Christianity in Burma (Myanmar) Prepared by: Rebecca Hsi Introduction of the land and the people • • • • • • • • • the largest country in the Southeast Asia the population is 55 millions Known as Burma until 1989 East - Thailand Northeast – China Northwest – India East and West – Laos and Bangladesh Yangon – the capital city Nay Pyi Daw – the capital city nowadays • Famous as The land of Pagodas • Buddhism is practiced by almost 90% - Theravada Buddhism • 135 ethnic groups • 8 major groups • Myanmar language is Burmese • Christians are from the majority and minority ethnic groups such as Karen, Lisu, Kachin, Chin, Shan and Chinese • 0.1 % of the Bamar population is Christian Kachin Kayah Kayin Chin Mon Bamar Rakhine Shan The percentage of Religions II. History of Christianity • A. Beginning and growth of Christianity ( 1812-1862) • In 1554 - the first Catholic priests came to serve as chaplains • After 3 years – they left the country • No record during this period The first missionary • A. Beginning and growth of Christianity ( 18131862) • Adoniram Judson from United States • Born – August 9, 1788 • Died – April 12, 1850 ( aged 61) • Nationality – U.S. A. Adoniram Judson • A baptist missionary from United States • Forty years in Burma • 25 years old, he was the first Protestant missionary sent from North America • The first significant missionary from America to travel in Burma • Pali-Burmese Dictionary of 4000 words (Burmese English Dictionary) • Started to preach the gospel a small roadside zayat (rest houses) • In 1816 – translated New Testament in Burmese • In 1835 – completed Old Testament translation • Translated Bible from Hebrew to Burmese. • Wrote many Burmese books • “Burmese to English Dictionary” • In July “Judson day” : Judson memorial service for Baptists Judson’s memorial church U Naw – first Burman Convert • 35 year old timber worker from Mon ethnic group • In 1819 – Baptized by Judson • “U Naw day” U Naw Baptist Church B. Consolidation of the church in lower Burma and Outreach to Minority Groups ( 1852- 1886) • In 1852 – Baptist Mission work in Burma was forty years old • Three Anglo-Burmese wars • Evangelism work – great use • The next Protestant group – Lutherans, Methodist, Salvation Army, Seventh Day Adventist, Assemblies of God, Church of Christ and Presbyterians – early 20th cen • Anglican Church – In 1825 • The first Catholic contacts in 16th cen • Focus on Burmese, but 90 % of the Catholicism – Karen, Kachin, and Chin • Well-known for their charities, social services and education in Burma • Maintained leprosy, orphanages, homes for the aged and infirm. C Joint activities of Christians from 1866 to the present • Higher Education: the languages of the minorities into written form and prepared spelling books, textbook and dictionaries in 1909 – junior college was started in 1920 – it is also called Judson College Theological Education • MIT (Myanmar Institute of Theology) is affiliated with the Association for theological education in South East Asia • Was found in June 1927 • The first president – Dr.W.E. Wiatt, an American missionary – 1927 to 1939 • Under MBC • Offering courses like B.Th, B.R.E, B.D., B.Min, D.Min, M.th, MACS, M.Div., MTS, Bars Healing Ministry • Medical service occupied the vital part of the Christian mission • Dr. Jonathan Price and Dr. J. Dawsonmedical missionaries • In 1890s medical program were started some place • Christian communities of Anglicans, Baptist, and Methodist a Christian hospital was started • In the Sgaw Karen area Sir San C. Poss Memorial Hospital was maintained Ecumenical co-operation Myanmar Council of Churches • Was formed in 1914 under the National Christian Council of India • Main purpose is for unity of the Churches in Myanmar through: mutual fellowship and mutual understanding; mutual acceptance and recognition in faith and practices of different churches; coordination and cooperation in common concerns of the churches; and persistent endeavor towards organic unity of the churches 14 member churches Co-operating National • • • • • • • • • • • • • MBC Church of the Province Methodist church Mara Evangelical church Presbyterian church Independence Presbyterian church Lutheran Bethlehem church St. Gabriel’s Congregational Union Church Salvation Army Self-Supporting Kayin Baptist Mission Society Lisu Christian Church Evangelical free church Independent Church Home Mission Ecumenical Bodies • • • • • • • • • • • Nation Council of YMCAs National YWCA Bible Society Christian Literature Society Association for Theological Education in Myanmar Myanmar Christian Health Worker’s Service Association Myanmar Christian Leprosy Mission Myanmar Youth for Christ National Ecumenical Church Loan Fund The Gideons International Myanmar The Myanmar Christian Women Temperance Union The strongest denominations • • • • Baptist Assemblies of God Methodists Anglicans I.Myanmar Baptist Convention • Was found in 1865 the Burma Baptist Missionary Convention – the evangelistic work in Burma • Were affiliated by all the regional and linguistic groups • The largest Protestant denomination • An association of Baptist organization The main purposes of MBC • a) to preach and propagate the good news of Jesus Christ in Myanmar and throughout the whole world • b) to abide in Baptist faith and practice • c) to educate its members for Christian maturity and discipleship • d) to be united with other Christians in Christ for mission and service • e) to be good citizens of the country • 20 racial associations • In 2007 – 1142655 members • Worship service in own language, Burmese and English • 37 Theological seminaries and Bible colleges II. Assemblies of God the third largest denomination Established in 1931 Mission began among Lisu and Rawang Began through the extension ministry of the missionaries at Southwest China • The first missionary – Ada Buchwater • • • • III. Methodist • Two groups • Lower Myanmar Methodist (Episcopal Methodist Church) – James Thoburn in 1879 • Upper Myanmar Methodist (Wesleyan Methodist Church) – G. H. Bateson in 1887 IV. Roman Catholicism • Under the spiritual leadership of the Pope and curia in Rome • 450,000 Catholics Conclusion • Preaching, house visits, establishment of schools for children, hospitals and dispensaries for the sick, agricultural evangelism among the rural poor, especially among the frontier tribes, proved to be and useful instrument The End! • Thank you so much!