Andaman and Nicobar Region

By Rosenita M. Christo

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Rosenita M. Christo

Andaman and Nicobar Region is a part of the Southern Asia Division of Seventh-day Adventists. It was organized in 1989. Its headquarters is in South Andaman, Andaman Islands, India.

Territory: The union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Statistics, as of June 30, 2020: churches 1, membership 252, population 384,387.

Although the Andaman and Nicobar Islands consist of more than 300 islands, only a few of them are inhabited. One of those is occupied by the Sentinelese, a people who are still a non-contacted tribe.1 The archipelago was once used as a penal colony by the British for convicts from mainland India.2 Southern Asia Division President Robert H. Pierson, in his report to the biennial conference in December 1951, listed territories in the division yet to be entered by Adventists. Among these were the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.3

Earliest Adventist Work

A colporteur named S. Daniel saw Pierson’s challenge in the January 1952 Tidings and felt compelled to respond. He and his wife sailed for the Andamans on October 15, 1952, and reached Port Blair four days later.4 October 9, 1954, was recorded as a memorable date because that is when Pastor B. Nowrangi baptized the first four converts to the truth, brought about by Daniel’s labor. Nowrangi recorded that the Voice of Prophecy had entered the island long before and that Daniel hoped to find friends among VOP students.5

While the church work in the Andamans strengthened, the devil was working hard to destroy the influence of the church there. In 1960 the Northeast Union, which was overseeing the work of the Church in the islands, had to take an action to disfellowship S. Daniel from the church.6

In 1961 the North East Union placed a call for Injety Subushanam to work in the Andamans.7 However, the same year, a call was placed for P. S. Prasada Rao,8 possibly because the first call had not received a positive response. In 1975 the Northern Union invited Samuel Gill from the Upper Ganges to work in the Andamans as a literature evangelist.9 In 1977 Ashley Kongari, a student literature evangelist, commenced canvassing in the islands.10 He planned for a series of meetings in Port Blair. The Northern Union administration supported the idea and Ashley agreed to suspend his college studies for a year to do follow up work while canvassing. Ashley talked to Gordon Christo, his teacher and work supervisor at Spicer College, and urged him to organize a singing group made up of the college quartet and other staff and students to go to the Andamans to present programs with health talks, messages based on the Bible, a Vacation Bible School, and plenty of singing.11 They planned and rehearsed through the 1978-1979 academic year and sailed to Port Blair in the summer of 1979. For ten days, between 700 and 800 people attended the meetings conducted by these “New City Singers.” A handful of people identified themselves as Adventists, but were worshipping with other churches because there was no Adventist church on the island. Ashley Kongari collected seven such families and regularly met with them for church.12

In 1980 the Northern Union appointed C. C. Joseph from the East India Section to be an evangelist in the islands.13 A year later, Joseph presented plans for a school and requested a grant of up to Rs.10,000.14 In 1985 Dudley Ponniah replaced C. C. Joseph15 who was going to the South India Union.16 Also called to be a literature evangelist was Simon Amirtharaj.17 The Northern Union, in 1986, finally approved the establishment of a day school in the Andamans.18 The division and the union allocated funds for church land in 1988 and 1989,19 and the Northern Union apportioned a part of their share of the 13th Sabbath Offering in 1988 for a church in the Andamans.20 In 1989 the Andaman and Nicobar Region of the Adventist church was organized.

Organizational History

On July 22, 1953, an action was taken by the division committee to assign the Andaman Islands to the North East Union for administrative purposes.21

In 1971 the Northeast Union and the Northwest India Union were joined and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands came under the administration of the combined Northern Union.

The year 1984 saw the new Northeast India Union separated from the Northern Union, but the Andaman and Nicobar Islands stayed with the Northern Union.22

At the Northern Union yearend meeting in 1989, the committee voted to form the Andaman and Nicobar Islands into a region.23 The committee also appointed J. H. Sibil as the region director.24

The Division Executive Committee (DIVEXCO) voted to make a territorial adjustment in 1992 and placed the Andaman and Nicobar Region under the direct supervision of the division instead of the Northern Union, effective April 1, 1993.25

Directors

J. H. Sibil (1989-1996); Kenny Pappachan (1996-2001); M. M. Samson (2003-2010); B. Prabhudas (2011-2015); Habil Gyan (2016); Yovan Seerpatham (2017-present).

Sources

“New City Singers Witness Christ to Port Blair.” Southern Asia Tidings, August 1, 1979.

Astleford, J. R. L. “Northern Union Reorganization.” Southern Asia Tidings, January 1984, 11.

Christo, Gordon. “Spicer College Sends Witness Team to Andaman Islands.” Youth Ministry Accent, 2nd Quarter 1980.

