Cosecration of Bishop Edmund Jayaraj, Missionary Bishop of Indian Diaspora

During the 2011 Diocesan Synodal Mass of the Diocese of Holy Trinity and Great Plains on June 9, Father Edmund Augustus Sunderarajan Jayaraj was consecrated Bishop in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Bishops James McNeley, Kenneth Kinner and Leo Michael were the consecrators. Bishop Edmund Jayaraj was also appointed as the Missionary Bishop of the Missionary Jurisdiction of Indian Diaspora.

Bishop Jayaraj is no stranger to Anglicanism. He was born to Anglican parents, Jane and Jeyaraj David in Rangoon, Burma on May 6, 1940 and baptized at St Ga¬briel’s SPG Tamil Church by the late Rev Gell Rajiah. During the War the family moved to Madras, India. Father was educated at St Paul’ High School and was confirmed by the Right Reverend Da¬vid Chellappa, M.A. (Durham), Dip in Edu.(Lond), L.Th (St Au¬gustine, Canterbury) D.D. (Hope College, USA), his former Head¬master, using the 1662 version of the BCP. Father sang in the choir of St Paul’s SPG Tamil Church and served at the Altar Guild. He had passed the pianoforte Intermediate examination of the Trinity College of Music, London and the Music Theory (Grade V) of the Royal School of Music, London. His mother and her sister played the piano and uncles the guitar and from them he developed a mu¬sical sense at a very early age. At St Paul’s School Father obtained the prestigious Gwartkin Theology Prize which remitted tuition for a year. Father’s only brother, Major Jeyaraj T. S. Dalton B.Sc. (Tech) M.I.E. had won this award the previous year.

After high school, Father went to the prestigious Jesuit School, Loyola College, Madras and graduated in Political Sci¬ence and Public Administration securing the first place in Madras University examination and the Steenkiste Politics Medal awarded by Loyola College. He was instructed in New Testament by the late Fr L.D. Murphy S.J., O.B.E. and received the prize for writing the best essay at the examination.

Father Jayaraj holds several degrees: an M.S.W. from the Delhi School of Social Work, an LL.B. from Meerut University and membership in the Delhi and later, Tamil Nadu Bar, an M.S. (In¬dustrial In¬dustrial and Labor Relations) from Cornell, an M.S. in Research, Statistics and Measurement from Central Connecticut State Uni-versity studying under the famous Professor, Dr Shawky Karas Ed.D. (Columbia) and a Deacon in the Coptic Orthodox Church. Father’s entire family – Hamsa, Stephen and Augustus – studied under this Professor taking one to several courses in Statistics .He also has an Advanced Post Graduate Diploma in Educational Lead¬ership from the same university and an earned doctorate, Sacrum Theologicae Doctores (STD) from St Elias School of Orthodox Theology.

Father Jayaraj is married to Hamsa Patricia, an Angli¬can and the daughter of Mrs and Mr Manuel D. Azariah M,Sc., Ootacamund, Tamil Nadu, an Agricultural Scientist and Director of Central Potato Research Center and the niece of Dr. M.D. Paul Ed.D.(Columbia) Director of Public Instruction (DPI) and a well known Christian in Tamil Nadu who did not hesitate to preach Christ and the need to accept Him as Lord and Master to anyone who came to his office or home. Hamsa is a Medical Doctor who served as an Assistant Professor of Medicine. She also won 17 awards at Madras Medical College including several gold med¬als. She recently retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army Reserves and the Veterans’ Hospital, CT but takes on short term assignments. The couple have two sons, Steve (Kent School where he obtained the Dean Rose Theology Prize and Emory University, Atlanta, GA) and Augustus, a medical student finishing off his fi¬nal term of internship in West Virginia. Augie studied at Chase Collegiate School, Fairfield University, and Cornell University where he obtained a Masters in Statistics. Father Jayaraj has ex¬tensive business and administrative experience both in the private and public sector. He recently retired as the Waterbury’ Personnel Director. He served on the Vestry and Finance Board of St John’s Episcopal Church, Waterbury. He was also the Chairman of the Parish Development Committee and served on a taskforce to study and recommend investment strategies for the parish as well as to write a job description for the Rector.

