CHURCH OF MIZORAM ( A MIRACLE STORY )
Ever since J. H. Lorrain and F.W. Savidge who under the auspices
of "The Arthington Aborigine Missions' set their foot in this
most north eastern region of India on the 12th of January the whole
Mizo tribe underwent a rapid transformation through the gospel of
Jesus Christ. The erstwhile warlike Mizo tribe often known as '
head hunters' had now become self- supporting and growing missionary
church. Following the history of this dramatic transformation which
had few equals in the annals of modern church history. Patrick Johnstone
comments: ' No nation on earth has sent out a higher proportion
of their people as missionaries' (operation World)
ensuing founding father of the Baptist Church of Mizoram also fondly
remarked: ' The indigenous growth and progress of the Baptist Church
of Mizoram reflects a miracle miracle and a success story of our
mission'. (Rev Murray Raw- Formerly Chairman of the Baptist Missionary
Society - London). This is indeed God's work for the people who
could best be described as God's chosen tribesman.
OF CHRISTIANITY AND EXPANSION
The Church in Mizoram celebrated its Gospel Centenary - in
1994 to mark the advent of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the coming
of two Baptist Pioneer missionaries in 1894. In a matter of just
thirty years, the Mizo society witnessed a complete change through
the gospel ! The pioneering efforts of the two missionaries was
later consolidated by the Baptist Missionary Society of London.
Now the numbers had exceed well over 100,000 members. Mizoram Baptist
Church engaged besides its 854 staffs -500 missionaries including
the supported native workers.
had the highest literacy rate in India ( 95 % 95%) and is placed
second in terms of Christian populations ( 85.73 %) only due to
the rapid influx of illegal immigrants from neighboring states and
Bangladesh. However, the most exciting thing about the Baptist Church
of Mizoram is that of its firm conviction that the Mizos were chosen
and called of God to be His witness for the Gospel to the nations.
LIFE AND WITNESS OF THE BAPTIST CHURCH OF MIZORAM
The distinctive nature of the Church in Mizoram is totally
indigenous in worship, financial support, administration and in
witnessing the gospel to others. Repeated revivals and peoples'
movements in Mizoram had ensured formation of a distinctly indigenous
Mizo church which is vibrant and out-going in giving, singing and
witnessing. All the ministries of BCM are independently planned,
managed and supported by the free-will contributions of its local
church members. From neighborhood evangelism, the Baptist Church
of Mizoram now moved to cross- cultural evangelism. By 1968, they
adopted the Rabhas in Assam, in N.E. India when the Australian Baptist
Mission had to leave this By God's grace, from a handful of believers,
the Rabha Christians swells to more than 7000 now.
second mission field for the BCM now shifted to Tripura State in
partnership with the Tripura Baptist Union. By God's grace, the
number of local churches had risen to more than 440 churches. Yet
all over the State, the churches are still growing and multiplying!
The speed and size of this movement is a miracle. This is the Lord's
doing and glory be to His Name -!
again, through fraternal partnership with other Baptist churches
and Mission agencies, BCM mission and evangelism outreach had now
covered most of N.E. States of India, Nepal, Thailand and Central
part of India. The goal and Motto of Baptist Church of Mizoram is,
' Gospel for all' !
MINISTRIES OF THE CHURCH
Baptist Church of Mizoram is fully committed to the model of
service provided by our Lord when He comes to declare Good New,
to heal the wounded and oppressed and to establish God's kingdom
on this earth (Luke ). To carry out this prophetic and social transformation
through the preaching of all the full gospel, BCM had initiated
ten departments of ministries which are :-
Relief & Development, Christian Education, Property, Communication,
Education, Medical, Women, Youth and Children, Pension Board and
Theological Education Board. The varied ministries and different
local churches are being managed under a centralized structural
administration to ensure uniformity and efficiency. Now the annual
contribution of the local churches to the central fund totaled more
than Rs. 40,000,000 (U.S. $ 95,000). And following the traditional
principle BCM allocated 50% of this amount to mission and evangelism.
The great strength of BCM lies in the sacrificial and liberal giving
of its members towards the ministries God entrusted to them. In
the midst of their poverty, the Christians early learned that, '
it is more blessed to give than to receive' . This is to secret
of their Church's growth.
AND OBJECTIVE TO FINISH THE GREAT TASK
What are the future plans and project of the Baptist Church
of Mizoram ? Some of them had already been identified and concretize
into plans and projects for implementations.
The Academy of Integrated Christian Studies - a center for theological
Education, missionary training center, School of Music, Ministerial
Training, Research and Development - all five in one.
Communication for mass media development, teaching and net-working.
Adopting and reaching the unreached people groups in India and other
countries through indigenous and partnership plan.
Renewing and remodeling the local churches as house churches for
faster growth and a deeper dynamic spiritual fellowship and vitality.
Greater involvement in social action and reform, nation building
and economic reforms.
Challenging the youth with the gospel and mobilizing them for cross-cultural
CAN BE PARTNERS
To fulfill the mandate of the Lord Jesus Christ, BCM is harnessing
all it resources and would like to mobilize all it can for the support
of like minded Christians for World mission. The challenge of reaching
the unreached millions in India alone is staggering and yet together
we believe it can be done ! Most of the people groups in India -
(Schedule Caste 636 /Schedule Tribe -751/ Backward Classes -1046
/Other communities 2202 ) are still without the gospel. This is
the challenge and the situation in the country is fast changing.
the social front, often the country is hit by killer cyclone e.g.Orissa,
W.Bengal, Andhra Pradesh etc who needs immediate relief. The Church
in India is the best NGO to spearhead social transformation and
human resources development. This calls for strengthening the hands
of the church. All interested Christians, who wants to respond to
the cry of the untold millions could give your helping hand in partnership
with BCM. Kindly extend your hand of partnership by sending a a
card or letters to the address given here below.
