Rt. Rev. Dr. Samuel Amritham, a great ecumenical figure from India, passed away on September 26, 2017 in his hometown Parassala (Kerala, India) at the age of 85.
After completing his bachelor’s degree in Divinity, he was appointed as pastor in the London Mission Pastorate Church, Parassala (now named the Abbs Memorial Church after founder and LMS Missionary Rev. John Abbs). He was instrumental in the construction of the new Church building. His efforts behind the installation of the electric bell, the electric cluster lights, and the lightning arrester are appreciable.
He was also a tutor in Physics at Scott Christian College Nagercoil, lecturer at the United Theological Seminary Bangalore, and visiting professor at the Garret Theological Seminary. In 1969, Rt. Rev. Dr. Amritham was appointed as the first principal of the Tamil Nadu Theological Seminary in Madurai. He introduced the gurukulam model of community living at the seminary, and is known for having established a living theology concept. The Rural Theological Institute was thus established, and he became its director. He established the Palmyrah Workers Development Society (PWDS) in 1977.
He was Director of the Programme on Theological Education and Director of the Ecumenical Institute, Bossey of the World Church Council (WCC) from 1980 to 1990. In 1986, Rt. Rev. Dr. Amritham and C. H. S. introduced a new concept when they presented as “The Teaching of Ecumenics” at the WCC. The next year, they co-edited a book by the same name.
Rt. Rev. Dr. Amritham was the bishop of the South Kerala Diocese of the Church of South India between 1990 and 1997. He also spent many years working with the World Council of Churches in Geneva, writing and lecturing on ecumenical issues. As of 2009, he served was president of Grace Kennet Hospital in Madurai.
National Council of Churches in India shares with other ecumenical Institutions and Churches the grief of this great loss. We pray that God would comfort and strengthen the family. With the immense and important contributions of Rt. Rev. Dr. Sam Amritham to the Church and ecumenical movement, he will be remembered with gratitude to God, and with a sense of continuing inspiration to seek after the vision and direction that he clarified with his exemplary leadership and faithful service.
- Prayer (9:00 am – 11:00 am | Sept. 29, 2017 | LMS Compound – Trivandrum);
- Funeral service (3:00 pm | Sept. 29, 2017 | Cheruvarakonam ).