Rev. Reni Philip
Rev. Reni Philip, B.Com; BD
Young lad Reni didn’t have much inclination to God’s work in his childhood though his paternal and maternal families had them in plenty. He found no need to. His father Mr. Mathew Philip was a Central Govt. employee in Madhya Pradesh where Reni had his basic schooling and learned his native tongue only after he came to Kerala to do his high school. Reni achan is from the Mukkattu family from Chelakkombu, Karukachal which has contributed to the diocese some very famous catechists like ‘Philipose upadesi’ and ‘Pappy upadesi’ along with others. His mother Mrs. Laila Philip is the daughter of another renowned present day catechist Mr. Abraham Thomas of Kannothara family at Kanjikuzhy, Kottayam. When Reni was enjoying his early twenties the Very Rev. T.V. Samkutty of St. John’s CSI Church, Neelampara pointed his revered forefinger at Reni’s nose and said “You will become a priest” Reni felt a chill down his spine. He hadn’t much heart for the idea. But what has to happen happened and young Reni’s resentment slowly gave way during the vicissitude of time to become a determined priest but not without some initial setbacks…
In the Bible there is an interesting history of a man who tried to shy away from God’s calling like Reni but later found himself leading God’s people to form a nation itself. His excuse? He complained to God that he had stammering and did not know how to talk and so he should be spared; Moses.
We have now at the Ascension church a junior Moses…. Rev. Reni Philip, our new assistant vicar. Assigned to his first probation at the St. Thomas CSI Church, Kalleli, Konni, the young Reni took his stand behind the dais for the first time on that Sunday and read the day’s verse to start his life’s first sermon. But what came out after reading the verse for the day were a torment of soundless words from his mouth and a down pour of helplessness of tears from his eyes. The vicar Rev. Samuel Oommen pathetically came to his rescue, led the wailing Reni away from the dais and took over the sermon for Reni. That day the young man decided he had enough of God’s work. He packed his bags and took off shamefully with his disappointed mother who had come gleefully with great expectations to hear her son’s maiden preaching. Even back at his mother’s home that evening at Kottayam Reni was still in tears of disgrace. His mother had decided to take him back to Madhya Pradesh where he had grown up to save face in her home town. Also disappointed were the elders in the family who gathered and tried to put back into him the courage in vain. That was then when God worked through one of the elders. He asked Rene to open the Bible that he was still holding in his hand all the way from the Kallaeli and asked him to read from the Book whatever was on the page that opened up. Reni reluctantly did and read aloud “Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” “ But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.” (–Jeremiah 1, 1:6-7) , throwing the listeners open mouthed in dismay and unbelieving.. Reni realized his destiny and the following Sunday was back at the same dais only with the difference that this time he didn’t know when and where to stop!!. Yes. Now we have that young Reni as a Reverend and assistant vicar here at the Ascension, another Moses in the making to lead.
He got his B.Com from the C.M.S College, Kottayam and his BD from Union Biblical Seminary, Pune. He did his probations at St. Thomas CSI Church, Thallam, Kavalappara. He became a deacon on 27/09/2012 ; the CSI Formation Day.
He married Smita daughter of Lieu. Capt. K.G.Verghese and wife Mercy of Kalathoor Thekkethil family while he was deacon and she has one B.Tech brother. She is a qualified B.Sc. nurse. He heee…The Bishop’s house waited till 01/05/2012 to ordain Rev. Rene to a fully fledged presbyter, to throw the challenging job of looking after the physically challenged at the Asha Bhavan, Kanakkari in the her lap. The fresh bride got her first diocesan ‘baskiamma job’! We wish them both good luck while in Kottayam.