Council of Baptist Churches in North East India [CBCNEI]
The Council of Baptist Churches in North East India is one of the largest Baptist groups in South East Asia . The seed of the Gospel was planted by the first American Baptist Missionaries at Sadiya, Upper Assam in 1836. Since then the CBCNEI has had a long history of partnership with the American Baptist Churches in its life and mission in carrying out the commission of the Lord. The transfer of responsibility from the “foreign mission” to “national leadership” took place in 1950.
CBCNEI primary function is “to bring the great diversity of its people into unity of single denominational structure”. It is an instrument of unity for mutual assistance, fellowship, inspiration and above all else, mission. The Council is actively involved in mission and evangelism, Theological education, Campus and Hostel Ministries, Healing Ministry, Christian Education, Peace Building , Relief and Development, Leadership Development Training Programs and Seminars.
The Council has grown both in quantity and quality and has a membership of 7,53,606. It has Regional conventions in five states in the North East India- Arunachal Pradesh Baptist Convention, Assam Baptist Convention, Manipur Baptist Convention, Garo Baptist Convention [Meghalaya], Karbi-Anglong Baptist Convention, and Nagaland Baptist Church Council.There are altogether 84 Associations, 5446 local Churches, 6 Hospitals and 7 recognized Theological Colleges. The CBCNEI Head Quarter is in Guwahati , Assam .
Assam Baptist Convention
Christianity first took its root in Assam from where it branched out to neighboring people groups. The first missionary to the Nagas was sent from the Sibsagar Baptist Church . Yet till today Assam remains the most un-reached state with the gospel of the North East India with only 3.32%. The majority 67% of the population is Hindu and 28.43% is Muslim. This present a challenge for outreach and growth to this Convention which consist of five Associations, with 340 local Churches 34,673 baptized members and 39 full time workers.
Arunachal Pradesh Baptist Convention
Arunachal Pradesh, the mountainous state bordering China , has a population consisting approximately 37 ethnic groups, most of which are yet to receive the gospel. The APBC, formed in 1995, is the youngest in the CBCNEI family but it is the fastest growing despite persecution and hardships. It is now estimated that 10.30% of the population is Christian. The APBC consists of 9 Associations, 505 local churches and 35,000 baptized members.
Garo Baptist Convention.
The first converts Omed and Ramke of the Garos were baptized on February 8,1863 at Sukdeswar Ghat on the bank of Brahmaputra river. They both were the first missionaries to their own people. The Garos are matrilineal tribe primarily located in the Western region of the Meghalaya state. At present the Garo Baptist Convention has 10 Krimas [Association], 1,820 local churches, a baptized membership of 1,72, 779 and 47,186 Christian families.
Karbi Anglong Baptist Convention.
The Karbis are the tribal located in the state of Assam . This Convention was established in 1981. The Karbis are predominantly animist with the current
Christian population estimated only about 5%. The Karbi Anglong Baptist Convention comprises of 8 Association with 205 local churches and baptized membership is 13,425.
Manipur Baptist Convention.
Christianity in Manipur was introduced in 1896 through Rev.&Mrs. William Pettigrew and other dedicated servants of the Lord. The gospel of love spread through to the hill areas to the multi-tribe groups. The MBC, in spite of facing many hardships due to the ethnic conflicts among the people of the state, is actively involved in promoting peace and reconciliation. The Convention continues in outreach mission to the Meiteis of the plains of Manipur. The Convention has 26 Associations, 1,247 local churches with 1,44,556 baptized members.
Nagaland Baptist Church Council.
Rev.Dr.E.W.Clark, pioneer American missionary, with the help of Godhula, an Assemese Christian established the first church in Molungkimong in 1872. Through the untiring efforts and sacrifices of the local Christians and foreign missionaries the light of the gospel reached all Naga tribes. Today Nagas are approximately 90% Christians and still actively involved in outreach mission with Naga missionaries throughout India , Nepal , Bhutan , Myanmar , and as far as Cambodia . The present membership of NBCC is 3,17410 with 20 Associations and 1,264 local churches.
CBCNEI Medical Institutions
Satribari Christian Hospital, Guwahati, ASSAM opened in1925 with a missionary nurse and her four students as staff, earning the unique distinction of initiating a nursing training program from its inception. Today the 190 beds Hospital has 8 Doctors and 101 staff, who in 1997 treated 12,407 Hindus, 1,433 Christians and 1375 Muslims . The Nursing School offers degree course with 80 students at the moment. Hospital operates a rural community Health Center .
