At the time of formation of the Church of North India (CNI) in 1970, Synodical Board of Social Services (SBSS) was also formed as the formal development and justice wing of the Church as its expression of love of Christ for the poor and marginalized. SBSS worked with CNI related social service institutions and their programs like Gass Memorial Center, Raipur, Socio-Agricultural activities at Vadala, Maharashtra and Socio-Economic Development Programme, Barrackpur.
Though formed in 1970, the much required thrust, direction, vision and set value systems of SBSS were articulated only in the historical Calcutta Consultation held in 1978 on ‘Church’s Role in Social Service and Development’. The Nazareth Manifesto (Luke 4: 16-19) was the source of inspiration and mandate for the 1978 Consultation. Its message of social transformation through liberation and deliverance was the calling of the whole church that went beyond the concept of personal salvation and individualistic spirituality. It was conceived as the response of the church to the whole question of poverty and related social justice for the poor and exploited, as against the predominant ethos of relief and charity.
This brought change in the approach from the ‘charitybased institutional support’ to ‘people- centered community based intervention’. SBSS functioned as a coordinating agency facilitating institutional support to participating dioceses. CNI SBSS evolved from a welfare model to a rights based approach, which is a paradigm shift from social service to social action. The approach recognizes and develops the capacity of communities to identify and analyze their own situations and subsequently develop programs to resolve their problems. The Board was registered under Societies Registration Act in 1986.