Monday, February 27, 2012

Dedication of New Unitarian Church Mukhap

The Unitarian Church Mukhap along with the Sengkynphamlang, Jowai Circle has on the 26 of February 2012 celebrated the dedication of the church new building. The service for dedication of the church was chaired by Rev. Sowat Laloo Senior Minister Unitarian Church; Mukhap and the church was consecrated by Rev. Derrick Pariat the President of the Unitarian Union Northeast India. 

Others who took part in the service were ma Hisbarwell Suchiang the person who is in charge of construction of the church building and kong Sniawdeimon Khlem Secretary of the Unitarian Church Mukhap offered a prayer. Before the service for church dedication was started, a bell fry donated by Jelin Lamare was also consecrated by Mr Marki Passah elder of the Unitarian Church, Jowai.

The members of the Unitarian Church though most of them are farmers by profession, yet they were able to raise enough fund to construct the church building. It took the church a little less than 10 (ten) years to complete the building of the new church building. Mr. Hibarwell Suchiang on his brief speech has also on behalf of the members of the Unitarian church Mukhap expressed the church sincere gratitude to the Unitarian Union, Sengkynphamlang Jowai circle, Mr. Marki Lamarr, Mr D. Pale and many others who has contributed to making the church.

On the occasion Rev. H.H.Mohrmen also handed over the Blessing and a CD send by the by Mukhap’s partner church the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Upper Valley, Norwich, Vermont, USA in celebration of the dedication of the Unitarian Church of Mukhap, India, February 26, 2012. The Blessing wad handed over to by Rev. Mohrmen to Hehbok Sonroy Shadap the contact person, who in turn handed the Blessing over to Sniawdeimon Khlem, Secretary of the Church Committee. Before handing over the Blessing, Hehbok read the blessing in English and Rev. H.H.Mohrmen read the Khasi translation of the reading. 

The Service was closed with a blessing from Khrawbok Rani the Vice President of the Unitarian Union. Earlier the children of the Sunday School Unitarian Church Mukhap and the youths of the Unitarian Church Mukhap each presented their special song specially prepared for the occasion. A large number of people from the nearby church like the Unitarian Church, Jowai, Nongtalang, Sohkha and Padu also joined in the service.

Hehbok Sonroy Shadap Contact Presented the Blessing to the Secretary of the Church Committee

A Section of the Sunday School Mukhap presented their Special Number of the occassion. 

The old and the new

Inside the church

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Unitarians in Bangladesh : A Visit

