|A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE EVANGELICAL CHURCH OF MARALAND:
From time immemorial, the Maras believed in animism, the belief in a supernatural power that organizes and animates the material universe, the fear of which has constrained them to sacrifice their domestic animals such as mithun, cattle, pig, goat and fowl as an act of appeasement. While they were gripped and enslaved firmly by the power of darkness, on 26th September 1907, the beautiful feet of the Pioneer Missionary couple, namely, the Reverend and Mrs. Reginald Arthur Lorrain of London, with a Christ-centered message of the Gospel, had walked the earth of Maraland for the first time representing the beautiful feet of Jesus Christ who walked the earth throughout the length and breadth of Palestine two thousand years ago in the first century.
Having a definite divine call to evangelize Maraland (Lakher Land), Mr. R.A. Lorrain approached the Baptist Missionary Society with a request to support him financially from the “Arthington funds” in order that he might o to Lakher land, but was turned down. Meanwhile, the thought or desire of continuing the work of his brother James Herbert Lorrain in the Abhor Hills, North-East India, was foiled again as the American Missionary Society has already sent a missionary out there. So, Mr R.A.Lorrain founded an interdenominational and evangelical mission known as the “Lakher Pioneer Mission”on February 11, 1905 with a small committee of friends and himself as the first Founder-Director with a single vision for the evangelization of Maraland.
After completion of a year’s course of Medical training at the David Livingstone Medical College needed for his pioneering works, Mr Lorrain and his newly wedded wife left the cosmopolitan city of London on January 18, 1907 for the land of his future Missionary enterprises via Cape of Good Hope and Colombo by a steamer and reached Calcutta on February 16, 1907 and Lunglei (Serkawn) on March 5, 1907 where his elder brother James Herbert Lorrain was doing pioneering works in the south Lushei Hills, and stayed with him fpr six months before they leave for Maraland, Mr&Mrs. Lorrain left for Saikao (Serkawr) on September 19, 1907 accompanied by James Herbert Lorrain and his wife passing through Paithar where they stayed for a night on September 25, 1907 ruled by a Mara chief. So then, they reached Saikao (Serkawr) after a fatigue and tedious journey on two feet wide path riding pn the Ponies on September 26, 1907 at about 3 Pm. A short while after their arrival, they visited the young chief Thylai Hlychho. The young chief and his Council of elders had permitted them to stay there for the rest of their lives to make it as their future Mission Station.
MISSIONARIES TO MARALAND:
The Revd. R.A. Lorrain called the church he founded as the “Mara Church” without giving any denominational name like the Church of England, and is continued to be used till 1960 even after his death in1944. It was changed to “lakher Independent Evangelical Church” on March 26, 1960 at the last Presbytery meeting held at Lorrain Ville Church, proposed by the Revd. Albert Bruce Lorrain-Foxall and approved by the members unanimously. The much- needed constitution and rules were drafted by the appointed committee and put up before the General Assembly held at Kiesie Church for approval in 1961. However the word “Lakher” was dropped and replaced by the word, “Mara” at the Chakhei Assembly held in 1967 as it was not acceptable tour church in Myanmar due to unavoidable circumstances. Thus the Name of the Church became the “Mara Independent Evangelical Church”, which was again changed into the “Independent Church of Maraland” by the Assembly held at Zyhno Church in 1976 by mistake dropping the word, ‘evangelical’. Finally, we have the name of the “Evangelical Church of Maraland” as proposed by the planning commission of 1987 and approved by the Assembly held at New Siaha Church in 1989. The change of the name does not mean instability but growth of the church in order to keep up with a changing World and to preserve its distinctive evangelical identity.
Missions: The evangelical Church of Maraland has launched its own Mission since 1966 on the theme “Founded on prayer, launched by Faith”, depended on the Bible and that of Divine authority.
Since 1989, the mission has started the School called, “New Life School” commencing from KG till X Standard. This school was recognized by the Assam Government, registration is under process. At present, we have all together 21 teachers and non-teaching staffs. We have 4 Church building in this mission field and 4 staff worker Quarters.
Today, The ECM has sent out 203 Missionaries, and 753 people have taken steps to render their services for God’s Kingdom by sponsoring Missionaries. The main source of the Mission of ECM is “a Handful of Rice” contributed by the Women wing of the Church.
Hospital: Following the practically beneficial legacy of its pioneer missionaries Rev & Mrs R.A. Lorain who first introduced healing ministry through dispensaries and health-care centre in Maraland, The Church they established helps in maintaining the bequest of doing service in the field of healing ministry. Having one Civil Hospital in Siaha town which did not suffices, the concern Committee of the ECM reconsidered the problems and the need of the people of Maraland, resolved to run Hospital on 9th October 1996, and only after 14 years of planned it could be materialized and inaugurated on 23rd November 2005 at Siaha town. At present, The Evangelical Church of Maraland is tending after one hospital of its own called “MARALAND GOSPEL CENTENARY HOSPITAL (MGH). The Hospital is a six-storey building located at New Colony, the heart of Siaha town.
The present condition of the ECM hospital in brief:
No. of Beds – 60
Total No. of Staffs Employed – 42
Doctors: 5 (3 Full Time; 2 Part time)
Other Para – Medical Staffs
SCHOOLS: The General Assembly of the ECM resolved to establish Schools in Maraland. In 1982, the Church inaugurated a High School by name “The Evangelical Church of Maraland School” (ECM school). Now this school is divided into three sections, they are, 1) ECM Higher Secondary School 2) ECM High School, and 3) ECM middle School. The Number of Teachers and Staffs altogether are 33.
ORPHANAGE HOME: Christian Women Fellowship (ECM KNP), one of the most important wings of The Evangelical Church of Maraland has taken up the projects to care for the orphans. ECM KNP regarded taking up this project as “following the footsteps of Jesus Christ” and therefore began “Motherless Baby Home” project since 1992. They have constructed a building and began to adopt 95 children since then. At present there are children under care and also workers.
* To witness the Lord Jesus Christ in India and abroad, and plant His Church.
Statistics of The Evangelical Church Of Maraland: