Rev. P.A.V Samuel passed away peacefully on Fri, Sept 25, 2020 at age 85 in Kerala, India. He finished his race well, 50 years of faithful ministry, and has joined his beloved Savior, Jesus Christ.
Rev. P.A.V. Samuel was born in 1936 as a result of many years of earnest prayer by his parents Pastor A.R.T Athisayam and Annamma Athisayam. He was born at Karikkam near Kottarakkara in Kerala State, India. He did his schooling in Adoor Govt. high school, completed his college studies at Pandalam NSS college with distinctions and got his degree in Chemistry from University college Trivandrum in 1956. After his studies, he served as Bible school teacher and as the editor of the official magazine of the Church of God in India at Mulakuzha from 1958. In 1966, he was unanimously elected as the all India Vice President and Field Secretary of the Church of God in India.
Rev. Samuel was instrumental, along with missionary Rev. Reesor, in the decentralization of the administration which eventually resulted in the formation of states and regions headed by state and regional overseers and which, in fact, proved to be the most important administrative reform ever taken for the growth of Church of God in India. Rev. Samuel held positions as Evangelism Director for 17 years and then as State Overseer for 12 long years, during which period the Church of God in Kerala State had a remarkable harvest of souls and unprecedented growth of churches. Rev. Samuel also held the position of all India Governing body Chairman. He visited USA for the first time in the 70′s. In 1973 he was one of the few church leaders invited from India for the historical International Conference on World Evangelism at Lausanne in Switzerland as well as for the first Amsterdam Conference of Billy Graham evangelical association. He got the privilege of being the first Asian missionary to Libya. He was honored in 1982 to share the gospel to the Indian government dignitaries and Mrs. Indira Gandhi who was the Prime Minister of India. Besides, God used Rev. Samuel for ministries like International conferences, National conventions, Crusades and Seminars in various countries like Africa, USA, Canada, Indonesia, Singapore, Switzerland, England, Scotland, Germany, Malaysia as well as many Gulf countries.
Rev. Samuel was the founder and director of the famous Bethesda Revival Crusade, which he started in obedience to the Divine directive he had in 1979. God used this Crusade for the salvation of masses, miraculous healings and kindling the fire of the Holy Spirit in Kerala as well as other States. In the secular field also, he has held high position as Field Manager in the famous pharmaceutical company CIBA – Geigy, with H.Q at Switzerland, before he resigned and stepped out by faith for a full-time ministry.
1988 was a remarkable year in the life of Rev. Samuel as well as in the history of Church of God in Kerala, when the World Missions appointed Rev. Samuel as the Overseer of the Church of God in Kerala State. There were less than 200 churches in the State at that time, but by God’s grace, under the leadership of Rev. Samuel the number of churches multiplied and grew to more than 700 churches in 2000, when he was promoted as the Superintendent of West Asia. It may be mentioned for the Glory of God that during the administrative period of Rev. Samuel, about 300 new church buildings were built and inaugurated, a large prestigious Convention Stadium acquired at Thiruvella, and English medium Bible College known as ICTS (India church of God Theological Seminary) with a three storied building started and another beautiful Bible College building constructed at Mulakuzha, Mt.Zion, known as R.F.Cook memorial building. Though the Bible college at Mt. Zion was a pioneer institution started by Rev. Cook, there was not a single classroom existed until Rev. Samuel built the two storied building which is something the education department of the Church of God can’t forget. These are great assets to the Church of God in India and the result of sacrificial services by this great overseer.
In 1997, American Biographical Institute selected Rev. Samuel for the ‘Man of the Year Award’. Besides he became eligible for the Distinguished Leadership Award by the International Church of God World Missions. Further various publications including the official magazine of the International Church of God, the ‘Church of God Evangel’, ‘Save our World’, ‘the Communicator’ etc., have written articles appreciating his administrative and evangelical talents while describing him as a Bright star in the horizon of Indian evangelical ministry. These show the wide acceptance of his ministry, globally.
Rev. Samuel was well known as the modern architect of the Church of God in Kerala and his tenure as Overseer may well be written in Golden letters in Kerala church history. His ability to steer the church amidst strong adverse winds was specially appreciated. God anointed Rev. Samuel to lead the church during the end times of the 20th century victoriously. Rev. Samuel was famous as a Bible scholar, able administrator, Convention and revival speaker, author of many books as well as a gifted writer.
After serving as Superintendent of West Asia for 8 years living in Atlanta USA, from 2008 onwards, he served as the Church of God International General Minister. He is survived by his wife Mrs. Aleyamma Samuel in India, his son Rev. Roy Samuel and wife Cissy Samuel, his daughter Reny Koshy and husband Dr. Zachariah Koshy and grandchildren John and Joanne who are all residing in USA serving the Lord.