Thomas K. Oommen has been selected Bishop of the central Kerala diocese of the Church of South India (CSI).
M.M. Philip, general secretary of the CSI Synod, said the selection board chose at a meeting in Chennai on Thursday.
Rev. Oommen will be the 12th bishop of the diocese since its inception in 1879 as the Anglican diocese of Travancore and Cochin. He succeeds Bishop Thomas Samuel, who retired on January 24 on turning 65. The executive committee of the Synod will have to vet the decision of the board before announcing the date for consecration, Mr. Philip told The Hindu.
Rev. Oommen George was also on the panel of candidates for selection. The Church's constitution stipulates that a minimum two and a maximum four persons should be elected to the panel of candidates being submitted to the Synod. Candidates who obtain 50 per cent of the votes polled are qualified for inclusion. Rev. Oommen qualified in the first round and Rev. George in the third. No candidate qualified in the subsequent two rounds.
Rev. Oommen had told The Hindu on Wednesday that his focus would be to provide a clean administration for the Church. To another question, he said the need of the hour was to bring back the ethos of the missionaries who had a holistic approach to their work. On issues concerning faith, the diocese would work together with the Church and the Communion of Churches, he said.
Rev. Oommen, born to an agrarian family at Thalavady in Pathanamthitta district on November 29, 1953, had his education at NSS Hindu College, Changanassery, before taking his undergraduate degree in divinity from Leonard Theological College, Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh. He took his Doctor of Ministry degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary. He was ordained deacon in 1982 and was made presbyter the next year.
Currently, he is serving as the vicar of Ascension Church, Kottayam. Rev. Oommen is married to Susan Thomas. Their son, Sony Oommen Thomas, is a human resources professional and daughter, Santeena Thomas, a teacher.