Tribal Awards 2014
More than 70% of members of the Diocese of Durgapur of Church of North India are Tribals. The Tribal people of our country have always been major in our national life and culture. India, post and pre independence, can never be completely and clearly understood without recognising the invaluable contribution of the Tribal communities. In India’s social, cultural and political life the Tribals have contributed shoulder-to-shoulder with the non-Tribals, to take the country to its present state of excellence.
Diocese of Durgapur has always recognised this immense contribution of the Tribal communities and has worked over the years for the upliftment of the Tribal masses, who many a times are subjected to abject poverty, become refugees in their own lands and has suffered in various ways. One of the ways, in which the Diocese tries to uplift this community is through its Annual Tribal Award Ceremony.
Like every year this year too, the Tribal Awards was organised in the Diocese on the Saturday, the 8th of February 2014 at the St. Michael’s School auditorium. This year the Revd. P. O. Bodding Memorial Award in the field of social writing was awarded to Revd. Timotheas Hembrom, for a lifelong dedication in the field of writing and education. The Revd. J. P. Hastings Memorial Award in the field of Social Work was awarded to Jagannath Blasius Mardi, for his outstanding social work efforts among the Santali Tribal communities. The awardees with handed a certificate, uttaria and a cheque of Rs. 10,000 by Revd. Steven Andrew Bennett of Methodist Church of Great Britain, who was the honoured chief guest for the occasion. The award ceremony was witnessed by more than 1,000 Tribal people of the Diocese, Diocesan members and international friends.
The Rt. Revd. Dr. Probal Kanto Dutta, was consecrated as the Bishop of the Diocese of Durgapur of Church of North India, under a makeshift tent on 21st September 2003, on muddy grounds, soggy by heavy rains during the previous evening, inside the Diocesan Bhavan campus at Durgapur. To many it seemed highly unorthodox for a Bishop, not to be consecrated in a Cathedral, but then; it was the desire of our Bishop to be consecrated on the very soil, from where he would commence his episcopacy. That day our Bishop had petitioned a silent prayer to God, that one day he would build a cathedral on this very same spot. Following this, through the constant support and tireless efforts of his presbyters, members of the Diocesan Executive Committee and the congregations this silent prayer was answered.
On Sunday, the 9th of February 2014, the St. Michael’s and All Angel’s Cathedral was inaugurated through a grand ceremony as part of the Annual Thanksgiving Service of the Diocese in presence of more than 3,000 members of the Diocese of Durgapur. Present in solidarity were friends from the International community; Revd. Steven Andrew Bennett from Methodist Church of Great Britain, Canon David Charles Truby from Derbyshire C. N. I. Partnership of Great Britain, Revd. Thomas Murphy from Companion Diocese of Western North Carolina, U. S. A., Ms. Margaret Marshall, Synod Clerk, United Reformed Church, West Midland Synod, U. K., Revd. Aloke Biswas from UK, Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary, NCCI, Mr. Suman Biswas, Vice- President, NCCI and others.
It was indeed a grand moment for everyone present, to witness and be part of history in the making. Many in the Diocese never believed that one day they could partake in the Annual Thanksgiving Service of the Diocese in a Cathedral. Then God time-in-and-again reveals His miracles to those who have complete faith in His benevolence and power. For this august occasion that Cathedral was beautifully decorated with flowers. Two huge makeshift tents were erected on its both sides to accommodate a thousand individuals on both flanks and an additional thousand people seated inside the Mother Church of the Diocese. The entire service was projected on huge LCD screens for the believers seated in the tents. The ceremony/ service, was the first of its kind held at the Diocese.
The new Cathedral has been fitted with state of the art technology, with up-to-date acoustic sound and mike systems, overhead-onscreen projections of service books for paper free service in an humble effort to be as environment friendly as possible. It has seating arrangements for more than 1,000 people. Further the Cathedral houses two side vestries and a smaller side chapel. The 80 kg Bronze Bell, manufactured by All India Church Suppliers of Tirunelvelli, Tamil Nadu from South India was donated by the National Council of Churches in India on the occasion of National Ecumenical Youth Assembly (NEYA), hosted by the Diocese of Durgapur from 28th January to 1st February 2014.
The children of the six different child development centres of DWFCS, Diocese of Durgapur are nurtured in a holistic manner not only to give them a formal education but also to train them in other aspects of life such as music, dance, singing, arts & crafts, martial arts, horticulture, animal husbandry and string instruments to mention a few. These children get ample opportunities to practice and showcase these talents through various programmes and interventions throughout the year.
The Inter Projects Cultural Meet, is one such annual event, where the children get a full opportunity to demonstrate their cultural trainings through fusions of Indian and western song and dance recitals. This year too this event was held on Friday the 7th February 2014 at the St. Michael’s School auditorium in Durgapur. Children from the Durgapur Child Study and Development Centre, Inter-Faith Community Study Centre Bankura, Community Study Centre Purulia, Prochesta Asansol, Adra Child Study Centre and Raniganj Child Study Centre participated in this annual extravaganza.
The chief guest this year was Mrs. Shawnee Irwin, Chairperson, Companion Diocese of Western North Carolina. This year’s theme was “Festive Indian Dances”, where the children presented Indian and western fusion dances.
