The Church of the Nazarene Mission in India celebrated its 125th anniversary on January 11, 2024 in Pune, Maharashtra, and similar celebrations took place in Aurangabad, Maharashtra and Amritsar, Punjab. This historic occasion allowed us to reflect on the journey of faith, service, community development, and most importantly, the faithfulness of God that has defined the mission’s presence in India over the last century and a quarter. The Church which was concentrated in the central part of India for 50 years is now in 20 States of India.
Among those who graced the event were General Superintendent Dr. Carla Sunberg, Dr. Charles Sunberg, Regional Director Rev. Jim Ritchie, and his wife Maggie, along with Mr. Steven Clarkson. Their attendance added a profound sense of significance and global unity to the celebration. We also had 120 leaders and lay members attending the celebration from different parts of India.
The celebration commenced with the lighting of the lamp by dignitaries following the praise and worship. Rev. Dr. Sunil Dandge, India Field Strategy Coordinator, effectively conducted us through a journey into the past, recalling the mission’s rich history in India. He shared moving testimonies, providing a glimpse into the transformative impact the mission has had on communities over time.
India Field facilitated senior ministers and their spouses who have made significant contributions through their hard work within the Nazarene community. This recognition honoured not only their individual dedication but also highlighted the collective impact of their efforts in fostering the growth and strength of the Nazarene mission. Rev. Dr. C S Dhas & Rev. Santhosh Dongardive shared their ministry experiences with the Nazarene Mission in India, providing valuable insights and inspiring narratives to the audience.
Regional Director Rev. Jim conveyed the regional perspective and priorities with a heart-touching speech. He effectively communicated the significance of the regional mission and inspired a sense of purpose among those in attendance. Another significant milestone for India Field is the establishment of a National Board to provide crucial guidance and support to the Districts in the Field. The main purpose of the National Board is to have one voice for Church of the Nazarene in India. It will help and assist the districts to comply to the global and governmental requirements. This initiative was made possible with the united efforts and futuristic outlook by all the leaders in the Field. Consultation and guidance was provided by Mr. Arpit Waghmare, Dr. Madana Kumar, Dr. Jayakumar Christian, Dr. Subhash Dongardive, Rev. Ramesh Pathara who helped and supported the formation of the National Board.
The General Superintendent Dr. Carla Sunberg shared God’s word, recounting the visionary mission of Dr. H.F. Reynolds and his significant contributions to the mission in India. She also reflected on the challenges faced by the mission, narrating how it went from good to bad and endured adversity, yet missionaries unwaveringly kept the faith and served the Lord faithfully. Therefore, our celebration of 125 years of mission work in India is a testament to their dedication. In her concluding remarks, Dr. Sunberg urged everyone to hold fast to their faith in God and to remember the sacrifices made by many missionaries in India. Dr. Carla Sunberg read and handed a congratulations letter from the BGS.
At the end, Dr. Charles Sunberg offered a prayer for India and all its leaders, concluding with a benediction.
-article by Rev. Pravin Samudre, Communication coordinator, India