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North East Diocese to observe centenary celebration

SHILLONG: The Diocese of North East India of the Church of North India would inaugurate its year-long centenary celebration with the two-day meeting to be held at the All Saints Cathedral Church from Saturday.

Over 2000 delegates from various North Eastern States are expected to attend the inauguration of the centenary celebration.

On the occasion, the head of the Church of India Dr Philip Marandih will unveil the centenary monolith while Bishop of North East Diocese Dr Purely Lyngdoh will plant a centenary tree to mark the commencement of the jubilee celebration.

The Diocese has 275 churches in the region, mostly in Assam and few churches in Manipur and Mizoram.

“Before, the whole of Assam and other North Eastern States was under the Diocese of Calcutta. But it was on January 10, 1915, the North East Diocese (which was earlier known as Assam Diocese) was created and Herbert Pakenhem Walsh (1915-1923) was enthroned as the first Bishop in All Saints Church in Shillong,” Dr Lyngdoh informed while addressing newsmen here on Thursday.

When ask the total number of faithful of the church in the whole North East, he said that the church has around 50,000 followers in the whole region.

To a question as to why the church has not be able to spread out like the Roman Catholic and Presbyterian Church when it has made an entry to this part of the country almost at the same time like the other two churches, he said that his church likes to maintain a low profile status.

“We do not want to enter a village where there are already two or three churches. We are here to spread the message of Jesus Christ and contribute towards the need and the poor. We should understand that the mission of all the churches is the same,” Dr Lyngdoh said.

The All Saint’s Cathedral is the oldest Church in the State and one of the oldest in the region first built in 1877, but was destroyed in the Earthquake of 1897. The Church was rebuilt and was reopened for service in 1915.

“The Church is entirely built out of wood brought from Burma (Myanmar) and is styled in the Elizabethan model. The tinted glasses were brought from England. We have still preserved the Font and the Bible from 1877,” Rev PB Vicar of the Church said while giving a tour of the beautiful church.

The Church also is arguably the proud host to one of the “oldest and tallest Christmas trees” of the State. The stately Deodar tree stands besides the Church and each year before Christmas is decorated with lights and is one of the attractions of the State.

“This tree was planted when the church was built in 1877. We intend to plant more trees during the centenary celebrations and wish they too would stand tall over the next century,” Bishop Lyngdoh said.

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