Gurukul Lutheran Theological College and Research Institute, Chennai Review
Gurukul Lutheran Theological College and Research Institute is one of the pioneers in theological education in India. Affiliated with the Senate of Serampore for its graduate and post graduate studies, Gurukul offers Bachelor, Master and Research degrees in theological education. Gurukul is an ecumenical theological community and is involved in training and empowering the community of God’s people towards Peace, Justice and Integrity of God’s Creation. Ecumenicity in character and practice is the special feature of Gurukul.
The college was started in 1931, by the United Evangelical Lutheran Church in India (UELCI). Dr. Frolich of Leipzig Evangelical Lutheran Mission (LELM) was made the principal of this college then known as ‘United Lutheran Theological College.’ In 1953, Gurukul received a new life with a wider participation of the Lutheran Churches and so named as Gurukul Lutheran Theological College & Research Institute. Gurukul grew tremendously under the leadership of Dr. K. Rajaratnam, a visionary and dynamic leader, the director of the college for several years. At present Rev. Dr. Ponniah Manoharan is its director and Rev. Dr. Samuel W. Meshack is its Principal.
Gurukul is situated in the heart of the city Chennai, in the Parrys-Ayanavaram Highway, Kilpauk in a beautiful campus filled with trees and colorful gardens. The infrasturcute is well developed, including a newly built administrative block, an auditorium, a well furnished library with a good collection of books, well furnished separate girls (Pandita Ramabai Hostel) and boys hostel (Tiruvalluvar Hostel), a dinning hall, a chapel, family quarters, newly build staff quarters, etc. The infrastructure also includes a German library, and a multi media recording centre.
The college has various departments including: Department of Women’s Studies Department of Dalit Studies Department of Theology of Human Department of Communication Department of Mission, Ecumenism and Dialogue Department of Science and Religion Department of Biblical Studies Etc. Special seminars in which theological seminaries run by Catholic Institutions participate reflect the ecumenical commitment of the college.
Though in its first batch, students from only the UELCI were enrolled for divinity class, at present student community from various states of India including the North East states Nagaland, Manipur, Assam, Mizoram study here. International students from Myanmar, Bangladesh and Nepal also are enrolled for the Masters and Research studies. The college also has a well reputed staff in its faculty. Visiting staff from Western countries also add to its value. The college also gives special importance to celebrating cultural festivals including Pongal Onam Telegu New Year, etc.
Gurukul continues to maintain its relationship with former students through the activities of the Alumni Association. Members of the association meet every year in the month of January for the Alumni meeting. It is a refreshing time for the alumni to renew their relationships with one another. I am privileged to be part of its alumni association.
However the college lacks a good playground and students are forced to play Volleyball, Cricket and Tennis at the small ground behind the family quarters. However sports and games are available throughout the academic year. Annual Sports Day and Inter-Seminary Sports and Games are held every year to build up the spirit of community participation. In the Inter-Seminary Sports the other theological colleges in Chennai, including the Madras Theological Seminary and College (MTSC), Hindustan Bible Institute (HBI), South Indian Bible College (SIBC) and Indian Theological Seminary (ITS) participate.
I am privileged to study in this college and I thank the principal and faculty who taught me valuable lessons.