Tuesday, September 23, 2014
A different church
Even though it is a rather big building, it is not very eye-catching because it is set in a side road off Nungambakkam High Road. The building has been around for a while - the design seems to be from the 1960-70 timeframe. It is the building of the Laymen's Evangelical Church, an organisation that was set up in 1935 by a former mathematics teacher named Daniel. His son, Joshua Daniel took the organisation forward, and like several similar institutions, the third generation of family has stepped into the business.
Though it is not a business, they claim. The organisation makes no appeals for money and sustains itself through charitable donations. They also affiliate 'tentmaker missions' - which do not depend on a central organization for funds, but carry out other professions to raise the money they need (the reference being to Paul the Apostle's practice of making tents to support himself rather than depend on church money) - around the world.
They are quite spread out: 337 missions across India and more than 20 globally. Their services are offered in five non-Indian languages. Radio and television broadcasts, supplemented with a YouTube channel and a publication division, all help the Laymen get their message out to the world. I am not sure what that message is, but a line from their website: "...'intellectual bat-chasing in the dark' which men oft-times call religion today..." had me grinning away!