Mara Evangelical Church
Mara Evangelical Church or MEC in short is one of the Churches in Myanmar, formerly Burma founded by English missionaries Rev. & Mrs. Reginald Arthur Lorrain in the year 1907. It is one of the oldest Churches in Chin State, Myanmar. It was part of the unified Mara Church among the Mara people until it had to become an independent Church after India and Myanmar attained Independence from the British Raj in 1947. The Mara Church in India is being inherited by Evangelical Church of Maraland and Congregational Church of India, Maraland (CCI-M), while the one in Myanmar became MEC.
Mara Evangelical Church (MEC) has its headquarters at Lialaipi (Lailenpi) and Sabyhpi (Sabawngpi) in Chin State, Myanmar. It has its mission headquarters at Sittwe, earlier known as Akyab, Rakhine State. It also has an office in Yangon, the largest and former capital city of Myanmar.
English missionaries Rev. & Mrs. Reginald Arthur Lorrain founded 'Lakher Pioneer Mission' in London in the year 1905 to do mission among Mara people in undivided India, which included modern day Myanmar. Finally, the missionaries arrived at Saikao, a village in Southern Mizoram on September 26, 1907 and started spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ among Mara people who inhabit today's Saiha District of Mizoram, India and Southwestern part of Chin state in Myanmar. The church grew rapidly. In 1960 the church became fully self-supporting. In Chin state, Mara people inhabited area falls under three townships - Thantlang, Matupi and Paletwa. When India and Myanmar, formerly Burma attained independence, Mara inhabited areas were divided among the two nations. The Church founded by the missionaries too had to go independently. Thus, Mara Evangelical Church (MEC) was born in Myanmar, while Evangelical Church of Maraland and its sister Church Congregational Church of India, Maraland (CCI-M) were born in India. The Maras embrace Christianity today, (70% of the Mara Christians are members of the Mara Evangelical Church.
Mara Evangelical Church (MEC) is a member of
- A member of Myanmar Council of Churches (MCC) since 1985.
- A member of Christian Conference of Asia since 1989.
- A member of World Communion of Reformed Churches since 1993.
- An associate member of World Council of Churches since 2001.
- A member of Lutheran World Federation since 2010
As of 2004 the church has more than 17,200 members and almosst 100 congregations in Myanmar in 2004.
According to the recent statistics the church has 21,573 members and 87 congregations and 9 preaching points with 27 pastorates. The denomination has a Theological Seminary and Private Mission Middle School and Center of Maraland Education.
Theologians Holding Doctorate degrees
- Rev. Dr. L. B. Siama, D.Min (Union Theological Seminary, Philippine Christian University)2006
- Rev. Dr. Hc. Bizo, D.Min (Myanmar Institute of Theology, Myanmar)2007
- Dr. Sopai, Ph.D (University of Jerusalem, India), 2012.
- Rev. Dr. Vako, D.Min (Wesley Theological Seminary, USA), 2012.
- Beita, BeiRokhu. "Mara Church History". Maraland.net. Retrieved 9 March 2012.
- Vako, Rev. "Mara Church History". MEC History. Freewebs. Retrieved 9 March 2012.
- Official website of Myanmar Council of Churches (MCC) www.mcc-mm.org
- University of Jerusalem, India official website www.ujglobal.org
- Church website