Andhra Christian Theological College

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Andhra Christian Theological College
ఆంధ్ర క్రైస్తవ వేదాంత కళాశాల
Andhra Christian Theological College (emblem).jpg
Motto in English For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry...
Established July 1,[1] 1964
Type Seminary
Academic affiliation Senate of Serampore College (University), Serampore 712201, West Bengal
Location Lower Tank Bund Road, Gandhinagar Post, Hyderabad 500 080, Andhra Pradesh. Telephone: 91 040 2761 3892, Telangana, India
17°25′36″N 78°27′10″E / 17.42667°N 78.45278°E / 17.42667; 78.45278
Director Bishop K. Frederick Paradesi Babu, AELC (Chairperson)[2]
Principal The Rev. T. Mathews Emmanuel, CBCNC, D.Th. (Serampore)
Academic staff 15+[3]

Andhra Christian Theological College Telugu is a special purpose entity - a near ecumenical enterprise[4] of some of the Ecclesiastical societies in Andhra Pradesh/Telangana in India founded in 1964[5] and affiliated to the nation's first[6] University, the Senate of Serampore College (University) {a University under Section 2 (f) of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956[7]}[8]with degree-granting authority validated by a Danish charter and ratified by the Government of West Bengal.

ACTC is situated on the banks of Hussain Sagar excess water canal (north) in Gandhinagar, Hyderabad, Telangana with good access to the nearest Railway Station, Secunderabad Junction barely 4[9] kilometres away.

Participating Protestant Ecclesiastical Societies
(in reverse alphabetical order)

History of the College[edit]

Succession of Old Testament and Hebrew Language Faculty

Founding societies[edit]

The College was first founded in 1964 in the campus of the Lutheran Theological College in Rajahmundry. From the inception of the College, the founding Church societies included,[22]

In 1967,[24] the Samavesam of Telugu Baptist Churches Society ran its B.D. classes within the premises of ACTC and in 1972[25] the B.D. section of the Ramayapatnam Baptist Theological Seminary was fully integrated[23] into the College Society. During the Principalship of M. Victor Paul (1991-1993), the Good Samaritan Evangelical Lutheran Church Society joined the College Society.

Missionaries in Andhra Pradesh were involved in spreading[26] the Word of God. With a sizeable converts at hand the need for ministering them was possible only with Priests. With this, they started to open seminaries - in Gooty (Union Theological Seminary),[27] Dornakal (Andhra Union Theological College [28]) to cater to the Church of South India, Ramayapatnam (Baptist Theological Seminary) for the American Baptists, Luthergiri.[29] (Lutheran Theological College) for the Lutherans, in Kakinada (Baptist Theological Seminary) for the Canadian Baptists, and Shamshabad (Mennonite Brethren Bible College) for the Mennonite Brethren.

There was exchange of Professors between the Seminaries. However, for higher education (Bachelor of Divinity), they had to send their students to West Bengal where Serampore College is located.

Kretzmann Commission[edit]

In 1969, the College Society constituted the Kretzmann Commission[30] comprising,

The Kretzmann Commission Report which was tabled before the Board of Governors suggested increasing the curriculum content leading to Bachelor of Divinity and doing away with the erstwhile Licentiate in Theology programme.

Merger of entities[edit]

In 1964, the College was set up in Luthergiri in the river town of Rajahmundry in East Godavari District with the coming together of the following three[31] theological colleges,[32] viz.,

On formation of the College with W. D. Coleman as its first Principal, the College was inaugurated on July 1,[1] 1964 by R. M. Clark[1] of the BTESSC[34] while the inaugural address was delivered by the Registrar of the Senate of Serampore College (University), C. Devasahayam in Rajahmundry.[35]

Later on, in July[1] 1967,[24] the Ramayapatnam Baptist Theological Seminary, Ramayapatnam functioned within the premises of the College in Rajahmundry as a separate entity until it merged fully in 1972[25] in the presence of Louis F. Knoll and W. P. Peery.

The College relocated from Rajahmundry to Secunderabad due to pollution from nearby Paper Mills. By 1973[36] the college in its entirety was moved from Rajahmundry to Secunderabad and the new buildings were inaugurated by the CSI-Bishop P. Solomon in the presence of the Catholic Archbishop S. Arulappa and the seminarians from the St. John's Regional Seminary.[37]

By virtue of postal re-classification in the 1990s, the civil jurisdiction of the College location fell under Hyderabad (now in Telangana).

Governance and administration[edit]

Board of Governors[edit]

Succession of New Testament and Greek Language Faculty

The College Society is administered by the Board of Governors composed of representatives of the participating Protestant Ecclesiastical Societies hailing from,


The College motto is derived from Ephesians 4:12, which in the Latin Vulgate reads "Ad consummationem sanctorum in opus ministerii..."[49] which translates into "For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry..." in the King James Version.

The Hall System[edit]

W. D. Coleman, the first Principal of the College explains the Hall System as:[50]

Each of the participating denominations has its own 'hall'. There are two hours of instruction each week about the liturgy, history, and policy of each denomination.

The Ecclesiastical societies commonly associated with Protestantism in southern India include those from the Church of South India, Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists among others. Each Church has a tradition of its own. In ACTC, apart from teaching of theological subjects, students are also taught their respective Church doctrine.[51] This is of course extra curricular and does not part form part of the syllabi prescribed by the University.


Principalship is for a term of four years. Each participating Ecclesiastical society gets a chance on rotation. Currently, the four-year cycle of Principalship is with the Convention of Baptist Churches of Northern Circars. T. Matthews Emmanuel is the present Principal.

Succession of Principals[edit]

Years Society
(on rotation)
Congregation Succession of Principals
1964–1972 AELC Lutheran The Rev.W. D. Coleman, AELC, Ph.D. (Hartford),
The Rev.W. P. Peery, AELC, Ph.D. (Duke)
1972–1980 CSI Wesleyan The Rev.P. Victor Premasagar, CSI, Ph.D. (St Andrews)
1980–1986 CBCNC Baptist The Rev.K. David, CBCNC, Ph.D. (Edinburgh)
1986–1990 STBC Baptist The Rev. S. Joseph, STBC, D.Th. (Serampore)
1990–1994 AELC Lutheran The Rev.M. Victor Paul, AELC, D.Min. (Luther),
The Rev. G. Sampurna Rao, AELC, D.Min. (McCormick),
1994–1998 CSI Wesleyan The Rev.R. Yesurathnam, CSI, D.Th. (Serampore)
1998–2002 CBCNC Baptist The Rev.K. D. G. Prakasa Rao, CBCNC, M.Th. (Serampore),
The Rev. D. J. Jeremiah, CBCNC, M.Th. (Serampore),
2002–2006 STBC Baptist The Rev. B. J. Christie Kumar, STBC, M.Th. (Serampore)
2006–2010 AELC Lutheran The Rev.N. V. Luther Paul, AELC, D.Th. (Serampore)
2010–2014 CSI Wesleyan The Rev. Ch. Vasantha Rao, CSI, Dr. Theol. (Hamburg)
2014–2018 CBCNC Baptist The Rev. T. Mathews Emmanuel, CBCNC, D.Th. (Serampore)

Serampore University affiliation[edit]

Metropolitan Mar Aprem Mooken of the Assyrian Church of the East, an eminent Church Historian[52] with nearly 76 published works, visited the College in 1988 during the triennial conference of the Church History Association of India.[53]

The College was affiliated since its founding in 1964 to the Senate of Serampore College (University) and continues to be an important affiliated College.[54]

Residential courses for Pastors[edit]

As the nature[55] of the degrees offered by the University is to empower the Pastors, it offers two degrees based on the entry level requirements,

Non-residential courses for Christians and non-Christians (Distance mode)[edit]

The College admits Protestant, Orthodox and Catholics to the non-residential courses offered through the distance mode,[56] for graduate and postgraduate courses offered by the University,

  • Bachelor of Christian Studies (B.C.S.),[54]
  • Master of Christian Studies (M.C.S.),[54]

The College also admits people of both Christian and of other faiths to the Diploma in Christian Studies (Dip. C.S.) also awarded by the University.

  • Diploma in Christian Studies (Dip. C.S.)[54]

Registrar's Visitations[edit]

When the College was founded in 1964, the Registrar of the University, C. Devasahayam, CBCNC delivered the inaugural address.[35] As the years' progressed, D. S. Satyaranjan as Registrar of the University used to visit the College annually.

