CWM celebrates Church of Bangladesh’s Jubilee Year, Bicentenary of St Thomas’ Cathedral

by Cheon Young Cheol

March is a significant month for the Church of Bangladesh as it celebrates its 50th anniversary. The Church of Bangladesh is a united Protestant church comprising mainly the Anglican and Presbyterian denominations.

As part of the festivities from 1-2 March, St Thomas’ Cathedral—a cornerstone of faith and history in the heart of Dhaka, and a central landmark in Bangladesh’s Christian landscape—also commemorated its bicentenary since its inauguration on 10 July 1824.

The Church of Bangladesh and her member churches continue to play important roles in partnership with the Council for World Mission (CWM) in driving missiological change, challenging systemic oppression, and establishing life-flourishing communities in a country threatened by the flames of rightwing nationalism fanned by religious fundamentalists.

CWM Deputy General Secretary-Programmes, Dr Sudipta Singh gave greetings during the event that was held at the Retreat Prayer Garden in Savar, Dhaka. The joyous occasion was witnessed by a diverse group of delegates and guests, including mission partners, bishops, former bishops, synod secretaries, ecumenical partners, organizational friends, clergy, deanery representatives, and institutional heads.

Singh reminded the audience of the seeds of faith that were sown by the early missionaries who helped the local population find, in Jesus, a God who suffers with them and who empowers them to reclaim their lost humanity and to celebrate their identities.

“Jubilee is the opportunity to envision the Church of Bangladesh as the servant leader of the communities and to witness prophetically and relevantly in our times. That requires the creative imagination to develop new ministries that will bring healing and transformation in your grassroots and eventually, the nation,” exhorted Singh.

Identifying youth as the lifeblood of the church, Singh called on the young people present in the audience to carry on the work and build upon the foundation that was laid by their forebears.

“We need young people who love the church so much that they will quarrel with it and challenge it to stand up and be counted among those who will not settle for mortgaging the future.

“We need young people who believe that our opinion, our voice, our action matters when it comes to building life-flourishing communities,” Singh added. “I dare to suggest that we have those young people in this hall today and throughout your churches… young people must accept the call to reconstruct a theology that is grounded in the God of justice, as manifested in Jesus of Nazareth who faced the cross of Calvary in pursuit of life for all.”

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