The origin of UESI-TN ministry is rooted in the humble beginning of 3 prayer cells in Coimbatore, Vellore and Chennai. It was started by Prof. Enoch along with Dr T. N. Sterrett and other pioneers of UESI. The early history of TN-UESI is inseparable from that of UESI.
When the proposal of decentralization of State units was given, leaders from Tamil Nadu agreed to take it forward and formed the State Executive Committee in the consultative Conference held in Trichy in October’76. After a trial period of two years, UESI-TN was officially declared as the first decentralized unit under National UESI in 1978 with Mr. James Ratnaraj as the first State Secretary of UESI-TN.
Likewise, the need of structured ministry for our outgoing EU students was felt and the proposal of formation of Evangelical Graduates Ministry was brought out by the national Unit. It was well received by the leaders of Tamil Nadu and TN- EGF was formed in 1968. We had the privilege of celebrating TNEGF Golden Jubilee conference in May’2018. Tamil Nadu became the trend setters in many ways to the other parts of our nation.
Looking back at the 42 years of decentralized ministry of UESI-TN, God is working marvellously amongst us. God, in His faithfulness, is helping us to move forward in the following areas.
1. Field Development:
The whole state is divided into seven Regions and each one is monitored by a Regional committee. Each Region has Leadership camps, family conferences council and prayer conferences. Once in four years each region has Regional Conferences. The impact of Regional concept is ownership at the micro level, as Regional committees take all the efforts to develop the ministry in the unreached areas.
UESI-TN has 52 affiliated ICEUs, 265 EBS cells and 201 BBS Cells (Total 466 cells) throughout Tamilnadu.
2. State Level Camps and Conferences:
The first State Conference took place in 1981 in Danishpet and that became the Triennial conference. From 2000 onwards, it is conducted as a Quadrennial Conference and was known as “KOINONIA”. It gives immense opportunities for all the student and graduate members of UESI-TN to meet and have fellowship with each other.
The first state CMTC in Tamil was conducted 1981 and it continues till now. The ‘Bible Seminar’ a 15 days intensive course with the focus to equip young graduates and final year students as Bible Teachers was also started in 1981. It was the hallmark of UESI-TN to develop more Bible teachers through this Seminar. To cater to the need of Mission fields, and to pass on the vision for missions, 10 days Missionary Training Camp started in 1983 through which many students committed their life as missionaries and tentmakers and spread to unreached parts of India. The first state level conference for women was held in 1982 and it is now conducted once in four years called ‘FRAGRANCE’.
3. Magazine and News Letter: “Jeba Murasu” (Prayer Drum) a prayer and praise bulletin was first published in 1971. It was renamed “Tharisana Sudar” (Flame of Vision) and is being published as a Monthly Magazine with colourful wrapper, creative designing and rich Spiritual content to the reach more graduates and students.
Another Monthly news and prayer bulletin is ‘Vision Update’.
4. Higher Secondary School Ministries: In 1978, Government introduced a new educational system of Higher Secondary School, we had a first HSS Involvers Meet in 1980. Similar meets are being conducted to identify new involvers and several summer camps have been conducted for these young minds. Presently we have 95 HSS cells and conducted Evangelistic camps exclusively for HSS students. State level HSS working committee has been formed to look after this ministry.
5. Publications and Media:
The UESI-PT -TN Branch came in to existence to produce, publish and promote literature and audio-visuals. Many Books are published in the vernacular language, including the biography of Prof.Enoch, Paduvom Narcheythiyai-a Tamil Song book, etc. Efforts are being taken to produce a short film in Tamil. A Book room is functioning in UESI-TN office from 2000.
6. TNEGF Ministries.
TN EGF ministry started in 1968 with the ambition to cater to the spiritual need of graduates, and motivate them to be a backbone of our ministry. Many family conferences and refresher courses were conducted for graduates. Once in four years TNEGF conference was held. Presently we have 167 EGF Cells in Tamil Nadu. TNEGF committee functions with two Departments under the leadership of Mr. Suresh Kumar.
The State Office functioned from Madurai in 1976. It was shifted to Guru Medical, Trichy in 1977 and then the land was purchased in Karumandapam, Trichy in 1982 and the office functions in own building since 1986.The staff Quarters was constructed on a piece of land gifted by a graduate family and it is being used from 2016. Now we have camps in our own camp centers in Nagercoil, Vellore and Chennai.
The ministry of UESI-TN spread all over Tamil Nadu with dedicated and sacrificial life of many staff workers. At present we have 12 staff families, 4 single staff,
7 state Coordinators and 6 office staff and more than 16 ministerial assistance under the leadership of Mr. Christopher Thomas as State Secretary. Staff Development Committee is taking care of their development and Staff conference is held every year for their spiritual nourishment and fellowship.
9. Andaman Islands:
In 2000, UESI suggested TN to take care of Andaman Islands. UESI-TN accepted and agreed to include Andaman as their own field. In 2011, Mr Shelton and family moved to Andaman through UESI-TN. They pioneered the ministry in Andaman and Port Blair ICEU was affiliated with UESI in 2015. Andaman EGF Committee was formed in 2016 and the local committee takes care of the ministry. At present Mr. Stalin and family, staff from UESI-TN are based there.
Christopher Thomas, State Secretary, UESI-TN