During the present times, S. K. Patro, the Registrar of the University first visited the College a year ago to evaluate the College and other affiliated institutions of the University in Hyderabad to look into the prospects of upgrading the College to a postgraduate level.[57]

University Convocations[edit]

The Senate of Serampore College (University), Serampore, West Bengal to which the College is affiliated to.


In February 1979,[58] the Convocation of the Senate of Serampore College (University) was hosted by the College during the period of the Old Testament Scholars, Victor Premasagar, CSI and G. Babu Rao, CBCNC who had by that time already joined the College after a period of teaching at Serampore College.[59]

The 1979 Convocation of the University held at the College was attended by D. S. Satyaranjan, the Registrar of the University and A. D. Khan, the Master of the University. That year, the President of the Senate was Victor Premasagar.[60] The Commemoration Mass was led by G. Babu Rao, CBCNC at the St. Gregorious Malankara Orthodox Syrian Cathedral in the neighbourhood[61] of the College.[62] while the convocation address was delivered by Father Samuel Rayan,[58] S.J..[60]


The College hosted[57] the 2016 convocation of the Senate of Serampore College (University) during the present incumbency of the two Old Testament Scholars, T. Matthews Emmanuel,[57] CBCNC and Ch. Vasantha Rao, CSI. The University was represented by John Sadananda,[57] the Master of the University, Issac Mar Philoxenos,[57] the President[60] of the Senate, P. G. George,[57] the Dean of SATHRI and S. K. Patro, the Registrar of the University. The Convocation address was delivered by Klaus Schäfer.[60]

At the 2016 convocation of the University, the honorary doctorate degree by honoris causa was conferred upon D. S. Satyaranjan[57] who incidentally led the 1979 convocation of the University held at the College and also Klaus Schäfer,[57] a former faculty of the College who taught New Testament during 1988[63]-1993.[64]

ATA affiliation[edit]

The college has also embarked on an initiative to admit candidates to the Master of Divinity programme for the Protestant, Orthodox and Catholics, for which it has sought[3] affiliation from the Asia Theological Association.



The Teachers at ACTC have substantial pastoral experience and theological grounding. The present Teachers include:[3]

Present Faculty at the Andhra Christian Theological College with subjects taught
Discipline Faculty Name Gen
Alma Mater University
Old Testament The Rev. Ch. Vasantha Rao, CSI
(Principal-designate of UTC, Bangalore w.e.f. 1.10.2017)[65]
M Wesleyan Dr. Theol. Missions Academy, Hamburg[66] Hamburg
Old Testament The Rev. T. Matthews Emmanuel, CBCNC M Baptist D.Th. SATHRI, Bangalore[67] Serampore
New Testament The Rev. V. Manikya Rao, AELC M Lutheran D.Th. SATHRI, Bangalore[68] Serampore
New Testament The Rev. Ch. Helen Salomy, STBC F Baptist M.Th. UTC, Bangalore[69] Serampore
Religions The Rev. T. Swami Raju, AELC M Lutheran D.Th. SATHRI, Bangalore[70] Serampore
Religions The Rev. P. Alexander, SALC M Lutheran M.Th. Gurukul, Chennai[71] Serampore
Religions The Rev. S. Vijaya Kumari, STBC F Baptist M.Th. HMI, Hyderabad/
UTC, Bangalore[72]
History of Christianity The Rev. K. L. Richardson, AELC M Lutheran M.Th. UTC, Bangalore[73] Serampore
History of Christianity The Rev. G. Moses, STBC M Baptist M.Th. TTS, Madurai[74] Serampore
Missiology The Rev. Ch. J. Ananda Prakash, AELC M Lutheran M.Th. Gurukul, Chennai[75] Serampore
Social Analysis The Rev. M. Yonathan, STBC M Baptist M.Th. TTS, Madurai[76] Serampore
Christian Ethics The Rev. B. S. Vara Kumar, CSI M Congregational D.Th. UTC, Bangalore[77] Serampore
Systematic Theology The Rev. S. I. Nirmal Kumar, CBCNC M Baptist M.Th. NIIPGTS, Kolkata/Serampore[75] Serampore
Systematic Theology The Rev. B. N. Ratna Prakash, AELC M Lutheran M.Th. TTS, Madurai[78] Serampore
Homiletics The Rev. K. T. Vijay Kumar, CSI M Anglican M.Th. TTS, Madurai[79] Serampore
Counselling The Sr. L. Anitha, MCI F Methodist M.Th. Gurukul, Chennai[80] Serampore
Faculty on study leave from the Andhra Christian Theological College with details of study undertaken
Discipline Faculty Name Gen
Course registered Institution/University
Old Testament The Rev. R. Jeeva Kumar,[81] STBC
(on study leave 2014-2017)
M Baptist M.Th. D.Th.
in Old Testament
UTC, Bangalore/
Christian Ministry The Rev. Y. J. Rajendra Prasad,[82] STBC
(on study leave 2016-2019)
M Baptist M.Th. D.Th. in
Christian Ministry
UTC, Bangalore/


