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Nepal's new Christian leaders vow to protect community

Nepal Christian Society has defended the rights of Christians in the Hindu-majority nation since 1996

Pastor Om Prakash Subba, the new chairman of Nepal Christian Society, has vowed to protect and uphold the rights of the community

Pastor Om Prakash Subba, the new chairman of Nepal Christian Society, has vowed to protect and uphold the rights of the community. (Photo: Nepal Christian Society) 

Published: June 10, 2022 07:21 AM GMT

Updated: June 10, 2022 07:42 AM GMT

A major ecumenical Christian forum in Nepal has elected new leaders who have pledged to protect and ensure the rights of the community from the grassroots to the center in the Himalayan Hindu-majority nation.

Nepal Christian Society (NCS) elected its 51-member central working committee for a three-year mandate during the forum’s 19th general assembly in capital Kathmandu last week.

Pastor Om Prakash Subba was elected chairman, while Barnabas Shrestha and L.B. Chaudhary became co-chairmen. Dilli Ram Paudel was re-elected as general secretary. The forum has elected seven vice-presidents representing seven provinces of Nepal, reported Turahi News.

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Following his election on June 1, Pastor Subba said he is committed to strengthen the NCS from district level to the center to ensure the rights of churches and the Christian community in Nepal.

He said he will ensure effective collaboration between the NCS and major Christian forums like the National Christian Federation of Nepal and Nepal Christian Foundation to empower hundreds of its member churches.

“Collaboration and cooperation will help us implement our projects to empower the community,” he said, adding that the NCS will be on the forefront to respond to the needs of the community in every situation.

Animosity against Christians has intensified since 2018 after Nepal amended its century-old Penal Code to ban proselytization and conversion to other faiths from Hinduism

Pastor Subba, a father of three, is the second senior pastor of Protestant Quinonia Patan Church in Patan (Lalitpur) of Nepal. He hails from Lumbini province in western Nepal, famed as the birthplace of Gautama Buddha.

He obtained a bachelor of arts and bachelor of education from Tribhuvan University of Nepal and a master of divinity in Bible theology from the International Graduate School of Leadership in the Philippines.

The NCS was set up in 1996 and is registered with Nepal's government as a social welfare organization. It is affiliated to the Asian Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.

The organization is an umbrella group comprised of more than 53 denominations and church groups with an estimated 10,000 affiliated churches, para-churches, theological institutions and Christian development, social and missionary organizations, according to data from its website.

A former Hindu kingdom, Nepal amended its constitution in 2015 to declare the nation a secular democracy. About 81 percent of Nepalese are Hindu, 9 percent Buddhist, 4.4 percent Muslim and 1.4 percent Christian, according to the census of 2011.

Church sources say Nepal has about 10,000 Catholics. The NCS estimates there are about 1.5 million Christians in Nepal today.

The World Database of Christians records the Christian community in Nepal as one of the fastest growing in the world.

In recent times, Christians have faced persecution and hostility from both state and non-state actors. Animosity against Christians has intensified since 2018 after Nepal amended its century-old Penal Code to ban proselytization and conversion to other faiths from Hinduism.

At least 13 Christians including two elderly Korean Catholic nuns have been facing court cases on charges of conversion in Nepal, church sources say.

US-based Christian group Open Doors ranks Nepal 48th among 50 countries in the world where Christians face severe forms of persecution.

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