The Adra centre did a fusion of Garba and Western, Asansol – Rabindra Sangeet and Western, Bankura –
Bharatnatyam and Western, Durgapur – Odissi and Western, Purulia – Kathak and Western and Raniganj – Bihu and Western. All these dances were highly applauded by the audience and greatly enjoyed by all. Many international friends were also present along with parents of the centre children and members of the Diocese. We wish this programme all the best and it receive God’s blessings and grow forever.
The Good Shepherd Eye Clinic at the Diocesan Bhavan campus in Durgapur has been a real blessing for the visually impaired people of the region. Newly inaugurated just a year back on the 1st of February 2014 the clinic till date has conducted more than sixty eye surgeries. Recently on Friday the 14th of February 2014 the clinic conducted 7 successful cataract surgeries. The operations were done by renowned eye surgeon Dr. Falguni Mitra and his team, assisted by house optometrist Mr. Aloke Dutta.
In another case, Mr. Budhadev Bhattacharya a 74 year old retired person came to the clinic to get his 60 year old wife Mrs. Dipali Bhattacharya checked at the clinic. The couple had tried many doctors, but did not get any satisfactory result. After undergoing treatment from Dr. Mitra at the Good Shepherd Eye Clinic, the wife’s eye problem was completely cured. To express their joy the couple donated a sum of money to the clinic. Stories such as this gives us strength to carry on this Jesus’ ministry to restore sight to the visually impaired.
The National Ecumenical Youth Assembly (NEYA) 2014 of the Commission on Youth of National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) was hosted by the Diocese of Durgapur this year from the 28th of January to the 1st of February 2014. This is also the centenary (100) year of NCCI, which is an ecumenical expression of all Protestant and Orthodox churches in India.
More than six hundred youth from different churches of NCCI from all over India participated in this 5 day youth programme. The theme for this year’s assembly “YOUTH TURN: CONNECT, CREATE CHANGE”, has been a clarion call for Christian youth all over India to take up a proactive role in connecting with each other, exchanging and creating ideas and finally make change happen for good. The Assembly commenced with a inaugural worship at the newly constructed St. Michael’s and All Angel’s Cathedral at the Diocesan Bhavan campus in Durgapur. The bell for the Cathedral, donated by NCCI was also inaugurated on this day.
The five days programmes were spread into an opening ceremony at the St. Michael’s School grounds, an ice breaking session, various workshops and Bible study sessions, game sessions, time for cultural expressions, group activities, placard making, Rally for change on the streets of Durgapur and star attraction nights with star performances by Anil Kant and Yeshua Band and others.
It was overall a great event a time for quality exchange and learning among the Christian youth from various parts of our country and abroad. We wish NEYA all the best and may it grow and be instrumental in creating, connecting and changing the youth for the better of humanity for years to come.
The Inter Projects Sports Meet, is a highly awaited annual event in the Diocese of Durgapur. Here children from the six different child centres of Diocesan Women’s Fellowship for Christian Service (DWFCS), Diocese of Durgapur, gather together every year on 23rd January, birthday of one of India’s great freedom fighters netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, to partake in sporting events as part of their holistic development.
This year too children of Durgapur Child Study and Development Centre, Inter-Faith Community Study Centre Bankura, Community Study Centre Purulia, Prochesta Asansol, Adra Child Study Centre and Raniganj Child Study Centre gathered on the morning of Thursday, 23rd January 2014 to compete and display physical skills in an aura of sportsmanship. Chief Guest of the sports was Ms. Acacia Claiborne. Mrs. Monika Bhattacharya was the Guest of Honour.
The sports commenced with a march past by all the centres followed by hoisting of the national flag and oath taking by the children and referees. This was followed by a beautifully choreographed Bharatnatyam western dance fusion on the theme India. One of the major attractions was the demonstration of the martial arts of Taekwondo, where the children apart from displaying the difficult stances broke bricks and earthen tiles, some even with their bare heads. The children participated in various track events for boys and girls and many exciting and innovative races for the younger ones. There was a go as you like contest as well. At the end there were exciting races for men and women of the audiences also.
Overall it was a great event, where the spirit of sportsmanship was at its height. We wish this event all the best and may it grow and develop in years to come, helping nurture the physique and minds of the children of our child centres.
Like every year this year too; Dr. Mike Sabback, a well renowned internationally acclaimed surgeon, a man of God and his wife Jean Sabback from the Seacoast Church USA, came along with two teams to do medical and healing ministry in the Diocese of Durgapur. As part of their medical ministries they conducted several medical clinics at different districts of the Diocese, where free treatment were given to the poor and marginalised people with medicines and eye glasses. Dr. Mike and his team further dedicated two days for conducting surgeries at the Good Shepherd Clinic in the Diocesan Bhavan campus in Durgapur on the 22nd of January and 1st of February 2014. A total of 25 surgeries were conducted by Dr. Mike, all of which yielded successful results. Many of these surgeries were really critical. The needy people of our Diocese really look forward to the visit of Dr. Mike, to get free surgeries, which they could not afford in the general market otherwise. We thank Dr. Mike and the Seacoast Church USA, for their constant support to the people of our Diocese, may their meaningful outreach ministry to India go on for many years to come.