Bihar Mennonite Mandli (Bihar Mennonite Church)
The Mennonite Church in Bihar has 1500 members in 19 congregations (2003). The congregations are located in Palamau and Ranchi districts. The conference headquarters is in Chandwa, Palamau District.
The conference operates student hostels in Latehar, Palamau District, and in Ranchi for rural young people attending secondary schools. Nav Jivan (New Life) Hospital was established in 1961 near Satbarwa, Palamau District. This location was chosen for its lack of medical services. Nav Jivan has 166 beds and is staffed by four doctors (1986).
Mennonite Service Agency, with headquarters in Chandwa, is a development program which grew out of famine needs in 1960. Funded by Mennonite Central Committee, needy persons are employed in water resource projects, e.g., well digging and dam construction. The agency promotes agricultural improvement by introducing new seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides.
Good Books is a chain of bookstores with headquarters in Ranchi. Religious literature and school books are made available to the public. Paul and Esther Kniss, North American missionaries since 1950, founded and managed Good Books. They also published Masihi Awaz (Christian Voice), a monthly magazine for Christian families. They began recording the Scriptures in Hindi for radio broadcast in Sri Lanka. The broadcast area included all of Hindi-speaking India.
Chandwa Bible School was designed to develop leaders among the new Christians. Because of dwindling attendance the school was discontinued. However, most pastors in the Bihar Mennonite Mandli as of 1986 studied at the school, and one of them, George Khakha, became the conference youth minister.
The Bihar Mennonite Mandli grew out of work begun in 1940 by the Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities (MC), through the American Mennonite Mission (later Mennonite Church in India), Dhamtari, Madhya Pradesh. The first witness was made in Hazaribagh District, where several Christians lived, the products of previous work by another mission. When the number of Christians increased, severe persecution scattered the old and the new Christians, and the church has lost contact with them. In 1947 a mission in Palamau District which was understaffed, invited the Mennonite missionaries to occupy its area. Most of the Mennonites are now located in Palamau District.
The churches formed a conference in 1947. Bihar Mennonite Mandli is independent of, but has fraternal relationship with the Mennonite Board of Missions
Hostetler, S. J. We Enter Bihar. Elkhart, IN: Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities, 1951.
Kraybill, Paul N., ed. Mennonite World Handbook. Lombard, IL: Mennonite World Conference, 1978:122-124.
Lapp, John Allen. The Mennonite Church in India, 1897-1962, Studies in Anabaptist and Mennonite History, vol. 14. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1972: chapter 22.
Mennonite World Handbook Supplement . Strasbourg, France, and Lombard, IL: Mennonite World Conference, 1984: 29.
Bihar Mennonite Mission (1953 Article)
by Melvin Gingerich
The Bihar Mennonite Mission. Bihar is a province of approximately 70,000 square miles in northeastern India. In January 1940 the Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities (MC) located its first missionaries in this field, when the S. J. Hostetler family arrived in Kodarma. The mission area covered 4,200 square miles and had a population of 1,000,000. Two regions were occupied by the Mennonites—the Kodarma field and the Palamau field.
During the first ten years of this mission, the following missionary families worked in this area: John E. Beachy, Henry D. Becker, S. Jay Hostetler, Paul Kniss, S. Allen Shirk, and Milton C. Vogt. By 1952 the mission had 6 congregations with 60 members.
Cite This Article
Hostetler, Wilbur. "Bihar Mennonite Mandli (Bihar Mennonite Church)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1986. Web. 20 Jul 2018. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Bihar_Mennonite_Mandli_(Bihar_Mennonite_Church)&oldid=127598.
Hostetler, Wilbur. (1986). Bihar Mennonite Mandli (Bihar Mennonite Church). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 July 2018, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Bihar_Mennonite_Mandli_(Bihar_Mennonite_Church)&oldid=127598.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 341; v. 5, p. 84. All rights reserved.
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