The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, on Sunday laid out the road map for the growth of the South Kerala Diocese of the Church of South India (CSI), emphasising the need to be selfless in its service to society.

Delivering his message on the occasion of the golden jubilee celebrations of the South Kerala Diocese of the CSI here, the Archbishop wanted the Church to be a questioning church and a praying church, one which has learnt to trust in God. He marvelled at the “unusual Christian diversity” in Kerala and said he was convinced that this was based on deep trust and relationship.

“Kerala is a land of great religious diversity, but not of conflict. In the last few centuries, it has been a land of unusual Christian diversity. But my stay here in the last few days has shown that it is based on deep trust and relationship. Within the spectrum of Christian differences, the South Kerala Diocese has a special place,” he said.

Complimenting the Diocese for growing in numbers and with a vision, the Archbishop said a church with numbers and vision should be doing several things — it should be a praying church, which does not just talk about prayers or going to church.

“A praying church is one which knows it cannot do everything by itself. A praying church is one which has learnt to trust God. A church must be a questioning church. It must be asking questions about itself. A praying and questioning church must also be a selfless church. It does not exist to protect itself or acknowledge itself,” he said.

Uthradam Thirunal Marthanda Varma, head of the erstwhile Travancore royal family, inaugurated the golden jubilee celebrations. He emphasised the secular nature of the people of Kerala, the highlight of which was the existence of a church, mosque and a temple side by side in the capital city.

Bishop of the CSI South Kerala Diocese J.W. Gladstone delivered the introductory speech. Jane Williams, wife of the Archbishop, released the golden jubilee souvenir. Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan of the Mar Thoma Church, Reverend Vasantha Kumar, moderator of the CSI Synod, Reverend G. Devakadaksham, deputy moderator of the CSI Synod, and Reverend Thomas Samuel, Bishop of the CSI Madhya Kerala Diocese were among those present.