Methodist Church in India

In 1856, the Methodist Episcopal Church from America started mission work in India. Methodist churches were established in cities like Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Bangalore and other places throughout the country. The year 1870 marked the beginning of a new era. Special revival meetings were held which led the church out of its boundaries and gave it a national status. That same year educational and medical work was started among women and girls. Evangelistic work in the villages of northern India resulted in the baptism of large numbers of people from among the deprived classes. Thus began the mass movement work, which has brought several hundreds of thousands of converts into the Methodist Church in the rural areas. In 1920 the Methodist Missionary Society was organized to supervise the missionary work in India. In 1930 the Central Conference of Southern Asia elected the first national bishop. Since the independence of India in 1947 all bishops have been Indian nationals. Missionaries were sent to Borneo in 1956 and to the Fiji islands in 1963.

Since 1928, the MCI was engaged in union negotiations in North India. In 1970 the Central Conference voted against the plan of union, but dialogue with the Church of North India has been continued. In 1981 the Methodist Church in India was established as an "autonomous affiliated" church in relation with the United Methodist Church. This ushered in a new era for Indian Methodism. The church is now independent in its life and organization and has adopted its own constitution and Book of Discipline and Articles of Faith. The Methodist Church in India understands itself as the body of Christ in and for the world as part of the church universal. Its purpose is to understand the love of God as revealed in Jesus Christ, to bear witness of this love to all people and to make them his disciples.

The MCI runs 102 day boarding schools and 155 village schools in which over 60,000 children are enrolled; 89 residential hostels provide Christian care for 6,540 boys and girls. The church also operates 19 colleges and vocational training institutions, 25 hospitals and health care centres, and many community welfare and development programmes in the country.