United Church of Northern India - Presbyterian Synod
The United Church of Northern India (U.C.N.I.)- one of the mainline Presbyterian Church group belonging to the Protestant Christian denomination. It is a registered body (Registered under Societies Registration Act of 1860 ( No. 114 of 2004-05) with a functional and registered Trust Association to manage its properties Registered under Companies Act (Regd. No. 2912/1938-39)and Bombay Public Trust Act (Regd. No.D-97/1955).
The United Church of Northern India was formed on 30 December 1924 at Wilson College Hall, Bombay by the union of several like-minded denominations like the Congregational and the Presbyterian Churches. They joined together and started functioning under the name “ United Church of Northern India” in the Northern part of India. The moderator of different denominations held their first meeting in the said college. Out of these moderators the leading were Rev. Dr. C. A. R. Janwheeler, Rev. Ram Krishan Shahu and Rev. Dr. Robert Allen Hume. In the first General Assembly of United Church of Northern India held in Mumbai Rev Dr. Robert Allen Hume was elected as the first moderator of U.C.N.I. The U.C.N.I. is spread in the West-North and North-East India. It was also operating in Assam, Eastern Hills of Darjeeling, Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Maharasthra and Madhya Pradesh covering 1/3rd part of India. U.C.N.I. has its own constitution known as “BLUE BOOK”. The said constitution lays down and describes the conduct of the church Government in the United Church of Northern India. The rules for the conduct of work of the United Church also provide for the confession of faith and rules for the administration in the U.C.N.I. This organization was established with Evangelical, Medical and Education outlook.
The United Church of Northern India is a result of the union of different Presbyterian churches, it has existed in India since 1924. In the 18th and 19th century missionaries came to India from America, Canada, New Zealand, England, Wales, Australia. In Northern India there were the following missions:
- American Evangelical and Reformed Church
- American Marathi Mission of the American Board of Commission of Foreign Missions
- American Presbyterian Mission
- Canada Presbyterian Mission
- Church of Scotland Mission
- Irish Presbyterian Mission
- London Missionary Society
- English Presbyterian Mission
- New Zealand Presbyterian Mission
- United Church of Canada Mission
- Welsh Presbyterian Mission
Background History: A Joint conference was held in 1918 in Allahabad. The churches present in the conference proposed the unity of these denominations, Presbyterian churches and the congregational churches. In 1970 some of the churches joined the newly constituted Church of Northern India. In most of the Churches the congregation were ignorant of the new union, no consent of the members were sought and some of the leaders with vested interest gave the decision to join the CNI while some pastors and congregation strongly opposed the union. Later to counter the apparent centralization of the CNI, some remained in UCNI while some of these churches revived the United Church in Northern India to which they had once belonged. Eventually more churches withdrew from the CNI and dissociated from CNI and joined UCNI. The denomination today has fifteen church councils in Ludhiana, Doaba, Gurudaspur, Ambala, Rajasthan, Malwa, Kolhapur, Ahmednagar, Bombay, Nagpur, Eastern Himalayan, Allahabad, Farrukhabad, Mainpuri and Bundelkhand.
- Ahmednagar church council-17 churches
- Bombay church council-7 churches
- Nagpur church council-4 churches
- Kolhapur church council-60 churches plus 140 house fellowships
- Malwa church council-3 churches
- Rajastan church council-2 churches
- Allahabad church council-3 churches
- Farukhabad church council-3 churches
- Mainpuri church council-4 churches
- Bundelkhand church council-3 churches
- Gurdashpur church council-3 churches
- Ambala church council-2 churches
- Ludhiana church council-5 churches
- Doaba church council-4 churches
- Darjeeling Hills Council—this is among the oldest denominations in India and is a mature self-supporting missionary minded church with 70 plus congregations and in the last 10 years has doubled its communicant membership.
- Eastern Himalayan church council-103 churches and 26 house fellowships
Present Legal position