MADRAS THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY & COLLEGE
Madras Theological Seminary and College
Madras Theological Seminary and College formerly called as Madras Bible Seminary was formally inaugurated on June 29, 1953 with just 22 students. In the early days, MTSC offered a three year Bible training courses and the graduates were awarded Diploma in Theology. The first batch of graduates passed out in 1957 and the ECI Bishop President Dr M Ezra Sargunam graduated in the second batch of students. Since then MTSC has produced hundreds of pastors and evangelists who are serving the Lord through Evangelical Church of India (ECI) in different parts of the country and in some of our neighbouring countries as well. From its inception, MTSC laid great emphasis on the spiritual formation, academic excellence and practical knowledge in church planting.
In 1980, MTSC started offering a 4 year training program and began awarding the degree of Bachelor of Theology which was accredited by ATA and later affiliated with the Senate of Serampore. The current batch of B.Th students who will be graduating today will be the last batch of B.Th students from this seminary. New B.D program was started in June 2010 and the first batch of B.D students will be graduated in April 2015. As an evangelical theological institution, the priority for MTSC is to train church planters for ECI and MTSC is prayerfully taking up the challenge of meeting the needs of the church.
The year 2013 is very special in the history of MTSC. We are celebrating the sixty years of God’s faithfulness and guidance in training and equipping men and women to plant churches in India and other parts of the world. To mark this historic event of DIAMOND JUBILEE, the MTSC Board has decided to organise various programs and events throughout this year. The newly built Diamond Jubilee Hall will be dedicated in thanking God for His faithfulness and guidance all through these years.
MTSC community is so blessed with 13 full time faculty members and 2 part time lecturers who carry the passion to train students for the ministry of God. The pastoral experience of our faculty members plays a vital role in the character and ministerial formation of our students. This year Rev Aaron Martin has taken incharge as the Registrar of the seminary and Rev Lutherraj as Director of the External Department studies.
This academic year, we have 69 students who are doing their residential studies in our seminary, in which 19 students are doing B.Th course and the remaining 50 are pursuing their B.D studies. Through our external department 173 students are registered for their Master of Divinity course (M.Div) and another 15 registered for Bachelor in Ministry (B.Min) course. Besides this, we have 56 students doing their Diploma in Theology (Dip.Th) through Laymen Bible Training Program.
Our residential programs B.Th and B.D are affiliated with the Senate of Serampore College. Since we have upgraded our seminary to B.D level, we no longer can admit students for the B.Th program. All the non residential programs Dip.Th, B.Min and M.Div are accredited through Asia Theological Association. On the whole, this academic year 298 students are pursuing their theological studies through our seminary. Out of 298 students, today on this auspicious occasion, 60 of them will graduate. Fortunately the number of graduates coincides with our Diamond Jubilee year. 17 students will receive their B.Th degree, 24 M.Div degree, 2 B.Min degree and 17 Diploma in Theology.
At this special occasion, the service rendered by the non teaching staff cannot be ignored. They made our life easy, pleasant and memorable in the campus. We appreciate the hard work carried out by all the non teaching staff for the welfare of the MTSC Community.
As teaching and non teaching staff, we all join our hands together to train and equip men and women to carry the Gospel and share it among all the responsive people groups of India.
MTSC ACADEMIC PROGRAMS
A. Bachelor of Divinity (B.D)
From 2010-11 we started offering new B.D course which is for 5 years. Currently 50 students have been enrolled in the five year B.D Program. Students with bachelors or masters degree can join for the 4 year B.D program. B.Th graduates with second class marks can upgrade their B.Th to B.D by joining in the last two years of B.D program. B.Th graduates with third class grade can also join in the 3rd year B.D class for upgrading their B.Th into B.D.
B. Bachelor of Theology (B.Th)
There are 17 students who will be graduating today which will be the last batch of students graduating from this seminary with a B.Th degree.
C. Master of Divinity (M.Div )
The External Department of our Seminary offers M.Div Degree program which is accredited by the Asia Theological Association. There are 173 students currently involved in this program. Rev Lutherraj currently serves as the Director of the External Department of MTSC.
D. Bachelor of Ministry (B.Min )
The External Department also offers B.Min Degree Program accredited by ATA. 15 students have been enrolled for this course.
E. Diploma in Theology (Dip.Th)
Diploma in Theology accredited by the ATA is offered by MTSC to the lay people who have interest in theological studies through our Laymen Bible Training Program. The classes for this course are conducted in the evenings of every Monday. Currently 56 lay people from different churches are under training through this program.
