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Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church

Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church
Classification Protestant
Polity Episcopal
Moderator Bishop K.Fredrick Paradesi Babu
Associations National Council of Churches in India, WCC
Region Andhra Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Founder United Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Origin 1842
Branched from Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Congregations 5000
Members 2.500.000baptized
Ministers 850
Hospitals 9
Primary schools 24
Data as of September 2008. 43rd Biennial Report 2007, page 6.
Office Bearers of the AELC[1]
  • President

Bishop K. Fredrick Paradesi Babu[2]

  • Vice-President


  • Secretary

Smt. J. Mary Grace Raja Kishore

  • Treasurer

MrB.C.Raja Ratnam[3]

Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church (AELC)[4] was constituted in the year 1927 in Andhra Pradesh, India. It is the Indian successor to the United Lutheran Church in America which was started as a self-supporting, self-governing, and self-propagating church among Telugu Christians.[5]


In India

Bartholomaeus Ziegenbalg and Heinrich Plütschau of the Danish-Halle Missionary Society at Tranquebar were the first Protestant Missionaries to India who were Lutherans.

In Andhra Pradesh

The AELC was founded as a mission field of the then United Lutheran Church in America (ULCA) by John Christian Frederick Heyer (known as Father Heyer) on 31 July 1842.[9]

As a first step, schools were established. With new baptisms, the confidence of the missionaries increased. Later hospitals were established.



The current Moderator / Bishop of the AELC is Bishop K.Fredarick Paradesi Babu.[2]

For administrative purposes, six synods have been established, each taken care of by a Synod President. A 24-member Executive Council whose members are drawn from the six synods administers the Church society.[10]

Synod Presidents of the AELC[11]
  • Visakha Synod

Rev. V. G. Devadas

  • East Godavari Synod

Rev. P.David Raju

  • West Godavari Synod

Rev. D . L. Phinehas

  • East Guntur Synod

Rev. K.Ratna Mohan

  • Central Guntur Synod

Rev. Ch. Elia

  • West Guntur Synod

Rev. A. Bhaskara Rao

Moderator / Bishop

The Executive Council of this Church Society elects a set of office-bearers each quadrennium.[12] The Moderator / Bishop heads this century-old Church Society. In earlier nomenclature, the term President was used. However, with the arrival of Rev. G. Emmanuel, the nomenclature was changed to Moderator / Bishop to denote a more ecclesiastical term. However, the term President also continues to be used.

Women's ordination

For long, women's ordination in the AELC was taboo. One of the first theologically trained women of this Church, the Fuller Theological Seminary-educated Rev. Dr B. V. Subbamma[13] could have been ordained long ago. But Church leaders, fearing her leadership kept the issue of women's ordination aside.[14]

However, with sustained efforts and dialogue of Dr. K. Rajaratnam, Rev. Dr. Prasanna Kumari Samuel, and Dr. Monica J. Melanchton of the Gurukul Lutheran Theological College and Research Institute (GLTCRI), the dream of women's ordination became a reality. With the active cooperation of the then President, Bishop G. Emmanuel, seventeen women were ordained into pastoral ministry on 20 February 1999.[13]

See also


  1. ^ Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church, Almanac 2008, Published by the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church, Post Box Number 205, Guntur 522 002. The almanac does not include the name of the recently-elected President Prof. Suneel Bhanu
  2. ^ a b Professor B. Suneel Bhanu was elected as the President of the AELC for a term of four years beginning from 1 June 2009 replacing Bishop V. E. Christopher. Professor Bhanu pursued theological studies up to M. Th. under the Senate of Serampore College (University). Prof. Bhanu taught at the prestigious Bishop's College in Kolkata and thereafter at the Gurukul Lutheran Theological College in Chennai. Although the Professor holds a PhD from Japan, it is not recognised by the Senate of Serampore College (University). The Senate of Serampore College (University) is a University under Section 2(f) of the University Grants Commission. [1]
  3. ^ Rev.
  4. ^ United Evangelical Lutheran Churches in India [2] AELC
  5. ^ Kolluri Luther Richardson, Towards Self-Reliance : A historical survey of the programmes and efforts of Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church from 1927–1969, Published by Christopher and Kanakaiah, Vijayawada, 2003.
  6. ^ Lutheran World [3] Worldwide Faith News
  7. ^ National Council of Churches in India [4] Affiliate Members
  8. ^ UELCI [5] Member Churches
  9. ^ Luther Richardson, Kolluri, Rev., Towards Self-Reliance, p. xi, Editorial by Rev. Dr. D. V. Daniel
  10. ^ Almanac 2008, pp. 1–8
  11. ^ Almanac 2008, p. 3
  12. ^ Ibid.
  13. ^ a b Lutheran World [6] Worldwide Faith News
  14. ^ Victor Premasagar, Indian Women in Evangelism and Theology, Published by Dr. B. V. Subbamma, October 2005. pp. 12–15

Further reading

List of Presidentships
  • 1944–1950, E. Prakasam
  • 1951–1955, A. N. Gopal
  • 1956–1960, G. Devasahayam
  • 1961–1962, K. Krupadanam
  • 1963–1964, G. Devasahayam
  • 1965–1969, K. Devasahayam
  • 1969–1981, S. W. Schmitthenner
  • 1981–1989, K. Nathaniel
  • 1993–1997, M. Victor Paul
  • 1997–2000, G. Emmanuel,
  • 2000–2001, N. Ch. Joseph
  • 2001–2005, Ch. Victor Moses
  • 2005–2009, V. E. Christopher
  • 2009–2013, B. Suneel Bhanu
  • 2013-2017, K.Fredrick Paradesi Babu