August 12, 1984 Rev. Nibaron Das (Bishop) started a Methodist Church at his Mohakhali residence with 12 believers gathered for worship. Since that day the church has grown with the work expanding to villages and many persons being baptized. There was tremendous financial crisis and traditional opposition very strong, but with patience and endurance the church grew. The priority and desire of the church is to extend the Kingdom of God to all people, languages, cultures and religions, and the commitment made to plant churches and establish the Methodist Church in Bangladesh is at great risk.
Priorities in northern Bangladesh included Dinajpur, Joypurhat, Naogong and Gaibandha where the tribal peoples are majority. Thousands of tribal people including Santal, Mahali, Orao, Mundari, Malo, Pahan live in these areas and they are very receptive to the gospel. Many Hindus live in the southern part, especially the districts of Gopalganj, Khulna, Jessore, Shatkhira, Narail and Faidpur. We asked God to open the door to this area to bring the people into His Kingdom, and now we have over 100 churches within these areas. Other areas where the church has expanded include Dhaka, Gazipur, Tangail and Mymensingh.
The Bangladesh Methodists are grateful to Korean friends who have extended their cordial cooperation. Without their fervent prayers and financial assistance it would have been impossible to continue the growth of the Methodist Church in Bangladesh.
The church has a total of 185 churches, 18,698 members. A theological training center, Kumran Bible School located at Kamalpur, was initiated by Kumran Methodist Church. The school currently named Methodist Theological Seminary has been upgraded and now has a three-story seminary building, which houses classrooms, dormitory, library, staff quarters and guest room. Accommodation capacity of the dormitories is 45 and over 30 courses are offered to students. Since 1992 120 students have graduated with degrees, and have ministered to churches in rural areas under the Bangladesh Methodist Church. Bishop Nibaron Das is honorary principal, with a manager and staff. The school continues to be supported by the Synpoong Methodist Church, Kumran Methodist church and Korean friends. The academic council hopes to offer a Bachelor of Theology curriculum in 2003.
Since 1984 a Church Plantation and Evangelism program was developed, and on July 1, 1997 a four-story Dhaka Central Methodist Church building was consecrated. Only a few years ago Bishop Das was a simple ordinary pastor of a small church but by the grace of God he has been chosen to become a senior pastor of the biggest church, also one of the biggest evangelical denominations throughout the 200 years of Protestantism and first bishop of Bangladesh Methodist Church.
The Church of Christ in China was founded in 1918 when discussions on unity by 17 mission societies formally started, and then in 1922 when its Provincial Assembly was held at Shanghai. In the midst of Anti-Christian Movement, it was born as an indigenous and church-union effort. Founding members included many denominational churches mainly from Presbyterian and Congregational traditions. Under the General Assembly, there were in 1928, 12 synods, 51 district associations, 585 local churches, 2,035 preaching stations, with about 120,000 baptized members. After 1949, linkage between the Council in Hong Kong and the General Assembly in Mainland China was cut off. Then the Hong Kong Council renamed herself as the Hong Kong Council of the Church of Christ in China.
There are 65 local churches 30 secondary schools (including 6 affiliated schools, 20 day schools and 4 evening schools), 26 primary schools, 6 kindergartens and 1 special child care centre. The number of baptized members is around 30,000 (figure of 2006). Through the educational and social service organizations, the Council serves more than 75,000 children and teenagers. There are six departments and committees in the Council: Church Affairs and Administration, Lay Training, Social Ministry, Theology, Education, Missions and Evangelism.
The Council encourages and assists the local churches to attain self-government, self-support and self propagation. It also promotes evangelistic work and social services, takes an active role in cooperative Christian organizations in the Hong Kong Christian community and participates in the affairs of the ecumenical church. The Council is a member of the Hong Kong Christian Council, Divinity School of Chung Chi College (in Chinese University of Hong Kong) and Chinese Christian Literature Council. It also joins some ecumenical bodies such as The Council for World Mission, World Council of Churches, Christian Conference of Asia, World Alliance of Reformed Churches and World Methodist Council. The Council also has good relationships with the Chinese Church in Mainland China and The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan.
On 1 July 1997, Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region under The People’s Republic of China. The Council looks forward to the Church in Hong Kong continuing its witness through evangelistic work and social service organizations.
The Methodist Church, Hong Kong is a self-governing, self-supporting, and self-propagating church incorporated by a private ordinance. It was founded on October 25, 1975 by amalgamation of the British-affiliated “The Chinese Methodist Church, Hong Kong District (Tsun To Kung Wooi)” and the American-affiliated “The Methodist Church, Hong Kong (Wei Li Kung Hui)” which commenced working in Hong Kong in 1884 and 1953 respectively. Though autonomous, it maintains close ties with British, American and other Methodists. It is a covenant church of the World Methodist Council, and is one of the founding members of the World Federation of Chinese Methodist Churches.