SPIRITUAL FORMATION IN MTSC
All the students who enter into the MTSC are given an opportunity to grow in their spiritual life through the various programs which will help them to come closer to God.
In 2012, June 14-16 we had the opening retreat for all our students and faculty members on the theme “Arise, shine for your light has come”. Rev Peter Francis and Rev Premaiah shared God’s word on four sessions. Bishop President of ECI challenged the MTSC family on the concluding session and led us in the Holy Communion service. Opening retreat was an energizer for every one of us to start our new academic year 2012-2013.
DAY OF PRAYER
Prayer is a heart throb for the growth and development of MTSC. Every year we observe two days as Day of Prayer. In the first semester we observed 28th September 2012 as Day of Prayer. Pastor Ajithkumar from ACA church and few other faculty members delivered the Lord’s word during this time. In the second semester we observed 15th February 2013 as Day of Prayer. Evangelist Phanuel Robinson shared the God’s word and encouraged the students and faculty members. On these two days we had 12 hours of chain of prayer from 6:00 P.M to 6:00 A.M where our students and faculty members prayed together in small groups for various prayer concerns of the faculty members and students. We can experience the power of prayer through the chain of prayer. In addition to this we also have chain of prayer on 5th Sunday which is coordinated by Rev Dr S J Kingsley who serves as the Director for Prayer and Revival Department of ECI.
On every Fridays our students fast in the morning and they have a special time of prayer in the evening from 8:30 to 10:30 P.M. In the Friday morning, Rev Dr J A David Onesimu led the students in the short devotions from the book of Joshua. In the evenings special messages and prayer times is organized by the Academic Dean and Registrar. The money saved through this fasting prayer day is sent to support one IMM missionary through our seminary. We look forward to support one more missionary from the MTSC family.
We begin our day with morning devotion from 6:00 –6:30 A.M. We also have chapel services for the MTSC community on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10:40 A.M to 11:20 A.M. On every Thursdays we invite speakers from different organizations and churches to deliver God’s word to our community. Friday mornings are devoted to preaching by the final year students. On every Wednesday, we have faculty student fellowship which is a source of encouragement for the students for their spiritual edification and they have opportunities to discuss various topics in the Bible along with the faculty members. It’s a time for prayer, fellowship, personal sharing and counseling by the faculty concerned to their group students.
SPECIAL CHAPEL SERVICES
The first day of every month we usually have the Holy Communion service conducted by faculty members. Ash Wednesday service was observed on 13th February at the MTSC chapel. Special chapel services were organized on every Fridays during the Lenten season which helped the students to renew their relationship with God the creator. On 9th July we had a workshop on children ministries by Ms Angel Warrior and a team from USA. Different guest speakers from USA, Korea and other parts of India shared God’s word during special chapel services.
ACADEMIC FORMATION IN MTSC
MTSC always try to give equal importance for the academic excellence and ministerial formation of the students. Other than the class hours, during the free hours in the noon it is mandatory for the students to spend their time in the library to gain knowledge through reading the books, journals and periodicals that are available in the library. Special English coaching class is organized in the evenings for the students who are week in English. In the evenings, from 7:30-9:00 P.M students spend their time in the class rooms writing their assignments and going through their lessons.
The library exists to meet the research needs of the students and the faculty. At present, the library collection contains approximately, 18,000 volumes including a good number of Tamil Books. The library subscribes to about 150 theological journals and religious magazines in both Tamil and English. We have ordered and purchased many new books on several topics which are the source of enhancement of the academic scholarship of our seminary. We extend our sincere gratitude and thanks to Overseas Council Australia for their continued support to upgrade our library.
STUDENT PARTICIPATION IN THE SEMINARS AND MEETINGS
Two of our girl students participated in the Consultation for theological students titled “Removing the blinders: Healing in our work” organized by Indian School of Ecumenical Theology at Ecumenical Christian Center, Whitefield from April 30 – May 2, 2012.
Two of our male students participated in the National Theological Students’ Conference held at United Theological College, Bangalore from 5-8 May 2012 organised by the Board of Theological Education of Senate of Serampore College.
The Department of Mission and Evangelism of Church of South India Synod organized for a one day seminar on 23rd January at CSI Synod Center on the theme “Burn to alive for Christ” to commemorate the 14th death anniversary of Dr Graham Stuart Staines. Three of our B.D students participated in this program and benefited through the various sessions.
