News Release

The Church in Kolkata Celebrates Its Legacy

Music, dance and memories bring friends and members together.

 

On the eve of commemorating the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Kolkata Branch of The Indian Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a cultural event was organized on October 19, 2019. Church leaders shared wonderful and inspiring messages alongside musical, dance and literary performances by the members of the Kolkata Branch. The event also included two hymn performances by the choir and the primary.

Bradley R. Hansen, the current President of the New Delhi Mission, said about the event, “Tonight was a wonderful celebration, with a nice blend of the Christian beliefs overlaid with the Bengali culture of literature, music and dance.”

He further added, “It was a great illustration of how a culture as well as values of Christ can be brought together in a beautiful way.”

There was a large turnout of family members, relatives and friends of Church members. People from other faiths and various charitable organizations were also present.

Sujal K. Saha, the leader of the congregation in Kolkata, commenced the program by welcoming the guests. The guests of honor were then felicitated by the Church leaders. Attendees also had the opportunity to become acquainted with the history of the Church in Kolkata through a video presentation.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was first introduced in Kolkata through a sailmaker named Joseph Richards who was sent as a missionary to East India in June 1851. Within a short period of time, many locals were baptized, and a branch was established. Later in 1852, a small chapel on Jaun Bazar Street was built. This was the first building of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in all of Asia. Early missions, however, had little success and the branch was disbanded in 1869.

Post-independence, in 1993, a mission was created in Bengaluru, and missionaries were sent to Kolkata in the same year. On February 13, 1994, a branch was reestablished in Kolkata. The members currently meet at the Salt Lake City area in Kolkata, and this is the only congregation of the Church in eastern and north-eastern India.

Clair B. Anderson, a businessman and member from Utah who has been traveling to the city for many years, came to Kolkata to witness the Branch’s silver anniversary, said, “I’m surprised and happy to see so many people here, and the program was wonderful.” Mr. Anderson has been associated with the branch since its creation and knows the early members very well.

On October 20, 2019, the following Sunday, David F. Evans, leader of all congregations of the Church in Central and Southeast Asia,  presided over the Church meetings. He and his wife, Mary, enlightened everyone with wonderful messages. President Evans' invitation to the members was to increase their knowledge of Christ's mortal ministry and follow His Gospel intently.

In the evening, an open house was held where attendees from the community were invited. Members gave tours of the chapel and visitors had the opportunity to learn more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the history and organization of the Church.

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