Stewards Association in India (SAI) was registered in 1954 as a Religious and Charitable Society. The initial important function was to take over Mission properties comprising Assembly Halls, Institutions such as Schools, Hospitals, Orphanages, Boys & Girls Homes etc. from either the Missionaries or Stewards Co. Ltd., Bath UK. Accordingly properties mentioned above were transferred and registered in the name of SAI. Since then majority of the properties acquired for Assembly Halls or Institutions in India have been registered in SAI’s name and in the Godavari area in the name of SAI Associate, Godavari Delta Stewards Association (GDSA). On an average thirty new properties are acquired and registered in the name of SAI every year primarily for Assembly Halls.
The Members as well as Representatives of SAI come from different States in India. All the Members, Representatives as well as Office Bearers offer their services voluntarily without any financial remuneration.
Other services rendered as the Lord provides:
• Extending grants towards the construction costs of Assembly Halls as well as Institutions primarily as Roofing Grants.
• Extending fellowship to the Evangelists especially who are not well known and not in the prayer list of major Funds. Currently there are many such names in our list primarily from Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and other Indian States.
• Assisting “Retired” Evangelists. “Retired” due to ill health or advancing age.
• Assisting Widows of Evangelists and those in acute need.
• Assisting suffering believers due to various reasons including natural calamities.
• Promotion of Education.
• Promoting medical work on Philanthropic lines and extending medical relief to the needy.
• Sponsorship of Boys & Girls from our Assemblies all over India for medical education such as MBBS including Post Gradutes, Super Speciality Courses etc., as well as B.Sc. & M.Sc. (Nursing) and other para medical courses at Christian Medical College, Vellore with a view to providing medical personnel to run our Mission Hospitals in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka & Kerala. The entire sponsorship secretarial work for Brethren Assemby Believers on behalf of Christian Assemblies in India is handled by SAI.
• Assisting and advising associate Institutions, in case of need, to set up legal bodies such as Trusts, Societies etc and also handling the secretarial, statutory, tax-matters etc of many of the Institutions in different States in India.
Anthony Norris Groves, Father of Faith Missions visited India in 1833. Permanent work was commenced in the Godavari delta in 1836. The first Assembly Missionaries, Bowden and Beers came to Palakol and started ministry of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Those days communication was difficult. Sometimes a letter to reach them took 18 months.
William Bowden preached regularly in the streets, weekly markets and other crowded places. It was six years, however, before the first convert was gained. William Bowden have come to feel that the people, after curiosity had been satisfied, were so hardened and opposed, that on one occasion he kneeled down in the street in public, and cried, ‘O Lord, let thy Word take hold upon this people’. After a week of waiting upon God with fasting, came the first convert. That was the beginning of a church in Palakol. Today it has grown to around 400 Christian assemblies in East and West Godavari . Very few outside the highest castes could read in those days. So a task of primary importance was the foundation of a literate community. Hence Mission Schools were commenced. Mission High School was grown to a large school in and around Narsapur. Bowden and Beer were the founders. Mr A. Naismith was instrumental in bringing the school to a popular school.
Mr & Mrs Crawford Tilsley were able to reap a bountiful harvest from seed sown by earlier workers and establish the believers. Chagallu station was opened by Mr & Mrs E.C. Adams moving over from Dowlaishwaram, east Godavari.
Hebron Girls’ Hostel was founded by Miss Bowden, continued by Miss Joyce Harding. Present superintendent is Mrs Jenny Grace Prabhakar. Holland Wharf Girls’ Hostel was founded by Miss Joy Tilsley. Presently Mrs Santhosham is the Superintendent. Narsapur Christian Hospital was founded by Dr C.E.Pring, continued by Dr B.D.Holt, Miss J.E.Holt, Dr D.Munce and Dr C.R.Prabhakar. Present Director is Dr. L.K.Thomas. Bethesda Leprosy Hospital was founded by Mr J.M.Boyd, continued by Dr E.S.Short, Dr Ben Walkey and Mr K.Satyanarayana. The present C.E.O is Mr. V.Paul Raju.
GDSA owns 363 properties or 22.28% of the total number of properties of SAI.
Bro. Satyanarayana is overseeing the work of GDSA and officiates as it’s Chairman. Bro. B. G. Stevenson is the person in charge of the GDSA Office and is doing an outstanding work in the Office.