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Mizos to return favour to 'Mother Church'

The Diocese of Mizoram has sent one missionary to Wales in an effort to evangelise them, seen to be in religious decline.

india Updated: Mar 06, 2006 19:22 IST

Missionaries from Wales had once converted North East Indians to Christianity. Now the Diocese of Mizoram has sent one missionary to south Wales, in an effort to evangelise the Welsh because they believe that the country is in a state of religious decline.

It is planning to send a second in April, to help the Welsh Presbyterian Church with its shortage of ministers. The Rev Hmar Sangkhuma, who runs yoga classes for the elderly and works as a "mission enabler" in Maesteg, near Bridgend, said that many people in Wales were suffering from a "spiritual void".

He said, "There is a perceived lack of relevance of Christianity to lives based on materialism."

Many Mizos were converted to Christianity by the Welsh between 1840 and 1960. The ties to the Presbyterian Church of Wales, which Mizos refer to as the "Mother Church", are also very strong. The Rev Zosang Colney of the Diocese of Mizoram said that the churches in Wales seemed to be "declining physically and spiritually".

He said, "Many church buildings have been closed down. The Mizos, therefore, have a burden to do something for their Mother Church in Wales."

A second missionary from Mizoram, the Rev John Colney, is expected to move to Wales this year. Sylvia Coombes of the Council For World Mission which organises the mission partners, said it was normal for foreign countries to send missionaries to Britain.

"Look at Mizoram, it is over 80 per cent Christian - you can't say that about the UK," she said.

The Rev Daffyd Jones, the mission secretary for the Presbyterian Church of Wales, said that Sangkhuma, was helping with the fact that there was a shortage of ministers in the Church. "He works as a mission enabler and also runs rehabilitation for young offenders," he said. "It is quite moving for us to hear and see how the Mizos describe us as their Mother Church".

First Published: Mar 06, 2006 19:22 IST