HISTORY OF THE CHURCH
The church is situated on the southern side of the Velachery-Taramani Link Road. It is a monument of great sacrifice and dedicated service of the senior members of the church, liberal donation given by the Diocese of Madras, prayer partners and well wishers in and around. The church building with tall spire and cross, enchanting arch windows and doors was erected and dedicated to almighty God on 24th December 1994.It attracts hundreds of people from different religions everyday for prayer and meditation. Many bear witness to the fact their prayers are heard and answered by the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Simple & Humble Beginning
In the year 1975, a few families which were brought up in the tradition of Church of South India,were living scattered around Velachery. Velachery was once a village where American Advent Mission and Methodist missionaries had already established churches some 150 years ago. But believers of CSI tradition had to go to attend worship service at CSI churches in Adyar, Saidapet and faraway places in the city of Madras. At this point of time CSI pastors from Saidapet, Rev.C.S.Vethakkan and Rev. Deva Anbu started meeting these families and encouraged them to organize a CSI church in this part of suburb.
In the year 1980, Mr. R.S. John opened the door of his house for CSI gathering every Sunday for prayer. The number of families at the time of such assembly was 10, soon it swelled into 30. Rev.T. Jefferson David regularly visited from CSI Church of Jesus the Saviour, Saidapet and conducted worship services and encouraged the believers to establish a new CSI church in this area and also helped to get affiliation to Diocese of Madras.
It was on 16th August 1981, the Diocese of Madras recognized the gathering as CSI Good Shepherd Church and attached as a Branch Church to CSI Church of Jesus the Saviour, Saidapet under the stewardship of Rev. A.Jeevarathinam. Thus the birth of CSI Good Shepherd church took place in the upper room of Mr.R.S.John fondly called as “Uncle John” by all.
As the congregation continued to increase, the need for a separate edifice for the church was felt. The land cost was very high, the tiny congregation was unable to raise fund. But, Rt.Rev.Dr. Sundar Clark, Bishop in Madras extended a helping hand. By his efforts and generosity the Diocese of Madras purchased on 21st April 1983, the present site measuring 5.5.ground for a sum of Rupees One lakh and seventy thousand.
A well was dug at a cost of Rupees twelve thousand only. Bishop Sundar Clark laid foundation for a small prayers house on 23rd July 1983. A brick structure with thatched roof measuring 1539 square feet was raised at a cost of Rupees thirty four thousand. It was inaugurated on 29th April 1984 by Rev. Christopher Solomon, the Area Chairman. This is the building which now being used as Parish Hall.
From 1st June 1985, Rev. J.Christian from CSI Church of Jesus the Saviour, Saidapet conducted service in our church. During his period the thatched roof was changed into asbestos cement sheet roof. A quarters for Sexton with Mangalore tiles was also built alongside of the prayer house. The total expenditure incurred on this work was Rupees ninety one thousand. It was dedicated on 18th August 1985 by Rt. Rev.H.S.Thanaraj, the Bishop Commissary.
Recognising the growth of the church, the Diocese of Madras appointed an Assistant Presbyter as a fulltime pastor and his hard work brought many more families into our congregation. On 1st June 1988, the church, which was so far functioned as a Branch church under CSI Church of Jesus the Saviour, Saidapet was separated from its mother church and identified as an independent unit with a full time pastor. Rev.Dr.Jeans.I.Jayachandran was the first full time Presbyter appointed exclusively for our church on 01st June 1988. During his period the congregation grew in leap and bounds. There was no place to accommodate a huge number of believers. Prayer group, Women Fellowship, Sunday school and Choir were started. An electronic Organ was purchased for the use of choir.
As the size of congregation increased, the demand for its accommodation was also increased. On 23rd April 1990, The Diocese accorded permission to raise fund to construct a new church building at an estimate of Rupees fifteen lakhs. Rt.Rev.Dr.M.Azariah, the Bishop in Madras participated in the “Turning the Sod” function on 7th October 1990. The Church Advisory Committee under the Chairmanship of Rev.Dr.Jeans.I.Jayachandran worked hard to get approval from Madras Metropolitan Development Authority and Corporation of Madras. Rev.Dr.Jeans.I.Jayachandran was transferred on 31st May 1992. In his place Rev.G.Wellington Jesudoss who came as Deacon, was ordained and posted as a young Presbyter on 01st June 1992.
Construction of the Present Church Building
Rt.Rev.Dr.M.Azariah, Bishop in Madras laid foundation stone on 1st September 1993. The Advisory Committee consisting of Rev.Oliver.T.Arockiam, as Chairman, Rev. G.Welllington Jesudoss Presbyter In-charge, Mr.A.F Nappoly (Secretary up to 19.6.1993) Mr.N.Devasahayam (Secretary from 20.6.1993 onwards), Mr.S.Samuel (Treasurer) and Members: Mr.S.Moses Manoharan, Mr.J.M.D.Yesupatham, Mr.M.Sathyaseelan, Mr.Y.Vethamanickam and Mrs.Hema Selvaraj worked day and night, raised fund and supervised the construction work at every stage. Mr. Prabhakar Devaraj an architect of Pithavadian & Co and our church member, offered his service free of cost. The congregation members donated generously money as well as construction materials. Some of them raised personal loan from the bank and gave to the church to meet immediate expenses. Apart from this, it is note-worthy to mention here that women members of the church gave their jewels for pledging in the bank and to raise fund for the purchase of Cement, wood, steel etc. The church building construction was completed within a record period of 17 months at a cost of Rs 24,00,000/-( Rupees twenty four lakhs). The new Church edifice was dedicated to the Lord and our Good Shepherd Jesus Christ on 24th December 1994, by Rt.Rev.Dr.Azariah, Bishop in Madras.