Jorhat Christian Medical Center , Assam was founded in 1924 and now run with 170 beds, 6 Doctors and 73 support staff. A School of nursing currently has 84 students and 4 staff.
Tura Christian Hospital Meghalaya is a 70 beds facility with 5 Doctors and 44 staff. The Nursing Training School provides a Female Health Worker Course for 36 students. The hospital maintains an orphanage with 18 babies presently.
Kangpokpi Christian Hospital, Manipur with 40 beds is served by 1 full time and 1 part time Doctor with 17 support staff. A Nursing School is conducted with 4 staff and 43 students.
Impur Christian Hospital, Nagaland imparts service through the 2 Doctors and 8 staff a ministry beyond the 30 beds facility, supplyinng free medications and treatment in villages when some epidemic spreads, and provides Seminars in the villages on relevant health care such as First Aid, Family Planning, HIV & Aids etc.
Babupara Christian Hospital located on the border of Meghalaya and Assam will serve the needs of both communities. This facility will become functional upon the availability of a Doctor.
Of the Theological Colleges, Eastern Theological College Jorhat is the only college sponsored by BCBCEI, while the remaining are sponsored by the Conventions. The ETC currently offers courses as the Bachelor of Divinity, Master of Theology and Doctor of Ministry Degree. The student body of 250 represents all the North East States as well as Myanmar.
Presbyterian Church of India.
The Presbyterian Church of India began with the mission work of the “Welsh Calvinistic Methodist or Presbyterian Church of Wales” in Khasi Jaintia area of Meghalaya, with the arrival of Rev. Thomas Jones and his wife in Khasi hills on June 22 nd 1941 . The mission work expanded to Sylhet-Cachar plains, Cachar Hills of Assam and Mizoram, and later to Manipur. With the rapid progress of the work, the Synod of the Presbyterian Church in Assam was officially constituted in the year 1926.
In 1935 the Synod came to be called Assembly, and the Assemblies of the time were renamed as Synods. Under the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church of India, the Assembly is the supreme body exercising authority over all the churches within its fold. It is the only authority to effect changes or to modify the constitution. Its interpretation of any clauses thereof is final. It ordinarily function as a coordinating body of the life and activities of the whole church. It establishes new Synods when necessary. The Assembly takes care of the matters relating to other church bodies including ecumenical organization like Council for World Mission, World Alliance of Reformed Churches, Christian Conference of Asia, National Council of Churches in India etc. to which Presbyterian Church of India is a member.
The Presbyterian church of India is spread over a large area covering the entire North Eastern region, comprising Assam , Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. The PCI has mission
field stations in some of the major cities of India and even in Nepal , with more than one thousand Mission field workers. The important mission field stations are in Katmandu, Nepal; Khaso, Assam; Noagang, Tripura; Siliguri, West Bengal; Karbi-Anglong, Assam; Synod House, Lunglie, Mizoram; Mission House, New Delhi; 2-Urquart Square, Calcutta; Silchar, Assam; Imphal, and Manipur.
[ Source from CBCNEI office , Guwahati ]
According to the 1998 statistic, the Presbyterian Church of India has a total of 8,23,456 members in the church, with 459 pastors and 89 probationary pastors. There are 2568 local churches and the Synods look after the churches. The Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of India is divided into six Synods for smooth running of the administration and pastoral ministry. The Synods has the autonomy as far as the function and ministry is concerned. The names of the Synods are as follows: Khasi-Jaintia Synod, Shillong. Mizoram Synod, Aizawl. Cachar Hills Tribe Synod, Halflong. Manipur Synod. Churachandpur. Biateram Synod, Fiangpui. Ri Boi Synod, Meghalaya.
The Assembly of Presbyterian Church of India comprises of 23 languages and dialects speaking groups. For instance, Khasi, Hmar, Mizo, Kuki, Naga, Karbi, Biate, Hraugkhol, Assemese, Bengali, Dimasa, Nepali etc. Therefore for better communication we use English as official language. The assembly has its Central Office in Shillong, with two full time Administrative Secretaries in the office. The Presbyterian Church of India has 580 ordained pastors. The Assembly also has five Colleges, 49 High Schools, 133 Middle Schools and 570 Primary Schools.
III. Position of Women in the Church and Society
Dr. K Rajaratnam, the President of National Council of Churches in India , in his presidential address during the North East India Women Ecumenical Enablers Workshop held in Shillong from November 20 th 23 rd 99, repeatedly said that women in the North East are more fortunate than their counterpart elsewhere. They have more freedom and equality with men. There is no distinction between men and women in the North East church and society. They have what the rest of the women in the country do not enjoy. However there is other side also. As Mrs. Hnuni said,“ In the NEI we practice social freedom. Men and women live and mix together openly and freely. This is often mistaken by outsiders-specially those from a Hindu or Muslim background to mean that there is no sexism in the society or in the church”. However, in real sense it is not, therefore, let us try to look bit deeper into the reality.
In the year 1977 June I joined the Eastern Theological College Jorhat, Assam to undergo theological study. I studied four years to get my degree with my other male classmates. I sat and learned the same subjects, from the same professor/ Lecturers the same amount of time. With the completion of the course we all received the Degree Certificate conferred by the Senate of Serampore University on the same day. When I returned to my church with great enthusiasm to serve God through serving the church. I was not qualified for the important position in the church because of my gender. I was placed only in the women’s department to work among the women. My appointment to the Ministry was not according to my ability or potential but according to my gender. Today almost all of my male contemporaries are holding important positions in the church and organizations. Many of them are also ordained. Of course I am proud of them. But I do not see my female contemporaries are in any important position in the Ministry.
When critical analysis is done about the position of women in the church and society in NEI, women are still treated as subordinate to men. Church should take the lead but when compared again, the situation in the society is better than in the church. In secular world women also can be in the same position with the man if only she can compete the examination/interview. But in the church even if there are capable women they are not given the opportunity in the high position because they are women.
The Christian Missionaries brought Education with the gospel in the NEI specially among the hill tribe people. Before that they were living isolated from the other parts of the world. Education played important role in the life of the people of North East India and women are not exempted from this. Even among the Missionaries, women were the first who took initiative in education in many cases. For instance, in Nagaland it was Mrs. Clark who first started the school for girls and later added boys. Likewise in other areas also women were the pioneers in educating the people.
Education has brought significant changes to the life of the people in the NEI. Yet in the beginning parents were so reluctant in sending their daughters to school thinking that educating a girl child is waste of time and money, because they will be married off to some one else and they will not be their anymore. Thus girl child was not sent to school but kept at home to help parents in the field and domestic works and to take care of her younger brothers and sisters while her brothers were send to school. Even today in remote rural villages some parents have still the same understanding and do not want their girl child to be educated.
Pioneering missionaries however, took the challenge and offered their untiring service in educating parents trying to let the parents understand the importance of education. Gradually the hearts of the many parents were won by the missionaries hence girl child was also allowed to get education. Today changes have taken place tremendously in women’s education in the North East India. I would like to highlight the improvement of women’s literacy rate between 1981-1991 census in the North East India. Which also indicates the decrease status of women and men in literacy in the region.
[Source from PCI office Shillong]
Christian Missionaries hold the sole responsibility in bringing changes to the life of women. Education offered women tremendous opportunity for leadership from which they were excluded for decades due to tradition. Today women began to look beyond their horizon and realized how much ability and potential they have to be leader in the church and society. Thus education brought drastic change to the life of the women in the North East. Today many educated women take up good position in the society and government. However they are still yet to reach the level of where they can take equal participation with men in decision-making body, inheritance of property and rights of ownership. In many areas women are also treated well but in general women are still oppressed and marginalized.
In terms of inheritance of ancestral property, daughters inherit and the female lineage is followed in the family in the matrilineal societies of Khasi, Jaintia and Garo of Meghayala. Thus a girl child is welcome in the family. But even among their society women do not enjoy total freedom/liberty men controls the whole social system and practices. To absorb from out side women seems to be enjoying maximum freedom and liberty in the leadership position in church and society. But when we take a closer look and analyze their social system it is not better than the other patriarchal society especially in the church.
As mentioned above, women position in the society is improving much as she can be in the high position if she can compete and pass the examination or interview. But when it comes to the political arena of hill people of North East India, it still practices the patriarchal male dominated society. The political life in the hill people is democratic but exclude women. For instance, there are no women in the village council which is the highest political meeting also. Only men age above 18 years are eligible to attend the public meeting. Recently government also advised and suggested that at least one or two women representative should be in the village council but this is not implement till now. The deliberation of the matter belongs to men. Women’s responsibility is to simply accept the decision/policy made by men and follow them without any complaint.
In other societies the inheritance by women is not possible. In the North East the hill people the practice of Customary Law is still very strong which denies many right to women which also does not allow inheritance to women. Only sons can inherit family properties. Even in the absence of sons, the daughters or mother [wife] cannot inherit the family properties but the nearest kinsman of the father [husband] becomes the recipient. This is another injustice done to women by society. If we are to be honest, family properties were not collected by the man [husband] alone but both husband and wife put the labor together. In fact wife’s labor will be more if we calculated the working hours, but because of the tradition she is victimized. In spite of the advancement in education and modernization the same traditional practices continue. Women’s legal rights are deprived and denied. In the society, women are always the looser and she is the victim of the social injustice.
[ Source from Literacy Rate of All States and Union Territories of India 1993.
Produced and Published by the Directorate of Economic and Statistic of Manipur. Pp. 53-54. ]
When it comes to the church the role of women is little lower than in the secular society. Mentioned have made above, in the secular society if she qualify the examination or interview conducted by the concerned department she can be in the high position like her male folk. But in the Church, women play only a secondary role. Whenever there is some vacancy for Executive/General secretary or pastor of some local church, the organization or church will never think of appointing women to the post. It is understood that these posts are only for men and not for women. Even if there are capable women, the appointment will always go to men even if he is not very capable because he is a man. I can confidently say that the activeness of the churches in the North East is mostly because of women’s leadership. Women are so active, they are faithful and hardworking. But they are placed only in the women’s department. Men are so reluctant to share with women the privileges and responsibilities as pastor, members of Board of deacons, Executive/General secretaries etc.
Many people get hold on St. Paul ‘s advice that women should keep silent, be submissive to her husband etc. Some men take shelter on these passages to dominate women. The only problem/question is whether Christians believes and follow Jesus Christ, who was born among people, lived among people, gave liberation to the people suffering from different problems, physical, Spiritual, emotional, psychological etc, includes the sick, poor and women, the oppressed and marginalized social out caste, and he restored their identity in the society. And died for the redemption of all of humankind in the world. Should Christian believe and follow St. Paul ? If Christians believe and follow Christ, and Church is the body of Christ and Christ is the head of the church, then church has to follow the teaching/instruction of Christ. Jesus said there are many rooms in my father’s mansion. There are enough rooms for both women and men in the ministry of the church.
The existing theological paradigms in India seem inadequate to meet the challenges the churches are facing today. The inadequate clerical and academicals paradigms in this fast changing situation compel us to look for a new theological paradigms which can address the various issues that the people of God are facing in their socio-economic, and religio-cultural contexts and realities of life crisis. The present theological thinkers are trying to develop the theology of empowering people, the theology of unifying force, and the theology of liberating force. In the North East there is need of a paradigm of contextual theological approach so as to allow full participation of women in the ministry of the church. In the North East there are two distinct different social set up. Among the Khasi=Jaintia and Garo of Meghalaya, the social practice in the matrilineal system while others follow the patriarchal social system. Therefore the approach and the Biblical interpretation should also need to be contextual zed to meet the needs of the people. However, it is affirmed that even Khasi-Jaintia and Garo whose social system is matrilineal do not offer equal participation to the women in the ministry in the church where she can use her God given talents to the full. The situation calls us to evaluate the whole system and remodel wherever necessary according to the need and context of the church and society.
When we take a careful study of the ministry of the Church, there are many loopholes. Some of the Church leaders men/women hold on the position too long. Where as he/she is not very successful yet does not want to give away the position to a younger generation, which hinders the growth of the Church. We talk so much of leadership development but we do not want give away the leadership position to other younger ones who are far much equipped and well informed about what is going around. This is an urgent need that the Church should take seriously if we are faithful to the Lord and to our calling.
Today the majority of the theologically trained women in India are from the North East India. There are nearly one thousand if not more theologically trained women in the North East Indian churches. Every year young committed women graduates are coming out of the theological Colleges and Seminaries. However, it is very unfortunate and sad to see that many of the graduates do not get chances to work in the Church. In the churches of North East India the present main role plays by the theologically trained women are: Secretary of the women fellowship local association/synod and convention level. Teacher in Mission Schools, lecturer in the theological Colleges and Seminary, some chaplains, teacher in Mission School, lecturers in theological Colleges, some chaplains, some librarian in theological colleges and missionaries.
