Open letter to CM: AP Churches against Government Law on Church Properties

August 30, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Andhra Pradesh Federation of Churches

Sri Kiran Kumar Reddy,
Hon. Chief Minister,
A.P. Secretariat.
Hyderabad – 500022

Sub: “Official Stand and Views of the Andhra Pradesh Federation of Churches on enacting a Law for the Regulation of Church Properties”.

Ref:  G.O. Rt. No. 3696 dated 17-08-2013 of General Administration (Cabinet) Department – Constituting Group of Ministers for enacting a legislation on Christian Properties and Educational Institutes

Honorable Chief Minister,

Greetings from Andhra Pradesh Federation of Churches (APFC), which is a state-level apex body of Archbishops / Bishops / Church Heads of the mainline Churches and major Christian Denominations representing the Christian Community in the State.

Through the G.O. referred above the Government of A.P. has “constituted a Group of Ministers for examining the proposal for enacting a separate legislation to protect the properties of Christian missionaries and educational institutions.”

In this connection, we wish to submit to you the official view of A.P. Federation of Churches (APFC) regarding the enactment of a legislation on Christian properties. After much reflection and due deliberation, the APFC had prepared a Position Paper titled: “Official Stand and Views of the Andhra Pradesh Federation of Churches on enacting a Law for the Regulation of Church Properties”. It was already submitted to you through our APFC letter dated 15-12-2011 and was the seal of acknowledgement was obtained in the Office of the Chief Minister on 23-12-2011. Kindly find the same in the file-attachment for your kind consideration and perusal.

Respected Sir, we humbly request you to give due weight to the views of the APFC headed by Archbishops / Bishops as it legitimately represents the Churches and Christian Community of the State. Individual Christians, even if they happen to be MLAs or holding any other high position, cannot claim to represent the Christian Community. The APFC opposes government legislation on Church properties and any form of government control over the properties of Christian Educational Institutions. As you are aware, formation of any sort of Board / Council for Christians by the Government with a view to regulate or exercise control over their affairs would only go against Articles 26-30 of our Constitution.

While thanking you and the Government of A.P. for your concern for safeguarding the Church properties, we request you consider seriously the views of the APFC on the matter and not to proceed further without consulting the Archbishops / Bishops and taking them into confidence.

Soliciting your valuable support, and assuring you of our cooperation and prayers,

Thanking you in anticipation,

Yours sincerely,

Rev. Fr. Dr. Anthoniraj Thumma & Mr. B. Danam IAS (Retd)

Executive Secretaries, A.P. Federation of Churches (APFC)

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