Forty years ago Ken Gnanakan started ACTS Institute, an innovative training programme for bi-vocational missionaries, with 11 students in a small shed in Bangalore. They learned a trade, studied the Bible and developed skills for outreach on the job. Today the ACTS Group of Institutions has over 700 students from Diploma to PhD level in the ACTS Academy of Higher Education. It also has schools for children, churches and other ministries. One of its first schools was Kachhwa Christian School, which has good links with Kachhwa Christian Hospital.
To celebrate this 40th year, Ken Gnanakan, now an established theologian, writer, artist and musician, with pioneering work in education and the environment, was asked by his Board to nominate ten people to receive an honorary Doctorate for their contribution to the church in India and around the world. They included church leaders, educators, environmentalists, government advisers, mission leaders and Bible teachers. Rev Robin Thomson (SAC co-founder and consultant) was one of them, in recognition of his work in South Asia (especially India), the UK and the Diaspora. He has known Ken and his wife Prema since he first arrived to work in India in 1966 (as pictured above).
“It was an honour,” Robin said, “a moving and joyful celebration of the work of ACTS, a fresh commitment to Jesus and his service and an affirmation of many contributions to God’s work in India and around the world. I met old friends and saw a new generation of leaders in God’s work in India.”