The Story of BUILD as told by Rajan Singh in his book "Christ Revolution : A History of Urban Rural Mission in India

ÉThe early 1970s saw an increase in the number of groups emerging in response to the situation of growing poverty in India. Some of the groups were initiated by the churches; others grew out of a Christian commitment. The groups grew necessarily in urban metropolitan cities, like Calcutta, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Bombay, Pune, Madurai and others. The methodology of the groups was using community organization techniques and also application of the Freirian methodology of conscientization. It was in 1972 that the Rev. Dr. George Ninan returned to Bombay, after his doctoral studies in the U.S. He was invited by the then Bishop of Bombay Diocese of the Church of North India (CHI), the Rt. Rev. Arthur Luther, to initiate an Industrial Mission Programme in India’s largest industrial city. Even in those days, Bombay was referred to as the economic capital of India. George spent one full year discussing and contacting concerned individuals and church leaders before BUILD was born in September 1973. While it was the Church of North India in Bombay Diocese that invited George to set up the Industrial Mission Programme, from its very inception BUILD was set on an ecumenical footing with representatives from the Methodist Church, the Mar Thoma Church, the Catholic Church and the Church of North India constituting the membership to the General Body of the organization…......


The faith articulation of BUILD went as follows:


“We believe that God Himself (sic) is at work in human history, continuing His (sic) redeeming work revealed in Jesus Christ and calling His (sic) Church to be witnesses to salvation.


We see His (sic) hand in all movements, secular or religious for change towards a better and fuller life.


We find Him (sic) in every activity of human life, judging, guiding, redeeming and working through men and movements of all kinds. We recognize Him (sic) in the great revolution of our day; in the urban-industrial revolution, in the cry for development for the social justice.


BUILD’s programmatic approach, theologically and ideologically, was sharply influenced by the deliberations of the national staff conference of the Indian Urban Industrial Mission, which was held in Bombay in February 1974. One of the resource persons at the meeting was Dr. A. R. Desai who was the then Head of the Department of Sociology of BombayUniversity. In his presentation Dr. A. R. Desai raised a very fundamental question, and challenged us to rethink on our industrial mission approach, challenging us that this is most un-Christ-like, because in his understanding Jesus took sides with the poor and oppressed and did not dabble with being a liaison between the oppressed people and Jewish hierarchy in the temple. This came as a shock, because one did not expect “a non-Christian sociologist” to tell us about our own faith in such strong language! The challenge being thrown was straightforward. You have to take sides in society. You are either with the poor or you are with the oppressors. This was perhaps the first time that Urban Industrial Mission community in India was confronted with basic Marxian tools of analysis to understand poverty, exploitation and oppression”…..


Read More in "Christ's Revolution" : A History of Urban Rural Mission in India by Rajan Singh, (pp. 27-33, 99-100) published by National Council of Churches in India - Urban Rural Mission, 2000


Also refer "Asian Chrisitan Theologies" A Research Guide to Authors, Movements, Sources, Vol. I (pp.380-381) edited by John C. England, Jose Kuttianimattathil sdb, John M. Prior svd, Lily A Quintos re, David Soh Kwang-sun, Janice Wickeri, publsihed by Orbis Books, Maryknoll, New York. ISBN:1-57-75-481-0 Ę