B.Th final year and B.D third year students participated in the public lecture delivered at Gurukul Lutheran Theological College and Research Institute on Thursday, 31st January 2013 evening on the topic “The Lasting Legacy of David J Bosch”. Rev Dr Martin Reppenhagen, from Greifswald University delivered the lecture during this occasion.
This year also from May 13-17, two of our students will be participating in the summer consultation for theological students organized by Indian School of Ecumenical Theology at Whitefield.
Besides this our students take active participation in the various seminars and meetings organized in Chennai by different churches and organizations. These meetings help our students to get a wider exposure in their ministerial training.
MINISTERIAL FORMATION IN MTSC
Our students were given very good ministerial training during the weekends. We keep receiving word of appreciation from many of our alumni that the ministerial training what they received here at MTSC is very much helpful for them in the ministry field. We thank and praise God for Gideon’s International for helping us in providing the needed Tamil New Testaments to distribute to the new believers who want to know more about Jesus Christ. We also appreciate the partnership with Faith Tract League for providing us the tracts needed for distribution to the non believers during the weekend and camp ministries.
During this academic year 2012-13 our students went for outreach ministries during the weekend for 29 different places. Most of these places were new preaching points where our students involved in pioneer evangelistic work. They also assist the existing churches to plant daughter churches in their neighborhood. During the weekend ministry they do tracts distribution, house visiting, conduct cell groups, open preaching, personal evangelism and taking Sunday school for children. Through these ministries they have paved way for church planting in many different villages.
We organise 3 camp ministries in a year, beginning of the academic year, semester break and end of the academic year after the graduation service. Our students continue to visit these places and educate the children and adults in the word of God. Many people have accepted Jesus Christ as their Saviour through the camp ministry of our students. In the year beginning we had a camp ministry at ECI Hope City. Dr J L Williams taught our students about drip irrigation and how to develop the living place to be a better place for living. The practical eco theology class for students was taught during these days. During the semester break we had two camps at ECI Dhamal and ECI Hope City from 20 October to 4 November 2013.
Even after this graduation service we have four teams who will be going to different places, Namakkal, Minjur, Hope City and Pudupet to strengthen the existing ECI churches through their ministries. Camp ministries, weekend ministries and field education are playing a vital role in the growth and development of the seminary students.
This year we have started film ministry through our students. During the camp and weekend ministries, our students show the Jesus films and other social awareness program films to the non believers and share the word of God to them. We are thankful to OMS Canada for providing us with a laptop and projector for this ministry.
HOSPITAL AND ORPHANAGE MINISTRY
Few of our seminary students involved in hospital ministries in Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital (KMC) on every Fridays. They visit the sick people and pray for their deliverance from physical ailments. Some of the patients have been healed by the fervent prayers of our students. We hope and pray that in the future they will be able to grow in the saving knowledge of Christ and live as a witness in the society. Rev Vincent Thomas serves as the faculty incharge for hospital ministry. Pray that this ministry will continue to be a blessing for the people suffering with various physical ailments.
Our students are not only involved in proclaiming the Gospel but also involved in social action which reveals their faith and love towards God and the humanity. Our students continue to minister to the poor children of Tsunami victims by taking tuition for them through Grace Learning Centers. Where ever our students visit during the weekend, they make sure to give their assistance to the poor children in their school lessons.
NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIPS
In training, equipping and empowering men and women for God’s work there are many individuals and organizations who joined their hands in partnership with us. We thank OMS International, currently called as One Mission Society (OMS), OMS Canada, Overseas Council Australia (OCA), Overseas Council International (OCI), Korean Church, Chennai and Jubilaeus foundation from Denmark. As a MTSC family we are thankful to these partners for their support and prayers towards our seminary.
Our sincere thanks to Rev. Dr. D. Chellappa, National Coordinator of the Every Community of Christ for sending and supporting few students every year. Our heartfelt thanks to INDIENHILFE and other organizations for their financial support and prayers.
We are very much indebted to the ECI Chennai Diocese churches for their well timed financial assistance in helping some of the poor students to pursue their studies in our seminary. There are other individual members and families and well wishers of MTSC who support our seminary from time to time.
Senate of Serampore has awarded Rs.15,000 from the solidarity fund towards the B.D studies of a woman candidate for a period of two years. It’s through these partnership ministries we are able to train the next generation of pastors and leaders for our country.
