Sumi Baptist Church Zunheboto, largest Baptist church in Asia dedicated
K. Filip Sumi
Deemed to be the largest Baptist Church in Asia, the Sumi Baptist Church Zunheboto (SBCZ) standing at a height of 1864.9m above sea level located at 26.01 ºN and 94.50ºE with a seating capacity of 8500 persons was dedicated on Saturday by the General Secretary of Council of Baptist Churches in North East India (CBCNEI), Rev. Dr. Solomon Rongpi.
The total height of the building stands at 166’ft equivalent to 9-storied building and a total length of 203’ft and breadth of 153ft’. The building has a total plinth area of 23, 73, 476’ sq.ft with 27 rooms including the main hall. The building also houses a prayer room, conference hall, two lifts, sick and children room, library, cafeteria and dressing rooms for bride and groom.
Presenting a gist of the building construction, Chairman NCBC, Kiyelho H. Yeptho said the electricity is backed by 500 KV digital generator which is reportedly the first in northeast. He said that the Herman (USA-JBL) sound system and stage lighting supplied from USA which was installed by Lodhuram Toshniwal & Sons, Kolkata and Crescendo Dimapur was one of the finest in the northeast. The building is also equipped with fire-fighting equipments. The Church bell weighing 500 kilos was made in Poland.
The building was designed by Honoholi of M/S AKITEKTURA, Dimapur and engineered by M/S MAP PROJECT Services Pvt Ltd Kolkata.
Presenting financial report of the building, NCBC Finance Secretary, Vihoshe Muru said Rs 32 crore approximately has been spent so far and the final construction cost would reach Rs 36 crore.
Mao Flower Growers’ Association, Mao Gate donated 12, 823 pieces of fresh cut flowers for decorations during the dedication programme.
Delivering the dedication sermon, Rev. Dr. Rongpi said the SBCZ could be the biggest Baptist Church in Asia since the biggest Church though not a Baptist was the Yoido Full Gospel Church in South Korea with a seating capacity of 25, 000 people.
Talking about the current situation in the country, he pointed out that various extremist activities were taking place under the present central rule. He expressed shock and confusion at the government’s initiative to take control of all 100 MBBS seats at CMC Vellore which he said was against the constitutional provisions for minority religions to run institutions in their own convenient ways. “The government wants to take away all 100 seats for which the court hearing is already held and order will be out on Monday,” he added.
Rev. Dr. Rongpi also spoke about the New Education Policy which makes yoga and Sanskrit compulsory in educational institutions. He said many people have been killed due to vigilantism and moral policing of anti-Romeo, protection of cow etc.
“However, at all times and no matter what happens, when inside the Church, we have so many reasons to give thanks to the Lord,” he said by drawing reference from the Bible, Psalms 100.
Earlier, he inaugurated the Church building and also administered the Act of Dedication to the congregation.
The Sunday School Department SCBZ presented the inaugural spotlight while the Church Choir and other groups presented special numbers.
The dedication programme was attended by prominent leaders including NBCC General Secretary, Zelho Keyho, CBCNEI Finance Secretary, Vikato, Principal TTC, Rev. Dr. Kavito Zhimo, former Chief Minister, K.L. Chishi and others.
The church construction commenced on May 7, 2007 and completed on March 31, 2017 cost Rs 36 crore for its construction.