This short history, written by Br. C. Varkey Baby, was originally published in the 25th Anniversary Publication by IBF released in June 2002. It is presented here exactly as written.
I count it a great honor and privilege to write the introductory article for this souvenir, which commemorates the 25th anniversary of the Indian Brethren Fellowship Conference.
In 1978, I along with K.M. John and Charley John, had the privilege to attend a conference of the Christian Missions in Many Lands at the Greenwood Hills center in Pennsylvania. During that time, the Lord laid in our hearts a deep desire to start a conference where Indian Brethren could study Biblical principles, enjoy fellowship with each other, and pray for the work and workers in India.
We booked an available date, and shared our plans with those who were closely associated with us. They encouraged us to proceed further, and took the initiative of spreading news of the conference to other believers living in America and Canada. Accordingly, the Lord helped us start the first conference in 1978 in Greenwood Hills, with about 100 participants, including children, in attendance. At that conference, evangelists Samual Thayil, M.E. Cherian, Philip Abraham and M.A. Thomas, who were available in America at the time, were utilized with other capable Indian Brethren in the U.S.A. Later, during a discussion meeting, a committee was selected to plan future conferences and a manifesto was drawn with its objectives. Soon after the second conference, I returned to India to serve the Lord in Agra. As the number of participants continued to increase, we shifted the venue from Pennsylvania to other places. While looking back on the last 25 years, we can honestly say that the Lord has honored the humble efforts of His servants. “O taste and see that hte Lord is good” (Ps 34:8).
We are very grateful to many of the Lord’s servants in India and abroad who enriched these conference with their presence and valuable ministries. Their efforts encouraged many believers in the most holy faith, as well as stirred and strengthened participants of every age to lead a vigorous Christian life in this deteriorating age. We do miss these Lord’s servants and participants who have since entered into glory to receive their reward.
We are indebted to the committee members who have devoted their valuable time and energy in planning and arranging the conferences to make each one a great success. As a result, several other conferences shaped up outside the Brethren realm, for which we praise God.
With the full cooperation of Gospel Mission of India, the conference introduced two books, namely the pictorial directly in 1983 of the Lord’s servants working in India, as well as the 1987 directory of the Brethren assemblies in India, which was intended to help traveling believers locate places for fellowship. We trust and pray that the Lord may continue to use this and future conferences as a source of inspiration in building many in the holy faith and for the furtherance of the Gospel.