Students are admitted on quota-basis linked to the representation factor of the participating Ecclesiastical societies and taught varied subjects of religion. An entrance test is conducted before admission. Church sponsorship is a must before joining. Integrated Bachelor of Divinity (five years) course is affiliated to the Senate of Serampore College (University).



The college has a well-equipped library including reading room facilities with more than 38,000[83] books on its racks besides 35 subscribed periodicals.

Naming of the Library[edit]

Since the founding of the College in 1964, the library was called as the Dunkelberger Memorial Library[1] as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America[84] had transferred certain proceeds[84] to the memory of The Rev. Roy Martin Dunkelberger,[85] AELC, a Lutheran missionary who served in Rajahmundry.[86]

In 2014,[87] the library was renamed as the Gipson Memorial Library in honour of the Baptist Missionary, The Rev. T. G. Gipson, STBC, who had modernized the library during his second stint as a visiting faculty at the College. The renaming ceremony took place during the Principalship of The Rev. T. Matthews Emmanuel, CBCNC in the presence of the Chairperson of the Board of Governors, Bishop K. Frederick Paradesi Babu, AELC, and Bishop V. Prasada Rao, CSI, a member of the Board of Governors.

Student life[edit]


ACTC has several recreational facilities, including a throwball court, a tennis court, a basketball court, a volleyball court, a table tennis room and a large ground that is used for playing football and cricket.


Every morning, Mass is said in the Chapel for the Students and the Teachers. On Sundays, the Chapel is also used for Mass for the general public too. Many festivals also take place here exclusive to the ACTC community, including Christian Home Festival, Carey Day, CSI Day, Reformation Day, Independence Day.

Notable people[edit]


