Foundation Day of UESI

UESI is a student ministry founded on God’s Word, born out of prayer, with a single-minded focus on presenting Christ to the students in India, discipling them, and enabling them to raise a testimony to the historic truths of the Christian faith. This ministry was birthed at a time when other organizations working among students lost their spiritual focus. Though the ministry began in one state, the founder’s vision was for the students of the entire country.

Prof. H. Enoch was a professor in Govt. Medical College at Visakhapatnam since 1930 and was involving with Student Christian Movement. He was not comfortable with SCM as they believed that Bible contains the Word of God. In the year 1948, God gave him a burden to start an evangelical movement with a conviction that Bible is the Word of God. He was taking efforts while in Vizag; but could not initiate.

Let us recollect the past, not to boast over or compare, but to know why God raised UESI and to be challenged afresh to remain faithful to the God-given vision, and remain focused to serve God’s purpose.

In 1949, Prof. Enoch joined as Additional Professor of Zoology in Presidency College, Madras. God had already prepared to raise a student movement, emphasizing on salvation through the atoning work of Christ on the cross. Similarly, God had laid a burden on the hearts of many believing students to win other students to Christ and nurture them with God’s Word to become Disciples of Lord Jesus Christ. Some believing students of the Presidency College approached Prof. Enoch to start a Bible study group. On a Friday evening of 1949 they met at his residence at Poonamallee High Road, Madras for prayer and Bible Study. It continued week after week for over a year. By 1950, David Watson, a young missionary, Mr. Sathkeerthi Rao and Mrs. Leela Martin students of Govt. Arts College, Madras joined the group.

Bro. Bhakt Singh connected Prof. Enoch, with Dr. T.N. Sterrett, who joined this group in 1951. Dr. Sterrett brought with him Moody Science Films. The trio – Prof. Enoch, David Watson and Dr. Sterrett visited several colleges with Moody Films and Prof. Enoch’s lecture on Creation. Many students were attracted towards the prayer group in Prof. Enoch’s house. The Evangelical Student – a student Magazine saw its birth, whose editor was David Watson.

His glorious deeds in the
past were an important aspect for God’s chosen which enabled them to set their hope in

the Lord (Ps 78:4).

During the same time, a group of believing students from CMC Vellore, formed an evangelical prayer fellowship. God sent Dr. John Moody from Australia to be on the staff in CMC, Vellore. In 1951, Dr. Sterrett paid a visit to Vellore. With the help of Dr. John Moody they formed an Evangelical Union in Vellore.

Mr. D. Jeyapaul, a student of the College of Engineering, Madras, moved to Government College of Technology, Coimbatore. He was part of the Madras fellowship. Along with Mr. H.S. Ponnuraj, a prayer cell was formed, which eventually grew to become an Evangelical Union. In 1952, Coimbatore ICEU was officially inaugurated.

CMC-Vellore and Coimbatore did not know one another. But, the aims and objectives of the three prayer cells were found to be similar. All these 3 groups met in the Agricultural Farm in Katpadi near Vellore on 18th September 1954 and the national movement was born. After a lot of discussion, it was decided to call this movement – Union of Evangelical Students of India.

UESI is entering the 70th year, the Platinum Jubilee on 18th Sept 2023. The baton from the hands of people like Prof. Enoch, Dr. Sterrett, John Martin, Chandapilla, PC Varghese, Arthur Hope, Sathkeerthi Rao, Richard Masih, Prema Fenn, Shirley Christopher and many others has been passed down to our hands – the present EU, EGF members. It reminds us of our responsibility as students, graduates and Staff in passing the legacy by maintaining the core values of UESI, and reaching the students to impact our Church and Society. Student initiative, Quiet Time, Personal Bible Study, Personal Evangelism, Missions, raising leaders for church & society, Open Home concept, etc. are the strengths of UESI.

JSA Julius, Bangalore, UESI Vice President