Celebrating 70 years of Amritsar Diocese

The past two days Provost Rev. Dr. Anke Spory (diocese of Oberhessen), Rev. Daniel Happel (secretary for development and partnership Asia, Ecumenical Center Frankfurt) and myself have been guests at the celebrations for the 70th anniversary of the diocese of Amritsar and 25 years of bishopric of my friend Bunu – Rt. Rev. Dr. Pradeep Kumar Samantaroy.

Yesterday evening a 70 minutes amazing sound and light show on the historic compound of Alexandra School Amritsar prepared by St. Thomas School Shimla presented the history of the diocese with all it’s up and downs. Covering areas of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir the show also presented the cultural variety of the region of the five rivers.

For nearly 40 years EKHN is in a close relationship with the diocese. It all started when the former Bishop Anand Chandu Lal and Rev. Gerhard Alt the former Secretary for mission and ecumenical relations of the district Oberhessen of EKHN met in Frankfurt in 1983. My personal journey began in 1995 when I first visited the diocese. In May 1999 I was part of the installing and consecration service of Bunu as Bishop of the diocese. Since than we developed a deep friendship.

Today for the Platinum Jubilee Service we brought as a symbolic gift a so called “Traveling Peace Candle”. These candles are traveling around in congregations of EKHN between September 1st (the beginning of the Second World War and Anti-War Day) and the Day of Prayer and Repentance. Artfully designed, they focus every year on a new current peace theme. They are lit in peace services, provide an opportunity for discussion at community events and bring people of different denominations together to pray for peace. Their journey takes them through over 100 parishes, schools and Christian institutions in the Rhine-Main region. One of them we now lightened in the todays Platinum Jubilee Service as a sign and commitment to work together for peace in our respected communities. This candle will go around in the congregations of the diocese of Amritsar this year from September 1st onwards.

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