Republic of India
As the second most populated nation on earth, India prides itself on maintaining unity while celebrating diversity. Consisting unofficially of over 6,000 distinct people groups as defined by ethnicity, religion, language, and caste, India is a culturally complex nation. Ranking today among the top 10 industrial nations of the world because of a booming computer industry, India is rapidly becoming a powerhouse in the global economic arena. This economic success, however, has not extended to the general population. Though services account for more than half of India’s economic output, less than one quarter of the population in employed in industry. The large majority of Indians still depend on agriculture as their main income source. And with an average income of only $620 (US Dollars) per year, poverty is prevalent in this unique nation.
Hindi is the official national language of India but English actually dominates the business, governmental, and legal arenas. Most educated Indians speak English as their first language but across India there are at least 400 different languages spoken. Illiteracy is a huge problem in India, especially among the female population. In fact, only one in every three adult Indian women is functionally literate. More than 80% of Indians practice Hinduism and close to 13% are Muslim. Although full religious freedom is protected officially by the Indian constitution, religious extremism is rampant in India, creating religious strife and fueling a dangerous climate of persecution, especially toward Christians.
Still, India has the most (and largest) un-reached people groups than any other country on the planet…
E.C. Response… see more at www.ecchurch.co.in
Sensitive to the fact that each region of the diverse nation of India has its own unique culture and needs, the Evangelical Congregational work in India exists primarily in the state of Manipur, located in the hills of Northeast India. Ministering to the local tribal groups whose traditions are closely related to the Burmese (Myanmar) culture, the E.C. church has had a presence in India since 1966.
About 35% of the local Manipur population is Christian and Christ’s movement in the region is unmistakable. Still, residual hate from a 1990s civil war hampers outreach by Christians to local Muslims and Hindus. Drug addiction and HIV are becoming major issues in the region and the E.C. Church is working hard to implement educational programs to help combat these problems.
Committed to reaching the world for Christ, the Evangelical Congregational Church of India (ECCI) has six conferences, with a total of about 60,000 members. ECCI's department of Missions and Evangelism ministers in the neighboring states and countries of the region. Evangelical College of Theology, the Bible College and Seminary of ECCI's members also trains men and women from over 20 different denominations and faith traditions.