When the Chief Apostle accepted an invitation to come to India for a visit, it brought much joy to the New Apostolic community. Earlier Chief Apostle visits had been arranged in places like Mumbai and Hyderabad, being central and southern cities of India. This time he is coming to Raipur.
Raipur, the Capital of Chhattisgarh
The state of Chhattisgarh was carved from the state of Madhya Pradesh in 2000 and is among the four recently formed states of the 29 states in India. Each state runs independently, almost like another country by itself. The languages spoken here are mainly Chhattisgarhi and Hindi. The state is rich in mineral wealth which attracts opportunists. On the other hand, these minerals are in thick forests where the tribals live off the forest and fiercely protect their natural habitat from invasions. Chhattisgarh is a state where the Christian community is very small and dominated by a Hindu culture. In short, it is a challenge to have Christian gatherings here.
Raipur used to be a quiet, peace loving town close to the bustling industrial steel city of Bhilai. After acquiring capital status, major changes began: Naya Raipur (New Raipur) was formed as the administrative headquarters and is seen today as a very well planned and modern city in the making. Due to our Chief Apostle’s visit, it has now become the center of attention for many New Apostolic Christians in India.
District Apostle Helper David Devaraj sat down to give us a little insight into how and why Raipur was chosen to be the venue for this event. “Northern India with its largely Hindi speaking populace is very expansive with only a smattering of Christians and very few New Apostolics amidst them. In August 2008 anti-Christian violence broke out in Odisha (state adjoining Chhattisgarh) where thousands of Christians, ministers and churches were put to fire. Thus, in spite of many Apostles and members who have stood for their faith, growth has been miniscule.
With this background and awareness, after much deliberation it was decided that this special celebration should be convened at Raipur. This would make attendance easy for the Hindi speaking members of our congregations in many parts of North India, as well as tribal members of surrounding areas. It is a sincere plea and prayer that the visit of the Chief Apostle would strengthen the trust of our members in the ever-valid gospel of Jesus Christ, to keep their fire burning.”
Shri Gujrati English Medium Higher Secondary School was found to be the only available venue that could accommodate a maximum of 1000 people and was hence chosen as the venue for the Divine Service. The school has an enrolment of a little over 1100 students and has amenities of a large hall and spacious grounds. It is located in the city itself and has a peaceful environment.
Gujarati School, Main Entrance to Hall
Gujarati School, Side Entrance
Directions to Gujarati School
Rang Mandir is situated close to the center of the city behind the “Raipur White House”. This cultural center with provisions to stage performances and shows was chosen for the cultural programme. The programme is scheduled to take place on 11th November at 4 pm onwards. The theme of the programme is in sync with the yearly motto “Glory be to God our Father” and seeks to glorify our Heavenly Father through the talent of our youth.
Raipur White House
Directions to Rang Mandir