Under the Church union plan of North India and Pakistan of 1965, the Church of Pakistan was created on 1st of Nov. 1970. In accordance with the plan, the Anglican Church, United Church, United Methodist and Lutheran Church in Pakistan merged into to form the Church of Pakistan. Until 1951 the Anglican Church in East Pakistan was under the Diocese of Calcutta. After 1952 Dhaka became a Diocese of the Church of North India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon, and the Oxford Mission brother Rev. James D. Blair was consecrated as the first Bishop of Dhaka Diocese.
Church of Bangladesh evolved
Church of Bangladesh came into being as the outcome of the separation from Pakistan. This initially started as a movement which focused on language and finally took shape through the liberation war in 1971 which created a free and independent Bangladesh. Relationship with Pakistan was no longer possible. The Synod of the Church of Pakistan on 30th April 1974 declared and endorsed free and independent status of the Church of Bangladesh.
This process brings together the Anglican and English Presbyterian Churches under the umbrella of the Church of Bangladesh. Here in retrospective it is worth mentioning the contribution of the devotees and missionaries who gave their labor, lives and endured all kind of trouble to proclaim the Good News and thus established congregations in the different parts of the country and especially in its remotest villages. The Church of Bangladesh always remembers those souls with due respect and pays homage to their memory. These people will remain always dear in our hearts and minds for their devoted work, such as giving the light of education and health services alongside pastoral care.
The Church of Bangladesh leadership
The initiative began with the upgrading of the national leadership and through sincere efforts of the then emerging and veteran leaders of the Church of Bangladesh, Rt. Rev. B.D Mondal consecrated as the first national Bishop of Dhaka Diocese, Church of Bangladesh on 16 February 1975 at Epiphany Church, Oxford Mission, Barisal. He tried to follow and further move forward in the path of Rt. Rev. J.D Blair encouraging more active participation of the lay leaders from all-section of the congregations of COB.
Creating additional Diocese
Towards the end of 80’s, owing to scattered geographical set-up of the church and alongside increased volume of work & the continuation of its social ministry more efficiently and effectively, and for the better overall supervision of its pastoral work, the leadership of COB realised and acknowledged the need of a second diocese. Thus a second diocese was established, with its headquarters in the district town of Kushtia, and Rt. Rev. Michael S Baroi was consecrated as the Bishop of Kushtia Diocese on 30th Nov 1990 at St. Peter’s Church, Ratanpur. This new born diocese, and the subsequent establishment of a Synod, also completed the national Church structure of the Church of Bangladesh as envisaged by the Church union plan of North India and Pakistan. This new born diocese may be seen as a symbol of the United Church.
With the creation of the Synod, the Rt. Rev. B. D. Mondal became the first Moderator of the Synod and Rt. Rev. M. S. Baroi became the Deputy Moderator and since then both the leadership working together to carry forward. Bishop Mondal after 27 years of his sincere and untiring service as Bishop got retired and Bishop Michael Baroi became the Moderator of the Church of Bangladesh, and Rev. Paul Shishir Sarker was consecrated as Bishop of Kushtia Diocese on January 5, 2003 at Epiphany Church, Oxford Mission, Barisal. Bishop Baroi was installed as the Bishop of Dhaka Diocese on January 24, 2003 and Bishop Paul S. Sarker was installed as Bishop of Kushtia Diocese on February 4, 2003.
Bishop Michael after 23 years of his valuable service as Bishop took retirement and present Bishop Paul Shishir Sarker became the Moderator of the Church of Bangladesh, and Rev. Samuel Sunil Mankhin consecrated as Bishop of Kushtia Diocese on 8 November 2009 at St. Mary’s Church of Haluaghat, Mymensingh.
With this change of leadership the Church of Bangladesh has been moving with its ministries for the Christians as well as for its neighbors and sharing experiences with the global community through prayer and fellowship.
At the aftermath of liberation war which caused enormous damages to all walks of life and their family structure structure irrespective of caste an religion and when the country just started its recovery process, the newly emerged leadership were to face this realities and thus take the initiative of shouldering recovery process and express a solidarity with the neighbors according to the teachings Lord Jesus Christ. As result alongside the deepening process of COB’s spiritual ministry COB could not escape from initiating its social development ministry. While launching this process Church of Bangladesh develop relation and partnership with RCN, PCUSA, CWM, KNH, CMS, DIA, ABM, ICCO, CA C.S etc, alongside its traditional sister churches and development partners and in the process the social development ministry went beyond its own congregation and responding towards the needs, irrespective of different religions, tribes and culture.