An initiative to revive Reynolds Memorial Hospital in Washim, India, has been in the works for several years, and on 20 January the hospital officially relaunched.
This relaunch aims to realign the hospital and its affiliated clinics with the Church of the Nazarene’s greater mission. Until the relaunch, there was a strong disconnect between the church and RMH.
"When we were there last January, the atmosphere was completely different,” said Annemarie Snijders, missional assistant to the Eurasia regional director. “It felt a bit like Lazarus who had come out of the grave. There seems to be a new vitality, which reflects the resurrection power of Jesus Christ. We were deeply impressed.”
To make the relaunch possible, the hospital began a partnership with Christian Medical College – Vellore and Emmanuel Hospital Association. This partnership was led by Eurasia Regional Director Arthur Snijders with help from former regional director Franklin Cook and Scotland M+Power missionary George Williamson.
“Scripture tells us that a threefold cord will not be broken,” Arthur said. “We can’t do Kingdom work all by ourselves. This is a Christian healthcare partnership focused on the mission. It is a celebration of joining hands in Christ’s name.”
During the relaunch ceremony, General Superintendent Eugénio Duarte spoke a rededication prayer for RMH, and Snijders laid the foundation stone for the New Operation Theatre in memory of RMH founder Orpha Speicher.
Speicher came to India in 1936 at the age of 29 to study Indian languages for two years before realizing the need for medical health care. She established the first hospital in Washim in 1938, in an old school building. It was named Reynolds Memorial Hospital after General Superintendent Hiram Reynolds.
“The relaunch of Reynolds Memorial Hospital is a special event bringing back memories spanning five generations from the very beginning of this medical ministry,” said Sunil Dandge, India field strategy coordinator. “I am personally indebted to the medical care I received when I was close to death. I was revived with prayers and the loving care of the doctors and nurses of RMH.”
RMH began offering medical services to people of all ages, regardless of caste and creed, serving with the love and compassion of Christ. Health needs varied from minor injuries to serious illnesses, and the hospital gained a reputation for its maternity care.
The love of God was so evident and powerful that people from across the country came to RMH for treatment. To continue to reach the medical needs across India, RMH extended its services through clinics in Pusad, Mehekar, Chikhli, Buldana, Dhad, Mangrulpir, and Risod.
RMH also participated in several community programs, providing affordable health care across India, investing in preventive healthcare education in the villages, and providing medical education for future nurses.
In 1946, Jean Darling started a practical nursing course with 10 young women. The nursing school building was built in 1950 and three years later became a registered school.
Today, the nursing school is the Nazarene Nurses Training College, an approved college recognized by the Indian Nursing Council and affiliated with universities and medical associations across the country. The college offers Bachelor of Science degrees in nursing and in general nursing and midwifery, and the school is also planning to provide paramedic training.
“If our effort is only to see a hospital and educational institution established, then we have failed Christ and the Church,” said Robin, RMH executive director. “We hope and pray that this Christian partnership will be a new ray of hope for Christian care and education, where the poor can seek refuge without hesitation.”
Today RMH is a 100-bed hospital with 92 staff, including 27 staff and 240 students at the college. RMH plans to start an out-patient department and medical ward facilities by April, and there are several committed and mission-minded doctors that are coming forward to help with this relaunch.
RMH will also have future opportunities for Work & Witness teams to serve in healthcare, community transformation projects, water management, skills training, and employment generation.
“I believe this re-launch is the beginning of a new era of quality and excellence with the best possible partners from the best medical professionals and organizations that have worked with struggling mission hospitals in Central and North India,” Dandge said. “This beginning is a [dream come true].”