GURDASPUR CHURCH COUNCIL (GDCC)

GURDASPUR CHURCH COUNCIL
In 1855 the United Presbyterian Mission of the USA opened work in Lahore (Punjab) under Rev. Andrew Gordon. After two years later he established in Sialkot; where he was joined by other missionaries. They opened schools and orphanages for the benefit of the Christian community. In 1859 the Sialkot Church Council was formed. The churches grew and other Presbyteries were established.
In 1893 the Synod of Punjab was also formed as one of the Synod of United Presbyterian Church in USA. The Sialkot convention printed Hymnbooks with Psalms in Punjabi and Urdu. The United Presbyterian Church founded the seminary of Gujiranwala, which became united seminary in 1954.
Before partition in the year 1947 Gurdaspur Church Council was known by the name of Sialkot Church Council. But after the partition the Sialkot city went in Pakistan. Hence the evangelical work and the administration work of this council was disturbed very badly as the relation between these two countries i.e. India and Pakistan were not good. In 1948 the name of Sailkot Church Council was changed as Gurdaspur Church Council and in the same way the Sialkot Christian convention renamed as Dariwal Christian Convention. The Gurdaspur church council work was spread in and around near the border area of India and Pakistan and also on the banks of Ravi river. The Christian population in this area is very thick in the villages. It is observed that 60% population is Christian in this area.

The Churches under it are: 
Gurdaspur UCNI Church,
Aujla UCNI Church
Keshavpur UCNI Church
Ghurala UCNI Church
Sadhuchack UCNI Church.
Bamala UCNI Church
Tibri UCNI Church
Chamba UCNI Church
Moderator: Rev. Major Masih
Secretary: Mr. Iqbal Masih

The followings is the excerpt from the Book “The United Church of Northern India Survey 1968” published by GA of UCNI in Nagpur.

In 1967 the following Churches and the areas were under this council: Agwanta, Pathankot, Chamba, Rania, Dhariwal, Sheika, Gurdaspur, Zafferwal, Jammu.

Partner Churches: United Presbyterian Church in U. S. A. and Church of Scotland.

History: Mission work was stared in the year 1855 in Sialkot by both the Established Church of Scotland and the America United Presbyterians. During the ensuing years the Americans extended their work South-eastward as far as Batala while the Scots opened a mission station in Chamba in 1863 and in Jammu in 1892. During the first 20 years converts were few in numbers and were drawn largely from high caste Hindus and Muslims, but in 1870 a mass movement among the Church group began. One of the Church converts, a man called Ditt, “told his fellow Churches of Christ and before long groups here and there began to follow his lead. In the eleventh years after DItt’s conversion more than five hundred Churches were received in the Church. By 1900 more than half of these lowly people in Sialkot District had been converted, and by 1915 all but a few hundred members of the Christians in Gurdaspur Church Council and throughout much of the Punjab are descendants of those who became Christians during this mass movement.

After the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 the Church of Scotland decided to integrate the congregations of Jammu and Chamba with the Punjab Synod of UCNI. Those 13 congregations of the American United Presbyterians, which remained in India, continued as a part of the Sialkot Presbytery until 1956 in which year they also were integrated with the UCNI Punjab Synod, and the present Gurdaspur Church Council was formed.

Integration: The evangelistic work of both the Church of Scotland and the U.P.U.S.A. is fully integrated with the UCNI at Church Council level. The institutional work of both churches is integrated at Synod level.

There is however, virtually no integration between the two denominational traditions. They feel themselves to be two separate groups and no beginning has has been made towards financial integration. Separate budgets and requests are made to the two overseas churches and the money received is kept rigidly apart. The clergy of one one tradition rely on their congregations for their support while the clergy of the other tradition receive their salaries from abroad.


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