Today, with 6,000 co-ed students in Chennai, India, Madras Christian College (MCC) is the largest of the 50 Indian members of Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion (CUAC).
During a Service of Thanksgiving to launch MCC’s 175th anniversary, ‘Celebrating History and Serving Humanity’, Dr Jeremy Law, Dean of Chapel at Canterbury Christ Church University in England presented a certificate of congratulations from CUAC, signed by its patron, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Dr Rowan Williams.
Dr Law travelled to Chennai with his colleague, the Very Revd Dr Robert Willis, Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, who addressed the gathering. Dr Willis framed the college’s celebration with the challenge that “a human being must give his mind, body and soul to God and live in a community dedicated to hospitality”.
He began with the Epiphany story of “wise men from the east travelling to Jerusalem to worship the infant Jesus where wisdom knelt before innocence”. Then, referring to the three Scottish missionaries who founded MCC, John Anderson, Robert Johnston and John Braidwood, he described them as “three wise men from the west, which had come to India to undertake the mission of spreading wisdom before vulnerable humanity”.
MCC’s chaplain, the Revd Dr Maher Spurgeon, one of the organisers of the celebration, leads CUAC’s Indian Chapter. When asked about the anniversary he said, “This is a time for rejoicing in the present as we are all part of the history of the college at this point in time. It is a privilege given by God to be part of this college in this part of her history and a time for the re-dedication of the future.”
Following a recent visit by CUAC’s Secretary General, the Revd Canon James Callaway in November 2011, Chaplains Dr Spurgeon and Dr Law will be working on developing shared resources for CUAC chaplains for use throughout the 130 members on five continents. These colleges were founded on faith, but now reach far beyond the Christian minority in support of instilling values in students of all faiths and of none.
MCC has a lively chapel community which draws participants far beyond the college itself. One of India’s top ten colleges, MCC’s Tambaram campus is sited on 365 acres of sylvan scrub jungle in the State of Tamil Nadu.