Father Jayaraj was ordained a deacon and priest in the continuing An¬glican Church of India by Primus, the Most Rev Jai Singh Thakore in 1989. Both Fr David T.P. Bradley and Fr Peter Tompkins introduced him to the ACC and urged he come into the Missionary Diocese of New England.

Bishop Bruce Chamberlain initially licensed Father Jayaraj to officiate at Ascension Anglican Church, Griswold, CT and later incardinated him into the Chamber succession. Upon Hamsa’s active duty to Bosnia Bishop Kleppinger received the family into the Mili¬tary Ordinariate. Father served St David’s Anglican Church, Galwasy, NY and since 1995 the Church of the Holy Comforter, Poughkeepsie, NY.

Father’s Anglican roots are deep. His great grandfather as well as Father Joseph David of Seattle, the late Joseph David was the Rector of St Paul Anglican Church, Meignanapuram which is the largest Anglican Church in India. In one of his trips to India he was invited to preach at this church and his sermon was broadcast to the entire village. He was also invited to preach at St Thomas SPG Tamil Cathedral at Secunderabad,a continuing and indepen¬dent Anglican Church under the Most Rev Duraisingh James. About 500 persons came to hear Fr Jayaraj who spoke in Tamil while simultaneously trans¬lating his sermon in English.

From the Tradition of Bishop Azariah:
Father will not be the first bishop in his clan. The first indigenous bishop in India during the British occupation, Vedan¬ayagam Samuel Azariah of Dornakal described as the ‘great preacher, teacher and evangelist’ is his grand uncle. The bishop went to Dornakal in the neighboring State of Andhra, then infested with snakes and wild animals alone after studying a new language, Telugu as a missionary. Dornakal was under a Muslim Ruler, the Nizam, then the richest man in the world. The bishop was later joined by his cousin the late Rev Samuel Packianathan also a grand uncle to Father Jayaraj. When the bishop died, Dor¬nakal was a Diocese with 200,000 Anglicans. Father remembers his Dad telling him that Bishop Azariah loved to preach on Psalm 136. “Let us bless the Lord who remembered us in our low es¬tate. His mercy endures forever.” He also remembers an anecdote where the bishop was a guest in one of his uncles’ home. When the host went downtairs in the middle of the night to drink water, he found the bishop on his knees fervently praying to God. The bishop never confirmed anyone nor did he pronounce the blessing after a retreat until the confirmands and retreatants knit their hands together, placed them on their heads and loudly proclaimed,” Owe unto me if I preach not the gospel.” Father also remember having heard from several preacher that the bishop wrote a book on Christian Giving where he laid the thesis that Christian Giving begins when it hurts. Bishop Azariah did not believe in taking handouts from foreign bishops even for church growth. So he founded the indigenous Indian Missionary Society (IMS) and the National Missionary Society (NMS). Both have done wonderful missionary work and continue to do so. They are supported by the Indian diaspora throughout the world.
“Missionaries except for a few of the very best, seem to me to fail very largely in getting rid of an air of patronage and condescension, and in establishing a genuinely brotherly and happy relation as between equals with their Indian flocks… You have given your goods to feed the poor. You have given your bodies to be burned. We also ask for love. GIVE US FRIENDS.”(Bishop V.S Azariah to delegates at the 1910 Edinburgh Conference, cited in Jonathan Bonk, Mission and Money. The first Indian bishop of the Anglican Church in India). Bishop Jayaraj hopes to rekindle the Anglican ethos in the footsteps of Bishop Azariah, bringing the faith once delivered unto the saints to the Indian populace that is in India and around the world