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Somdal church celebrates 100 years
Published on 8 Feb. 2009 12:42 AM IST
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All roads in Ukhrul District led to Somdal village in Ukhrul District as Somdal Baptist Church Friday evening began the celebration of 100 years of Christianity in the village. According to a source, around 4000 delegates from 54 churches in the state, high dignitaries, media persons and leaders from all echelon of the society converged to witness the centennial celebration which commenced from February 6 to 9 under the theme ‘Chosen to Go and Bear Fruit’. Over the past week, an unprecedented number of its natives living in different parts of the country and abroad including its diasporas descended at Somdal, 22 kms away from Ukhrul Headquarters. The celebration is but a fitting tribute to its pioneer, R S. Ruichumhao who sowed the seed of the Gospel way back in the year 1909. The event got off to a splendid start Friday evening with a brief welcome service which was followed by ceremonial lighting of pine resin by every households of the village, signifying victory over darkness. This ritual was performed by early Christian converts, symbolizing their victory from the bondage of darkness. A huge monolith and R S. Ruichumhao Memorial Building were inaugurated Saturday morning, a release stated. Tucked atop the picturesque hill slopes in the western part of Ukhrul District adjoining Senapati District in Manipur, Somdal is one of the biggest villages in the district with a total population of around 3000 with more than 400 households. Prior to the arrival of Christianity, the people led a primitive lifestyle embracing ‘spirit worshipping’. However, with the coming of Christianity and exposure to western education, a sea-change ushered in every spheres of life. Today, the village is considered one of the most educational advanced villages in the Tangkhul tribal community. The village has produced many luminaries of repute. Prominent offshoots among them being RS. Ruichumhao, one of the first among Tangkhuls to receive western education and RS. Suisa, Ex-MP (known in Naga history for his now-frequently-quoted ‘Bhutan-Type Proposal’). This is also home to general secretary NSCN Thuingaleng Muivah. Its scions are scattered globally, occupying coveted positions in state and central governments, MNC etc. The speakers of the centenary are general secretary American Baptist Churches, USA Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley, executive minister of American Baptist Churches (Dakota) Dr. Riley Holcomb Walker and lecturer, Leonard Theological College Jabalpur Dr. Atola Longkumer Khamrang. A host of high-ranking NSCN officials who accompanied Pakahao Muivah, wife of Th. Muivah also attended the function, sources said.

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