Our Mission Partner
Partnership with the Diocese of Cuttack
The churches of the Plymouth & Exeter District and the Diocese of Cuttack unite in the Spirit and, through prayer and preaching, remember and encourage their partnership. We are determined that money should not be the basis of the partnership.
The Church of North India (CNI) is a united church established in 1970 by bringing together the main Protestant churches working in northern India. 2020 saw their Golden Jubilee year but the celebrations have been postponed or cancelled because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Diocese of Cuttack is situated in Orissa, one of India’s seven poorest states. Approximately 2% of the population of Orissa (estimated at 45m) are Christian. 94% are Hindu. Among Christians the area retains a heavy Baptist influence from the work of the Baptist Missionary Society. The Rt. Revd. Surendra Kumar Nanda is the Bishop of Cuttack.
The Diocese is divided into 4 Pastorate Unions with an estimated 12,500 communicant members.
The Diocese works with partners to support a number of educational establishments, including 5 Stewart Schools, a Skills Centre at Mohana, and teacher training college, as well as a Christian Hospital at Berhampur.
The area includes the large urban populations of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, the coastal tourist resort of Puri with its historic Hindu temple, as well as numerous fishing communities.
Inland, the area is predominantly rural, mountainous and remote. Between 80-90% of the population in this area is made up of scheduled castes (Dalit) and scheduled tribes (Adivasi). ‘Dalit’ is the name the people have given to themselves - it means ‘broken’ or ‘crushed’.
In 1999 and 2019 the area was badly it by cyclones. More recently the area has been badly hit by the Coronavirus Pandemic
As partners, we have agreed that the Sunday before Lent will, each year, be an occasion when we will pray for each other in unity in Christ.
1. Please pray the Diocesan Board of Social Service as they seek to feed the poor and minister to those in need during the pandemic.
2. Pray for the presbyters and evangelists of the Diocese and for Bishop Nanda as he leads them in mission and ministry.
3. Pray the court cases that are being brought against the Diocese as others seek
to acquire their property. May justice be done.
The Plymouth & Exeter District has established a ‘Cuttack Fund’ to support the development of our Partnership. The Fund seeks to make it possible for some from Cuttack to visit the District, also to give small grants to those from our District who could not otherwise make a visit to Cuttack.
Contributions to the Fund are welcome and should be sent to the District Treasurer in the usual way.
The Christian Hospital Berhampur
The Hospital began as a clinic for women and children established by an American missionary - Dr. Nina Ottmann in 1900. Land was donated and, in 1907, the “Christian Hospital for Women and Children, Berhampur” started with four beds.
The Hospital is now led by the Director, Dr. M. K. Nanda. He has given over twenty years of service and sacrificed many lucrative opportunities to further his career, believing that God has called him for the benefit of the people of the area. He is hugely respected within ecclesiastical and medical settings. He often goes from meetings with the Hospital Management Team to perform surgery or advise on a patient’s progress at the bedside.
Alongside the Hospital, the training of young Indian girls as nurses also began in 1907. In 1924 the Out-Patients Block was opened and until 1967, there was a steady improvement in the services of the Hospital. It was in 1967 that financial and other support - mainly from overseas - came to an end and since then it has been a struggle to maintain the Hospital with inadequate local resources.
Although there are Government health units and other private institutions in Ganjam, many of the people depend upon the Christian Hospital, Berhampur for better and compassionate care at an affordable cost, sometimes travelling large distances on foot to get the help they need. Healthcare in India is costly and whilst the Hospital has a table of fees, it does not turn anyone away because they cannot afford to pay. They ask everyone to pay what they can afford.
The Governments of India and Odisha have brought in new rules to be followed by all hospitals. Hospitals with old buildings are struggling to meet the new regulations. The Christian Hospital is unable to comply with the new requirements and so the ‘license to function’ has not been renewed since it expired in 2017.
The survival of the Hospital is at stake. The solution is to meet the new regulations by rebuilding the old, core buildings of the Hospital so that they conform to all legal requirements. Plans are in place for new hospital buildings which will house all in-patient facilities and increase the bed strength from the present 120 beds to 170, with more specialised services. The old building (built in 1907) has been demolished and new buildings are being constructed. The Hospital needs funds to do this work. The District and MWIB have sent several thousand pounds.
District News - District Partnership with the Diocese Of Cuttack, Church Of North India, and update on our financial support for the Christian Hospital at Berhampur
Before he left the District to take up his role as President of the Methodist Conference, Reverend Graham asked me to pass on a huge, heartfelt ‘thank you’ to everyone across the District who has raised donations for the Christian Hospital at Berhampur – either as individuals, as churches and Circuits, or as members of District MWiB.
Berhampur is located in the Ganjam District, southern Odisha, a predominantly rural area where the population is made up of largely Tribal and Dalit people. They suffer considerable challenges in terms of deprivation and poverty, poor nutrition, disease – such as malaria and tuberculosis, and infant and maternal mortality. The Christian Hospital offers a high standard of compassionate care at affordable costs, under the Directorship of Dr M K Nanda. A vital aspect of the Hospital’s work is the integral Nurses’ Training College, through which women are not only equipped with much sought-after professional skills, but are also empowered to generate sustainable change in their homes and communities.
New government regulations meant that the hospital – which is over 100 years old – was unable to meet the requirements without a rebuild of the core structures. In 2019, Dr Nanda oversaw the drawing up of plans for new buildings and renovations to some of the existing blocks which will give space for 170 beds, additional and enhanced services, and accommodation for the increased number of staff required. The work is now in its final stages and it is hoped to complete in one month.
Following a commitment of support made at our District Synod in September 2021 we have been able to send donations totalling just over £19000 towards the work. District Methodist Women in Britain, who are also supporting the hospital as their chosen charity, have contributed to this figure, and currently have a further £2788.96 ready to send.
Thank you very much for such a wonderful response to this work. It is important that we continue to raise funds as we are able, as the hospital will be carrying significant debts and will need our ongoing support to reach a sustainable position.
Our partnership with the Diocese of Cuttack is thriving, and this month has seen a visit from the Bishop of the Diocese, Rev N K Nanda, and his wife Jyoti, to the UK to attend the Lambeth Conference. Following the Conference, the Bishop and his wife were able to meet with Rev Graham and Alison Thompson in London, and then spent 4 days in the District, where he met with members of previous District visits, and was hosted by Rev Alison Richardson in Crediton.
We do hope that the next months might see us able to arrange a short visit by some friends from the Diocese, and that we shall soon be able to plan a return District trip to Orissa.
In the meantime, thank you once again for your financial support of the vital work of the Hospital. Please do continue to send your donations into the District Treasurer, gift aided if possible; or by direct bank transfer to CAF Bank, Plymouth & Exeter Methodist District, Sort Code: 40 52 40, Account Number: 00019090
Please reference the gift as 'Christian Hospital’ and ask for a Gift Aid Form from Rebecca Campion (email@example.com).
You can also support through District MWiB, and your local Church MWiB representative will let you know how you can do this.
You will be helping to improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable people, and demonstrating supportive partnership in the wonderful work already being done
Rev Deborah Kirk, on behalf of the District World Church Committee