North Maharashtra Section

By Gordon E. Christo, and Anupam Nowrangi

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Gordon E. Christo, Ph.D. in Old Testament and Adventist Studies (Andrews University). Christo is retired and working on contract as assistant editor of the Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists and assistant editor of the Seventh-day Adventist International Biblical-Theological Dictionary. He is currently setting up a heritage center for Southern Asia Division. Some of his research on Adventist history can be seen at https://sudheritage.blogspot.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/SUDHeritage/.

Anupam Nowrangi

First Published: July 3, 2023

North Maharashtra Section is a part of the Western India Union Section in the Southern Asia Division of Seventh-day Adventists. It was organized in 1999 and reorganized in 2003. Its headquarters is in Aurangabad Cantonment, Maharashtra, India.

Territory: The districts of Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Beed, Hingoli, Jalgaon, Jalna, Latur, Nanded, Osmanabad, and Parbhani in the Indian state of Maharashtra.

Statistics (June 30, 2022): Churches, 93; membership, 31,141; population, 30,431,942.1

Beginnings of the Work

In North Maharashtra the Adventist Church acquired an established mission station when McHenry, a missionary for another denomination, embraced the Adventist teachings, was baptized, and ordained to the gospel ministry of the Adventist Church. On the platform of the Manmad railway station in 1919, William Hume McHenry purchased from colporteur Peter Shindi a copy of The Other Side of Death. McHenry and his wife had come to India in 1915 as missionaries for the Disciples Mission.2 His interest aroused, McHenry soon purchased additional literature and next got in touch with G. F. Enoch, pastor of the Bombay Church, who visited their mission station in Aurangabad and studied the Bible with them. Meanwhile McHenry’s associate S. O. Martin labored with McHenry to show him his errors but ended up converted too. McHenry and Martin already spoke the local language Marathi and had acquired property, a building, a congregation, and a school that they turned over to the Adventists, who compensated the Disciples Mission for the property.3

McHenry was ordained and assigned to open a rural station at Nevasa (Newasa), fulfilling a dream he had cherished. A seven-acre plot was purchased in April 1926.4 While waiting for the house to be built, McHenry lived in a mud house.5 For years there was no church building, and members sat in an open area under the sky.6 Finally a church building was constructed and dedicated on February 14-17, 1940.7

Organizational History

When the work in Aurangabad became part of the Adventist organization in 1920, it came under the Bombay Mission. So also the Nevasa station when it was first established. When the Bombay Union Mission was organized in 1929, the Central Marathi Mission was organized with stations in Ahmednagar, Nasik, and Aurangabad.8 When the Union was downgraded to mission status in 1932 due to the economic crisis, the Central Marathi Mission was reduced to mission station status.

The North Marathi Mission was reorganized with three churches in 1945, and in 1952 it was renamed the West Central Mission. In 1954 it was reorganized as the Central India Section with Madhya Bharat, Madhya Pradesh, and Vindhya Pradesh added, and also some portions of the Hyderabad state. Yet again, the Mission was reorganized in 1956 when the Western India Union was created out of the Northwest India Union to conform to the Bombay State in which all Marathi-speaking people were brought together. 9 The Marathi-speaking territories of the Central India Section were brought to the new union and named the North Maharashtra Section as the old name of Central India Section was retained by the Northwest India Union for Madhya Pradesh.10

In 1971 in a major realignment of unions, the North and South Maharashtra Sections were combined into a large Maharashtra Section parallel to the Andhra Section, both of which were part of the new Central India Union.11 However, as the membership grew, the North Maharashtra Region was approved for Section status in 1999.12 The organizing meeting was held on April 5, 1999, with three districts, namely, Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, and Jalna, with 9,015 church members in 19 churches and 20 companies.13

After the formation of the Western India Union was regularized by the General Conference in 2002, the New Union reorganized the North Maharashtra Region into a section. The districts Beed, Hingoli, Jalagaon, Latur, Nanded, Osmanabad, and Parbhani were added, making it now a total of ten districts, with a membership of 31,595 in 63 churches and 52 companies. As of that date, out of these ten districts, nine districts had been entered.14

Executive Officers

Superintendents/Presidents

North Maharashtra Mission: Superintendents: W. J. McHenry (1945-1947); F. E. Spiess (acting, 1948); M. D. Moses (1949-1951).

West Central Mission: M. D. Moses (1952-1954).

Central India Mission: M. D. Moses (1954-1956).

North Maharashtra Section: M. D. Moses (1957-1962); S. B. Gaikwad (1962-1964); V. D. Ohal (1964-1967); S. B. Gaikwad (1967-1971).

North Maharashtra Region: Vasant J. Khandagle (1999-2002).

North Maharashtra Section: Vasant J. Khandagle (2002-2010); Ashirvad Pandey (2011-2015); Lazarus Battise (2015-2017); Ujwal Kandane (2017-2022); Solomon Borge (2002-Present).