The above shows that the vacancies are very limited and that also in subordinate jobs only. Therefore women cannot exercise their academic knowledge and God given gifts to the full in the ministry of the Church. Above all, since the openings are very limited, the majority of the theologically trained women do not get jobs in the Church, hence working in other private and government schools or offices. When they take up government jobs they are being criticise by saying that after studying theology why do they work in government offices. What answer can the Church give in this juncture to the theologically trained women in the churches of North East India?
The gifts of the Spirit are distributed to all God’s people, women and men, and that their partnership in Ministry must be welcomed for common good. We are not talking only with respect to women but the move is towards partnership in all areas away from domination and hierarchy. The paradigm has been changed/changing from traditional male dominated hierarchal to ecumenical ministry paradigm. In a forward look the 21 st Century Church ministry will certainly be far more diverse than their counterparts in any period of Church history. They will include laity and clergy, women and men, and people of every race and ethnic background. They will include poor and the rich, the uneducated and educated, the powerless and powerful, the weak and strong. They will come from every denominations and every Christian traditions. In other words, the ministry of the Church in the 21 st Century will be “the ministry of partnership or equal participation”. Women and men will work together hand in hand. Participation will be according to the ability and human value and not according to the social structure and gender.
Thus the ministry of the Church in the 21 st Century will mean that the ministry of the Churches planted which will model the new community with the kingdom style inaugurated by Jesus. In this new community earthly values are overturned, status depends on service and value to the community and not on social standing. We should be prepared to suffer any consequences in order to affirm and solidarity with women. Our witness in the new millennium should include living demonstration in our Church and organization, and our marriages of biblical model of partnership between women and men. Thus we will preach a gospel which is truly good news of abundant life promised in Christ and a new society He came to bring about.
Church as the Agent of Social Transformation.
The concept of transformation is to restore the strength of life. It is in contradiction to killing or dying, which are ways in which life is destroyed. There is also the community freedom from harm, good order is part of security. However, there is only trouble and disorder in the land, there is oppression to minority group, there is corruption, blood sheet, no one can go and come in safety. Your roads are deserted [Isaiah33:7ff ]. Bible does not say specifically about transformation but the Bible is the message of God’s promises for restoration. God will transform the situation of the people and society. Isaiah 61:1ff speaks about the restoration of society, to get freedom in society, and new ability to see your way, to decide where you are going and what you are going to do.
Luke 4:16 -21- The Messianic message as declared in this passage is about:
– the restoration of the broken victims of humanity.
– the restoration of people to wholeness in themselves as fully participating, effectively functioning and freely accepted members of human societies.
-the transformation of the societies which by their sinfulness, create the broken victims and have to change radically if people are to be restored to wholeness. The message is good news to the poor, to heal the broken heart and to give sight to the blind. The heart is the whole person. Hence the broken-hearted are those whose lives have been broken. They have lost the power to will and act, because of the futility of doing so in view of the power surrounding them which have broken them. To bind up the broken hearted is to restore the people’s inner functional capacity and character. To release the prisoners means to liberate them from the captive of the dungeon to the freedom of society.
From the blindness in the darkness of dungeon to the light of day. Therefore the references to the poor, the broken hearted speaks about the social transformation, where each person have a place for full participation in the society freed from the crushing of dominating power. That is what Jesus mean “Good News “ is all about.
The Church is the agent of social transformation, in a place like North East where there is ethnic conflict, killing among brothers and sisters. Only the Church can give the answer to the people longingness for social transformation for a just society. Each ethnic group in our region today has conscious of the power it can exert, it is aware that it counts for something and can influence to shape its future. However, in making various claims, some groups went too far in the view of others.
The present scenario of region of North East India is almost every day the roads are blocked. Public have to observe bandh imposed by either group. Prices rise because of local taxes imposed by youth groups. Extortions have broken the backbone of the economy. The disturbed conditions have destroyed the academic atmosphere among students. Development programs are not easy to carry on due to collection of taxes. In spite all these situations, in turn, bridges are blown up, public buildings are damaged, telephone wires are cut, electric lines are stolen and sold, traveling by buses and rail is not safe. Yet remedial voices are silent, media men are warned, judiciary is threatened. No defense is offered against extortion. The most tragic aspect of the situation is the growing insensitivity to human suffering. In the midst of all these circumstances, people long for social transformation and peace. Even the most violent men long for peace. Peace and harmony can come only through social transformation and Church is the answer if we are to be sensitive to the situation.