Notable faculty over the years' include,



  1. ^ a b c d e Margaret Eunice Hawkinson née Coleman, That they may be one - The Story of the Andhra Christian Theological College, Published by the Mission Council of the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church, and printed at the Lenox Press, Madurai. [1]
  2. ^ Web site of the College
  3. ^ a b c Principal's Annual Report 2015-2016 in the 52nd graduation service booklet of the Andhra Christian Theological College, 2016, pp.17-30.
  4. ^ Roger E. Hedlund, World Christianity: South Asia, Missions Advanced Research and Communication Center, 1980, p.48. [2]
  5. ^ M. Ezra Sargunam (Edited), Mission Mandate: A compendium of the perspective of missions in India, Mission India, Madras, 1992, p.495. [3]
  6. ^ Sankar Ray, The Hindu (Business Line), 11 April 2008 Almost a century later, the charter was endorsed officially under the Bengal Govt Act IV of 1918. Internet, accessed 30 November 2008. [4]
  7. ^ "UGC Act-1956" (PDF). Secretary, University Grants Commission. Retrieved 1 February 2016. 
  8. ^ The Senate of Serampore College (University) is a University within the meaning of Section 2 (f) of the UGC Act, 1956 under which a University means a University established or incorporated by or under a Central Act, a Provincial Act or a State Act, and includes any such institution as may, in consultation with the University concerned, be recoginsed by the Commission in accordance with the regulations made in this behalf under this Act. The UGC took the opinion that the Senate fell under the purview of Section 2 (f) of the said Act since The Serampore College Act, 1918 was passed by the Government of West Bengal.[5]
  9. ^ Google Maps
  10. ^ Doctoral Dissertations in History, 1958, p.26
  11. ^ a b c d e f Talathoti Punnaiah, My Memoir, Ministry and Message - 60 years Life Experiences 1950-2010, Self-published by the author, Kakinada, 2010, pp.11, 12, 18, 23, 33.
  12. ^ The Times of India Directory and Year Book Including Who's Who, Bennett and Coleman, Bombay, 1954, p.961.[6]
  13. ^ John C. England, et al. (Edited), Asian Christian Theologies, Volume 2, ISPCK, New Delhi, 2002, pp.275-276. [7]
  14. ^ Gaddala Solomon, The Concept of Suffering in the Bible and in Hinduism, Eastern University (United States), Pennsylvania, 1957. [8]
  15. ^ Guide to Indian Periodical Literature, Volume 23, 1989, p.57
  16. ^ Faith Lutheran Church, Volume 2, Issue 9, September 2015, p.3
  17. ^ Missionalia, Volume 32, 2004, p.305
  18. ^ Missionalia, Volume 35, 2007, p.148
  19. ^ Journal of the Henry Martyn Institute, Volume 18, Issue 1, 1999, p.4.[9]
  20. ^ Guide to Indian Periodical Literature, Volume 43, 2006, p.133
  21. ^ Ravela Jeeva Kumar, Struggle for land rights in 1 Kings 21 : a dalit hermeneutic perspective, ISPCK, New Delhi, 2012. [10]
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  27. ^ Edmund Davies draws attention to Prof. Wilfred Scopes, a Missionary of the London Missionary Society who taught in the seminaries in Gooty and Dornakal. Edmund Davis, The History of Theological Education in Jamaica: The United Theological College of the West Indies and its four antecedent colleges (1841-1966), 1998, page 167. [14]
  28. ^ Library file
  29. ^ Winnipeg Free Press [15] United Lutheran Church Advances - The Board sends new missionaries to each of six foreign mission fields. Retrieved 23 April 2006.
  30. ^ Martin Kretzmann (1906-2000) was a missionary to India and was also instrumental in affiliating the Concordia Theological Seminary, Nagercoil with the Senate of Serampore College (University). [16] Internet, accessed 23 April 2006.
  31. ^ J. Herbert Kane, A Global View of Christian Missions from Pentecost to the Present, Baker Book House, 1971, p.120. [17]
  32. ^ Victor Premasagar "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 June 2004. Retrieved 2006-04-25.  Interpretive Diary of a Bishop, Chennai, 2001, p.88
  33. ^ a b c 1966 Yearbook of the Lutheran Church in America, United Lutheran publication house, 1965, p.11.[18]
  34. ^ Board of Theological Education of the National Council of Churches in India as it was called then.
  35. ^ a b The Lutheran, Volume 2, Lutheran Church in America, 1964, p.30
  36. ^ Minutes of the Biennial Convention, Issue 7, Lutheran Church in America, 1974, p.553.[19]
  37. ^ ACTC web site. Milestones
  38. ^ K. M. Hiwale (Compiled), Directory 1910-1997 of the United Theological College, Bangalore, 1997, p.111
  39. ^ Indian Journal of Theology, Volume 18, 2-3, April–September 1969, p.196. [20]
  40. ^ University of Edinburgh Journal, Volume 35, 1991, p.193
