OUR HISTORY

The Vaiphei are one of the sub-tribes of Mizo who have settled in what is now Manipur during the 1600s. They inhabit the southern part of Manipur but are also scattered across different parts of Manipur and the nearby states of Assam, Mizoram and Tripura. As of 2011 the total population of the Vaiphei people barely exceeded 45,000. The Vaiphei people have accepted the Gospel through the ministry of Welsh missioneries who arrived from Mizoram in 1910. Since Christianization, they have divided into different denominations due to geographical, ecclesiastical and theological reasons.

The unfortunate event of ethnic conflict in 1997 between various hill tribes of Manipur hit the Vaiphei people very hard. More than 30 Vaiphei villages and settlements were burnt to the ground, and as many as 78 people were killed. Many church buildings were burned or destroyed. Many families fled to neghbouring states. Christians experienced great crisis as they were removed from their livelihood. With most of their members scattered and the rest subject to poverty, the regional denominations were cut off from financial resource. Pastors and missioneries served without recieving salaries for months at end. When the ethnic conflicts subsided and peace was restored, churches struggled unsuccessfully to return to any semblance of self-reliance.

Recognising that restoration of the Vaiphei people must begin with the unification of all the Vaiphei churches and merger of the same with a mainline denomination, the erstwhile Vaiphei National Organisation (now Vaiphei People's Council) which is the apex body of the Vaiphei people, took the initiative and hosted several talks between representatives of the Vaiphei churches. Such union was finally agreed upon and the Mizoram Presbyterian Church Synod was to be approached to lead the newly unified churches under its fold.

Appeal was made to the Mizoram Presbyterian Church Synod to gather the newly unified Vaiphei churches under its administration. Talks began from 2000 with the Synod Executive Committee (SEC) which in turn forwarded the matter to the Synod. The Synod welcomed the Vaiphei churches to the Presbyterian family. After due study the Synod Conference in 2001 unanimously favoured the immediate adoption of the Vaiphei churches.

Induction service was held at the Manipur Synod campus in Churachandpur on the 16th December 2002. Five denominations were represented at the time of induction. They were: the Evangelical Church of Manipur (ECM), Full Gospel Church (FG), Independent Church of Manipur (ICM), Evangelical Partnership Church of Christ (EPCC), Revival Church of God (RCG) and Evangelical Organisation Church (EOC).

The newly formed conglomerate of Vaiphei churches became a Pastoral Area under the Mizoral Presbyterian Church Synod and was designated "Manipur Area". The Mizoram Synod appointed an Administrative Secretary and Co-Ordinator to oversee the overall adminstration and to monitor growth. The following year, Manipur Area was given the status of a regular "Presbytery" and was representated at various levels of decision-making bodies in the Presbyterian set up. In February 2012 Manipur Presbytery was further divided into four Presbyteries, each with no less than 4 pastorates: 

  1. Tanggam Presbytery (6 pastorates)
  2. Lamka South Presbytery (4 pastorates)
  3. Lamka North Presbytery (6 pastorates) 
  4. Phaipi Presbytery (8 pastorates including 3 pastorates located in Myanmar)

In due course, the Manipur Area grew rapidly in terms of membership, finance and administration. Since 2015 the groundwork has been laid to form a separate constituent Synod in the Presbyterian Church of India (PCI) family. The Mizoram Synod recommended the matter to the PCI Assembly in 2018. Accordingly, the Assembly sent a study team led by the Moderator to Manipur Area. Discusiions were held with Pastors, Ministers and Elders representing each of the four presbyteries. The proposed name for the Synod, "Tang-Phai Presbyterian Church Synod" has been accepted. Preparations have been underway and it is likely that a statutory Provisional Synod status will be granted by the next PCI Assembly in 2020.

Due to good administration and a record of impeccable financial stewardship since inception the Manipur Area has become fully self-supporting in 2017, and since then has stopped recieving all financial assistance from Mizoram Synod. During this time the Presbyterian system and mindset has also taken deep roots and became the norm. Pastoral ministry and spiritual nurture has centered around corporate worship with emphasis on unity, evangelism, giving, and revival.