SPORTS AND GAMES
The MTSC students along with the faculty and non teaching staff took active participation in the various sports events organised in this academic year. The annual sports event for this academic year was held from 27 November to 8 December 2012. The entire MTSC family was divided into four teams as Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The members of the Luke team become the overall winner for this academic year and secured the trophy for this year. On 16th August interclass kabadi match was organized to celebrate the Independence Day of our nation. Sports and games help our students to develop cordial rapport with the fellow students and help them to work as a team.
FACULTY PARTICIPATION IN SEMINARS / MEETINGS
Principal participated in the workshop on “Workplace Policy” organized by the Senate of Serampore College at United Theological College, Bangalore from 22-23 June 2012.
Rev Dr J A David Onesimu, Principal along with Rev A Mohan, Chaplain participated in the Institute for Excellence in Christian Leadership Development organized by Overseas Council International during 31 October to 3 November 2012, at Kathmandu, Nepal.
Senate of Serampore Convocation and the Board meetings were attended by the Principal Rev Dr J A David Onesimu from 8-11 February 2013, at AICS, Aizawl, Mizoram
Rev Lutherraj, the Director of our External Department participated in the Annual General Body meeting of ATA which was held at Bangalore.
SEMINARIANS PARTICIPATION IN ECI RELATED PROGRAMS
ECI Lydia Women’s Fellowship celebrated their 6th annual conference on 15th August 2012, during which our seminary girls taught songs and stories to children. Our students helped in doing all the arrangements for the meeting specially packing food packets for all the participants. ECI youth rally was organised on 2nd October 2012, in which our seminary students participated and renewed their relationship with Jesus. Indian Missionary Movement, the missionary arm of ECI organised their annual sales at MTSC on 26th January 2013. Students from each class have set up a stall on this day to generate money for IMM ministry in North India.
The fifth memorial service of Annai Mangalam, the beloved wife of our Bishop President was held on 28th February 2013 in which our students made all the efforts in decorating the tomb with flowers and also led the choir in singing songs during the memorial service. During this graduation service, we acknowledge and remember the great contribution made by Bishop Amma for the growth and development of our seminary.
The entire student’s body along with the faculty members participated in the dedication of the Banyan Tree Meditation Center at ECI Hope City on 2nd February 2013.
B.D first year and second year students participated in the ECI Hope City church dedication service which took place on 5th March 2013.
SPECIAL DAYS / EVENTS CELEBRATED AT MTSC
Independence Day and Republic day of our nation were celebrated by the MTSC Community on 15th August 2012 and 26th January 2013 accordingly. Rev Reginald Nayagam, Treasurer of ECI Chennai Diocese hoisted the flag during the republic day program and delivered the Lord’s message.
The Christmas celebration was held on 14th December 2012 at the Billy Graham Auditorium. Students from each class presented lively programs during this time.
Pongal festival was celebrated at the MTSC chapel on 15th January 2013. Rev A Mohan, Chaplain delivered the God’s message on this day. In this connection, inter class kabadi match was organized in the afternoon and Gospels Bible Quiz in the evening.
MTSC family went for a one day picnic to Queensland, an amusement park in Chennai on 25th January 2013. It was a time of fun and entertainment fort the entire MTSC family.
International Women’s day was observed on 8th March 2013 at the MTSC chapel. The women students and the other women in the MTSC campus organized for this special program. Mrs Ruth Duraiswamy delivered the word of God on this occasion and Mrs Evelyn Martin lead the students in the time of prayer especially for the women who are still living in bondage.
MTSC students organized for a farewell for the graduates on 13th March 2013. The graduating students had a thanksgiving service on Wednesday, 20th March to thank God for His guidance in their seminary life. They also acknowledged the role played by the faculty members in shaping them in their academic and ministerial journey.
Hostel day was celebrated on Thursday, 21st March from 7:00 P.M onwards. Students from boy’s hostel and girl’s hostel presented lively programs during this occasion.
NEW FACILITIES ADDED TO MTSC THIS YEAR
DINING HALL TABLE AND BENCHES:
New stainless steel table and benches were added in the MTSC dining hall. We praise and thank God for this new provision which has added a new look to the existing dining hall. Bishop Dr D Sundar Singh dedicated this new facility and encouraged the students to maintain the facilities that the Lord has provided for them.
