St. Andrew's is incomplete without the Sunday School. Right from three years to five times three, we have children bubbling with life and energy. Whatever be the age, Sunday School in the Kirk is great fun for them. It is not just hearing Bible stories, singing choruses, and memorising verses; it is celebrating together the joy of being children and the love of Jesus for little children, under the protective umbrella of the "Sunday School aunties".
The Kirk Sunday School is known for its efficient organisation and the variety of interesting programmes for children. They are divided into sections-age wise from 5 to 15. Besides art activities focused on Bible events and stories, the children contribute to the Family Service every month with action songs and skits. One of the highlights of Christmas is the Christmas play more often not written by the teachers but by the children themselves. On every Palm Sunday, the children holding aloft their palm leaves and shouting 'Hosanna' lead the procession during the morning service.
The Sunday school programmes culminate every year in the Vacation Bible School held in April before the summer vacation. Children from other churches also attend this 2 week - programme of graded Bible study, play activities and presentation of Biblical teachings through song and drama. The Sunday school teachers, members of the Women's Fellowship and the Youth Fellowship together shoulder the responsibility for this unique School every year.
Sunday school functions on all Sundays except the first, during the time of service. There are about 140 students and 18 teachers.
Worship time: It caters to the spiritual need of each student. It functions as 'Junior section and 'Regular section' .
Junior Section: They are toddlers to Grade 1 kids. Functions in the Riber Memorial Day Care Centre (DCC) building at 9.00 hrs IST
Senior Section: They are from Grade 2 to 12 and they meet in St. Andrew's Centre for Continuing Education (SACCE) building at 9.00 hrs IST
Adult Classes: A small group 8 to 15 people meet in the ASHA building between 10.45 - 12.00 hrs IST.
During the months of January / February / March the Sunday school organises 'Evaluation' and 'Open Day' Programme. During this time, the Grade 12 students will officially graduate from Sunday school to the Youth Fellowship.
During the month of April, it organises a seminar with the parents of students of Grades 9-12, with the topic "Am I my Child's Keeper?"
Students are encouraged to attend Vacation Bible School (VBS), which is during the last week of April.
Sunday school conducts 'Teacher's Training Programme' on the first Sunday of June every year. During this time, new teachers will be inducted into the Faculty.
Please PRAY for this Ministry and uphold its needs.
The women of our church meet for a time of fellowship every fourth Sunday after the morning worship service. We have speakers from within our congregation and outside. Besides our monthly fellowship meetings, we have two projects.
The Kirk has enjoyed a tradition of good music for most of the 185 years of its life. Music is used to enrich the congregation's worship at the Services. Music needs to be of a sufficiently high quality, so as to not distract a good musician from participating fully in the worship. Many different styles of music and many different instruments are used in this endeavour. The King of Instruments, the pipe organ, plays a prominent role, though not a proprietory one.
The pipe organ at St. Andrew's is a three manual, tracker action organ manufactured by Messrs Peter Conacher & Co Ltd (Springwood, Huddersfield, Yorkshire, England) in the 1880s. It has 9 stops in the Great manual, 11 stops in the Swell manual, six stops in the Choir manual, two stops in the Pedal manual and five couplers.
As one walks up to the pipe organ, one notices a brass plaque on the left. Signor Dominico Aloisio was the organist and choirmaster for 22 years. He was born at Bertiols , Italy on 11 Nov 1849 and died at Bangalore on 27 June 1905 . He was the first conductor of the Madras Musical Association.
Victor Paranjoti was born on 24 May 1906 and died on 1 Feb 1967 . He was the Organist at St. Andrew's at the early age of 20 years, while he was still studying at the Madras Christian College . The pipe organ was completely overhauled and repaired under his direction. The sacred music at the services and the sacred recitals that took place from time to time enriched the life of the congregation as also the circle of music-lovers in Madras . He was later elected a Fellow of the Incorporated Guild of Church Musicians, member of the London Society of Organists and received many other high honours for his service to music. The many choirs and orchestras he had founded and led, especially the Paranjoti Chorus, pay him rich tribute.
Padma Shri Handel Manuel (27 April 1918 to 22 October 1994 ) was the organist, choirmaster and composer for over 53 years. Words cannot adequately describe him or his contribution to our Church. He is remembered for his meticulous detail, punctuality, phenomenal sight-reading, warmth, caring, and the many other things that are still vividly painted in one's mind. He was a Life Member of the Royal School of Church Music and also received a large number of other such honours. He was the founder music director of the Madras Philharmonic and Choral Society.
Handel took over as organist and choirmaster in 1941, when hardly twenty-three. He enriched our worship services Sunday after Sunday and inspired worshipers to meditate and pray with his wonderful music. He visited the sick, the dying, and the lonely and cheered them up.
Many, many others have contributed to the music at our Church. Every organist, choir director, member of the choir, soloist, visiting musician, members of the congregation singing the hymns-the music at the Kirk has been greatly enriched by each one of them. Many of them have also made their own individual contribution to the rich musical life of this city and elsewhere. The number is far too big to list here.
The young people in our Church have always had tremendous musical talent. A musical "Zacchaeus" was completely written (script, lyrics and score) and performed in the early 80s. Musicals are being scripted again, with the life of Nehemiah, the life of Esther and now "Rendezvous with my Redeemer". Many of the young people who were part of the Kirk's musical tradition are also leading musicians in their own right.
Some word pictures that say something about Church music: