The Church Missionary Society was formed in London in 1799 by members of the Church of England who belonged to the Evangelical stream of Low Church. The CMS sent out hundreds of missionaries to Asia and Africa.
The first missionary of the CMS, Rev. Thomas Norton, arrived in Kerala in 1816 to work with its Travancore Mission to assist the Ancient Syrian Church of Malabar. Sooner than later, the Missionaries had to concentrate on the people of other faiths, especially the marginalized of the society. The missionaries worked hard to abolish the practice of slavery in the state and laid the foundation to many Socio – Economic reforms. The Bible was translated into Malayalam language and made available to all. As a result of their vision many educational institutions were started.
The ‘faceless’, flocked into the new world of love and affection and freedom and equality. That marked the dawn of the era of Christian love transforming the society of erstwhile Travancore and Cochin. They together with the Syrians who were attached by the theology of the Missionaries formed the core of the Anglican Diocese of Travancore and Cochin as it was declared in 1879, as a Diocese of the Church of India, Burma and Ceylon (C.I.B.C.)
On September 27, 1947 Madras, Travancore and Cochin, Tirunelvely and Dornakal left the C.I.B.C. to join the Church of South India, ‘a gift of God to the people of India’ formed out of the union of four different Christian traditions – Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational towards the fulfillment of the Lord’s prayer, “That they all may be one”. The Madhya Kerala Diocese is now one of the twenty two Dioceses of the Church of South India. The distinctive feature of this Diocese is that it has drawn into its spiritual life people from more than a dozen castes and sub-castes.
The social dimension of the Church in nation building has been vitally acknowledged by the State and the Society. The Church has been able to help many classes of people to seek their self identity and to attain socio-economic development. The Madhya Kerala Diocese is self-sustaining. And at the same time it works in partnership with other Churches and Agencies in India and abroad for fulfilling its mission in the Indian context.