Rev J T Azariah Ponraja (John Thomas Raja) hailing from a devout Christian family inTamil Nadu, in May 1982, went to live with his brother-in-law Rev. L Masilamani, a Friends Missionary Prayer Band missionary working in the Dangs District, Gujarat. One year later Raja joined Operation Mobilization in Gujarat, and then moved to the Lucknow base office in January 1984 . In 1987 Raja was deputed to look after a project aided by World Vision. The work was in villages and resulted in Raja starting a school for poor rural children in Allipur. In 1992, after leaving OM, he started the Paul Society for Development to oversee the school. Paul Society for Development is now named Paul Educational Society and the school is called St Paul’s School. (See next page “Present Outreach Activity” for details of this work)
Raja is a founding member of Grace Bible Church and started the first branch of Grace Bible Church in the village Allipur.
Raja is married to Jeba. Their son John Rufus is working for Ford Technologies and lives in Chennai.
Pastor Ashish Khan has been a member of Grace Bible Church from the day the church started. Grace Bible Church sponsored Ashish partly for seminary studies at Union Biblical Seminary, Poona, from 2004 to 2008. After his studies, when Ashish joined the church briefly, he was ordained, and then went to serve at a children’s home in Banbasa. When he came back to Lucknow, he once again identified with the membership of the church while working as a school teacher. As a gifted musician, he has been leading the singing in the church–both contemporary as well as traditional. He has also been preaching regularly. He is also very good with interpreting messages into Hindi and has been doing that after Grace Bible Church started to hold bilingual services. Recognising his prior ordination and continuing involvement in the ministry of the church, the Board of Elders decided to appoint him as Associate Pastor since May 2016.
Rev Kuruvilla Chandy was the first pastor of Grace Bible Church and served the church from 1997 to 2014, and for two another two years as the Emeritus Pastor to the church. Kuru started his pastoral work in Lucknow from September 1974. After 23 years as the pastor of Lalbagh Methodist Church, in 1997 Kuru was ordained as the founding pastor of Grace Bible Church. He is an expository preacher who ministers widely in conferences and camps. His articles are featured regularly in Christian Trends and Light of Life. He is also the author of several books:
Predestined to Hell? (1970), For Adults Only (1971), What Are You Talking About? (1973), Beyond Bread and Wine, (1977), The Joy of Fellowship (1993), The View From the Pulpit (1995), The Spirit of Jesus (2003), Why Me? (2005), My Father’s World (2005), Living In My Father’s World (2005), The Road to Calvary (2014)
Kuru is married to Roshini. Their son Ishaaq is married to his childhood friend Jessica. They live in Seattle, WA, US of A with their three daughters Priya, Alisha and Juliet. Daughter Elishba is married to Joseph Chacko and they live in Sheffield, UK, with their daughter Sophie and son Zach.