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CHI Museum Exhibit Opens on Missouri Synod Mission Work in India

Dedication of new congregation at Madras India Aug. 18, 1923

In its ongoing mission to preserve and proclaim the history of the Missouri Synod, Concordia Historical Institute is excited to announce the opening of the museum exhibit “The Mercy of Christ Freely Given: The First Twenty-Seven Years of Missouri Synod Mission Work in South India.

As the LCMS commemorates 125 years of mission work in India, this exhibit chronicles the people and events that led up to the first missionary commissioned and sent in 1894 as well as the first native Indian pastor ordained in 1921. The exhibit opens to the public on Friday, August 16 and is open weekdays between 9:00 and 4:00 until February 26, 2021.

Numerous photographs of Missouri Synod mission work in India from the CHI MELIM Online photo collection of over 11,000 photographs are on display. The exhibit features six men and women involved in Lutheran mission work in South India: Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg, Eduard Baierlein, C. M. Zorn, Theodor Naether, Louise Ellerman, and G. Jesudason. Each of these six are included in CHI’s “Faces of Lutheran Missions in India” bulletin insert and handout series (available in English and the India languages of Tamil and Malyalam). These free resources are available for download on the CHI website.

The 125th anniversary of LCMS mission work in India was also the theme of several articles in CHI’s journal Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly (Spring and Summer 2019 issues). “Walking through this exhibit opens up the rich and blessed history of Christ’s mercy freely given to the people of South India regardless of language, religious background or caste.

The exhibit spotlights the passion the missionaries had for the people of India, and—at the same time—their dedication and faithfulness to the Word of Christ,” remarked Dr. Daniel Harmelink, Executive Director of Concordia Historical Institute. “CHI looks forward to sharing this special exhibit with those within driving distance of Concordia Historical Institute, and with others around the world through the resources offered on the CHI website.”

A printed exhibit catalog is being planned for release at a later date for those who are unable to visit the exhibit in person.

Concordia Historical Institute is located on the campus of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis at 804 Seminary Place, Clayton, Missouri 63105. CHI is the Department of Archives and History of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and strives to be the premier provider of historical resources on Lutheranism in North America.

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