Following the Wesleyan tradition, Methodism in Hong Kong has greatly relied on lay leadership. Local preachers and church leaders play active and vital roles in pastoral work and in formulating church policy. Today, the church has 3 circuits comprising 19 local churches and 7 chapels, with 23 active full connexional members (16 ministers, 3 deacons, 4 conference pastoral workers), 36 local church pastoral workers, 2 missionaries and a total baptized membership of 14,000. It also actively provides various types of social, educational and medical services. The church serves 17,000 students through the operation of 8 secondary schools, 9 primary schools and 11 kindergartens. It operates 7 social service centres, 4 day nurseries, 2 dental clinics, 4 camp sites and a book room.
The church is one of the most ecumenically minded Christian bodies in Hong Kong. It provides considerable leadership in the territory’s two most representative inter-denominational bodies, the Hong Kong Christian Council and the Hong Kong Chinese Christian Churches Union. It participates in global and regional ecumenical organizations.
The church is not large in terms of membership or human and financial resources, but has a balanced theological outlook and an integral view of mission. In 1989 it embarked on its mission in Macau, a Portuguese colony about 50 miles from Hong Kong, ministering to the needs of recent immigrants from mainland China. Since the early 90s, it has supported churches and seminaries in Mainland China, and Chinese-speaking churches in England. It has invited ministers of the United Methodist in the Philippines to come as missionaries to serve the increasing number of Filipino members who worship at the Methodist Church (English speaking). Experimental missionary projects have been launched in industrial areas to reach factory workers. This “Blue Collar Evangelism” is a boundary-crossing missionary undertaking from a predominantly middle class church to factory workers’ living situation. As Hong Kong experiences expansion of “new towns” in the new territories, the church is establishing footholds in some of these developing communities, running evangelistic programs and providing community services in school-premises.
Shedding its colonial past, Hong Kong has become part of China as a highly autonomous Special Administrative Region effective from 1 July 1997. Although the future poses great challenges, the church has decided to stand with the remaining majority and commit to God’s mission of building a just and democratic society by renewing its mission, enhancing its ministry and broadening its services to the community. It will strive to maintain the Wesleyan tradition of spreading the Gospel, running schools, serving the needy and supporting ecumenical projects.
Traces of the movement towards a union of Christian denominations (or churches) in India may be seen as far back as 1810 when William Carry called a conference of all Christian denominations at Cape Town for mutual sharing of missionary experiences on common problems. This movement became more visible in the famous International Missionary Conference held in Edinburgh in 1910, commonly acclaimed as the origin of the 20th century worldwide ecumenical movement. In India this movement began to take the concrete shape of “negotiations” for “organic unity,” or re-union of churches from the famous Tranquebar Conference of 1919.
The Church of North India is a united church which came into being as the result of a union of six churches on 29th November 1970. The six churches were: The Council of the Baptist Churches in Northern India, The Church of the Brethren in India; The Disciples of Christ; The Church of India (formerly known as the Church of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon); The Methodist Church (British and Australian Conferences); The United Church of Northern India.
The Church of North India has a three-tiered organizational structure: pastorate, diocese and synod. A pastorate consists of one or more congregations under the care of a presbyter-in-charge. A diocese is composed of several pastorates under the pastoral care of the diocesan bishop. The synod is the highest legislative, supervisory and executive body of the Church of North India comprising all diocesan bishops, elected lay and ordained representation from the 23 dioceses.
CNI has 23 dioceses with over 3,000 congregations, and approximately 1.25 million members. Each diocese has a bishop. There are nearly 1,000 ordained ministers. The ordination of women came into existence in 1980.
CNI has about 12 degree colleges, 30 inter colleges, 150 secondary schools, 500 primary schools, three technical institutes, 2 agriculture institutes. It has nearly 61 hospitals and two nursing schools, which are taken care of by Synodical Board of Health Services. The Synodical Board of Social Services has been organizing and equipping people at the grass-root level to respond to present challenges.
The Church of North India is a full member of the World Council of Churches, the Christian Conference of Asia, the Council for World Mission, the Anglican Consultative Council, the World Methodist Council and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches.
The Union has not meant uniformity or absorption, of one church by another. The United Church cherishes and is enriched and strengthened by the diverse spiritual and liturgical heritages and experience of the former six churches which united. The unity in the Church of North India is a unity in diversity.
This United Church is also a uniting church. In the words of the Plan of Church Union in North India, the former six uniting churches are seeking the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, earnestly desiring the day when throughout the world, there shall be one flock and one Shepherd. Soon after the 1970 union, the Church established full communion with the Church of South India and Malankara Mar Thomas Syrian Church.
The Church of South India is a United Church that came into existence on 27th September 1947. The churches that came into the union were the Anglican Church, the Methodist Church, and the South India United Church (which was a union in 1904 of the Presbyterian and Congregational Churches). Later the Basel Mission Churches in South India also joined the Union. The Church of South India is the first example in church history of the union of Episcopal and non-Episcopal churches, and is thus one of the early pioneers of the ecumenical movement.
The total population in the church is about 2.8 million in 21 dioceses, one of the dioceses being Jaffna in Sri Lanka. We have 10,114 congregations looked after by 2,244 ministers, 2,103 full-time lay workers and other honorary lay workers. There are 1,930 schools, 38 colleges, 51 vocational training institutions, 104 hospitals and clinics and 512 hostels for poor children. Most of these institutions are located in rural areas and serve a large section of the community irrespective of their religion or caste.
