THIS year marks 150 years of Methodism in India and 25 years of autonomy of The Methodist Church in India, and celebrations were held all over the country.
The main celebrations, however, were held in Lucknow from Oct 20 to 22.
Methodist connectionalism across the seas was evident when it was disclosed that Barker Road Methodist Church (BRMC) in Singapore and Christ Methodist Church in New Delhi were working closely on projects.
BRMC is helping the New Delhi church to plant churches and establish mission centres in five Indian towns.
About 700 people attended the Thanksgiving Service at Lucknow’s Isabella Thoburn College. They included foreign guests, India’s five Bishops, retired bishops and representatives from the country’s 12 Regional Conferences.
Bishop Dr Robert Solomon was the keynote speaker at the celebrations. His message was entitled “God’s Faithfulness in the midst of Challenges”.
book on the history of Methodism in India was launched. PowerPoint presentations of the history and work of the Regional Conferences were also given by their respective leaders.
Methodism was born in India in 1856 with the arrival of Dr and Mrs William Butler from the United States.
The Butlers left the New York Conference in the US for India in April 1856 and arrived in Kolkata (then Calcutta) on Sept 23, 1856 in the steamer “CANADA”. Dr Butler went on to Bareilly on Dec 7, 1856 but soon left for a Missionary Conference in Varanasi (then Banaras) and returned to Bareilly on Jan 7, 1857 with Joel Janvier, the first local preacher.
The political situation forced Dr Butler to go to Nainital in the Kumaon Hills where he preached his first sermon in India on May 21, 1857. With the help of Sir Henry Ramsay, Commissioner of Kumaon, the foundation stone of the first Methodist church in India was laid in October 1858 and dedicated to the Glory of God on the first Sunday of May 1860. Thus began the journey of The Methodist Church in India.
The church began to grow, and on Jan 7, 1981 the Methodist Church in Southern Asia became The Methodist Church in India at Chennai (then Madras). It became an autonomous church and was affiliated to the world body of Methodism