The Presbyterian Church of India is the fruit of the missionary labour of love of the Presbyterian Church of Wales (earlier known as the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Church). The Welsh Church began its missionary work in the Khasi Jaintia Hills area in 1841. From this area the ministry of evangelization was expanded to the Sylhet-Cachar Plains, the Lushai Hills, and the Cachar Hills. As the work made rapid progress, the Assembly of the Khasi Jaintia Presbyterian Church was constituted in 1896, which had jurisdiction over all the mission fields of the Presbyterian Church of Wales in North-East India. Since the Church grew in character and membership, two new Assemblies came to be created in 1924: the Lushai Assembly and the Sylhet-Cachar Plains Assembly. The existence of the three Assemblies led to the constitution of a higher body, the Synod of the Presbyterian Church in Assam in 1926.
The on-going expansion of the Presbyterian Church in Assam resulted in the inauguration of a fourth Assembly in 1930, the Cachar Hill Tribes Assembly. However, when the country was partitioned into India and Pakistan in 1947, a very large portion of the Sylhet-Cachar plains went to East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). Hence, the Sylhet-Cachar Plains Assembly could not continue to function. The Christians belonging to the Indian geographical area of the Assembly, then formed themselves into a District meeting under the direct supervision of the Synod. The expansion of the Church in different areas and the historical events taking place, led to the amendment of certain provisions of the Constitution time and again so as to make it relevant to new and changing contexts. In 1953 the highest Church body, the “Synod”, was renamed “Assembly” while each of the constituent Assemblies was called “Synod”. Six years later in 1959, the Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Assam received new members from South Manipur within its fold.
The Constitution once again underwent amendments in 1968 and the name of the Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Assam was changed to the Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in North East India (APCNEI).
The year 1969 witnessed major events: (1) The setting up of the Central Office of the Assembly in Shillong with full-time Administrative Secretaries, (2) the formation of Working Committee to help in the smooth running of the Assembly and, (3) the departure of the Welsh missionaries after 128 years of glorious missionary service. As the Assembly continued to grow, other important events followed the formation of the Presbyterian Youth Fellowship of the Assembly in 1974; affiliation of APCNEI with National Council of Churches in India and with the World Alliance of Reformed Churches in 1977; with the Council for World Mission in 1978; the inauguration of the Manipur Synod in 1978; membership of the Christian Conference of Asia in 1985; The formation of the Presbyterian Women’s Fellowship of the Assembly in 1986; and membership in the Reformed Ecumenical Council in 2003.
The year 2010 witnessed the merger of two Global Reformed bodies i.e. World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and Reformed Ecumenical Council (REC) into one ecumenical body known as World Communion of Reformed Churches; and with Churches Auxillary for Social Action (CASA) in 2008.
With God’s blessings as the Church continued to grow, it was but natural for it to assume the name Presbyterian Church of India in 1992. The number of the constituent Synods of the Assembly increased from four to seven with the creation of Ri Bhoi Presbyterian Synod and Biateram Presbyterian Church Synod in 1996 and with the bifurcation of the Khasi Jaintia Presbyterian Synod Mihngi and Khasi Jaintia Presbyterian Synod into two Synods viz., Khasi Jaintia Presbyterian Synod Mihngi and Khasi Jaintia Presbyterian Synod Sepngi in 2002. In the same year in 2002, the name of the “Assembly” was also changed to “General Assembly” and the formation of Regional Assembly was given constitutional provision in 2004. Zou Presbyterian Church Synod was again established in 2006. The Presbyteries in the Karbi Anglong were put under the General Assembly Administrative Area and named as Karbi Anglong General Assembly Administrative Area.
The Presbyterian Church of India is beginning to play an important role in the worldwide Church. It has also entered into partnership agreements with sister Churches. The growth and challenges of the twenty-first century context necessitate amendments to the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church of India.
Contact as on 31st July 2013
Rev. V.L.Luaia Hranleh
Presbyterian Church of India
Presbyterian Assembly House
Central Ward, Shillong-793 001 Meghalaya
Tel: 0364–2226828, 2221127, 2505655
Fax: 0364-2228166 Email: email@example.com