Motto :- “Called to witness” (Acts 1:8)
~ To work for the fulfillment of the ministry
~ To endeavor to build a holistic Christian Home
~ To help the needy in the name of Christ
~ To proclaim the gospel
The formation of Mizo Presbyterian women’s fellowship :-
The origin of the Mizo Presbyterian women’s fellowship goes back to the time when the welsh missionary Rev D E Jones got married to Miss Catherine Ellen Williams (who was a missionary working in Syhlet, presently in Bangladesh) in 1903. After marriage Mrs. Catherine Jones moved to Aizawl, Mizoram to join her husband in January 1904 and got involved in mission work particularly being engaged with women’s concerns.
She taught them different kinds of practical arts like sewing, knitting, stitching, cooking, hygiene, singing, and learning the alphabets etc. A Khasi lady Mrs. Siniboni, from Khasi Hills (now Meghalaya) was a great help to the missionaries in this regard.
The first women’s fellowship meetings began around the year 1904 and were held on Friday afternoons in the mission Veng Church at Aizawl. They spent their time of fellowship listening to Bible stories, the story of Jesus and His ministry, listening to sermons and the testimonies of the Mizo Christian women and the sharing of their Christian experiences. Through this evangelism many Mizo ladies converted to Christ. The male missionaries supported the programme and even at times participated in it. In 2004, the Women Fellowship celebrated its Centenary.
The spreading of Women’s fellowship all over Mizoram :
As the need of evangelism and developmental work was high Mrs. Catherine Jones suggested that some of the women be trained for working on a full time basis in the Church for evangelism and for the upliftment of the people. The mission/Church took up the project and some able women were thus given training in Bible knowledge, general knowledge, midwifery, hygiene etc. On the completion of their training they were appointed as ” Bible Women” and sent out to different districts to serve alongside the pastors.
These bible women were very instrumental in forming women’s fellowship wherever they went. With the help of Bible women, pastors and Church elder’s women’s fellowships were organised in all the villages.
In 1946 the local Church women’s fellowship units belonging to two districts organised a District level women’s fellowship conference in their respective districts and soon the holding of the district level conference became an annual feature all over Mizoram.
In 1960 a general conference encompassing all the units of the Women’s fellowship was called for the first time at Mission Veng Church. All the 23-district women’s fellowship participated in this conference. From this time onwards a general conference has been conducted every year.
In order to facilitate the activities of the women’s Fellowship committees were set up at all levels: Local, districts and central. As far as the local and district level committees are concerned, women in their respective levels elect the office bearers. Pastors and probationary Pastors are ex-officio members of their respective district Women’s Committees and of the local Church women’s committees within their districts. In the case of the Central committee the chairperson and the General Secretary are appointed by the Synod Executive Committee from among the Church women; the General Secretary is appointed from among the Co-ordinator and or the Asst. Co-ordinators. The Synod Moderator, the Synod Secretary, and the Synod Executive Secretary in charge of women’s ministry are the ex-officio members of the Central Committee. The General Conference elects other members of the Central Committee.
In 1978 a full time women worker was appointed by the Synod to look after the women’s activities, now being designated as the Co-ordinator and in addition we now have one Asst. Co-ordinator, and all the staff manning this department are theologically trained.
The membership of the Mizoram Presbyterian Church women is 1,25,329 as per the statistics ending 2004.
Nurturing Christian Homes:-
Efforts are made to build up good Christian homes through seminars, workshops, and other special programmes. From 1970 an annual statistical survey of Presbyterian Homes is conducted. The best district is awarded a trophy and a certificate of appreciation at the Women’s General Conference.
The highlights of the 2004 statistical survey of the Mizoram Presbyterian Church homes are as follows:-
~ Number of Presbyterian Homes 77,813
~ Number of homes which have a family devotion daily 34,105 (43.89%)
~ Number of homes which have handful rice daily 73,752 (94.78%)
Handful of rice offering
In 1914 the practice of handful of rice offering was started all over Mizoram. The principle behind this offering is based on the thought that Jesus Christ is the Guest at every meal and rice being a staple diet of the Mizo’s the person cooking the meal puts a handful of rice in a container which is collected every week end and sold at the prevailing market rate. The money received from the sales proceeds of the handful of rice offering amounted to Rs. 46,450,217/- in the year 2004.
Though the handful of rice collection was not so popular in the beginning it has now become one of the main source of the income for the Synod.
Agape News Magazine
Our Churchwomen’s Magazine called “Agape” has been published since 1986 and was published as a bi-monthly till June 1996. From July 1996 it has become a monthly publication. Presently 24,800 copies have been printed. Mention may be made here that the Magazine is being able to meet its own production costs.
Home of love
In 1986 the Mizo Synod established an orphanage called “Home of Love.” The Synod entrusted the Central Church Women’s Committee since 1992 to look after this home. The home can accommodate 30 babies and the finances for running the home are made available by the Synod.
Women’s Annual Project and Budget
Every year the Districts and the General conference take up certain projects to supplement the ministerial activities of the Church. The women fellowship contribute to various causes like the Synod mission Board, the extension programmes of the Aizawl Theological College, the Presbyterian Hospital, the Synod Rescue Home, Women Centre etc.,.
Besides these the local Church Women’s fellowship unit engage in different works in their respective localities like helping the poor, orphans, the sick and the bereaved families, visiting the jails and the hospitals and the rescue and rehabilitation homes.
They also participated and contributed for the need of their local Church building and programmes.
Fellowship meeting and conferences
In almost all the local Churches Women’s fellowship meet every Tuesday evenings and the District level conference meet once a year and the General conference is held every year.
~ We observe the world day of prayer on the first Friday of March every year since 1984.
~ We contribute to the fellowship of the least coin, another ecumenical programme.
~ We also worked side by side with the Synod Committee on ecumenical decade of Churches in solidarity with women during the period of 1998-1999 ( WCC programme)
~ We are also actively involved in the North East India Christian Women’s Assembly, Presbyterian Women Fellowship of India and All India Council of Christian Women of the National Council of Churches in India.
The gospel has brought a significant change in the Mizo society as a whole and to the Mizo women in particular. The women play a dynamic role and they are instrumental from the beginning of the existence of the Church in Mizoram to spread the gospel and to build up the Church.
We are thankful to God and to the Church leaders for all the support, encouragement and guidance given to women.