India Nazarenes celebrate 125th anniversary
The Church of the Nazarene in India celebrated its 125th anniversary on 11 January 2024 in Pune, Maharashtra. Similar celebrations took place in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, and Amritsar, Punjab.
This historic occasion allowed Indian Nazarenes to reflect on the journey of faith, service, community development, and, most importantly, the faithfulness of God that has defined the denomination’s presence in India over the last century and a quarter. The Church of the Nazarene was originally concentrated in the central part of India for 50 years and is now in 20 states of India.
Among those who attended the event were General Superintendent Carla Sunberg and her husband, Charles, Regional Director Jim Ritchie and his wife, Maggie, and Steven Clarkson. Their attendance increased the event’s significance and brought global unity to the celebration. Over 100 leaders and lay members from different parts of India attended the celebration.
The celebration commenced with the lighting of the lamp by dignitaries, followed by praise and worship. Sunil Dandge, India field strategy coordinator, led attendees on a journey into the past, recalling the denomination’s rich history in India. He shared moving testimonies that provided a glimpse into the transformative impact the denomination has had on communities over the years.
The India Field recognized the dedication and hard work of senior ministers and their spouses. Their contributions and team efforts within the Nazarene community has fostered the growth of the Church of the Nazarene in India. C. S. Dhas and Santhosh Dongardive shared their ministry experiences with the denomination in India, providing valuable insights and inspiring narratives to the audience.
Jim Ritchie conveyed the regional perspective and priorities with a heartwarming speech. He effectively communicated the significance of the regional mission and inspired a sense of purpose among those in attendance.
Another significant milestone for the 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 the Church of the Nazarene in India and assist the districts in complying with the requirements of the government and global church.
This initiative was made possible with the united efforts and futuristic outlook of all the leaders in the field. Consultation and guidance were provided by Arpit Waghmare, Madana Kumar, Jayakumar Christian, Subhash Dongardive, and Ramesh Pathara, all of whom supported the formation of the National Board.
Carla Sunberg shared God’s Word, recounting the visionary mission of H.F. Reynolds and his significant contributions to the church in India. She also reflected on the challenges faced by early Nazarenes in India, narrating how their efforts endured adversity and succeeded. Yet, missionaries unwaveringly kept the faith and served the Lord faithfully.
In concluding remarks, Carla urged everyone to hold fast to their faith in God and remember the sacrifices made by many missionaries in India.
--Church of the Nazarene Eurasia Region