We endeavor to share the love of Jesus Christ with the people of India through: the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus; responding to human need through
our institutions and through emergency relief work; striving to build a more just society through community development projects and skills training programs for the marginalized and disadvantaged sections of the society; and, programs to care for God’s creation.
The Synod consists of representatives of the 21 dioceses and has its office in Chennai (Madras). The Synod officers are the moderator, deputy moderator, the general secretary and the treasurer. Each diocese is under a bishop and a diocesan council. The dioceses have a great deal of autonomy in initiating programs for evangelism, development and service. The Synod has several councils/departments to help the dioceses in their work.
We have a Women’s Fellowship, a Youth Movement and a laity Fellowship in all dioceses. An Order of Sisters is committed to a life of celibacy, prayer and service.
The CSI strives to maintain fellowship with all those branches of the church which the uniting churches enjoyed fellowship before the union. We are members of the World Methodist Council, the Anglican Consultative Council, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, the Council for World Mission, and the Association of Missions and Churches in South West Germany.
We are also members of the World Council of Churches, the Christian Conference of Asia, the national Council of Churches in India, and the Joint Council of CSI-CNI-Marthoma Churches.
The Methodist Episcopal Church began its work in India in the year 1856, when William Butler came from America. He began work at Bareilly.
The year 1870 marked the beginning of a new era in the history of Methodism in India. The famous evangelist William Taylor was invited to India to hold special revival meetings. It was this that changed the course of Methodism in India and led our church out of its provincial boundaries and made it a national factor.
The year 1870 is also remarkable in our history as the year that marked the coming of the first missionaries of the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Two young ladies arrived that year: Isabella Thoburn, to start her wonderful work of education among India’s girls and women; and Clara Swain, to inaugurate medical work among the women.
We were, however, early led into an evangelistic work in the villages of Northern India that resulted in the baptism of large numbers of people from among the depressed classes. Thus started our mass Movement work, which has brought several hundreds of thousands of converts into our church in the rural areas.
In 1930 the Central Conference of Southern Asia elected Jaswant Rao Chitambar, as first national bishop, marking the beginning of a new era.
On August 15, 1947 India celebrated her first “Independence Day” making it a national holiday. The leadership of all departments of political life became Indian. In keeping with this, on the retirement of Bishops Pickett and Rockey on November 11, 1956, two new Indian bishops were consecrated, namely, Mangal Singh with his experience in schools and pastoral work coming from the Delhi Conference and Gabriel Sundaram with his years of experience in the educational work of the church. Thus all four of the College of Bishops for India were now Indians.
From October 31 to November 3, 1956 was celebrated the India Centenary of Methodism in Lucknow Christian College, marking the completion of 100 years of service. There was a stirring, instructive and inspirational programme ending with a very impressive Communion Service at which about 3,000 people partook of communion in unison and in solemn silence.
The Central Conference of 1976 resolved to consider the status of an Affiliated Autonomous Methodist Church in India with the United Methodist Church, USA. The Central Conference held on January 7, 1981 in Madras, did in fact reorganize the church and inaugurated the Methodist Church in India.
As the Church goes forward with its work a new era of vision and achievement has begun; we realize more fully than ever before the unchanging truth of the declaration; “Not by right, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.” The theme of the First General Conference of the Methodist Church in India, “Looking Back with Praise, Looking Ahead with Faith.”
Aims and Objectives: The Methodist Church in India is the Body of Christ in and for the world as part of the Church Universal. Its purpose is to understand the love of God as revealed in Jesus Christ, to hear witness to this love to all people and to make them His disciples. Under the discipline of the Holy Spirit the church exists for the proclamation of the love of God, the maintenance of worship, the edification of believers and the redemption of the world.
In furtherance of this aim, it engages in evangelical, educational, medical, social, literary, agricultural, socio-economic, vocational, technical, industrial and other activities which are in harmony with policies, doctrines and Articles of Faith of The Methodist Church in India.
The Methodist Church began its services in Indonesia in the year 1904 by the coming of Rev. C. F. Pyekett to Indonesia from the Methodist Church in America. Then followed by the coming of Rev. Pakianathan, a Tamil race from Malaysia, in 1905. He was sent as a school teacher to Medan. Since then missionaries came from Swedia, to mention some names, Ragnar Alm, Eric Lager, also from England. To these days there are more than 10 missionaries from USA and Korea. Some of them serve in our Seminary, school and pastoring the English speaking congregation.
Since its beginning, the Methodist Church in Indonesia served congregations of various races and languages. Today there are about 13 languages and dialects used but all of them speak the national language “Indonesian.” The Methodist Church in Indonesia, in its mission, has built up school; kindergarten to university.
At present our church is serving from Aceh, at most western part of Indonesia up to Bali, Pontianak and Makassar-South Sulawesi. It is about 3,000 miles from Aceh to South Sulawesi, from East to West.
