Aurangabad M. U. Kasab[9]
Diocese of Pune c. 2000[37] Pune Paul B. Dupare[9]
Diocese of Chhattisgarh 2010, from Jabalpur Raipur Chhattisgarh Rt. Rev. Robert Ali[33] (previous Bishop of Bhopal)[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Church of North India". World Council of Churches. n.d. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
  2. ^ a b "United Church of Northern India - Presbyterian Synod". Address data base of Reformed churches and institutions. Stiftung Johannes a Lasco Bibliothek Grosse Kirche Emden. 2020. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
  3. ^ Rt Rev Frederick Hugh Wilkinson, Bishop of Toronto (9 October 1958), "Lambeth and Church Unity", The Empire Club of Canada Speeches 1958-1959, Toronto: Empire Club Foundation, pp. 23–37, archived from the original on 16 November 2006
  4. ^ The Church of North India (CNI) at the Wayback Machine (archived 18 June 2006)
  5. ^ Abraham, William J.; Kirby, James E. (2009). The Oxford Handbook of Methodist Studies. Oxford University Press. p. 93. ISBN 9780191607431. While the Methodist Churches of British and Australian origin joined the two great unions of 1947 (Church of South India) and 1970 (Church of North India), the Methodist (Episcopal) Church refrained and, in 1981, was inaugurated as Methodist Church in India (MCI), autonomous, yet affiliated with the UMC.
  6. ^ "New primate and leadership team for Church of North India". Anglican Communion News Service. Anglican Communion Office. 18 October 2017. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d [1]
  8. ^ a b c The Indian Year Book. Bennett, Coleman & Company. 1940. p. 455. The three dioceses thus formed have been repeatedly subdivided, until in 1930 there were fourteen dioceses, the dates of their creation being as follows : Calcutta 1814; Madras 1835; Bombay 1837; Colombo 1845; Lahore 1877; Rangoon 1877; Travancore 1879; Chota Nagpur 1890; Lucknow 1893; Tinnevelly 1896; Nagpur 1903; Dornakal 1912; Assam 1915; Nasik 1929.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g [2]
  10. ^ a b c d e [3]
  11. ^ [4]
  12. ^ "A New Indian Bishopric". Church Times (#2080). 5 December 1902. p. 678. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 21 February 2019 – via UK Press Online archives.
  13. ^ "Church News". Church Times (#2087). 23 January 1903. p. 106. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 21 February 2019 – via UK Press Online archives.
  14. ^ [5]
  15. ^ "North East Diocese to observe centenary celebration". The Shillong Times. 11 January 2014. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  16. ^ Talibuddin, E.W. (2010). Introduction To The History Of The Anglican church In North-East India 1841-1970. ISPCK. ASIN 8184650108.CS1 maint: ASIN uses ISBN (link)
  17. ^ "The New Diocese of Nasik". Church Times (#3448). 22 February 1929. p. 217. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 21 February 2019 – via UK Press Online archives.
  18. ^ "Anglican Communion Cycle of Prayer – interim listings for January to July 2019" (PDF). 2019. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  19. ^ "The Church of North India: Historical Background: AD 1800-1970". Diocese of Delhi. 2016. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  20. ^ "Overseas Appointments". Church Times (#6633). 30 March 1990. p. 4. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 22 July 2019 – via UK Press Online archives.
  21. ^ "Welcome to the official website of the Diocese of Amritsar". n.d. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  22. ^ "New Dioceses". Church Times (#4853). 10 February 1956. p. 13. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 21 February 2019 – via UK Press Online archives. & "Diocese of Barrackpore". Church Times (#4875). 20 July 1956. p. 1. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 21 February 2019 – via UK Press Online archives.
  23. ^ "Happy Nicobars". Church Times (#5381). 1 April 1966. p. 7. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 21 February 2019 – via UK Press Online archives.
  24. ^ "Prayers for the Parishes and the People of the Diocese :1 January 2018 to 31 March 2018" (PDF). The Diocese of Saldanha Bay. n.d. p. 10. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  25. ^ "Christ Church Cathedral Jabalpur History of 150 Years Since 1844". Christ Church Cathedral CNI Jabalpur. 2015. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  26. ^ a b [6]
  27. ^ "New Bishops visit Anglican Communion Office". 2 February 2017. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  28. ^ "History of Church". Archived from the original on 22 February 2019. Retrieved 21 February 2019.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  29. ^ [7]
  30. ^ [8]
  31. ^ [9]
  32. ^ [10]
  33. ^ a b [11]
  34. ^ "Two Bishops die in car crash". 8 December 2000. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  35. ^ Confirmation Lessons. ISPCK. 1998. pp. 57–. ISBN 978-81-7214-341-1.
  36. ^
  37. ^ a b "Prayer Diary". 1999. Retrieved 8 June 2019.

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