  41. ^ Victor Paul has a postgraduate degree in New Testament from the Senate of Serampore College (University). In addition, he also has has a doctoral degree in the field of Christian Ministry.
  42. ^ The Bulletin of the Henry Martyn Institute of Islamic Studies, Volume 12, 1993, p.2.[21]
  43. ^ Reconciliation as the mission of God, Reconciliation Network, 2005, p.23.[22]
  44. ^ International Bulletin of Missionary Research, Volume 19, Number 2, April 1995, p.67.[23]
  45. ^ List of Recipients of Doctor of Theology Degree, Senate of Serampore College (University). [24]
  46. ^ Lisa Lohnes, W5 on Missions, Tidings, p.16, September 2012
  47. ^ Church of South India Synod, Diocese of Medak. [25]
  48. ^ Minutes of the Meeting of the Working Committee of the Academic Council held on July 17, 2012, p.32.
  49. ^ Vulgate, Ephesians 4 Retrieved 23 April 2006.
  50. ^ Edgar R. Trexler, Mission in a New World, Fortress Press, 1977. p. 29.[26]
  51. ^ The American Lutheran, American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi (town), New York, 1965. p. 12. [27]
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  53. ^ Studies in Sikhism and Comparative Religion, Volume 8, 1989, p.63
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  55. ^ Nature of Serampore degrees
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  57. ^ a b c d e f g h Address of the President of the Senate, 2016 Convocation of the University. [31]
  58. ^ a b Religion and Society, Volume 26, Issue 2, Christian Institute for the Study of Religion and Society, Bangalore, 1979, p.77. [32]
  59. ^ The Story of Serampore and its College, Council of Serampore College, Serampore (Fourth Edition), 2005, p.92.
  60. ^ a b c d Senate Presidents and Speakers at Convocations
  61. ^ St. Gregorious Malankara Orthodox Syrian Cathedral, Gandhinagar, Hyderabad. [33]
  62. ^ Convocation brochure of the University, 1979, Secunderabad
  63. ^ The Bulletin of the Henry Martyn Institute of Islamic Studies, Volume 12, 1993, p.2. [34]
  64. ^ Bangalore Theological Forum, Volumes 25-26, 1993, p.37
  65. ^ UTC Blogspot
  66. ^ Johann Anselm Steiger (Edited), 500 Jahre Theologie in Hamburg: Hamburg als Zentrum christlicher Theologie und Kultur zwischen Tradition und Zukunft, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, 2005, pp.473, 477.[35]
  67. ^ National Council of Churches Review, Volume 121, 2001, p.209
  68. ^ Minutes of the Executive Committee, held on November 27, 2012, p.2
  69. ^ Minutes of the Meeting of the Working Committee of the Academic Council held on July 17, 2012, p.30. [36]
  70. ^ T. Swami Raju, Subaltern Movements: Insights for Inter-faith Dialogue, 2010. [37]
  71. ^ P. Alexander, Religion and Society - The Challenges of Contemporaniety, CONGRESSO INTERNACIONAL DA FACULDADES EST, 1., 2012, pp.1717-1732. [38]
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  74. ^ G. Moses, The Growth and Changes in the Life of Baptist Dalit Christians in Warangal District: Post-independence Period. Cited by D. Arthur Jeyakumar in The 16th triennial review, Church History Association of India Newsletter, Volume 1, Number 1, 2015, p.6.[41]
  75. ^ a b Directory of Teaching Staff, Senate of Serampore College (University). [42]
  76. ^ Minutes of the Meeting of the Working Committee of the Academic Council held on July 17, 2012, p.30.[43]
  77. ^ P. G. George, Report of the Dean, Department of Research, SATHRI, 2016. [44]
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  79. ^ Church of South India Synod Administration, Diocese of Dornakal. [46]
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  81. ^ R. Jeeva Kumar, Struggle For Land Rights In 1 Kings 21, ISPCK, New Delhi, 2012.[48]
  82. ^ Minutes of the Meeting of the Working Committee of the Academic Council held on July 15–16, 2010, p.260. [49]
  83. ^ Paul, Luther N.V.L., Principal's Annual Report 2007-2008, for private circulation, pp. 10-24
  84. ^ a b Minutes of the twentieth biennial Convention of the United Lutheran Church in America, Board of Publication of the United Lutheran Church in America, 1956, p.991. [50]
  85. ^ Martin Luther Dolbeer, The Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church: A Brief History, Department of Religious Education of the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1951, p.145. [51]
  86. ^ Margaret Eunice Hawkinson née Coleman, The Church is Planted - A Biographical Record of the Missionaries in India of the Lutheran Church in America 1842-1987, Florida, 1987.[52]
  87. ^ Tracy Gipson Memorial LIbrary.
  88. ^ Leonore Krenzlin, Klaus Weigelt (Edited), Ernst Wiechert im Gespräch: Begegnungen und Einblicke in sein Werk, De Gruyter, Berlin, 2010, p.300.[53]

Further reading[edit]