CATHOLIC CHURCH IN MIZORAM
beginnings of the Catholic Church in Mizoram are traced back to
the initiatives of some lay people. After reading some booklets
on the Catholic faith, Pu Lianchheuva and his friends began to favour
the Catholic faith and decided to take some steps for the spreading
of the faith among the Mizo. Pu Lianchheuva, Pu Thangphunga, Pu
Lenga, Pu Chalchhuna and Pu Lalbana held a meeting on 1st February
1925 and decided to profess and practice the Catholic faith. Members
of their families also joined the faith.
soon made personal contact with the Parish Priest of Chittagong,
Rev Fr Bouley C.S.C. who agreed to pay a visit to Aizawl. He arrived
at Aizawl on 28th November 1925 and stayed on there for eight days.
On 6th December 1925 he baptized two children, J.F. Laldailova,
son of Thangphunga and Lalbiakthangi, daughter of Lenga, to become
the first Catholics baptized in Mizoram.
Catholic members increased rapidly. In 1926 they became more than
200 members. They built a church with thatched roof in 1927 at Kulikawn,
Aizawl, where Christ the King Cathedral is now located.
spread of the Catholic faith soon became a matter of bad taste to
other denominations. Their leaders even succeeded to convince the
Governor of Assam with the help of the Superintendent of Lushai
Hills to refuse any entry of Catholic Missionaries into Mizoram.
This ban continued to be enforced till the end of 1946. Fortunately
a new Governor, Sir Henry Knight took office and solved the problem
of barring the entry of Catholic Missionaries into Mizoram. In December
1946, he issued an Order allowing Catholic Missionaries to enter
after the Governors Order was issued Rev Fr A de Montigny
C.S.C. and Rev Fr Robert Lavoie C.S.C. came to Aizawl on 13th January
1947 to study the possibility of installing a mission station at
Aizawl. After a weeks stay they left Aizawl for Silchar. To
follow up their reports, the Bishop of Chittagong sent Rev Fr George
Breen C.S.C, assisted by Rev Bro Gilbert Boucher C.S.C. to establish
a mission station at Aizawl. They arrived at Aizawl on 15th April
1947 and made their settlement at Kulikawn. This day 115th April
1947 is therefore remembered as the official birthday of the Catholic
Church in Mizoram.
1952, Mizoram was under the Diocese of Chittagong. When the Prefecture
Apostolic of Haflong was created on 17th January 1952, Mizoram came
under this Prefecture. The Prefecture Apostolic of Haflong became
a Diocese of Silchar on 29th June 1969, comprising the entire states
of Mizoram, Tripura and the three districts of Assam, namely, Cachar,
North Cachar and Hailakandi. Most Rev Denzil DSouza became
the first Bishop of the Diocese of Silchar. On 7th February 1996,
the Diocese of Silchar became Diocese of Aizawl and the Diocesan
See was transferred from Silchar to Aizawl.
Catholic Church in Mizoram has grown from a single Parish to fifteen
Parishes during a span of fifty years. Parishes in Mizoram at present
(i.e. 2000 AD) are:
Christ the King Cathedral Parish, Kulikawn -1947
2. St. Peter the Apostle Parish, Chhingchhip -1951
3. St. Joseph the Worker Parish, Kolasib -1953
4. Our Lady of Assumption Parish, Serchhip -1976
5. Parish of Holy Cross, Champhai -1979
6. Parish of Sacred Heart, Lunglei -1983
7. Parish of Mary Help of Christians, Saiha -1993
8. St. Marys Parish, Electric Veng, Aizawl -1993
9. St. John Boscos Parish, Seling -1993
10. St. Francis Xaviers Parish, Kanhmun -1995
11. St. John Boscos Parish, Lawngtlai -1998
12. St. Johns Parish, Khawzawl -1998
13. St. Pauls Parish, Sihphir -1999
14. St. Thomas Parish, Ramhlun -1999
15. St. Francis Xaviers Parish, Mamit -2000
Catholic Church in Mizoram is not only catering to the spiritual
needs but also for the temporal needs of the people of Mizoram.
The Church therefore works to promote education, peace, social justice,
social health etc. The Church makes a very significant contribution
in the field of education by running more than thirty educational
institutions in the state, three Higher Secondary, five Secondary
and more than twenty Elementary schools. Besides these the Church
runs dispensaries, technical schools, charity homes, social work
centers, printing presses, hostels etc.
these past decades the Catholic Church in Mizoram had made significant
strides towards adulthood by contributing many of her sons and daughters
as Missionaries to carry on the various apostolic activities of
the Church. There are, as of now, six priests, more than fifty Religious
Sisters and half a dozen Religious Brothers among the Mizo, serving
in the vineyard of the Lord in different parts of India and abroad.
there are 41 priests, 62 Religious Sisters, 15 Religious Brothers,
2 Regency Brothers, 18 Catechists and many committed lay leaders
together with their Bishop, joyously working for the cause of the
Kingdom and for the welfare of Mizo people.