Our church has various ethnics and sub-ethnics along the Sumatera Island, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, they are Batak (five dialects: Toba, Simalungun, Dairi, Karo and Papak), Chinese (four dialects: Mandarin, Hockkian, Hakka and Cantonese), Tamil, Javanese and Nias.
The church has 12 districts and two annual conferences with two Bishops. More than one hundred preaching posts with almost the same number of Bible teachers/scholars added to the full congregations/churches. Eighty percent of the churches are in the rural area. There are still many areas to be reached by the church such as in the Karo highland, Dairi highland, Riau, Kalimantan, North and South Sulawesi, Batam, Bali, East Java, Central Java and West Java, which are new in mission.
We are in need of personnel and funds. We also attempt church mission among the poor community, especially in the rural areas. We are longing that our mission should reach more widely among our people, and at the same time communicate God’s love to them.
Therefore allow us to share with you our ministry in Indonesia, such as: palm oil project, clean water project, project of village agricultural education, coffee cultivation project, potato cultivation project, cabbage cultivation project, duck cultivation project, cage fish project, lay training center project, Methodist bookstore, church music, vocational project for girls, scholarship. We praise the Lord for the cooperation of churches in America, England and Korea.
Indonesia is a wide country with more than 85 percent non-Christian population. In reference to this, Bishop H. Doloksaribu says: “Not limit the area of our ministry where we have to go and where not to go” but “How far can you go.” This statement was inspired by Isaiah 4:2-3 and Matthew 19:19-20.
For the last 98 years our church has limited its ministry in the areas where the Methodist Church exists and never accomplished the vision to reach the other areas, especially the difficult, such as new frontier area. Church members are the best instrument for this project; because of their jobs they spread almost 60 percent of our islands. They can be a small terminal in their area. But they couldn’t do the mission by themselves. When they communicate with the local pastor, the local pastor can inform us; then we will send our pastor or lay preacher to that place to start mission work. This is the method we have used in many areas, and in ten years have moved 1,000 kms to the eastern part of Indonesia. Many islands and areas are still waiting for
We have started a new evangelism movement in another four islands: West Kalimantan, the capital city of Pontianak. A house and piece of land in Singkawang town, a two-hour drive from Pontianak, is used for evangelism. Hundreds of children join the movement every month, and more and more adults are coming. Riau, in the middle east area of Sumatra, has hundreds of islands where people mainly of the Malay tribe live in cities and villages. Initially the people only lived in five town areas, but in the early 80s hundreds of new villages were opened, and people moved to this area to start a new life. Missionaries were sent to this area and today we have 41 new preaching posts and churches located in the newly open villages some with permanent buildings. There are 12 pastors, and laymen and laywomen are asked to help pastor the congregations.
Bali, an island in East Indonesia, is known as a tourist area, with Hindu as the major religion. Christians in Bali have their own indigenous church. Methodism came to this area six years ago, starting a new evangelism movement in Denpasar. A rented house is used as pastronage as well as sanctuary, with more than 70 people attending Sunday worship. South Sulawesi: Makassar is the capital city of South Sulawesi, located in east Indonesia. Two preaching posts were started in 1999 with two pastors. Two houses were rented for two years and renewed every two years, each used as parsonage and sanctuary. We are sure that God will provide a piece of land.
Many persons living in big cities like Jakarta, Central Java, East Java, Sumatera have a Christian background, but they stopped going to church. This is considered an opportunity and all Methodist churches have pledged to multiply their ministry to the suburban communities. There have been 12 new Methodist congregations established and they hope to support at least 20 pastors, including the facilities that they need for their ministry.
God, who precedes all human planning, so loved this calm land of the East that he sent a number of mission pioneers to proclaim the Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ. They were filled with the passion for saving the soul of Korean people and the Korean society. The first Methodist missionary was R. S. Maclay, of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Japan. He visited Korea on 24 June 1884 and obtained permission from King Kojong to do God‟s work in the field of „education and medical treatment‟. On Easter Sunday, April 5, 1885, Rev. H. G. Appenzeller, with H. G. Underwood, a Presbyterian missionary, arrived in Korea to “bring the Korean people to the light and liberty of God‟s children.” One month later W. B. Scranton, another American missionary, came to Korea with his mother, Mrs. Scranton. Soon H. G. Appenzeller and Mrs. W.P. Scranton founded schools and hospitals. In October 1895 the Methodist Episcopal Church South also began missionary work. Bishop E. R. Hendrix and Dr. C. F. Reid who had been working in China, entered Korea by the efforts of a Korean scholar, Yoon, Chi-Ho who became the first member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South during his stay in China. The Southern Methodist Church was especially interested in missionary work for women and sent Mrs. Campbell to Korea two years later.
From the beginning the Methodist Church made a great contribution to the development and modernization of Korean society by its active involvement in education, medical treatment and publication. A revival movement which occurred in Wonsan in 1903 and another in Pyongyang in 1907 became milestones of the explosive growth of the church. In 1930 the Methodist Episcopal Church North and the Methodist Episcopal Church South were united for form the independent Korean Methodist Church.
