HYDERABAD: The Church of South India (CSI) lost a luminary with the passing of its former Moderator, Rt Rev Dr BP Sugandhar, here on Tuesday. The who’s who of the community and leaders cutting across all parties attended his funeral at St John’s Cemetery in Secunderabad on Wednesday evening. He was 73 and is survived by his wife Nalini Sugandhar, sons John Priya Babu and Dr Vimal Sukumar and daughter Glory.
Bishop Sugandhar was a student at Wesley Boys’ School in Secunderabad. He completed his Bachelor of Divinity at the United Theological College (UTC) in Bangalore and later obtained a Doctorate in Theology. He was the fifth successor of Frank Whittaker as Bishop in Medak, Hyderabad falls under Medak Diocese, and was consecrated by the then Moderator, the Rt Rev Vasant P Dandin. at the Medak cathedral in September 1993.
He was the Deputy Moderator of the CSI from 2000-2004 and the Moderator for two terms (2004- 2008). Popularly known as the people’s bishop, he was much acclaimed for his ability to remember and recollect people by their names, The Times of India reported.
Bishop Sugandhar was an office-bearer of the Andhra Pradesh Federation of Churches, (APFC) a society that incorporates Bishops of the Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Indigenous Church traditions and whose members strive for ecumenism.
He also served as vice-president of the Andhra Pradesh Auxiliary of the Bible Society of India (BSI). He was also on the governing board of UTC, Bangalore, and the Andhra Christian Theological College (ACTC), Hyderabad.
Most Rev Thomas K Oommen, the Moderator of the Church of South India, Rt Rev Dr Vadapalli Prasada Rao, the Deputy Moderator, Rev Dr Daniel Rathnakara Sadananda, the general secretary, and Adv. Robert Bruce, the treasurer expressed their grief.