Christian response to the pain and suffering is not retaliation. It is also not the philosophy of “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth”. Suffering and pain has a redemptive value. Tears have power. Blood of the victim that falls to the ground, calls for attention from God and fellow beings. Christ identified himself with the suffering victims of violence. He is the suffering servant. He was a refugee in Egypt . Christ become one with every tribe and tongue and people of all nations. He opens our eyes to the evils in our society and enables us to react to the need of the hour. We have to develop a philosophy of transformation and a theology of restoration in the region of North East India.
Our society is people-based, not Institution-based. The Church is often identified with the Church hierarchy and the clergy. We need to recapture the idea of the Church as the people. References to the Church both by Christians and outsiders are in terms of the people, such as ‘these men’ (Acts 5:35 ) ‘unlearned and ignorant men’ (Acts 4:13 ).
As we enter this new millennium, many are asking – does the Church still play a role in social transformation of our society? Many would ask if the Churches have a future at all and might go on to predict that the Churches might be put to death and disappear.
Openness to the future and social transformation is integral to nature of the Church which conceives itself as a pilgrim Church , never referred to any particular historical moment and situation. As an open Church, open to the future, its movement can be described as a process of growing towards maturity.
The Church as an agent of social transformation is directed to the world. The primary focus of Jesus’ concern was not an end in itself but only a means of the salvation of the whole creation. Humanity is not for the Church whereas the Church exists for humanity. “The Church exists for its non-members” (William Temple). Unfortunately, most of the churches in North East exist as closed religious communities catering solely to the personal psychological needs and fancies of some of the Church as a community that is primarily concerned about certain religious tradition and beliefs. Sin, Salvation, heaven, peace of mind etc. dominates our religious language. The teaching of the Church has more concern about life after death but life before death is more important to address. The Church is hardly concern about the issues of justice, human rights and truth. However, the Church’s mission as the agent of social transformation should be directed to the whole habited world. God alone draws the boundaries of the world [ Lk.9:49-50 ]. The Church also should open to the direction of the Spirit of God.
Since we live in the industrialized and economically affluent society or in the third world situation, all of us are in one way or another infected by the fever of modern consumerism. Propaganda, psychology, and modern techniques of advertisement endlessly stimulate our sense of acquisitiveness.
The future of the Church in India depends on its own openness. It has to be a Church rotted in love, a Church of courage enough to utter a prophetic warning to our nation and to the people. It is such a Church that can ensure the future life and creative witness of Christian community. In these times of cataclysmic changes we face the new millennium, the Church must take the lead to make better society. The Church must transform itself so as to play a transforming role in the life of the people and the world where they live.
The Church is called to be the Church in times of great political, economic and cultural shift. She is invited to evaluate and re-define its missionary task so that it can continue to be a servant community relevant and responsive to the challenges of the time. There life-affirming forces at work today. The mission of God is mission in the affirmation and protection of life. The Church can join this life-affirming force. In a world govern by market values human dignity and community value becomes valueless in the context of North East India. The people in the North East are used to all forms of violence, corruption, abuse of women and children, expedient politics etc. In this situation can the Church be a conscious giver?
Can the Church preach the prophetic message that Yahweh is not an “ ethnic God ” but an “ ethical God” to the people of North East particularly. People needs to understand that they are Christian in the first place then ethnic comes the next. The prophetic message in the Old Testament is about justice and to upheld justice, but today justice has been fallen to the ground in our community. The prophetic mission of Jesus has to be understood as the continuation of the mission of the prophets. It is urgent that we need to recover this prophetic strand of the biblical faith. The Church in the North East for too long had found it convenient to emphasis the mystic element of Christian spirituality. It is now she emphasis the prophetic nature of struggle of the people for a “ Just” and “New” North East.
The Church is fragmented, the society is fragmented, to overcome this dangerous trend, Church Union is the only answer since Church Union is imperative for healthy Church of Christ and should Church Union be rejected, then Christ is rejected. Since a Mizo, a Naga, a Kuki, a Garo Christ of least value to any one. The strong should care for the weak even though it would be much more convenient not to do so, but we are called to be one. And the form of Church Union is a negotiable matter hence ethnic differences should be at the cost of one-ness in Christ. The Church role as agent of social transformation therefore depends on the future of her congregations, because the Church is people based not Institution based.
Some Practical Recommendations in the context of North East India
• In the North East India 80% population lives in the rural villages. They are simple minded people, innocent, honest, and faithful to God and to Church. Ho