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United Mission to Nepal celebrates 60 years

UMN Celebrates 60 Years

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11 March 2014

United Mission to Nepal celebrates its 60th Birthday

Almost 300 people gathered at the UMN Headquarters in Thapathali on Wednesday 5 March to commemorate the founding of UMN. Sixty years ago, a group of mission agencies met in Nagpur, India, and hammered out a truly unique agreement – an organisation that would be a coalition, working in unity across denominational lines.

Jonathan Lindell later wrote: "They saw it as an opening and opportunity which God was giving to his world church, a work into which the resources of the wide body of Christians could be contributed, so as to make the strongest possible contribution to Nepal." (Nepal and the Gospel of God, p 143)

And what a contribution it has been! 

  • Health care for the poor through hospitals, health clinics and community health programmes; 
  • Education for all, including women and girls, low caste children and children with disabilities, through schools, scholarships, teacher training, curriculum development, resourcing and non-formal education; 
  • Industrial development, powered by cutting-edge hydroelectricity projects, resourced through vocational training;
  • Rural development, through the empowerment of local communities, farmers' groups, co-operatives and training;
  • Income generation for disadvantaged people, funded by micro-finance schemes and supported by training;
  • Building peaceful, just and harmonious communities, inclusive of all, regardless of caste, religion, political affiliation, social status, gender or dis/ability;
  • Capacity building of local organisations, including churches and Christian organisations, to work appropriately in their own communities.

UMN remembered this important event in a varied programme that included songs, poems, dances, and of course, speeches. The appearance and kind words of the Honorable Minister for Energy, Ms Radha Kumari Gyawali, was a great encouragement for us all. Mr Madan Prasad Rimal, Director of the Social Welfare council, praised UMN's consistent commitment to integrity and high quality work. Ms Norma Kehrberg, Executive Director of UMN in 2000, reminded us of Jonathan Lindell's vision of UMN as being "on the Potter's wheel", being shaped and molded by God. And Dr Rajendra Rongong shared his memories of the very early days of UMN, and how mission and church grew side by side, independently strong yet mutually supportive. Current Executive Director, Mark Galpin, shared his vision for the future of UMN, as it continues to serve the people of Nepal in ways appropriate to the 21st century.

A banner bearing the image of a fruitful vine, growing over a wall (Genesis 49:22) was unfurled, an "Ebenezer stone" (Stone of Help) was unveiled, and 100 balloons, each representing a project, programme or secondment, were released in a colourful display against the bright blue spring sky.

And throughout, praise and honour were given to God, who has been faithful throughout these 60 years, and will continue to hear the prayers of His people into the future.

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This story was originally published on the UMN website here