The Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Khasi Jaiñtia Hills
The Adventist faith came to Khasi-Jaiñtia Hills through foreign Missionaries. The first Adventist who came to Shillong was F.O Raymond a Literature evangelist who came to sell books and distributed tracks in 1913. In 1915 E.G. Hardinge, an officer in the Survey Department of British India came to Shillong as officer- in-charge of the Assam Survey and Traverse Party. When E.G. Hardinge and his family arrived in Shillong there was not even one Seventh-day Adventist found in the whole of Assam, which then comprised the entire north-eastern part of India.
However, Hardinge and his family didn’t hesitate to witness for the Lord, they continued to invite their friends and neighbours to worship with them every Friday Evening and Sabbath morning. Hardinge was so anxious to take the three angels’ message to every home and village, so he wrote a tract in English which was later translated into Khasi by one of his employer, Mr. E.E. Doram. As a result of the faithful witness of the Hardinges two sisters were baptized in 1920. Again in 1928 Mr. Matthews, an 84 year old man, and two other children of the Hardinges—Leslie and Mervyne were also baptized by Pastor Keller. Later Mr. E.E. Doram, the first native Khasi, accepted the Adventist faith.
Others who came to Shillong during this period were workers from the mission office in Kolkata to provide spiritual nurture to the Hardinges and to foster the interest created by them. Besides Wyman and Raymond, Pastors Wilson and Wellman also visited Shillong. Before the Hardinges left Shillong permanently in 1933, Pastor and Mrs. L.J. Burgess had arrived in Shillong in 1931. The Burgesses were the first regular missionaries to settle and work in Assam. Mr. R.E. Rajee and his wife were baptized by Pastor Burgess on September 16, 1934.
The real foundation and organization of the Seventh-day Adventist work in Assam took shape during the time of Pastor and Mrs. J. F. Ashlock who came to Shillong on June 27, 1935. The Assam Mission was organized in the year 1935 with Pastor J. F. Ashlock as the first superintendent. Pastor Ashlock conducted six evangelistic meetings in various places including Mowkaiaw in Jaiñtia Hills and was assisted by numbers of other pastors, such as Pastor O. W. Lange, Pastor C. A. Boykin, and Mr. Barlow along with their wives. At the end of these evangelistic meetings ten people were baptized, and by the close of 1939 the membership of Shillong Church which include the entire mission field was 50.
Ashlock was superintendent of Assam Mission only a short while, from 1947 to 1952 N. O. Dahlstein took over as Superintendent of the Assam Mission. W.C. Rick took over from 1953 to 1954. After Rick, Pastor H. T. Burr became the Superintendent from 1955 to 1957. Pastor B. J. William from 1958 to 1960. Pastor C.A. Boykin from 1961 to 1965. Pastor R.N. Baird became the President from December 1965 to June 1971. Pastor D. Nongtdu became the first Indian President from July 1971 to June 1980. Pastor J.I. Khonghat from July 1980 to December 1983. Pastor D. Nongtdu from January 1984 to December 1989. Pastor J. M. Dkhar from January 1990 to December 1990. Pastor D. Marang from January 1991 to December 1991. Pastor W.S. Dkhar from January to March 1992. Pastor J.M. Dkhar (acting) from March to May 1992. Pastor M.M. Rimsu from June 1992 to February 1996. Pastor L. F. Lyngdoh from March 1996 to February 2000. Pastor H. Nongkhlaw from March 2001 to February 2003. Pastor K. B. Kharbteng from March 2004 to February 2014. Pastor W. Lapasam from March 2014—
Mizo Conference bifurcated from Northeast India Section in 1972 and Manipur Conference in 1982.
On February 25, 1996, in the fourth Northeast India Union Constituency Meeting the Meghalaya Section was divided into East Meghalaya Section, and West Meghalaya Section, the former comprising the Khasi-Jaiñtia Circle and the latter the Garo circle.
It was on January 24, 1998 that the East Meghalaya Section became a Conference under the name Khasi-Jaiñtia Conference, with Pastor L.F. Lyngdoh as its first president and Shillong as its headquarter.
The factors contributing to church growth in the Khasi Jaiñtia Conference were public evangelism, members’ witnessing, boarding school evangelism and biological growth.
As of 2011 census the area comprising Khasi Jaiñtia Conference has a total population of 18, 64,507 with 3211 villages. The Adventist population however is only 5,195 as per March 1, 2018 statistics recorded. Adventist is present in 128 villages only. The big challenge in KJC is how to reach other Christian groups, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism etc. with the gospel of the Three Angels Message.
President: Pr. W. Lapasam
Secretary: Mr. Aibok Kharpran
Treasurer: Mr. J L Khonghat