The Evangelical Church of India was founded by the Oriental Missionary Society, newly called One Mission Society, whose founders Mrs. & Mr. Charles E. Cowman and Mr. E. Kilbourne commenced OMS ministry in the year 1901 in Japan.
From the beginning One Mission Society was an undenominational Society with a three-fold emphasis upon 1) the establishing of Bible Seminaries and training institutions 2) Intensive and extensive evangelism 3) the planting of indigenous national churches in the various countries in which it operates. The Society conducted the first nation wide house-to-house Scripture distribution campaign between 1912 and 1917 in Japan, and since that time similar systematic campaigns have been conducted in a number of countries. By the time the Japanese Government forced the amalgamation of all Protestant Churches in Japan in World War II, the church established by One Mission Society in Japan was the fourth largest Protestant Body with some 400 Churches. Korea was entered by OMS in 1907 where there are now nearly 2,000 congregations with about 500,000 memberships. The church there is known as Korea Evangelical Holiness Church, the third largest protestant denomination in South Korea. China was next entered where three Seminaries were opened and indigenous churches established. Contact with those Seminaries and the Church had been lost owing to change of policy of the Government there. OMS is now actively working in the following countries : Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, India, Indonesia, Greece, Spain, Columbia, Ecuador, Brazil, Haiti, Philippines, France, China and Russia.
In 1941 OMS began its work in India. The Evangelical Church of India founded by OMS operates three Bible Seminaries, namely Allahabad Bible Seminary, Madras Theological Seminary & College and Calcutta Bible Seminary. It also runs Bombay Bible School in Mumbai, Vijayawada Bible School in Vijayawada, Lalitpur Bible School in Lalitpur, Orissa Bible School in Koraput, Sadhu Sundar Singh Bible School in Solan, Karnataka Bible School in Gangavathi, ECI Theological Seminary in Kozhivilai, Gujarat Bible School in Unchamala, ECI Jisupita Bible School in Jisupita and ECI Bishop Azariah Bible School in Arumuganeri.
The Church now has Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Kanarese, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Manipuri, English, Malto, Santhali and Konkani linguistic congregations numbering about 4500 new Churches in the following States and Union Territories: Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, New Delhi, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Bihar, Orissa, Kerala, Punjab, Manipur, Jharkand and the Andaman Islands. The Administration of the Church is divided into various ecclesiastical Dioceses and Areas under the All India Conference of ECI. ECI had set a goal of 1000 churches by the year 2000 AD, but reached that objective by 1998. Further ECI had prayerfully fixed a goal of 2000 churches by A.D. 2005 and the same has been achieved well ahead of time.
The Evangelical Church of India is registered at the All India Conference level under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860, at Lucknow, U.P., the registration number being 449 of 1958-59. The Board of Governors of the AIC is the Governing Body and the Trustees of the Society. Prior to 1976, the Society was called the Evangelical Christian Church and also came to be known as the Evangelical Christian Church of India and was officially changed to assume the present name Evangelical Church of India .
After several years of deliberation ECI has adopted Episcopalian form of Church order effective from 3-4, November 1992 Mt.No.AIC 92/23. Rev. Dr. Ezra Sargunam was elected as the First Bishop of Evangelical Church of India, and was consecrated on February 13, 1993. The Bishop of ECI Allahabad Diocese was consecrated on October 23, 2005 and the Bishop of ECI Chennai Diocese was consecrated on October 25, 2005. Later the Bishop of ECI Kerala-Kanyakumari was consecrated on September 26, 2010 and of ECI Mumbai Diocese on October 26, 2012. The Associate Bishop of ECI Chennai Diocese was consecrated on October 28, 2010 and later on he was installed as the first Bishop of ECI Bangalore-Coimbatore Diocese in the year 2012. The Associate Bishop of ECI Chennai Diocese was consecrated on October 22, 2012 and the Associate Bishop of Kerala-Kanyakumari was consecrated on July 1, 2013. Later on they were installed as Bishops of ECI Chennai Diocese and ECI Kerala-Kanyakumari Diocese respectively. Later in the year 2015, six more Dioceses were formed and Associate Bishops were consecrated for each one of these Dioceses in the same year.
468 Malto Churches in the Raj Mahal Hills of Jharkhand were incorporated with ECI through Memorandum of Understanding reached between Friends Missionary Prayer Band and the Evangelical Church of India on 18th January 2005.
More Christian groups integrated within the frame work of the Evangelical Church of India. The vision and mission of ECI is to identify, disciple and transform the receptive people groups of India, evolve strategies to motivate, train equip and empower frontline evangelists and native missionaries to reach the un-reached people of India and multiply churches. Now the goal of ECI is to disciple 10 million souls among the responsive people groups and to plant 100 Thousand Local Churches by the year 2056 which will be the centenary year of ECI.
ECI ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE
Office: No. 1, Second Street, Ormes Road, Kilpauk, Chennai - 600 010.
Phone: 044 - 26413178, 26428955, 26427574; Fax: 26411803