We’re 141 years old, today! There are various dates that could be picked to reference when Canadian Baptist global mission began. But the closest we come to having an official birth date is March 12, 1874. The first Canadian Baptist missionaries went to India, to Andhra Pradesh, and March 12th is the date celebrated there by the churches that resulted from these Canadian Baptist pioneer mission efforts (they’re called the Convention of Baptist Churches of the Northern Circars, or CBCNC). They call it “CBM Founders Day” and it’s a pretty big deal, with special events and Services. They value their past and they are grateful for those who gave of themselves to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to them. (BTW, it does seem that other cultures are so much better than is Canadian culture at marking the milestones of the past and honouring with gratitude those who made it possible for us to live as we do today.) Here’s what one of the Indian Baptist pastors posted on his Facebook page:
Paying tribute to the founders on this special day, THE FOUNDER’S DAY 141 years ago, on this day (12th March, 1874) the Baptist Missionaries from Canada has come to this Telugu land had established the CBM and later called as CBCNC, with the help of the native workers like Thalluri Thomas Gabriel the pioneers Graig, Timpany, John McLaurin and later many others both men and women joined them. Through their vision and broad mission agenda has established Churches, Schools, Boarding homes, Hospitals, Training centers, Theological Seminary. Empowered the Dalit communities given them the self esteem in the society. CBCNC has 3 Associations, Field Councils, and Churches with believers.
Certainly one of the gifts of the Gospel was the empowering of Dalit people, who within the Hindu caste system were downtrodden and oppressed but who, in the Gospel, found freedom and equality. Women also were empowered.
So, yes, Happy Birthday CBM! But even more, let us celebrate the transformation brought about by the Gospel, and those who made it possible.