 The story of Unitarians in Bangladesh is a tale of people who keep their faith alive and refused to let the flame of their chalice die out.  It is a story of a family or in many cases individuals who inspite of being away from their churches in a distance land yet hold on tight to the principles and beliefs of their church alive. It is a story of an undaunted spirit in spite of all odds.
These stories urged me to decide to pack my back and head on to the neighbouring country of ours. If this trip is to have a name; I would call it “the call of the free and courageous spirit of Bangladesh.”  
The Khasis, the Wars and the Pnars of the erstwhile Jaintia Kingdom first settled in Jaintiapur; the winter capital of the last Jaintia Kingdom. Then the Wars of the kingdom started to occupy in the hilly forest of the area of the Kingdom, they choose to live in the hills because they are children of the mountains and the crop which provides them their livelihood- pan leave. Pan leaves are climbing plant; therefore it needs trees to support the plant and dead leaves to support as manure. The Khasis, Pnars and Wars settlements are in the Bangladesh border with the many Northeastern states of India with which this country shares its border.
Tyngshaiñ Khongjoh who was left orphaned and was taken to Bangladesh when he was a kid more than 20 years ago, has not seen a Unitarian Church since then. He grew up alone far from any know Unitarians in Nerila the largest Khasi village in Bangladesh. He married and was about to convert to the Presbyterian church if it is not for the fact that as per Presbyterian church rule, he needs to be re-baptised again to be a member of the church. He is of the opinion that since he was already baptized in the Unitarian Church of Mawlat in the East Khasi Hills District of Meghalaya, he does not see the need to be baptised again.  Since he refused to be baptized he cannot be member of the church and it was then that he decided to find out if there is any other Unitarian in Bangladesh. It was a chance meeting with Jill Lyngdoh that he learned from him that there is another Unitarian family in Akar village near Borkhala.
The story of the Unitarian in Akar is another fascinating story. Molica Pohrmen along with her mother and her brothers and sisters has moved to Bangladesh for quite some time now. The family conducts a regular service every Sunday at their home. No sooner did Jill Lyngdoh introduce Tyngshaiñ Khongjoh to the Pohrmen family, he made contact and later visited them. On the other side of the border in a village called Mukam, Sahdoi Niangti along with few members has been active Unitarians with the support of Unitarian Church for more than 7 years now. In Husnabad 7 number Ainbah Mukhim who’s naming and dedication service I conducted few years ago has been living alone surrounded by her Presbyterian and Catholic friends in the village. Even if the visit to Husnabad was a short one, yet the signifigance of the meeting is that we were able to introduced Tyngshaiñ to Aiñbah. Similarly Tresly Mukhim again from Padu, she too remain a lone Unitarian in Isla village.
The objective of my visit was to help introduce the Unitarians in this country to one another and also to get them organized. The meeting and the service at Akar on Sunday the 12th of February was a very important meeting. The meeting in the presence of the Unitarian from Nongtalang, Nongkrem, Puriang and Jowai has unanimously adopted 3 resolutions.
1.       It was decided that the Unitarians in Bangladesh form a committee to stay connected and support each other.
2.       It was also resolved that the Unitarians in Bangladesh will atleast meet twice a year, once to celebrate the Unitarian Anniversary day on the 18th of September and another during the third or the fourth week of every February in which Unitarians from the Unitarian Union can also join the Bangladesh group.
3.       It was also resolved to approach the Unitarian Union Northeast India to support the appointment of Tyngshaiñ Khongjoh as a Church Worker to cater to the pastoral needs of the Unitarians in this country.

It was a fruitful visit and thanks those who join me in the trip to Bangladesh and especially my Unitarian brothers and sisters in the country. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

112th Annual Conference of the Unitarian Union at the Unitarian Church Wahmawlein

The 112th Annual Conference of the Unitarian Union Northeast India was held at the Unitarian Church Wahmawlein in the East Khasi Hills District of Meghalaya. The two days Annual Conference from the 4th to the 5th of February was started with the hoisting of the flag by the President of the Union Rev. D.P. Pariat which was followed by the Board meeting for the Board members and different workshop conducted by Minister and Assistant Minister of the Church.

 A welcome service was held at the church premises at 6:30 in the evening and the youths of the church welcome the delegates with a beautiful welcome song. On Sunday the day was started with a morning service and followed by a service at 10:30 in the morning and another one at 1:30 in the afternoon. The last service of the conference was held at 5:30 of the Sunday evening. A huge number of the church from different parts of the area attened the annual conference.

 Wahmawleiñ is special because this village was established with fund supported by the General Assembly of the Unitarian Free Christian Church Great Britain. It was after a major earthquake which had rocked the state and many of the member of the Unitarin Church, Mawlat lost their homes and pocessions. A letter was send to bah John Hewerdine who got it printed on the front page of the Inquirer with ha request for help. Help did came and  the Union was able to buy the plot of land on which the Wahmawlein village now stand and many families from Mawlat who lost thei houses and belonging were relocated at Wahmawleiñ.

 The next Annual Conference or the 112th Annual Conference of the Unitarian Union will be held in Jowai sometime in the month of february of 2013. The 112th Annual Conference will also be a special conference when the Jowai Church celebrates the 125 Anniversary of the founding of the first Unitarian Church in the Northeast India 
The 125th Anniversay or the Quasquicentenial Celebration will start in month of June 2012 and conclude in the month of February 2013 which also conincide with the 112th Annual Conference of the UUNE.

Some of the new Ministers and Assistant Minister of the Unitarian Union Northeast India.