Molungkimong, December 21 (MTNews): The Molungkimong Baptist Church began its Sesquicentenary celebrations on Wednesday evening. The two-day celebrations commemorate the establishment of the oldest church in Naga soil on December 22, 1872 when 15 converts from Molungkimong were baptized by American missionary Edward Winter Clark in a humble pond located in the village.
Bringing greetings on behalf of 1708 churches under NBCC, Rev Dr Zelhou Keyho, General Secretary, NBCC, at the inaugural service affirmed, “I came to take your blessings and take it to the people.”
Speaking on the theme ‘The Hand of the Lord is Mighty,’ Rev Dr Zelhou Keyho, in his sermon said that the seed of Christianity was sown in Molungkimong when the villagers made the courageous decision to protect the missionaries in spite of prevailing headhunting practices. He raised pertinent questions regarding the responsibilities and duties of a 150 year-old church and encouraged that Naga Christians must now stand up, walk and run since we have already emerged from darkness to light, and learn to share the great light that has dawned upon us. Keyho also cautioned against our propensity to worship history and timelines, and exhorted the congregation to return the focus of the Sesquicentenary to worshipping what God has done.
During his sermon, Keyho gave three critical challenges for Naga Christians to reflect upon. Firstly, he underscored the necessity of reconciliation in the context of contemporary Naga society that is divided and fractured by divisive politics. Secondly, he emphasized on recentering our attention on sharing the Gospel instead of focusing too much on celebrations and erecting monuments. Lastly, he exhorted the congregation to practice the culture of the Gospel beyond the church and integrate it in our everyday life.
Chaired by Immoaba, Associate Pastor, Changtongya, the service began with an opening ceremony by Molungkimong Senso Union, Tuli. S. Lanu, Pastor of Purana Bazar ‘B’ Ao Baptist Church, Dimapur said the invocation prayer, while N. Nungsang, Tatar of Molungkimong Village Council delivered the welcome address.
Rev M Laka Tzüdir, Pastor, Chungtia Baptist Church; Imliyanger, Pastor, Yajang ‘A’ Baptist Church; Kepelhoutuo Chüsi, Chairman, Church Board, Mezoma Baptist Church; and Biren Gowalla, Pastor, Central Baptist Church, Sivasagar, Assam shared greetings on behalf of their churches.
Original songs composed in Chungli Ao especially for the occasion were performed by the Sesquicentenary Choir, Merenkala B. Tzüdir as well as the Molungkimong Senso Union Tuli during the opening. The service also paid tribute to the contributions of pioneers who brought the Gospel to Molungkimong like Godhula Brown, Lucy, Edward Winter Clark, Mary Mead, Süpongmeren Tzüdir and the 60 warriors who made the brave decision to escort Clark from Sibsagar in 1872.
The Sesquicentenary celebration will continue on December 22, 2022 with a morning and an evening session. Rev Prof Dr Mar Pongener will deliver the sermon at the main session on Thursday morning.