Letter from Bangladesh
Warmest greetings from the Church of Bangladesh!
Mother Susila (seated) with the CSS Sisters
As a Church, we are indeed grateful to God for all His blessings that we have received in the year 2006, and also for His abundant blessings which we have been receiving this year. We have had a very good beginning this year, with four Deaneries Barosavas, i.e. the Revival Meetings, held in January and February in Naogaon with Santalies, Dhorati with Garos, Suagram (Dhaka Diocese) and Ratanpur (Kushtia Diocese), with Bengalis.
I attended two of them, and felt the presence of the Holy Spirit among us in everything we have done together: the social and the spiritual aspects. Bishop Paul Sarkar had a similar experience, especially in two other meetings. These meetings really give us the opportunity to share the good news and reach out to our Hindu and Muslim neighbours. Other churches also join with us in these great events.
Mother Susila was brought in to Dhaka twice for treatment in the Birdem Hospital. She is now back in Jobarpar. She is in her 83rd year, and we are grateful to God for her life. We need to remember her in our prayers, so that she may have peace of mind to respond to the will of God. We are grateful to the Sisters of the Christa Sevika Sangha who do everything possible to take care of her.
This year we have planned to hold the Partners Consultation in October. The Synod will take place in November. The Clergy and their Wives Conference and Retreat will be held in the latter part of July, when we shall ordain one person into the priesthood, and a few others to the office of deacon. So 2007 will be a big and very busy year. Please pray for us.
You may have heard that in Bangladesh we now have a new Caretaker Government, and are on state of emergency. The Government Anticorruption Department has been reorganised and is now very active, arresting a lot of big, big criminals who illegally looted poor peoples money and are now on trial for severe punishment. We, the common people, are very happy about this. We are also happy that six top terrorists, who were arrested from the extremist groups, have been punished as they deserved.
This is a great relief for the nation. We hope the remaining followers will have learnt the lesson and will change the course of their lives in future. The newly-formed Election Commission will take time to prepare the new Electoral Rolls, and therefore we might have to wait for quite some time for an election.
We shall celebrate Palm Sunday tomorrow, and the rest of the week will be observed in a very solemn and special way throughout the Church. On Good Friday we shall have a three hours long service, starting from 12 noon, in each and every parish, to meditate on the Seven Words of Our Lord Jesus Christ from the cross.
This year, like every year, we have sent out an appeal, which we call The Lent Appeal from Dhaka, to raise money to help Poor Sick patients who need the Churchs support for treatment. We hope the response will be encouraging.
Then comes Easter. Easter means a lot to us because it brings HOPE and JOY into our lives. In many parishes a Fellowship Feast will be organised for and by the members themselves. Please continue to remember us and our country in your prayers.
God bless you all.
THE RT. REVD. MICHAEL BAROI
Bishop of Dhaka and Moderator of the Church of Bangladesh