The Small Christian Communities (SCCs) building project in India is more than 30 years old. It all began in the early 1980s with individuals like Fr. Edwin in Kottar diocese and Fr. Bosco Penha (who later became auxiliary-bishop of Mumbai) in Mumbai, Bishop Soosa Pakiam in Trivandrum and Fr. Raphael Etukuri of AP Jyothirmai Society Secunderabad, who initiated courageously SCCs in their own dioceses or region. Since then hundreds of people have contributed to the process of SCC animation in India. It is impossible to name them all, but to whom the whole country is indebted.
One other person who made a great influence on SCC building in India is Fr. Oswald Hirmer from South Africa (who later became bishop of Umtata diocese in S. Africa) who spent annually one month in India from 1990 to 1996. Since 1992, when the CBCI Pune meeting, animated by Fr. Oswald Hirmer and team, wholeheartedly endorsed SCCs as a pastoral priority in India, SCC building got preferential support in the dioceses of India. Gradually all the 13 ecclesiastical regions of India considered it important enough to raise SCC building as an important concern, giving in every region a bishop as its Chairman. Since 1990, the Pallottine Animation Centre under the leadership of Fr. Thomas Vijay SAC was a real booster to SCCs in India.
From 1995 the preparation for YKJ-2000 under Fr. Paul Puthenangady and the YKJ Assembly held in 2000, led to the zeroing-in on SCCs as the single follow-up programme of the Jubilee celebrations. It established a National Body, the National Service Team (NST) for SCCs under the CBCI, with Bishop Thomas Dabre of Pune as its Chairman, to coordinate and streamline all the SCC animation work in India.