Daniel, S. “Into New Territories.” Eastern Tidings, April 1, 1953.

Kongari, Ashley. “Colporteuring in the Andamans.” Southern Asia Tidings, September 1, 1977.

Lodrick, Deryck D. “Andaman and Nicobar Islands.” Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. Retrieved April 9, 2021. https://www.britannica.com/place/Andaman-and-Nicobar-Islands.

Northeast Union Committee Minutes, May 4, 1960; March 29, 1961; November 1, 1961; May 9, 11, 1975; March 24, 1980; May 11, 1981; November 26, 1985; May 29, 1986; June 21-23, 1988; November 14, 1988; April 19-21, 1989.

Nowrangi, B. “First Baptism in the Andaman Islands.” Southern Asia Tidings, December 1, 1954.

Pierson, Robert H. “The Challenge of Southern Asia.” Eastern Tidings, January 15, 1952.

Southern Asia Division Committee Minutes, July 22, 1953; Nov. 16-20, 1992.

Notes

  1. Deryck D. Lodrick, “Andaman and Nicobar Islands,” Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, retrieved April 9, 2021, https://www.britannica.com/place/Andaman-and-Nicobar-Islands.

  2. Ibid. See also Eastern Tidings, June 1915, 11.

  3. Robert H. Pierson, “The Challenge of Southern Asia,” Eastern Tidings, Jan 15, 1952, 2.

  4. S. Daniel, “Into New Territories,” Eastern Tidings, April 1, 1953, 6.

  5. B. Nowrangi, “First Baptism in the Andaman Islands,” Southern Asia Tidings, Dec.1, 1954, 9.

  6. “Disfellowship S. Daniel and Mrs. Currie,” Northeast Union Committee Minutes # 60-172, May 4, 1960, 54.

  7. “Call Worker for Andaman Islands,” Northeast Union Committee Minutes # 61-142, March 29, 1961, 60.

  8. “P. S. Prasada Rao for the Andamans,” Northeast Union Committee Minutes # 61-280, November 1, 1961, 90.

  9. “Samuel Gill-Literature Evangelist, Andamans,” Northern Union Committee Minutes # 75-127, May 9, 11, 1975, 22.

  10. Ashley Kongari, “Colporteuring in the Andamans,” Southern Asia Tidings, September 1, 1977, 6.

  11. Gordon Christo, “Spicer College Sends Witness Team to Andaman Islands,” Youth Ministry Accent, 2nd Quarter 1980, 17-19.

  12. “New City Singers Witness Christ to Port Blair,” Southern Asia Tidings, August 1, 1979, 10-12.

  13. “C. C. Joseph Call,” Northern Union Committee Minutes # 80-118, March 24, 1980, 20.

  14. “Andaman Islands—Grant for a School,” Northern Union Committee Minutes # 81-155, May 11, 1981, 30.

  15. “Dudley Ponniah—Andaman Island,” Northern Union Committee Minutes, # 185-179, Nov. 26, 1985, 68.

  16. “C. C. Joseph—SIU Call,” Northern Union Committee Minutes, # 85-180, November 26, 1985, 68.

  17. “Literature Evangelist for Andaman,” Northern Union Committee Minutes, # 85-181, November 26, 1985, 68.

  18. “Andaman Island—Day School,” Northern Union Committee Minutes, # 86-104, May 29, 1986, 38.

  19. “Specials: Church land—Andaman Islands,” Northern Union Committee Minutes, # 88-107, June 21-23, 1988, 27.

  20. “13th Sabbath Offering Distribution,” Northern Union Committee Minutes, # 88-187, Nov. 14, 1988, 85.

  21. “Andaman Islands—Assigned to Northeast,” Southern Asia Division Committee Minutes, # 14853, July 22, 1953, 4107.

  22. J. R. L. Astleford, “Northern Union Reorganization,” Southern Asia Tidings, January 1984, 11.

  23. “Formulating of Regions,” Northern Union Committee Minutes, # 89-24, April 19-21, 1989, 9.

  24. “Regional Directors: Appointments,” Northern Union Committee Minutes, # 89-25, April 19-21, 1989, 9.

  25. “Andaman Islands—Territorial Adjustment,” Southern Asia Division Committee Minutes, # 92-531, Nov. 16-20, 1992, 201.

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Christo, Rosenita M. "Andaman and Nicobar Region." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. May 19, 2021. Accessed October 16, 2021. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=9AJM.

Christo, Rosenita M. "Andaman and Nicobar Region." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. May 19, 2021. Date of access October 16, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=9AJM.

Christo, Rosenita M. (2021, May 19). Andaman and Nicobar Region. Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved October 16, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=9AJM.