Rev Joseph Dsouza becomes Moderator of Good Shepherd Church India
Rev. Dr. Joseph D'Souza, a renowned national and international Church leader and a Pastor in the Good Shepherd Church was consecrated as Bishop and appointed as its Moderator by Bishop Alfred E Franks and the Council of Bishops of the Good Shepherd Church in a packed Church service in Hyderabad, India. During the service, the church leaders from the major Church traditions of Catholic, Protestant and Evangelical were participated. Non-Christians like Buddhist, Muslim and Hindu leaders were also present.
Rev. Dr. Joseph D'Souza
In his acceptance speech, the new Bishop who is a human rights activist in India, focusing on the rights of Dalits and also the founder and International President of the Dalit Freedom Network and President of the All India Christian Council (AICC) stated that he will faithfully serve his Lord Jesus Christ who has a preferential bias towards the poor, the sinners, the downtrodden and the discarded peoples of societies everywhere. He articulated his respect for people of all faiths and the right to religious freedom for all. He stated that the Church could not be either an NGO or take the place of the State and the separation of Church and State was an important evolution in the understanding of the Church. However he made it clear that the Church's mandate was compassionate involvement in matters that affected people included issues of injustice and to bring the good news of the Kingdom of God to all.
The new Bishop also stated he supported the Prime Minister Modi's call for bringing to an end the violence against women and the call to build toilets across India so that the human dignity of all peoples was protected. He said that he hoped that once the toilets were built that Indians would not expect the Dalits to clean these toilets but that all Indians would learn to clean their toilets. He made an impassioned plea for dignity of labour and stated that all labour was holy according to the Bible and that he was committed to the greatness of India.
The Good Shepherd Church is an Episcopal, evangelical denomination and has its roots in the work of Operation Mobilisation. In a poignant moment after the consecration and appointment service of Rev. Dr. D'Souza as Bishop and Moderator, a prayer of Dr. George Verwer, the founder of OM, for the new Bishop was prayed by the Rt. Reverend Paothang Haokip. George Verwer prayed that God's mighty grace and hand would be upon the new Bishop and the work in India.
The Good Shepherd work in India includes several thousand Churches across 20 states of India, 110 English medium schools for the poor and depressed sections of society in 15 states, 80 major community health initiatives across India, economic empowerment, anti-trafficking work and the Bible distribution work of OM Books.
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