Samavesam of Telugu Baptist Churches
The Samavesam of Telugu Baptist Churches is a registered organization consisting of 1,214 independent Baptist churches. American Baptists started missionary work in South India among Telugu-speaking people in 1836. In 1887 the existing churches were organized into the Convention of Telugu Baptist Churches. In 1962 the convention became the Samavesam of Telugu Baptist Churches, with a unanimously adopted constitution. It was registered in 1963. From then on the support of the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society, which changed its name to Baptist International Ministries (BIM), was channeled to the Samavesam through the Inter-Church Service Association in Chennai. The properties were also transferred to the Association of Baptist Churches. Afterwards all the American missionaries left India and the leadership of the STBC was entrusted to the national officers. The STBC is self-supporting financially. Only the Andhra Christian Theological College in Hyderabad continues to receive assistance from the BIM, as it is an interdenominational institution.
Evangelism and the development of Christianity in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil-nadu States are at the heart of the STBC. It runs educational institutions, hospitals, health centres and one theological seminary, in Ramapatnam. There are five degree colleges, eight junior colleges, 14 high schools and 14 primary schools. The interdenominational theological college at Hyderabad is affiliated with the Serampore University, Kolkata. The STBC has 4,500 Sunday schools with an enrolment of some 72,000 children.
The STBC strongly favours interdenominational cooperation through the Andhra Pradesh Council of Churches and the NCCI. It participates actively in the programme of retreat and training centres of the AP Council of Churches, for the training of voluntary church workers. It is involved in the work of the Henry Martin Institute of Islamic Studies in Jabalpore and the Christian Medical College in Vellore. It supports the Student Christian Movement and the United Mission Tuberculosis Sanatorium in Arogyavaram.