12th Assembly 2009

A proud partner

Bishop Kumar Samantaroy from the Church of North India finds the partnership between his church and the Uniting Church in Australia as a source of great pride.

At Pitt Street Uniting Church for Sunday Worship on July 19 he said no amount of money that the Uniting Church raised for projects in India could give him the dignity he found in the sense of belonging derived from the interdependence “where we can learn from each other and depend on each other”.

Bishop Samantaroy described the Church of North India as a uniting and united church comprising of six different denominations and 26 Dioceses and established in 1970 after 40 years of negotiation.

He said his region in north-west India as “mutli-faith, multicultural, multi-linguistic”. He told how an innocent Dalit Christian (meaning “downtrodden”, Dalits are the most disadvantaged members of Indian society) was bashed to death by the goons of a rich landlord.

When police refused to take action against his killers, the Church of North India got involved and Christians from villages nearby rallied outside the police station, gaining in number to 2,000 until police finally agreed to pursue the case.

Bishop Samantaroy told the story to illustrate the importance and power of the Christian family that extends well beyond immediate and even national families.

He asked how the church might best define who was part of “the body of Christ” and what constituted a spiritual family in a multicultural and multi-faith context.