Neyyoor CSI Church is located in Neyyoor, a small town in Kanyakumari district. The history of the Neyyoor Pastorate is very sacred and important. The South Travancore ministry of the London Missionary Society was initially operated in Neyyoor with all its establishments.
In 1806, William Tobias Ringeltaube started the ministry in Mylaudi and established 7 congregations in 10 years. Rev. Charles Mead, who came to the station in 1818, is known as the father of the South Travancore Mission. In his first two years, the number of congregations rose to 15. Mr. Ashton lived in Eraniel. Still, as the number of congregations grew and the work expanded, the congregations were divided into two groups, East and West, in 1828.
Rev. Charles Mead, who took charge of Western division, was given the responsibility of selecting a suitable church site. He first built a small house in Kothanarvilai and then lived in Mandaikkadu bungalow for two years.
Then he selected a forested and abandoned area near Neyyoor village. He named it after him. The land required for constructing the bungalow was bought from Raman Thambi of Mekode. With his help, additional space was also purchased.
Neyyoor CSI Church History
It costed a fortune to cut down the forest in Neyyoor and convert it into a Christian village. A bungalow was built here at a cost of two thousand eight hundred and thirty rupees (Rs.2830/-). In 1830, Rev. Charles Mead came and settled in Neyyoor. Meanwhile, Mr. Ashton also left Eraniel and came to Neyyoor to stay and investigate all the works. Rev. Charles Mead and his wife, the first missionary mother of South Travancore, very generously helped many Christian families to build houses and stay here. Its initial residents were, 9 men who were Rev. Charles Mead’s palanquin bearer, Peyankuzhi Vedamanickam Pillai, Mr. Ashton, Devavaram Upadeshiyar and his wife, and Kothanavilai Muthuvel Upadeshiyar. The next people who settled here were Arulanandam who came from Kollam, Vedamanickam Upadeshiyar, Visuvasam, Vedamuthu, Gnanakan, Devasahayam and others. Missionaries also built houses and settled 5 families here and gave them land to cultivate.
The Dartmouth church built by him is very special. Assertiveness is also elegant. It is about 70 feet long and 38 feet wide. Dartmouth church was built with a grant of Rs.600 from the city of Petersburg (now Leningrad) in Russia. The total cost of the Dartmouth church is Rs.1200. Rev. Charles Mead named it Dartmouth church. In 1830, the Mission Printing House was established at Neyyoor. A seminary was also established, in which 10 students came to study first. In 1831 the number of parishioners here was 31.
Nagercoil Seminary was also shifted to Neyyoor in 1834. Sir Charles Miller was the seminary leader. Till 1839, the seminary was held here. Nanu Pillai Dewan was one of the students who studied here. Since suitable buildings were not available for the students to stay and study, Dartmouth church was also used for that purpose.
In 1840, Seminary was again shifted back to Nagercoil. Mrs. Mead took special care of Girls Boarding School, Tailoring etc. In 1838, a medical mission was established at Neyyoor by Dr. Ramsay. At that time, Rev. Charles Mead, Mr. Ashton, Mr. Abbs and Thoma Upadeshiyar worked for the physical, spiritual, and healing services together.
In 1845, the London Missionary Society celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. At the meeting in Neyyoor, Rev. Charles Mead, collected and sent Rs.395. Rev. C. C. Leitch, who came to Neyyoor in 1852, worked here as an evangelist, pastor, missionary and doctor. To establish virtue in Neyyoor, on 24 May 1853, he held a meeting at Neyyoor church and made the Panchaya order and 11 laws.