Mizoram received the Gospel for the first time through Rev. William Williams in March 15, 1891. Rev. J.H. Lorrain and Rev. F.W. Savidge of The Indian Aborigines Mission reduced Mizo language to writing. They used simple roman script based on Hunterian system, called a aw in Mizo, to lay the foundation stone of literature in Mizoram, in 1893. Their first school was opened in1894 with two pupils, Thangphunga and Suaka who became the first Mizo literates in April, 1894. Savidge and Lorrain made a simple catechism, small song book and translated Luke, John and the Acts and started Mizo literature for the first time in Mizoram. By the end of 1897 they left for Mizoram.
Rev. D.E. Jones of Welsh Presbyterian Church arrived in 1897, learned Mizo language from Savidge and Lorrain. Literature became one of the priorities of the Mission for spreading the Gospel. Since there was no printing press in Mizoram, pamphlets, posters and other printing works were sent to Sylhlet, Calcutta, Allahabad and Madras.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
Welsh Mission taught the Mizos that business is an important service to God and showed the just and right way of doing business. The main objectives of PRESCOM are –
1. To produce and distribute a sound and reliable Christian books and other good books for the general mass, at a reasonable rate is the main objective of the Presbyterian Communications.
2. The service rendered by the Presbyterian Communications has to be a self supporting one. For this, the governing board can search any other way to do so, including selling of any other tems in its distribution networks.
Dr. Peter Fraser of the Welsh Mission, who came to Mizoram in 1908 built a clinic near P.C. Girls’ School. He later brought a small hand press and started printing for the first time in Mizoram in 1911, the press was called Lushai Christian press. The first Church monthly called Krista Tlangau(Christ’s Herald), later renamed Kristian Tlangau(Christian Herald) was started in October,1911.
The small printing machine broke down soon and the monthly magazine had to be printed outside Mizoram. The then British Commandant Lt. Colonel G.H. Loch, knowing the need of printing machine for the Welsh Mission donated 100 to the Welsh Mission. D.E. Jones used this donation to buy a treadle operated printing machine in 1914 for the Mission. The new machine was kept in a small room near the present Synod Press building. The printing press was named Loch Printing Press in honour of its donor, till it was renamed Synod Press in 1973. The original press building was widened whenever necessary, till it was shifted to the present site in 1967. The present reinforced cement concrete building of Synod Press was opened in 1976.
Before bookroom building was in existence, books were stored at the senior missionary’s godown. When production increased, the mere godown became too small. D. E. Jones built a small building in 1926 for office and bookroom at the present Synod office site. When the production of books became too large for the room, Rev. E.L. Mendus built a new building in 1938, this building was rebuilt in 1961. The present bookroom headquarters building was opened in 1978. The bookroom was called Welsh Mission bookroom for almost 50 years till it was renamed Synod bookroom in 1973.
In 1974, to take care of the overall management and finance of the Press and Bookroom, a general administration section headed by a Superintendent was formed. The post was later renamed General Manager in 1983.
The press and bookroom in Aizawl and Mission press in Sylhet was run unofficially by the Welsh missionaries, as a sideline. It stayed unofficial for 43 years(1911-1954) during which all the management, financial and other business was put under the care of senior missionary. In 1955 the Welsh Mission Press and Bookroom were transferred to the Synod of The Mizoram Presbyterian Church and became the property of the church and under its administration entirely. From then on, the management, finance, recruitment, pay and day to day administrations were run by the appointed committees.
In 1956 the governing board was formed, called Press and Bookroom board. In 1964, the board was renamed Synod Press and Bookroom board which was later renamed Synod Communications in 1983.Once again in 1994, the board was renamed Presbyterian Communications (PRESCOM) and is in use tll today.
Presently, in 2013, the publication of monthlies for The Presbyterian Church of Mizoram, printed at Synod press is as follows:
1) Kristian Tlangau (Church’s organ) at 31,500 copies
2) Synod Newsletter (Church’s newsletter) at 1,17,000 copies
3) Kristian Naupang (Monthly journal for Children) at 21,000 copies
4) Kristian Thalai (Journal of Church’s Youth Fellowship) at 35,500 copies
5) Ramthar (Journal of Synod Mission Board) at 25,500 copies
6) Agape (Journal of Church’s Women Fellowship) at 36,500 copies
7) Didakhe (Bi-monthly journal of Theological Education) at 4,700 copies
8) Presbyterian Review (Quarterly journal of the Church in English) at 500 copies.
Synod Monthly Newsletter that is distributed free of cost to every family is the highest circulated church newsletter in the world.
The following books are printed every year for the church :-
1) Synod Bu (details of Church activities)
2) Puitling Sunday School Text Book
3) SeniorSunday School Text Book
4) Intermediate Sunday School Text Book
5) Junior Sunday School Text Book
6) Primary Sunday School Text Book
7) Beginner Sunday School Text Book
8) Nilai Zan leh Beihrual Bu
9) Khawvel Sunday School Ni Thupui
10) Kristian Hla Bu
11) Kristian Diary
12) Synod Calendar
Other than the above list of publications, every year the Synod Press is printing about 40 book titles published by Synod Literature and Publication Board and distributed by Synod bookroom which spread out throughout Mizoram as well as outside Mizoram.
Bookroom network is the largest book distribution network in Mizoram having 12 branches in all the district capitals and other main towns of Mizoram including Churanchandpur in Manipur, with 17 distribution centers covering the whole of Mizoram. For the benefit of the Church members in remote villages, Mobile bookshop is run throughout the year. Bookroom is covering various subjects such as religious books to general knowledge, Children literature to all kinds of Church’s stationeries. There are more than 6000 book titles.
It can be noted that Presbyterian Church of Mizoram is giving emphasis on Literature and Christian Education which directly resulted in becoming the Second, in Literacy percentage in India, next to Kerela. The business turnover of Rs.2 lakhs in 1970 became more than Rs. 700 lakhs in 2007. Presently there are 104 staffs working in the department out of which 42 are women.
Presently in 2013, PRESCOM is headed by Upa R. Lalmawlsawma, General Manager; Mr. Lalniliana, Bookroom Manager and Mr. Lalhruaitluanga Ralte Press Manager. The board of directors, called Presbyterian Communications Board is having 43 executive members representing all the Presbyteries of the Church.
Presbyterian Communication (PRESCOM)
Mission Compound, Mission Veng, Aizawl – 796001
EPABX : 91 0389 2317134 / 2317139/2325030
Fax : . 91 0389 2316533
Main Office 91 0389 2316533
Manager, Press 91 0389 2314844
Manager, Bookroom 91 0389 2327931
e-mail : Prescom123@sancharnet.in
Upa R. Lalmalsawma
91 0389 2322672 (Office)
91 0389 2314845 / 2318046 (Residence)