Open main menu

Church of North India

The Church of North India (CNI), the dominant Protestant denomination in northern India, is a united church established on 29 November 1970 by bringing together the main Protestant churches working in northern India; it is a province of the worldwide Anglican Communion. It is the successor of Church of England in India along with the Church of Pakistan and the Church of South India. The merger, which had been in discussions since 1929, came eventually between the Church of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon (Anglican), the United Church of Northern India (Congregationalist and Presbyterian), the Baptist Churches of Northern India (British Baptists), the Church of the Brethren in India, which withdrew in 2006, the Methodist Church (British and Australian Conferences) and the Disciples of Christ denominations.

Church of North India (CNI)
CNI-Seal-Trans JPEG.jpg
Logo of the Church of North India
OrientationUnited and Uniting denomination,[1] Anglican High Church as well as Low Church (especially in the North-East), as well as Presbyterian and Congregational
PolityEpiscopal and Presbyterian
ModeratorPrem Chand Singh, Church of North India
AssociationsAnglican Communion, World Methodist Council, World Council of Churches, World Communion of Reformed Churches, Council for World Mission, Christian Conference of Asia, Communion of Churches in India, National Council of Churches in India
RegionAll of India except Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Lakshadweep,[Karnataka]], Kerala and Tamil Nadu
Origin29 November 1970
Merger ofChurch of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon, the United Church of Northern India, the Baptist Churches of Northern India, Church of the Brethren in India (since left), Methodist Church (British and Australian Conferences), and Disciples of Christ
SeparationsUnited Church of Northern India - Presbyterian Synod[2]Church of the Brethren in India
Congregations3500 congregations in 3000 parishes and 26 dioceses[3]
Hospitals65 hospitals and nine nursing schools.
Secondary schools250 educational institutions and three technical schools.

The CNI's jurisdiction covers all states of the Indian Union with the exception of the four states in the south (Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu) and has approximately 1,250,000 members (0.1% of India's population) in 3,000 pastorates.[4]



Ecumenical discussions with a view to a unified church was initiated by the Australian Churches of Christ Mission, the Methodist Church of Australia, the Wesleyan Methodist Church, the Methodist Episcopal Church and the United Church of Northern India during a round table meeting in Lucknow in 1929.

A negotiation committee was set up in 1951 using the plan of Church Union that resulted from the earlier consultations as its basis. The committee was composed of representatives from the Baptist Churches in Northern India, the Church of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon, the Methodist Church (British and Australian conferences), the Methodist Church in Southern Asia and the United Church of Northern India.[5][6] The Methodist Episcopal Church, however, did not join the discussions and, in 1981, it became the Methodist Church in India (MCI).[7] In 1957, the Church of the Brethren in India and the Disciples of Christ denominations joined in the negotiations as well.

A new negotiation committee was set up in 1961 with representatives from all the abovementioned denominations. In 1965, a finalised plan of Church Union, known as the 4th Plan of Union 1965, was made. The union was formalised on 29 November 1970 when all the negotiating churches were united as the Church of North India with the exception of the Methodist Church in Southern Asia which decided not to join the union.

Beliefs and practicesEdit

The CNI is a trinitarian church that draws from the traditions and heritage of its constituent denominations. The basic creeds of the CNI are the Apostle's Creed and the Nicene Creed of 381 AD.


The liturgy of the CNI is of particular interest, as it combines many traditions, including that of the Methodists and such smaller churches as the Church of the Brethren and the Disciples of Christ. Provision is given for diverse liturgical practices and understandings of the divine revelation.


The polity of the CNI brings together the episcopal, the presbyterial and the congregational elements in an effort to reflect the polity of the churches which entered into union. The episcopacy of the CNI is both historical as well as constitutional. There are 26 dioceses, each under the supervision of a bishop. The main administrative and legislative body is the synod, which meets once every three years to elect a presiding bishop, called a moderator, and an executive committee. The moderator acts as the head of the church.

Social involvementEdit

Social involvement is a major emphasis in the CNI. There are synodal boards in charge of various ministries: Secondary, Higher, Technical and Theological Education, Health Services, Social Services, Rural Development, Literature and Media. There is also a synodal Programme Office which seeks to protect and promote peace, justice, harmony and dignity of life.

The CNI currently operates 65 hospitals, nine nursing schools, 250 educational institutions and three technical schools. Some of the oldest and well-respected educational institutions in India like Scottish Church College in Calcutta, La Martiniere Calcutta, Wilson College in Mumbai, St. James' School, Calcutta, Hislop College in Nagpur, St. John's Diocesan Girls' School, Calcutta, St. Paul's School in Darjeeling, St. John's College in Agra and St. Stephen's College in Delhi, Bishop Cottons' School in Shimla, Sherwood College in Nainital are under the administration of the CNI.


