Kudus (Central Java, Indonesia)
Kudus (Koedoes) was the largest city (1954 pop. 55,000) of the former Dutch Mennonite mission field in Java, Indonesia. The population in 1930 was distributed as follows: 43,697 Javanese, 4,386 Chinese, 180 Arabians and other Asians, and 381 Europeans. Kudus was the government center of the province, covering 295 sq. miles, and comprising 147 villages, total population (1930) 305,942. The principal industry in the 1950s was the manufacture of cigarettes. The native population was Islamic..
The interest of the mission turned to Kudus when work in the city of Japara seemed unfruitful, and work was opened in the villages. Some Chinese, who had been converted by the Salvation Army, refused the oath of citizenship, and as a result of Bible study desired to be baptized. Since Kaju-Apu was then unoccupied, they called N. Thiessen, stationed at Margaredjo, to baptize them. This was the beginning of a revival that soon reached the villages of Tandjung and Majong. In Kudus, Tandjung, and Majong mission schools were opened in the Malayan language, but they could not be maintained very long because of the increasing demand for schools using the Dutch language.
In 1921, after Johann Fast returned to Kaju-Apu from Europe, there were 49 baptized Chinese in Kudus. Besides the missionary, a native Christian, Tee Siem Tat, did much to develop the congregation. It was incorporated in 1927, and in the same year Tee Siem Tat received permission from the Dutch colonial government to preach and establish churches. The church, with a membership of about 200, became independent of the mission. In 1928 it built its own meetinghouse. To the subsidiary congregations in Tandjung and Majong a third was added in Japara. When new missionaries came to Kaju-Apu, it was decided that Hermann Schmitt should locate in the city of Kudus (Jaaresverslag, 1928, 17).
The mission work in Kudus consisted of evangelization, colportage, and a school. Evangelization and pastoral care were in the hands of the pastor and a native helper for Kudus and its subsidiary, Pendo-Rabajan, which came into being in 1931 chiefly through colportage. The combined membership at the end of 1932 was 51, besides 34 children. Services were attended by an average of 59 persons. From Kudus as a center other stations were served: Kaju-Apu; Pati, a city 15 miles (25 km) from Kudus, with a native helper (Albonese) and 28 baptized members and 30 children, and an average attendance of 62. The hospital at Kelet also belonged to the Kudus field. Kudus was the colportage center for the entire field. There were five colporteurs who sold about 200 Bibles a month and distributed more than 1,000 tracts.
The Dutch language school for Chinese children was built in 1924 by Fast and his niece, Miss Jansz. In 1927 its enrollment was 57. In 1932, when Tjen A. Kwoei from the Mennonite Brethren mission in Surinam was made head of this school, it increased to 160 pupils, with several additional teachers. Besides the Chinese, Javanese children also attended this school. It was the only Christian school of its kind on the Mennonite field, preparing for secondary schools, and was therefore of great importance to the community.
The small Javanese congregation in Kudus was until 1940 conducted by Hermann Schmitt and some native assistant preachers and teachers. On 24 November 1940 the congregation became independent. Then Sastroadi became its preacher. In 1949 the total membership of this Javanese congregation numbered 78 baptized persons and 63 children, in 1955, 130 and 150.
In Kudus there was also a Chinese Mennonite congregation with a membership in 1955 of about 450. Tan King Ien was its pastor.
Kudus an important industrial city in Indonesia with an estimated population of 133,000 (in 1987) and 93,562 (in 2000), is located at the southern foot of Mount Muria 50 km (30 miles) east northeast of Semarang, the capital of the province of Central Java The economy of the city is dominated by the manufacture of clove-flavored cigarettes. Other major industries include printing and the manufacture of bus and van bodies. Mennonites play important roles in these industries.
Kudus is an important center of Islamic influence. It is the site of a famous ancient mosque whose architectural form is obviously influenced by pre-Islamic Hindu architectural style. It is also the burial place and shrine of Sunan Kudus, one of the wali songo, the nine Muslim missionaries who according to tradition are responsible for the conversion of Java to Islam. The burial place and shrine of a second of those nine Muslim missionaries, Sunan Muria, is located near Kudus on the slopes of Mount Muria. These shrines are the objects of pilgrimage for innumerable Javanese Muslims. Significant Islamic educational and publishing institutions are located in Kudus.
But this town is also the birthplace of the Persatuan Gereja-Gereja Kristen Muria Indonesia (Muria Christian Church of Indonesia), one of the two Mennonite conferences of Indonesia. It was in this town that Tee Siem Tat, an anxious and infirm businessman of Chinese descent, found Jesus Christ to be the healer of his disease and immediately proceeded to gather around a group of new believers. This gave birth to what was originally called the Chineesche Doopsgezinde Christengemeente (Chinese Mennonite Christian Church).
In 1988 there are at least three Mennonite congregations of that conference in Kudus. There are also two congregations of the Gereja Injili di Tanah Jawa (Evangelical Church of Java), the Javanese Mennonite conference. Each of these congregations has a number of branches in and around the city of Kudus.
Two major service institutions of the Muria church are located in Kudus, both of them under the direct auspices of the original congregation. First is the Masehi (Christian) Educational Foundation with schools from kindergarten to senior high school. Second is the more than 100-bed Mardi Rahayu Christian Hospital.
Some of the earliest effective mission work to take place in Java was carried on at Kayu Apu, just a few kilometers north of Kudus. Beginning in 1853 Netherlands Missionary Fellowship missionary Hoezoo formed a congregation here. This mission work was turned over to the Dutch Mennonite Mission in 1898. Pieter Jansz (1820-1904), the first Mennonite missionary sent by a Mennonite mission agency to a non-European people, was buried in Kayu upon his death in 1906. It was later Mennonite missionaries Johann Fasts (1861-1941) and Hermann Schmitt who, though assigned to the village of Kayu Apu, shifted the focus of their attention, in contrast to the general policy of the mission, from rural communities to the towns and cities of the Muria area.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon.. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider. II: 1913-1967: 516 f.
Jensma, Th. Doopsgezinde Zending in Indonesia. The Hague: Boekcentrum, 1968.
Yoder, Lawrence M. Tunas Kecil: Sejarah Gereja Kristen Muria Indonesia. [Little Shoot: History of the Muria Christian Church of Indonesia.] Semarang: Komisi Literatur Sinode GKMI, n.d.  also available in English translation under the title "The Church of the Muria: A History of the Muria Christian Church of Indonesia." ThM thesis Fuller Theological Seminary, 1981.
Yoder, Lawrence M. and Sigit Heru Soekotjo. ''Sejarah Gereja Injili di Tanah Jawa." [History of the Evangelical Church of Java.] (Unpublished manuscript).
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 252; v. 5, pp. 499-500. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Yoder, Lawrence M. "Kudus (Central Java, Indonesia)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1987. Web. 19 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/K83.html.
APA style: Yoder, Lawrence M. (1987). Kudus (Central Java, Indonesia). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/K83.html.