An Open Letter to the IELC
While Pres. Gambeeram originally posted this letter in February of this year, the details are still helpful for understanding current events.
In the letter, Pres. Gambeeram notes the lies and misinformation spread by Mr. Baulsunder. He also explains various court orders related to issues between Mr. Baulsunder and the IELC.
Click the following link to see the official letter.
Beloved Brothers in Christ:
Greetings to you all in the Name of the Suffering Servant, Our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ! I hope that you are preparing to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ! Let us all go near and nearer to God confessing our sins and to God for seeking forgiveness from Him. Due to some development in the
Due to some development in the IELC some unwarranted rumors and lies are going around. I felt the need of writing another open letter and dispel of the wrong beliefs.
On 18 February 2016 our duly appointed General Treasurer Rev. R. Vijaya Kumar visited the Central Business Office, duly authorized by the courts. But Mr. Baulsunder and his men gave a police complaint and called Rev. R. Vijaya Kumar for an enquiry to the Police Station! On 19 February 2016, I and IELC Secretary Dr. Mohandoss with LCMS Area Director, Rev. Roger B. James, LCMS Project Manager, Mr. Harry Steffens and LCMS-lndia coordinator Mr. Ravi C. Jesupatham, the General Treasurer Rev. R. Vijaya Kumar, and Comptroller Mr. V. V. Jeya Sing visited the Central Business Office. Mr. Balasunder and others greeted me there. I spoke with Mr. Balasunder and others as a gesture of Christian love and courtesy. Some of us were taking pictures mainly of the LCMS missionaries which are displayed in the Central Hall of Central Business Office by the efforts of the former President Rev. Dr. J. Samuel. At that time Mr. Balasunder, Rev Alwin Suresh, and others came out and shouted at us not to take pictures. Rev. Alwin Suresh shouted that he will call the Police. There were many witnesses to this disgraceful behaviour. They once again misbehaved and insulted the LCMS Missionaries.
On the same day evening (19 February 2016), I received a phone call from Mr. Balasunder and he requested for a private meeting. The meeting started with the discussion on the prevailing situation in the IELC. I categorically told him that the reasons for all confusions and chaos are due to the failures of then Election Commissioner Mr. Thangaraj, who at the insistence of the then administration failed to conduct the election within the stipulated time after the retirement of Rev. Dr. J. Samuel. I then pointed out to Mr. Balasunder that the then acting president of IELC Rev. Y Sugumaran convened the General Body Meeting on 28 August 2013 and the General Body unanimously resolved to remove Mr. Thangaraj as Election Commissioner for non-compliance of the constitutional duties. The same General Body unanimously resolved to appoint Mr. S. Benjamin Franklin an advocate by profession as the Election Commissioner. Mr. S. Benjamin Franklin started announcing the election process and at the insistence of Mr. Balasunder, some of his men approached the court and obtained stay on the IELC elections for 15 days. We dutifully obeyed the court order and postponed the proposed election till further orders. Mr. S. Benjamin Franklin was then served with a valid court order to conduct the IELC elections forthwith. In that same order, the honourable court restrained Mr. Thankaraj and Mr. Baulsundar, not to interfere in the election process of the IELC. Based on this court order, elections to the circles, synods and IELC were conducted on 27 May 2015 in the presence of LCMS representatives Rev. Dr. Larry Myers and Rev. Roger B. James, whom we invited to observe the legitimacy and transparency of our electoral process. Both of these LCMS representatives filed independent reports validating the elections.
Even though there were restraining court orders on Mr. Thangaraj and Mr. Balasunder, they tried to conduct an illegal election in Chennai on 7 May 2014 which was stopped by the police and the IELC counsels. Subsequently they tried again to conduct elections on 28th June 2014 at a remote location in Nagercoil, secretly. This time the IELC General Treasurer Rev. R. Vijaya Kumar filed a Police complaint against Mr. Thangaraj at Nagercoil. Upon summon and enquiry in the Police station, Mr. Thankaraj denied conducting any elections and gave a written undertaking to the police that he was not conducting any election in IELC. Despite having given this written undertaking to the police, “election” results were announced the following day. I trust you can judge for yourselves the propriety and legitimacy of such an event.
Another issue I spoke with Mr. Balasunder was about his proposed “constitution” which is neither legitimate nor registered by the Registrar of Societies till date. I pointed out to him that this was done secretly in a self-centered manner without circulating to the congregations and synods and seeking their approval. I also explained that the LCMS and its leadership has recognized me as the duly elected president after careful consideration of the claims of both sides.
I told Mr. Balasunder that any initiation of peace should start with Rev. Priestly Balasingh and Mr. Baulsunder accepting me as the rightful president of the IELC. Rev. Priestley Balasingh must and should stop writing letters with false and fabricated claims. The newly fabricated “constitution” by Rev. Priestly Balasingh and Balasunder group is mainly to circumvent the 12 years term limit for a person to hold offices in IELC (either appointed or elected). It is quite obvious that this clause has been removed mainly to facilitate Mr. Baulsunder who already completed 12 years term in various offices of the IELC. Above all, this alleged amended constitution was not circulated to the member of congregations which is the basic requirement.
After all these conversations, on 20 February 2016 morning, I saw a Facebook posting that showed my pictures talking to Mr. Balasunder and others. Mr. Baulsundar lied in his posting in the FB that I sought apology for the incidence happened in the Central Business Office on 18 and 19, Feb. 2016. I immediately refuted Mr. Baulsundar’s comment and advised Mr.Balasunder to stop these lies and told him that I have no need to seek apology from Mr. Balasunder or anyone. In fact Mr. Balasunder and his men should have sought apology from me and the LCMS missionaries for their unruly behavior. But, they did not stop spreading lies about the meetings and about their newly fabricated “constitution.”
Rev. Priestly Balasingh, Mr. Baulsunder, and his men submitted sworn affidavits in the courts telling a great lie that I am not a member of IELC! On another occasion they told a lie about their secret election by giving a false date and giving a wrong picture that their election had been conducted before the legitimate election and they have announced and shown on records as if they have conducted the General Body Meeting, but none of them have been convened by the duly elected President of IELC as per the record of the constitution.
I did not hear any answers from Mr. Balasunder for these comments and remarks. But the rumors and lies are still being spread against me, my administration, and the LCMS. They are also trying to appoint non-Christian administrators through the courts. I submit that their constant legal actions against the IELC are unchristian and contrary to Holy Scripture, and I propose instead that we submit our disputes to the LCMS instead of these courts of law.
In this context, I request the LCMS Senior Regional Director Mr. Darin Storkson, to write another open letter to clarify the stand of the LCMS.
I hope and pray our beloved pastors, members of IELC and the people all over stop believing the fancy lies and will heed to the truth which is simple and bitter at times.
Blessed Lenten Season!
In Christ’s Mission,
Rev. S. Rajagambeeram,
India Evangelical Lutheran Church