The General Synod of the Church of South India has elected a new moderator. At the 13 January 2012 meeting of the synod held at the Bishop Selvamony Retreat Centre, the Bishop in Kanyakumari the Rt. Rev. G. Devakadasham was elected moderator.
He defeated the Bishop in Madras, the Rt. Rev. V Devasahayam by 219 to 125 votes. Bishop Devakadasham’s slate of candidates also won handily. The Rt. Rev. Govada Dyvasirvadam, Bishop in Krishna Godavari Diocese was elected deputy moderator defeating the Rt. Rev. P. Surya Prakash, Bishop in Karimnagar Diocese while M. M. Philip was reelected Secretary and Abraham Bennet Treasurer of the Synod.
The 61-year-old Bishop was ordained as priest on 11 Jan 1981 and elected the fifth Bishop in Kanyakumari Diocese in 2001, and was elected Deputy Moderator on Jan 14, 2009. He succeeds the Rt. Rev. S. Vasanthakumar, and his term of office will last for two years. He is eligible to stand for reelection, but must step down by age 65.
Writing from the meeting in Kanyakumari, leaders of the lay led anti-corruption coalition, the CCC, said Bishop Devakadasham’s victory was influenced by several factors. The new bishop “hails from the politically influential Nadar community in Tamilnadu while his rival Devasahayam is a Dalit. In the 2010 Synod elections the Nadar candidate for Moderator Bishop Christopher Asir of Madurai Ramnad Diocese lost by a whisker of just eight votes to Bishop S. Vasanthakumar of Karnataka Central Diocese. This time the Nadars present in sizeable numbers from among voters representing Vellore, Coimbatore, Trichy. Tirunelveli, Madurai-Ramnad and Kanyakumari dioceses of the CSI made sure there was no repeat of 2010.”
CCC also reported that the outgoing moderator “threw his weight behind his deputy Devakadasham and played a proactive role in influencing the outcome.”
This article first appeared in the January 20, 2012 issue of The Church of England Newspaper.