It is important to look back and appreciate the good work done by our leaders of past. The Centenary Methodist Church at Lodi Road New Delhi is the result of three distinct powerful forces:
In a vast city like Delhi, being the capital of India, only one Methodist Church was functioning from Old Delhi, CHRIST CHURCH located at Boulevard Road. In New Delhi, there was no other Methodist Church. To fill the gap Bishop J.W. Robinson in 1940 started small cottage prayer meetings in south Delhi. What started as a small trickle soon swelled into a stream and there was need felt for a regular church.
In 1948, Bishop J.W. Pickett assigned the late Rev. Yusuf Singh to organize a church in south Delhi. With each step, the fellowship grew in numbers and in strength.
The Late Rev. P.D. David was then appointed as pastor to take care of these small prayer groups and cottage prayer meetings and also to organize a regular congregation.
Free Church at Parliament Street provided the much needed space and afternoon Methodist Fellowship at Free Church became a regular feature in 50’s. However, Bishop J.W. Pickett became convinced that a building was very essential to give the growing number of Methodists in South Delhi a sense of oneness. Thus, the idea of Centenary Methodist Church building at Lodi Road New Delhi was born.
Coinciding with this idea, in 1956, came the Centenary of the Methodist Church in India. The Methodist Church had been serving the religious, social, medical and educational needs of the people of this great country. The Government of India on an application granted 1.27 acres of land to the Methodist Church for a church building and parsonages.
On December 2nd 1956, Bishop J.W. Pickett laid the cornerstone for this church building. A local fund raising drive was launched immediately. A target to raise Rs. 50,000/- was fixed being 10% of the total cost. 90% of the cost was promised by the Board of Missions, Methodist Church, New York. The local church with a band of dedicated members put their shoulders to the wheel in a strenuous drive to raise funds and a total of 406 people and groups contributed to the targeted amount. As the establishment of the church coincided with the Centenary of the Methodist Church in India, it was rightly named Centenary Methodist Church.
On 5th, May 1959, the site was handed over to the contractor Sardar Mohan Singh of the Oriental Building & Furnishing Co. Ltd., The building plans were worked out efficiently by the Methodist Engineering Officer, under the able leadership of Mr. R.H. King, the architect. The Late Bishop S.K. Mondol turned the first spade of the earth and in about 18 months, the magnificent building of the church came up. The church provided a Sanctuary, Parish Hall and the educational unit for Sunday school.
Then we saw the Rev. E.A. Fritchely and the Rev. R.R. Smyth come in as English pastors and the Rev. Joel Singh, and the Rev. E.D. Clive as Hindustani pastors. Since then, the church has grown into two big congregations, Hindi and English and had some prominent pastors who spent long tenure and took the church to the greater heights. Amongst them is Rev. Nirmal David, Rev. M. P. Singh, Rev. Alfred Jacob, Rev. Vinod John and Rev. Ashwani Francis.
The church has also produced some national and international Church leaders. The CMC is proud to have given two Bishops in Late Bishop Elliot D Clive, the present Bishop Samuel Sunder Singh who served at this church as pastors.
The Rev. Samson Nath who is also the District Superintendent of the Delhi Regional Conference and Rev. Sujeev Dass are now pastors in charge of English and Hindi congregations respectively.
The Hindi and English congregations have regular morning services on Sundays with Sunday school, youth and women’s fellowships being other activities. The present membership is around 5000. The church grants scholarships to the needy student to pursue higher studies. From time to time Centenary Church has contributed monetarily as well through leadership towards development of new churches. The church is totally self-sufficient and through benevolences helps needy pastors, retired pastors and their widows. It is now one of the largest churches of MCI.
What God started as a small stream is now a mighty river and is powered by the faith of the people in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Besides its Spiritual Commitment, Church also relates to the eminent Leaders who either worshipped with us or participated in church functions.
History is foundation. Our foundation is strong and it is important to thank our Lord for all his blessings and enabling leaders of past to establish and build this magnificent church. We thank leaders of today for carrying forward the good work.