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Baptist News

Historical Background of the CBCNEI

The first American Baptist missionaries reached North East India in 1836. Nathan Brown and 0.T. Cutter, along with their wives, came to Assam hoping to find access to China through the Shans territory to Northern frontier of Burma and Assam. The group sailed up the Brahmaputra river and arrived in Sadiya on March 23, 1836, and there confronted them with dense jungles, hostile tribals and rugged hills. Yet, believing they had been led to a fruitful place they began to learn Assamese language, set up their printing press, and gave themselves to the task of translating, publishing and teaching. Thus began the work of the Baptist in the north-eastern corner of India-the beginning of CBCNEI.

During the first ten years of the Assam Misison, important beginnings were made in church organization. On 26th Janunary, 1845, representatives of the Christian communities at the three centres met in Gauhati to organize the Baptist Church of Assam. This was really a kind of association because the Church consisted of the three "branch" churches, now brought into existance at Sibsagar, Nowgong, and Gauhati. Thus was the first CBCNEI church established. Then the first Church in Garo Hills, was established at Rajasimla in 1867. The first thrust among the Nagas came from the small village of Namsang in Tirap.

Miles Bronson and family settled a short time in that village, but the work was abandoned due to illness in the family before the end of 1840. The next move in Nagaland was by Godhula Brown, an Assamese convert, and the Rev. E. W. Clark. The first Church among the Nagas was organized in 1872, at Dokhahaimong (Molungyimjen) village in Ao area. Rev. W. Pettigrew started the Baptist Mission work in Manipur in 1896. The work among the (Mikirs) Karbis was started quite early but it did not gain much progress because of the influence of Hinduism among the people. So the work in this area has been restricted to the fringe areas adjoining the plains of Assam.

The field work in North-East India was largely the responsibility of the American Baptist Mission until 1950. In fact, the Mission could not handle the full obligation of the area and so in the 1940 the area on the North Bank of Brahmaputra river was handed over to the care of the Australian Baptist Mission (for Goalpara district) and to the General Baptist Conference (for Darrang and North Lakhimpur districts).

From the early days of the missions in North-East India there were joint meetings of missionaries and nationals to plan the work. In 1914, the National Churches formed themselves into Assam Baptist Christian Convention. This organization grew in its stature, and finally in January 1950, the Council of Baptist Churches in Assam (CBCA) was formed by the amalgamation of Assam Baptist Missionary Conference under the leadership of its First General Secretary, Rev. A. F. Merrill. Later the name was changed to CBCAM, and finally, the Council of Baptist Churches in North-East India on geographical grounds. Almost all the Baptist Churches in Assam, Arunachal, Manipur, Meghalaya and Nagaland were brought within the Council. So since the year 1950 the field works has been brought under the ministry of the Council of Baptist Churches in North East India (CBCNEI).

Over the years the CBCNEI has grown to now over 7000 Churches in 100 organized Associations. They are administered under six regional Conventions namely, Assam Baptist Convention, Arunachal Baptist Church Council, Garo Baptist Convention, Karbi Anglong Baptist Convention, Manipur Baptist Convention, and Nagaland Baptist Church Council. 

Ministries of the Council 

A. Theological College of CBCNEI
Eastern Theological College (ETC), the premier theological and training institute of the Council has been catering to the ever growing and diverse needs of the region and even beyond in the field of leadership development for the last 100 years. Today ETC boasts of more than 2500 graduates working in various fields of Christian ministry, including more than 800 serving pastors in rural areas.

B.  Healing Ministries
The Council has Six hospitals which are providing healthcare to the sick and the suffering. They are located in four states in the region.
                1. Babupara Christian Hospital, Babupara, Assam
                2. Impur Christian Hospital, Impur, Nagaland
                3. Jorhat Christian Medical Centre, Jorhat, Assam
                4. Kangpokpi Christian Hospital, Kangpokpi, Manipur
                5. Tura Christian Hospital, Tura, Meghalaya
                6. Satribari Christian Hospital, Guwahati, Assam

C.  Justice and Peace Ministries
The ministry of Justice and Peace Department of the Council is to proclaim and promote God's desire for justice (Micah 6:8), Christ's call to peacemaking (Matthew 5:9), and the Spirit's reconciling work (Ephesians 2:11-22).

D.  Mission Department
Mission Desk coordinates mission activities not only of the evangelists from the conventions, but it also functions as a facilitator for mission partnerships between other mission agencies and the local church associations and conventions. The department also organizes community development works among the poor and needy areas of the Northeast region.

E. Christian Literature Centre (CLC)
CLC is the literature wing of the Council serving the needs of 7000 churches through its centre in Guwahati, Dimapur, Imphal, Senapati and Ukhrul.

F.  Student Ministry
The Council runs three hostels for college students. Through these institutions the boarders have the opportunities to attend Bible camps, vesper services, theological lectures, Bible studies, games and sports.
                1. White Memorial Student Ministry, Guwahati, Assam (Girls)
            2. Lewis Memorial Student Ministy, Guwahati, Assam (Boys)
            3. Shillong Tyrannus Hall, Shillong, Meghalaya (Boys)

G.  Conference Centre
Located on the flush green cool campus of the CBCNEI, the Conference Center caters the needs of the Council’s program activities and other Christian Organization program.