Church of God (Full Gospel) in India
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
The work of the Church of God was started in India by the American missionary Robert F. Cook. Cook worked in India during the 1913s through the 1940s. After some attempts to begin a Pentecostal work in northern parts of India, Cook realized that there were ancient Christian communities in southern India, especially in Kerala. After arriving in Kerala, he fell in love with the land and the people. He crossed paths with a man named Kalloor Chacko, of Thrikkannamangal, Kottarakara. While a prominent figure in the Indian Brethren Church in India, Chacko accepted the teachings of Cook regarding the work of the Holy Spirit. The two joined hands to establish the first registered Pentecostal church in India. It was named the Church of God. Cook, meanwhile, joined the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee). The two built the first church building on land set aside by Chacko.
Mulakuzha ,Chengannur(Kerala State), Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Western Region, Eastern Region and Northern Region worked hand in hand with Cook to establish numerous works in various parts of Kerala. As time went by, disagreements over doctrine and organizational structure led to many of these early leaders parting ways. Disagreement with Chacko also resulted in Cook relocating the headquarters to Mulakuzha. The founder of the Ceylon Pentecostal Mission Rev. Ramankutty, later known as Pastor Paul, also worked with Cook for some time before starting off on his own path.
Early leaders that worked with Cook in building up the Church of God in its early days in Mulakuzha,Chengannur, include Rev. T.M. Varghese and Rev. U. Thomas. When laws were passed that forbade foreign missionaries in India, it was T.M. Varghese that served as the Field Secretary. When the church had developed to the point that it was granted its own leadership, Rev. U. Thomas served as the first Overseer.
The Church was divided into three districts. These included Kerala State, Tamil Nadu and Central Region. Kerala State was later divided into two at the request of the brothers of Dravidian Race . The new region was named Kerala Division and is now named Kerala Region, with headquarters in Kottayam. The region of Andhra Pradesh was included. The work that was started and run by Rev. Samuel John was incorporated into the Church as the Northern Region. In the 90's, under the leadership of Rev. KM Thankachan, the Central Region was divided into two regions with Bombay as the headquarters of the Western Region and Calcutta as the headquarters of the Eastern Region. There are many departments now under the Church. They provide and undertake many activities for the believers. This church is registered under societies registration act.