The CNI participates in many ecumenical bodies as a reflection of its commitment towards church unity. Domestically it participates in a joint council with the Church of South India and the Mar Thoma Syrian Church known as the Communion of Churches in India. It is also a member of the National Council of Churches in India. Regionally, the CNI participates in the Christian Conference of Asia and on an international level it is a member of the World Council of Churches, the Council for World Mission, World Alliance of Reformed Churches, World Methodist Council and in full communion with the Anglican Communion. The CNI is also in partnership with many other domestic, regional and international Christian agencies.


Present administratorsEdit

  • Moderator: P. C. Singh
  • Deputy moderator: Probal Kanto Dutta, Bishop of the Diocese of Durgapur
  • General secretary: Alwan Masih
  • Honorary treasurer: Jayant Agrawal

As of June 2017.


No. Name Headquarters Location Bishop Website
1 Diocese of Agra Agra Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand The Rt. Revd. Dr. Prem Prakash Habil Diocese of Agra of the Church of North India
2 Diocese of Amritsar Amritsar Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir The Most Revd. Dr. P.K. Samantaroy [1]
3 Diocese of Andaman and Nicobar Port Blair Andaman and Nicobar Islands The Rt. Revd. Christopher Paul
4 Diocese of Barrackpore Barrackpore West Bengal The Rt. Revd. Paritosh Canning
5 Diocese of Bhopal Bhopal Madhya Pradesh The Most. Rev. Dr. Prem Chand Singh
6 Diocese of Bombay Mumbai Maharashtra The Rt. Revd. Prakash D. Patole
7 Diocese of Calcutta Kolkata West Bengal The Rt. Revd. Dr. Probal Kanto Dutta
8 Diocese of Chandigarh Ludhiana Chandigarh, Punjab The Rt. Revd. Younas Massey [2]
9 Diocese of Chhattisgarh Raipur Chhattisgarh The Rt. Revd. Robert Ali
10 Diocese of Chota Nagpur Ranchi Jharkhand The Rt. Revd. B. B. Baskey [3]
11 Diocese of Cuttack Cuttack Cuttack, Odisha The Rt. Revd. Surendra Kumar Nanda
12 Diocese of Delhi New Delhi Delhi, Haryana The Rt. Revd. Warris K. Masih
13 Diocese of Durgapur Durgapur
14 Diocese of Eastern Himalaya Darjeeling West Bengal, Bhutan
15 Diocese of Gujarat Ahmedabad Gujarat The Rt. Revd. Silvans S. Christian
16 Diocese of Jabalpur Jabalpur The Most Revd. Dr. Prem Chand Singh,
17 Diocese of Kolhapur Kolhapur Maharashtra The Rt. Revd. Sandeep Suresh Vibhute
18 Diocese of Lucknow Allahabad Uttar Pradesh The Rt. Revd. Peter Baldev
19 Diocese of Marathwada Aurangabad The Rt. Revd. M. U. Kasab
20 Diocese of Nagpur Nagpur The Rt. Revd. Paul B. Prabhudas Dupare
21 Diocese of Nasik Nasik The Rt. Revd. Dr. Pradip L. Kamble
22 Diocese of North East India Shillong North East India The Rt. Revd. Michael Herenz
23 Diocese of Patna Patna Bihar The Most Revd. Dr. P. P. Marandih
24 Diocese of Phulbani Kandhmal Odisha The Rt. Revd. Bijay K. Nayak
25 Diocese of Pune Pune The Rt. Revd. Sharad Yuvraj Gaikwad
26 Diocese of Rajasthan Ajmer Rajasthan The Rt. Revd. Darbara Singh
27 Diocese of Sambalpur Balangir The Rt. Revd. Pinuel Dip

See alsoEdit


  1. ^
  2. ^ Reformed Online : United Church of Northern India - Presbyterian Synod. Retrieved 17 June 2006
  3. ^ a b c "World Council of Churches - Church of North India". Retrieved 2009-12-18.
  4. ^ Reformed Online : "Church of North India". Retrieved 17 June 2006.
  5. ^ Empire Club Foundation : "Lambeth and Church Unity" - Rt Rev Frederick Hugh Wilkinson, Bishop of Toronto. Retrieved 17 June 2006.
  6. ^ Church of North India. Retrieved 17 June 2006
  7. ^ Abraham, William J.; Kirby, James E. (24 September 2009). The Oxford Handbook of Methodist Studies. Oxford University Press. p. 93. ISBN 9780191607431. While the Methodist Churches of British and Australian origin joined the two great unions of 1947 (Church of South India) and 1970 (Church of North India), the Methodist (Episcopal) Church refrained and, in 1981, was inaugurated as Methodist Church in India (MCI), autonomous, yet affiliated with the UMC.

External linksEdit