Secretary-treasurers/Secretaries

North Maharashtra Mission: P. M. Thomas (1945-1950); R. L. Juriansz (1950 to 1951).

West Central Mission: R. L. Juriansz (1952-1954).

Central India Mission: R. L. Juriansz (1954-1956); C. N. John (1956 and 1957).

North Maharashtra Section: (C. N. John (1957-1960); Sharad Pandit (1961-1964); S. G. Kamble (1964-1971).

North Maharashtra Region: Vijay Chavan (1999); S. R. Shinge (2000 to 2001); Ujwal Kandane (2001-2003).

North Maharashtra Section: Ujwal Kandane (2003-2005); Dyva Ashirvadam (2005-2010); V Chandrashekhar (2010-2013); Kapiljal Sagar (2014-2016); Vijay Kumar Sankili (2016-2018); Sahebrao Salve (2018-Present).

Treasurers

North Maharashtra Section: Jimmy Khajekar (2018-2022); Daniel Kelkar (2002-Present).

Sources

Blue, I. F. “Bombay Presidency Mission.” Eastern Tidings, January 1, 15, 1920.

Blue, I. F. “The Bombay Mission—Report for the Triennium, 1924-1926.” Eastern Tidings, Dec 15, 1926.

Eastern Tidings, April 1926.

Enoch, G. F. “In Western India.” ARH, July 29, 1920.

Fulton, J. E. “The Aurangabad Meeting.” Eastern Tidings, April 15, 1920.

Guild, Cecil B. “India Unions are Realigned.” Southern Asia Tidings, January 1971.

Kedas Ronald (ed). Advent Movement in Western India 1905-2005. Pune: Earnest & Frank, 2005.

Langhu, Koberson. “The Origin and Development of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in India 1895-1947.” Ph.D. Dissertation: AIIAS, Philippines, 2017.

McHenry, Mrs. W. H. “In the Ahmednagar and Kolhapur Districts-Western India.” Atlantic Union Gleaner, May 12, 1937.

Meleen, E. M. Half a Century of Progress. Unpublished manuscript in author’s private collection.

Minutes of the Central India Union Committee, February 24, 1999.

Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Advisory Committee, May 21-23, 2002.

Minutes of the Year-End Committee of the Southern Asia Division, December 10, 1956.

Nissanka, Harry W. “Leaving but to Come Again.” Eastern Tidings, January 1, 1932.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook, various years. https://www.adventistyearbook.org/.

Spiess, F. E. “The Central Maharashtra Annual Meetings.” Eastern Tidings, March 1, 1940.

Notes

  1. “North Maharashtra Section,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (2023), https://www.adventistyearbook.org/entity?EntityID=13204.

  2. Harry W. Nissanka, “Leaving but to Come Again,” Eastern Tidings, January 1, 1932, 8.

  3. Koberson Langhu, “The Origin and Development of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in India 1895-1947,” (Ph.D. Dissertation: AIIAS, 2017), 199, cites I. F. Blue, “Bombay Presidency Mission, Eastern Tidings, January 1, 15, 1920, 12; J. E. Fulton, “The Aurangabad Meeting,” Eastern Tidings, April 15, 1920, 1-2. G. F. Enoch, “In Western India,” ARH, July 29, 1920, 10-11.

  4. Eastern Tidings, April 1926, 8

  5. I. F. Blue, “The Bombay Mission—Report for the Triennium 1924-1926,” Eastern Tidings, December 15, 1926, 3; and E. M. Meleen, Half a Century of Progress (unpublished manuscript in author’s possession).

  6. Mrs. W. H. McHenry, “In the Ahmednagar and Kolhapur Districts-Western India,” Atlantic Union Gleaner, May 12, 1937, 1.

  7. F. E. Spiess, “The Central Maharashtra Annual Meetings,” Eastern Tidings, March 1, 1940, 7.

  8. “Central Marathi Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook 1930, 240.

  9. Minutes of the Yearend Committee of the Southern Asia Division, December 10, 1956, #56-610, 231

  10. See “Western India,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook 1958, 179.

  11. Cecil B.Guild, “India Unions are Realigned,” Southern Asia Tidings, January 1971, 1.

  12. “Official Names for Newly Formed Regions,” Minutes of the Central India Union Committee, February 24, 1999 #99-44, 29.

  13. Ronald Kedas (ed.), Advent Movement in Western India 1905-2005 (Pune: Earnest & Frank, 2005), 105.

  14. “North Maharashtra Region—Formation into Section,” Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Advisory Committee May 21-23, 2002, 97.

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Christo, Gordon E., Anupam Nowrangi. "North Maharashtra Section." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. July 03, 2023. Accessed June 17, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=7ALI.

Christo, Gordon E., Anupam Nowrangi. "North Maharashtra Section." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. July 03, 2023. Date of access June 17, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=7ALI.

Christo, Gordon E., Anupam Nowrangi (2023, July 03). North Maharashtra Section. Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved June 17, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=7ALI.