Christianity in Arunachal Pradesh

The history of Christianity in Arunachal Pradesh has been traced back as early as the arrival of Mrs. C.A Bruce in 1834 and Rev. Nathan Brown, the first American Baptist Missionary who reached Sadiya on March 23, 1836. They opened schools for the native of Sadiya and neighboring people from the hills such as Adi, Khampti, Singpho and Mishmi. Although, they were the first hearer of gospel yet they did not accept the gospel. In 1839 due to British garrison with the Khamptis, the American Baptist Mission had to shift its Mission place to Joypur and later to Sibsagar.

Later, Fr. Nicholas Krick and Fr. Augustine Bourry from France started sowing the seed of gospel to the Arunachalis in 1854. In the year 1857, while on their journey to Lasha, Tibet, they were murdered by a local called Kahesha Manyu at Samual, Walong. Hence, until 1920, there is no record of any person having been baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

In 1914, L.W.B Jackman, established a school at Ebung (Dambuk) and Lupang (Meka) with the help of Apinda Momin and Suren Sangma. The first recorded Christian in the Eastern Part of Arunachal Pradesh was Dugyon Lego and Tamik Dabi. They received Christ in the year 1920. In the Western Part of Arunachal Pradesh, Sensu Nar a Nyishi had professed to be a believer in 1919 and was baptized in 1920. For the western part of Arunachal Pradesh, John Firth opened a school by the name John Firth Mission School at North-Lakhimpur in 1893.

Many Missionaries came to Arunachal Pradesh and contributed in the field of education and literary works. Some of the literary works were:

1. Isorke Doyinge

2. Jisuke Doyinge

3. Padam Abor Primer in Roman Script “AB KITAB”

4. Beginners of Arithmetic in Padam Abor “PADAM KIKINAME KITAP LUNGGUE

5. Padam Abor Chart, etc.

The first churches of Arunachal Pradesh believed to be build either by Dugyon Lego or Sensu Nar. As per the Census, till 1950, there were no single Christian record, and then it rose to 1438 Christian in 1961. The 1971 Census revealed that there were 2593 Christians (0.79%) that led to violence and persecutions on Christians. The year 1960-1980 is termed as the year of birth of the Christians in Arunachal Pradesh. Many students who were studying in Christian schools in Assam and Shillong became believers of Christ.

In 1966, Taro Boje and Barjo Taye were appointed as the first licensed Evangelist by CBCNEI. Since 1966-1975, many Christian organization or associations arose, such as, Adi Baptist Banne Kebang, Siang Baptist Christian Association, Upper Siang Baptist Christian Association, Adi-Galo Baptist Church Associaition, Nyishi Christian Student Union (Now Nyishi Baptist Church Council). At present there are 19 Associations with more than 1000 Baptist churches in Arunachal Pradesh.

The Roman Catholic Mission had sown the gospel among few students from Apatani (from Ziro) and started its mission in 1963. The United Pentecostal Church North-East India had started its mission in the year 1989. The Presbyterian Church (Synod), Mizoram started its mission work in 1984 in partnership with the Upper Siang Baptist Christian Association. Since then many Naga Churches also started supporting the local believers in sowing the seed of gospel in the land.

Since the inception of gospel in Arunachal Pradesh, it has seen and faced different forms of persecution from different sources. Different organizations and government agencies were involved in persecuting the Christians.

The year 1970-1990 records the most persecuted year for the Christians. However, it also had the great impact in the growth of Christianity. The percentage shook its height from 0.59% to 30% and at present it has reached up to 40-45%. Despite of strong oppositions and persecutions, the land has witnessed tremendous growth in spreading the gospel in Arunachal Pradesh.



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