After World War II, the Korean Church was divided for a few years, but reunited in 1949. During the Korean War beginning in 1950, the Korean Church went through hardships with church leaders being kidnapped or executed and many church buildings destroyed. Since that time, the Korean Methodist Church has grown rapidly with a spiritual passion for lost souls of the Korean people. It has also promoted social reformation, human rights and mission work among urban laborers and farmers.
The Korean Methodist Church is committed to the task of evangelism and the realization of peace and justice in the world, and sends missionaries to other countries to share the Gospel. In the Korean Methodist Church there are 5,692 Churches, 8,415 ministers, and 1,508,430 members.
The Methodist work began in this area with the arrival of William F. Oldham in Singapore on February 7, 1885. He was accompanied by Dr. James M. Thoburn (later Bishop), Methodist missionary in India, and they were to undertake the first foreign mission work of the Indian Methodist Church. Dr. Thoburn preached the first sermon at the Singapore Town Hall the next day.
The work of the Methodists under Oldham grew in several directions. Linguistically the work begun in English was extended to Tamil, Chinese and Malay. Geographically, new work started in key towns along the Malay Peninsular. Methodism came to Sarawak in East Malaysia with the arrival of Methodists from China in 1901. Missionaries extended the work there. Work also started amongst the indigenous peoples in East and West Malaysia.
In 1950 Methodists in Singapore and Malaysia, Indonesia and Burma formed the South-Eastern Asia Central Conference, a part of the General Conference of the Methodist Church (USA). In 1968 the General Conference granted the constitution of the affiliated autonomous Methodist Church in Malaysia and Singapore.
The Rev. Dr. Yap Kim Hao was elected the first Bishop of the autonomous church in 1968. The Rev. Theodore R. Doaraisamy was elected in 1973 to succeed him.
In December 1976, the Methodist Church in Malaysia and the Methodist Church in Singapore were constituted following the formation of an independent Singapore.
The Rev. C. N. Fang was elected the first Bishop of the Methodist Church in Malaysia, serving for three terms from 1976 – 1988. The Rev. Dr. Denis C. Dutton was elected Bishop in 1988 and served for two terms. He was followed by the Rev. Dr. Peter Chio Sing Ching, elected Bishop in 1996. The current Bishop is the Rev. Dr. Hwa Yung, elected in 2004.
The Methodist Church in Malaysia is comprised of six Annual Conferences – the Chinese Annual Conference, Tamil Annual Conference and Trinity Annual Conference in West Malaysia; the Sarawak Chinese Annual Conference, the Sarawak Iban Annual Conference and the Sabah Provisional Annual Conference in East Malaysia – and one Mission Conference – the Sengoi Mission Conference. These cover the main language groups as well as some of the indigenous peoples of the country.
It has a membership of 98,000 adults and about 60,000 preparatory members below 16 years old. The World Christian Encyclopedia (Oxford: 2001) estimates the total number affiliated with the Methodist Church in Malaysia at 230,000 persons. This makes it one of the three largest Protestant churches in the country.
The Union of Myanmar (Burma) is geographically situated in Southeast Asia, with an estimated population of 47.25 million. There are 135 national races of which the main ethnic groups are Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Bamar, Mon, Rakhine and Shan. Buddhism is the religion of the population with 89.3 percent. Christianity is practiced by 5.6 percent of the people, Islam by 3.8 percent, Hinduism by .5 percent and Animism by .2 percent.
The Rev. James M. Thoburn (1836-1922) came to India and heard about evangelistic opportunities in Yangon (Rangoon), Penang and Singapore from the sailors. He frequently received letters for help from the Indian Methodists who had settled in Yangon, which he shared with William Taylor in America. Taylor could not come immediately so sent Robert E. Carter of Ohio to Yangon to begin the mission. Thoburn immediately went to Yangon to work with Carter and the Methodists there. On Sunday, June 22, 1870, they organized an English-speaking church with 29 members. Ms. E. H. Warner was sent by the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society in 1881, Miss Mary McKesson in 1882, and a girl’s school was established and opened the same year.
In 1884 the Myanmar Methodist Church became a district of the South India Conference. In 1885 Singapore was added. In 1892 the Myanmar district became the Bengal-Burma Conference and on February 2, 1902 it became the Myanmar Mission Conference under Bishop F. W. Warne.
In 1950 the Myanmar Annual Conference was included within the newly created Southeastern Asia Central Conference, comprised of the Malaya, the Malaysia Chinese, the Sarawak, the Sumatra, and the Myanmar Annual Conference, up to 1964. Raymond L. Archer served as Bishop from 1950 to 1956, and Hobart B. Amstutz from 1956 to 1964. On May 8, 1964 the General Conference approved the Methodist Church of the Union of Myanmar to be autonomous. The Sixty-Second Annual Conference of the Methodist Church in Lower Myanmar was held on October 5-19, 1964 and the Rev. Lim Si Sin was elected to be the first national bishop in 1965. Second bishop was Rev. U Hla Sein, elected in 1969; Rev. C. F. Chu was elected in 1980 as third bishop, and Rev. U Pan Doke was elected in 1984 as the fourth bishop. The Methodist Theological Institute was founded in July 1987.
Rev. U Mya Thaung was elected in 1989 as the fifth bishop. In February 1994 the Annual Conference was split into two groups, each headed by their respective bishops, Rev. U Mya Thaung and Rev. U Maung Than. After six years of splitting and bitter division, in the year 2000 the conference was reunited and the Reunited Special Conference was convened on July 5, 2000. Rev. Zothan Mawia was elected bishop and Rev. U Saw Shaw was elected General Secretary of the Methodist Church of the Union of Lower Myanmar Annual Conference. There are 25 local churches, six gospel centres, 6 districts, 31 full-time preachers including 21 ordained ministers, 2,102 members and 3,270 community.
The Methodist Church has experienced great distress during the past years, but God never forsakes his people, the church and his ministers. He guided and empowered by His Holy Spirit. The storm of hardship is over and all the districts are trying to do their best in order to grow year-by-year. The number of ministers and pastors are inadequate in all districts, so the administration including the work of societies and ministering communion were unable to serve regularly in some churches. More workers are needed.
The capital and centre district Mandalay has a home mission field at Yinmabin, Tamabingwa Villages. The people are Burmese and belong to Buddhism, which is a part of their culture. One of the strongest districts is Tahan. The Rev. Haokhojam and Rev. Lalmuana have opened the seventh district at Mindat.
Evangelists are working in Homalin District, the furthest and very undeveloped area, with bad communications and transportation. The church was founded in1937. Evangelists have tried their best to spread the Gospel, and have never given up. They need funds, supplies, clothing and literature for distribution.
Sami area, located in Southern Chin States, is a concern of the Conference Mission and Evangelism Committee. The Conference supports the workers allowances and other expenses.
The largest Protestant Church in Pakistan today is the Church of Pakistan formed on November 1, 1970 on All Saints Day. This was the union of four churches, the Anglican Church, Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church and Lutheran. There are eight dioceses equivalent of the conferences of the Church of Pakistan.
Among those eight dioceses, two are areas of the Methodist work, Multan and Raiwind. The Methodist Church also contributed a lot in pastoral and evangelistic work in the Diocese of Karachi and Hyderabad.
Urdu is the national language spoken by the majority. All the church services are conducted in Urdu but the Diocese of Hyderabad is mainly an evangelistic diocese. The Hyderabad Diocese, among the eight dioceses, is involved in working among the Hindu Tribals.
The majority of the Christians are living in the rural areas of the country and they are working as landless farmers or working in brick factories as laborers. The Urban area Christians are working as sanitary workers, but very few doctors, engineers and educationists. Most of the educated people have left or are leaving the country as they don’t have a bright future.
The Church of Pakistan has served for many years through the hospitals, schools, hostels and vocational centers by training the boys and girls in carpentry, sewing and in other areas of earning. Hostels are also playing a big role in order to nurture boys and girls making them honorable citizens of the country.
Population of Pakistan is 140 million with annual population growth of 3.1 percent. Literacy rate is 24 percent female and 38 percent male. Infant mortality is 95 per 1000, with one doctor per 2000 people, and one hospital bed per 2110 people. Annual income per family is $200 rural and $350 to $380 urban. The main cities are Islamabad, the capital city, with 450,000, and Karachi, the largest city with 10.8 million.
The United Methodist Church in the Philippines has three episcopal areas: Davao Episcopal Area, Baguio Episcopal Area and Manila Episcopal Area. The Davao Episcopal Area has six annual conferences: Mindanao, East Mindanao, Northwest Mindanao, Visayas, Palawan and Mindoro. The Baguio Episcopal Area also has six conferences: Central Luzon, North Central Luzon, Northwest, Northeast, Northern and Pangasinan. The Manila Episcopal Area also has six annual conferences and one provisional conference: Philippines, Philippines East, Middle Philippines, West Middle, Bulacan, Dampango and Bicol Provisional. The Philippines Central Conference has three incumbent bishops individually assigned as resident bishop to each area.
The work is served by ordained elders, deacons, lay pastors, diaconal ministers and volunteer lay preachers. Women’s children’s and youth work is carried on in all levels: local parish, district and annual conference, with the help of deaconesses and pastors. Social welfare work is administered by five social centers and student services are managed by twelve student centers. Urban and rural community development, community-based comprehensive primary health care program, environmental are and protection program and agricultural development projects are mainly served by lay and clergy persons-in-mission. In response to rising issues of indigenous people’s rights, human rights, justice, peace and integrity of creation, active prophetic social involvement is carried on by the Board of Church and Society of the annual conferences.
Formation of church workers is served by three seminaries, seven Bible Schools, and one college for deaconesses. The general educational program includes two universities, three colleges, five high schools and a significant number of kindergarten and elementary schools. The educational program is administered and supervised by administrative heads, faculty and staff members who are national leaders. Missionaries assist national leaders in various ways.
