Tuesday, 5 March 2013

The Genesis of KABC

When Revd. W. R. Hutton, one of the last American Baptist Missionaries left Karbi Anglong in 1954, there were two main Baptist Associations, i.e. Puta Karbi Baptist Association and Nihang Karbi Baptist Association (the former Nilip Hobha). These associations were mostly led by lay-leaders for many decades and that too on a part time basis and so they were quite weak and loosely organized. They were under the Assam Baptist Convention; however, this Convention also being loosely organized could not attend effectively to the various problems and needs of the Baptist Christians in Karbi Anglong. Consequently, division and dissension took place within the churches and associations in Karbi Anglong.

The Rengma Baptist Christians who were part of the Nilip Hobha then formed their own Christian Endeavour in 1949. Later in 1954, they felt the need to have their own association because of the language and cultural differences with the Karbis. They were convinced that singing, preaching and teaching the Biblical messages in the Rengma language itself will enhance their spiritual growth deeper and better.

Likewise, a new group known as Nijang Karbi Baptist Association emerged out of the Puta Karbi Baptist Association in West Karbi Anglong about 1972. Likewise, a group of Karbi Baptist churches left Nihang Karbi Baptist Association and called themselves as Nilip Karbi Baptist Association in 1976 and later some of its members joined Church of Jesus Christ, Church of North India and some joined Believers Church of India recently. Still another group broke away from NKBA led by the former Executive Secretary of NKBA, Revd. Dr. Timothy Rongphar in 1978 and joined the Indian Baptist Mission, later called themselves Evangelical Baptist Fellowship and some opted Presbyterian and Roman Catholic churches. And there was a great tendency for further divisions.

Thus, the questions of proper identity, unity; security and growth of these Baptist churches have become an issue of serious concern since 1969. The then Baptist leaders like late Pitor Tisso, Revd. Thomas Tisso, late Julius Hanse, late Sar-et Hanse, late Etpo Taro, late Song Bey, Mi: Longkiram Ingti, Mr. Chondro Killing, Mr. Khogen Hanse, late Rongbong Kro, Revd. Giren Sebti and Mr. Wilson Tokbi and many others raised the issue and expressed their discontent with the Assam Baptist Convention over and over again. The feeling and aspiration of forming a separate Convention began to spread among the Baptist circles in Karbi Anglong.

The main reasons for this aspiration are given below.
1. Language Differences : The Baptist Christians of Karbi Anglong prefer English to Assamese. Assamese alphabets can not be used to spell the Karbi words and terms accurately as it is with the English alphabets.

2. Cultural Differences the tribal cultures and mind-set of Karbi Anglong Baptist Christians found it difficult to cope with the Assainese-Adivasi’s.

3. The Geographical location and concentration.

4. The Karbi Anglong Baptist Christians felt out of place and the step-motherly treatment was unacceptable. It is not possible for us to justify how far these judgments are true, yet the movement begun and took a new turn.

5. For better edification and co-operation among its Churches in Karbi Anglong.

It is worth mentioning that number of attempts has been made to bring together all the Baptists of Karbi Anglong into one umbrella. Finally, though all Baptists groups could not come, in the month of March, 1980, ajoint meeting was convened to discuss on the formation of a Convention and was attended by the representatives of NKBA and PKBA, held at Upper Dokmoka Baptist Church. Revd. K. S. Ronghang was sent to CBCNEI (Guwahati) to discuss on this matter. Accordingly he was advised to organize a Joint Consultation in the month of November, 1980. It was held at Diphu Baptist Church. Some of the prominent leaders who attended in this Consultation were : Revd. & Mrs. K. Aier, General Secretary, CBCNEI; Revd. Karbenson Sangma, General Secretary; GBC, Tura; Dr. A. Behera, ETC, Jorhat; Revd. Timothy Rongphar, the then Executive Secretary, NKBA; Revd. R. Hmar, the then Pastor of Bible Baptist Church; Mr. Wilson Tokbi, Revd. Dr. Solomon Rongpi and many other leaders of NKBA, PKBA and WRBA.

After a long deliberation, the General Secretary of CBCNEI, Revd. K. Aier suggested and encouraged the Baptist leaders of Karbi Anglong to form the Karbi Anglong Baptist Convention and come under the one umbrella of CBCNEI. Immediately, an ad-hoc body was formed with the following office bearers:

   President : Late Sar-et Hanse
   Vice-President  : Mr. Khogen Hanse
   Regional (General) Secretary : Revd. Khoyasing Ronghang
   Recording Secretary : Late Bidyasing Timung
   Treasurer  : Late Revd. Siasing Phangcho
And the first General Meeting of the new Karbi Anglong Baptist Convention was held at Hamren Town Baptist Church under PKBA in 1981.