Applauding and acknowledging the formation and growth of Karnataka Central Diocese, Bishop Gill avers, "About thirty kilometres from Bangalore, just off the highway to Mysore, there is a magnificent banyan tree which covers several acres of land. No doubt that tree began its life with a single seed and first grew into a tree with a single trunk. In course of time its branches sent down suckers which rooted and it has continued to spread in ever widening circles over the centuries. This symbolic growth of Christianity in Karnataka resulted in the new and vibrant life of Karnataka Central Diocese."
In the year 1810, Rev. John Hands of the London Missionary Society arrived at Bellary, Karnataka state, then called Mysore. In the latter part of the 19th century, the missionary societies such as, the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society (1821), Basel Mission (1834), Society of Propagation of the Gospel (SPG), and the Christian Missionary Society (CMS) arrived in Karnataka with their mission motifs. Except for the Basel Mission, the other Missions became part of the South Indian United Church (SIUC) which came into existence in 1908.
When the Church of South India was formally inaugurated in 1947, 14 new dioceses were created with the total membership of over 1 Million, among which, about half of them were from the Anglican tradition, and the rest divided between the Methodist and SIUC. Among the 14 new dioceses, the Mysore diocese was one of the prominent diocese. The Mysore diocese was divided into 8 Area Councils such as, Bangalore Civil, Bangalore City, Mysore, Shimoga, Hassan, Bellary, Tumkur, and Kolar Gold Fields. The inauguration of the diocese and the installation of Rt. Rev. Premaka Gurushantha as the first Bishop, took place at St. Mark's Cathedral, Bangalore on 4th October 1947. He was succeeded by the Rt. Rev. Norman C. Sargant in 1951. Partial transfer of the Bombay diocese of the Church of India Pakistan Burma and Ceylon (CIPBC) to Mysore diocese in 1963, and the amalgamation of Basel Mission in 1968, greatly increased the strength of the CSI community in the northern region. In 1964, the Synod made a proposal to create smaller dioceses in order to provide better administration. The Synod Executive which met in 1968 came up with a statement saying, "from the point of view of pastoral care and evangelistic concern, a diocese needs to be small enough for its people to have a sense of belonging together and of sharing a common purpose, and small enough for its bishop to know and care for all his people, especially his presbyters and to be an effective sign of their unity". This was historic and an important statement that paved way for the creation of Karnataka Central Diocese. The statement cherishes three fundamental principles.
a) Effective pastoral care and Episcopal supervision.
b) Unity of the people of God and a sense of belonging together.
c) Effective mission of the church.
The historic resolution for the creation of three dioceses was put to the diocesan council which met in Bangalore from 7th-10th November 1969 under the leadership of Bishop Norman C Sargent. After a debate of three and half hours the resolution was proposed by Dr. Benjamin Isaac and seconded by the Rev. Dr. C. D. Jathanna in the following words: "Resolved that the scheme for the division of diocese into three dioceses as presented by the executive committee of the Mysore diocese to the twelfth session of the Mysore Diocesan Council in November 1969 be accepted to be remitted to the synod of the Church of South India in 1970." The three diocese created under the resolution were: the Mysore Northern Diocese to an area of 63,000 sq. kilometers with 21,000 CSI Community: the Mysore Southern Diocese to an area of 43,500 sq. kilometers with 26,000 CSI Community of 26,000; the Mysore Central Diocese to an area of 20,000 sq. kilometers with 28,000 CSI community. It was further agreed in the synod, that if the name of the state was changed the names of the dioceses will also change accordingly. Thus, in the year 1970, the Mysore Central Diocese came to be known as Karnataka Central Diocese.
Hudson Church Parsonage,
No.29, Lalbagh Road,
No. 215, BDS Garden,Geddalahalli,
CSI Diocesan Office,
#20, Third Cross, CSI Compound,
Bangalore-560 027, Karnataka.