The strength of the self-support programs of the church in the Philippines is its emphasis in Christian education, stewardship, mission and evangelism, resource development and social concerns. Well organized program agencies include church schools, daily vacation church schools, school for Christian youth development, lay institutes, United Methodist Youth Fellowship, United Methodist Men, United Methodist Women and Clergy Spouses Association. Leadership in ecumenical activities is provided from the local church level as well as at national and international levels.
The Iglesia Evangelica Metodista En Las Islas Filipinas (Evangelical Methodist Church in the Philippines) was founded in 1909 and will soon celebrate its centennial anniversary of proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ, mostly to Filipinos in the Philippines and elsewhere in the globe. As a connectional Church, it has local congregations throughout the Philippine islands, in America, and in some parts of the world.
The Church was founded in the desire of Filipinos for freedom from alien control. When the Americans came to the Philippines at the turn of the 20th century, they brought with them the more enlightened evangelical faith which was welcomed by Filipinos with great enthusiasm. After a decade of mission work under American missionaries, a group of Filipino preachers wanted to carry on evangelistic work in the Philippines under the leadership and aegis of Filipino evangelists. The Americans tried to dissuade the group, advising them that they were still much too young in the work to be undertaking such a bold and radical move.
The Filipino group, however, felt that the time was ripe. Led by the first-ordained Filipino Protestant minister, the Rev. Nicolas Zamora (who was a nephew of the immortal Gomez-Burgos-Zamora triumvirate of martyred priests executed by the Spaniards for patriotic leanings), this group of Filipino preachers seceded from the Methodist Episcopal Church and founded the Iglesia Evangelica Metodista en las Islas Filipinas (Evangelical Methodist Church in the Philippines) on February 28, 1909 as an evangelical Church that is self-governing, self-propagating, and self-supporting.
Since the leadership of Bishop Zamora, ten more General Superintendents have steered the Church through many troubled waters. Even now as it faces the 21st century, the Church restates with even more firm commitment its main mission of spreading the Word of God in the Philippines and throughout the world, so that man will “know Christ and the power of His resurrection”, worshipping together and serving others in love.
The United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) was formed on May 25, 1948 from an organic union of different Protestant denominations, mostly from those which came from the United States during the early part of the twentieth century. The traditions of the Disciples of Christ, the Presbyterians, the Congregational, the Evangelical United Brethren, the Philippine Methodist, and several autonomous congregations from the UNIDA and IEMELIF (Iglesia Evangelica Metodista en las Islas Filipinas) all contribute to UCCP’s unique identity.
The UCCP now has grown to over 2,500 local and worshipping congregations and outreaches, 20 church-related schools and universities, and 5 church-related hospitals/health centers throughout the Philippines. It has three mandated lay organizations, the National Christian Women’s Association, the National United Church Men, and the National Christian Youth Fellowship. The 1994 National Census has pegged the UCCP membership at close to a million members. Of the 65 million Filipinos, more than 10 percent form its constituency.
Under a new constitution and by-laws (1993) the church is governed by the General Assembly which meets every four years to charts its ministry and elect its National Council. It is at present grouped geographically into four jurisdictional areas, each headed by a jurisdictional bishop; the jurisdictional area is in turn grouped into a total now of 38 conferences, each headed by a conference minister. There are close to 3,000 church workers, classified as ordained, lay church workers, deaconesses/Bible women.
Ecumenical in nature, the UCCP is a member of local and international bodies such as the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, the Christian Conference of Asia, the World Council of Churches, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, the Christian Peace Conference, the World Methodist Council and recently, the United Evangelical Mission. It has also a number of international covenants with other churches such as the United Church of Christ in Canada, United Church of Christ in USA, Presbyterian Church of Taiwan, Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea, Presbyterian Church of Taiwan, Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea, Presbyterian Church of USA, Suomen Ekumeenisen Kasuatkuksen, Yhdistys of Finland, Presbyterian Church of Aoteroa New Zealand, Dienste in Ubersee of Germany and the Uniting Church in Australia.
The United Church of Christ in the Philippines, as expressed in its Statement of Faith, is a growing and transforming organization of people whose creed is to live out God’s will for all of life and creation as epitomized by Jesus Christ, their Lord and Savior. In 1998 the Golden Jubilee and the 100 years of Protestant witness in the Philippines was celebrated.
Methodism was introduced into China in 1847 by Judson Dwight Collins and Moses Clark White in Foochow with the purpose of preaching the gospel in China. Actually, the True God Church was established in Foochow in 1856, then in 1937 combined with the United Methodist Church. In 1947 the Methodist Church in the Republic of China celebrated its centennial. The Methodist group grew slowly but steadily, membership increased to 100,000 and the number of ministers was over 500. Educational, medical and social services were provided widely and had great achievement.
In 1949, the Methodist Church in the Republic of China moved to Taiwan with the government. On June 21, 1953, the Taipei Methodist Church was erected, then local churches and chapels with a baptized membership numbering over 2,500. Various types of educational, medical and social services are provided, including Tung-Hai University and Wesley’s Girls High School and several kindergartens. In 1972 the Methodist Church in the Republic of China became autonomous and the first bishop installed in 1986.