DIAMOND JUBILEE HALL
The Overseas Council Australia has raised the support towards the construction of Diamond Jubilee Hall which will serve as the new extension to the library. On this joyful occasion this new facility will be dedicated jointly by our Bishop President, The Most Rev Dr M Ezra Sargunam and the President of OMS, Rev Dr David Long.
EDUCATIONAL CUM MINISTERIAL TRIP FOR FINAL YEAR STUDENTS
Every year final year students will go for an educational tour during the semester break. This year also all the final year students went for their tour to Allahabad and Varanasi from 22nd to 31st October 2012 under the care and guidance of Rev V C Selwyn and Rev Lutherraj.
VISIT / LECTURES FROM OVERSEAS GUESTS
Dr Leroy Lindsey from OMS Theological Education Team visited MTSC during 26-28 July 2012 and delivered special lectures to students on the Doctrine of Holiness.
Rev Thomas Curry and Rev Larry Wood conducted for four days seminar for all the students from 28-31 August 2012 on the theme “God’s heart for India”. All the students who have successfully completed this seminar were awarded with certificates.
Dr Mark Nickens from Carolina Graduate School of Divinity took a modular course for our students from 17-23 November 2012 on “Modern Church History – 19th and 20th century”.
Rev Stuart Booking, Director of Overseas Council Australia visited MTSC during 19-21 February 2013 along with two Australian pastors. They meet the MTSC students and faculty members and assured of their continuous prayers and support for the growth and development of the MTSC.
DIAMOND JUBILEE CELEBRATIONS
The Diamond Jubilee celebrations of MTSC were officially inaugurated by the Bishop President on 1st September 2012 during the Chennai Diocese Pastors Fasting Prayer Fellowship which was held in our seminary auditorium. As a first step of celebration we will be dedicating the Diamond Jubilee Hall today which was so graciously sponsored by Overseas Council, Australia. In addition to this we are also renovating the existing buildings. We are planning to organise an alumni meeting and many other events throughout this year. We invite every one of you to pray and support us in our Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
APPROVAL TO START BACHELOR IN CHRISTIAN STUDIES
This year we have received permission from Senate of Serampore to start B.C.S (Bachelor in Christian Studies) course in English and Tamil medium. In connection to this, Dr Wati Longchar from Senate visited our seminary for evaluation on 11th September. During his visit he presented a paper to the students and faculty members. Upon his report the Senate of Serampore has granted permission to offer B.C.S course from June 2013.
MTSC RELATED PROGRAMS
1. EVANGELICAL THEOLOGICAL ACADEMY (ETA)
The Evangelical Theological Academy (ETA) was formed at the MTSC campus on 24th February 2011. Rev Dr Vinay Samuel from Oxford Center of Mission Studies inaugurated this Academy along with our Bishop President The Most Rev Dr M Ezra Sargunam. Dr Samuel Jayakumar, former Principal of MTSC is appointed to be the Director of this Academy. From this academic year 2012-13 ETA is offering Masters in Theology and the program will soon be accredited by Asia Theological Association. In addition to this ETA is also assisting pastors who are pursuing their higher theological studies.
2. ETTC – BILD TRAINING CENTER
MTSC also serves as a training center for the ETTC-BILD programs of South India. The Master Trainers and Teacher Trainers who have enrolled for D.Min or M.Min studies through Antioch Bible School are using the seminary as a resource center. Recently we had the D.Min cohort seminar at MTSC campus for the 25 pastors who are enrolled for their D.Min program through Antioch School from South India.
FUTURE VISION AND PRAYER CONCERNS
• Pray for two of our staff Ms Salome and Rev Babu Jeyaraj who are undergoing their M.Th studies in the field of History and Religion at Gurukul Lutheran Theological College.
• Rev S Duraiswamy, our Academic Dean joined for his Ph.D studies through SHIATS, Allahabad. Pray that the Lord will help him to complete his studies successfully
• To procure more relevant theological books and journals in various disciplines.
• To plant 10 churches and 100 house churches through the regular weekend ministries and camp ministries of our students.
• To conduct seminars in the area of Mission and Evangelism and social awareness.
• After shifting the library to the newly built hall, the present library will be converted into an air-conditioned conference hall and will be dedicated during the 75th birthday of our Bishop President.
• Pray for the various programs and events that will be organized in connection to the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
• Pray for the academic year 2013-14 that the Lord will continue to shower His blessings in the seminary ministries.