11/29/2022, 13.52
BANGLADESH
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Catholic archbishop of Dhaka joins celebrations marking the 225th anniversary of Baptists’ presence in the country

by Sumon Corraya

In Barishal, celebrations were held to honour the arrival of English missionary William Carey, who authored the first translation of the Bible in the local language. For Archbishop Bejoy N' D'Cruze, “we are baptised in the name of Jesus Christ. This brings us together. Therefore, let us work to create deeper relationships between us.”

Barishal (AsiaNews) – The Baptist community recently marked 225 years of presence in Bangladesh, making it the oldest Protestant denomination in the South Asian country.

The celebrations were held at the Baptist church in Barisal (Barishal), a large city in south-central Bangladesh, in the presence of 4,000 faithful.

The meeting provided an ecumenical moment, bringing together Christopher Adhikari, president of the Bangladesh Baptist Church Sangha; Mark Wayne, president of the Baptist Missionary Society (BMS World Mission), and Catholic Archbishop Bejoy N' D'Cruze of Dhaka, who also chairs the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Bangladesh (CBCB).

William Carey, a Christian missionary from England, founded the BMS World Mission, and began preaching the Gospel in what was then British-ruled Bengal. In addition to being a preacher, he was a proficient translator and author of sacred music.

Protestants and Catholics remember and respect him for translating  the Bible and liturgical hymns in local languages.

Today, Bangladesh’s Baptist community numbers around 60,000 and their contribution to the country's healthcare system, education and social development is enormous.

Archbishop Bejoy N' D'Cruze congratulated the Baptist community on the jubilee.

“We might be members of different Churches, but we are baptised in the name of Jesus Christ. This brings us together. Therefore, let us work to create deeper relationships between us,” the prelate said.

“We are all Christians, and Jesus Christ is our guide; we follow him and preach his words. We need to change our minds, opening up to each other."

“In Bangladesh, we are a tiny Christian Church,” the archbishop explained. “Let us work together and bear witnesses to Jesus Christ among people of other religions. Thus, we will be able to recognise the miracles performed by God through His message."

Christopher Adhikari, president of the Bangladesh Baptist Church Sangha, thanked all foreign and local missionaries.

“This jubilee will help us renew our faith,” he said. “At present, we are searching our history and roots. We Baptists also seek unity among Christians; we need to live in this country with relations of brotherhood between the different denominations.”

"William Carey always undertook big initiatives to follow God's calling,” noted BMS World Mission President Mark Wayne. "We should do the same. We deeply thank him and the other missionaries who preached the Gospel."

BMS World Mission is a Christian missionary organisation that operates in 30 countries on four continents.

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