Mara Church Unhappy with Remarks in CACC Chin Textbook
23 June 2011: Mara Evangelical Church (MEC) expressed its displeasure over remarks made in the publication of the Chin Association for Christian Communication (CACC) on Rev. Reginald A. Lorrain, the pioneer missionary to Mara people.
In a letter addressed to CACC, MEC said that they were extremely sad to observe certain statements in the textbook about the Mara missionaries and felt that the remarks are ‘baseless’ although they welcomed the CACC publications for language learners in the new generation.
“They [statements] will not only undervalue the Mara missionaries but also underrate the very core value of the whole Mara Christianity and community,” added the MEC Response Committee formed following the findings.
The remarks about the late missionary from the UK are mentioned in the Hakha-Chin language learning textbook for Year 9, primarily published for the Chin community in Melbourne, Australia in 2009 by CACC, a community-based Christian organisation in Hakha Town, Chin State.
Speaking to the Chinland Guardian, Rev. Dr. Hla Aung, General Secretary of CACC, said: “We deeply regret about the remarks contained in our publication. We had a meeting at the end of last month and wrote an official letter to MEC according to the decisions of our meeting.”
“We have unanimously agreed to make a proper review and delete the lines in the textbook.”
In their letter, MEC acknowledged that the statements about Rev. R.A Lorrain were quoted from the book by Rev. Dr. Robert G. Johnson, who cited the letter of Dr. Cope in his book in 1938.
To this, Rev. Dr. LB Siama, Secretary of the Response Committee to CACC Publication, stressed on their belief that the mentioned accounts of the missionary would not help the learners of Lai literature improve in their study.
MEC also urged the responsible persons and CACC to make amendments in the textbooks and an official declaration to the public through mass media.
Rev. Dr. Hla Aung also highlights that CACC is preparing another statement in response to the second letter of MEC dated 5 June 2011.
When asked about the issue in Melbourne, Australia, one of the Lai teachers told Chinland Guardian: “Honestly speaking, we are not aware of the issue here, maybe because we are only focusing on the language itself. However, we are very sad to hear about the concerns of our brothers and sisters from Mara community.”
Among five remarks identified by MEC include writings about the Mara missionaries by using words such as ‘lazy’, ‘never travelled around’, and ‘encroached to other mission fields’.
Christian Missionary Rev. Reginald Authur Lorrain served among the Mara people from 1907 till his last breath and was buried at Saikao (Serkawr) in Saiha District of Mizoram State, India.
Van Biak Thang