Evangelism came to Taiwan in 1624 when the Dutch occupied southern Taiwan. The first person to win souls in Taiwan for the Reformed Church of Holland was George Candidins. Christianity in Taiwan developed in a new direction following Taiwan’s retrocession to the Republic of China, particularly after the mainland fell to the communists in 1949. Churches of numerous de nominations flocked to Taiwan, and the number of Christians and clergy multiplied accordingly.
In 1996 Bishop Philip Tseng was installed. Local preachers and church leaders play active and vital roles in pastoral work and in the formulation of church policy. The church’s commitment to the future is evident in its response to the call for mission and broadening its services to the community. The Methodist Church in the Republic of China is open to the Lord’s calling to stand obediently with the majority and commit to God’s mission of building a just and peaceful society.
The Methodist Church in Singapore goes back to 1884 when, on James Thoburn’s initiative, the South India Conference appointed William F. Oldham as pioneer missionary to Singapore. Thoburn headed the party which sailed unheralded into Singapore harbor on 7 February 1885. Evangelistic meetings were followed by the first Quarterly Conference on 23 February.
Thereafter, the mission initiated a number of related activities: schools for boys and girls established by Oldham and Sohia Blackmore, with hostel accommodation; churches organized in all the main local dialects (Malay, Tamil, Hokkien, Cantonese and Foochow); and William Shellabear’s Mission Press and pioneer scripture translations and publishing work.
Following the initial thrust in Singapore, work spread to the towns and rubber estates in Peninsula Malaya. Town churches were twinned with schools which provided important support for the churches. Expansion and growth graduated the mission to the Malaysia Annual Conference in February 1902.
Equally significant were the planting of Methodism in the Philippines in 1900 and the settlement of Foochow Christians in Sarawak and in Sitiawan (Malaya) after the Boxer War. This was followed by Java, then Sumatra. A Tamil and Chinese evangelists were engaged from Ceylon and South China.
By the end of World War I, young people who had studied in the schools, attended the churches, Sunday Schools and Epworth League had matured. Local leadership was, however, expressed mainly in churches using the Chinese dialects, Malay and Tamil.
The Jubilee in 1935 reflected the development of human resources through the rapid growth of Methodist schools in number and quality, the success of the youth and women’s work, all forming a local talent pool.
With the collapse of Singapore following the outbreak of the Pacific War and the suspension of American missionary support, local Methodist leaders carried on under trying circumstances. A turning point had been reached, and profound change had begun to take place. When hostilities ended in 1945, a period of physical and psychological reconstruction began.
The founding of Trinity Theological College, the fruit of ecumenical prison fellowship and a significant cradle of local and regional church leadership, was an important milestone. The other was a new relationship in the U.S. Methodist Church with the constituting of the South East Asia Central Conference in 1950, and the American mission.
Led by maturing local clergy and lay leadership, the church has grown significantly.
Methodism came to Sri Lanka on June 29, 1814. The mission was led by Rev. Dr. Thomas Coke who died on his way to this country near Bombay. Five others, however, landed on our shores. Many other missionaries have come from Britain and Ireland and made a rich contribution to the life of the church. Missionary teachers and principals have left an indelible mark on the history of education in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan Church became autonomous in 1964.
The oldest Methodist Church in Asia is in Colombo and it celebrated its 180th anniversary in 1995. The Methodist Church in Sri Lanka consists of 3 districts and 32 circuits. It has 75 active ministers, 54 evangelists and 20 lay workers in full time ministry. Three missionaries of our church serve in England, Germany and the West Indies. Nine missionaries from Germany, Korea, England and Holland work in the church. The total Methodist community in Sri Lanka is 28,000.
The ministers receive their theological education at an ecumenical theological college in Pilimatalawa. Two evangelistic training centers have been established for training evangelists in Tamil and Sinhala. The church manages two schools, Wesley College and Methodist College. The church has been actively involved in education since 1814. There were over 120 Methodist schools managed by the church when the government took over mission schools in Sri Lanka. It has now gone into pre-school education and has set up 150 pre-schools, nurseries and day care centers. More are for the poorer children and include nutrition programs.
The church runs 17 children’s homes for about 1,000 children, assisted by Kinder Nothilfe in Germany. With the country in a state of civil war the church has been challenged to care for the victims of violence. Churches in the combat zone have organized refugee camps, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts, and counseling of those who have faced trauma of war.
The Church has training programs for electronic technicians, motor mechanics, mechanical engineering, pottery, sewing, agriculture, a center for training in the printing trade and training in its City Mission for carpentry, metal work, catering, and janitorial services. About 400 young people benefit from these projects.
Over 50 evangelists are trying to establish a Christian witness in frontier areas. Last year new work was begun in 30 village communities. The church is experimenting with new forms of worship, introducing creative, indigenous models of worship.
The peace and reconciliation committee of the church is involved in a peace education program to educate the youth to understand the need for multi-ethnic co-existence. Exchange programs for young people belonging to different ethnic communities are being organized as a contribution to peace education. It has tried to mediate between the conflicting parties in the war and has urged them to take steps towards a negotiated settlement to the ethnic crisis.