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Manipur Evangelical prayer movement leader dies: 'A void that will be deeply felt'

Rev. H. Chungthang Thiek
Rev. H. Chungthang Thiek | Evangelical Fellowship if India

The Rev. H. Chungthang Thiek, a prominent evangelist and former secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship of India's northeast region, has died, leaving a profound legacy in northeast India's spiritual and social spheres. He was 75. 

His 27-year tenure at EFI, from 1988 to 2015, was marked by significant contributions to the organization and the broader Church community, said the EFI, a national alliance of Evangelical Christians, in a Jan. 4 statement. He is credited with launching the "Prayer Mountain" movement near Churachandpur.

A Union Biblical Seminary alumnus, Rev. Thiek's influence extended across northeast India, which, in addition to Manipur, includes the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim. This region borders several countries internationally, including China, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.

The northeast region of India is a nexus of numerous ethnic and territorial conflicts. Rev. Thiek's death occurred amidst ongoing deadly violence targeting the Christian Kuki-Zo community in Manipur.

Rev. Thiek was instrumental in establishing key relationships in the region and played a crucial role in mediating conflicts — notably the conflict between the Hmar and Dimasa tribes, which was rooted in ethnic and territorial disputes, particularly in the states of Assam and Manipur — in the early 2000s.

His dynamic preaching style, infused with humor, and exceptional organizational skills were widely recognized, EFI noted. Under his leadership, EFI saw substantial growth in the northeast, thanks to the numerous training programs he initiated.

Rev. Thiek's visionary approach was also evident in his acquisition of the EFI's current property in Guwahati, now the EFI Northeast Centre, which continues to shape EFI's ministry in the region.

The Rev. Vijayesh Lal, the general secretary of EFI, reflected on Rev. Thiek's impact.

"Rev. Thiek was a revered Church leader across the Northeast, leaving a void that will be deeply felt," Lal said. "He completed his race with dignity and faithfulness. It was a privilege to minister alongside him and travel across the states in the region."

Rev. Lal said Thiek opened up the region for him and was a guide "in every sense."

"His introduction of the 'Standing Strong through the Storm' seminars in the region impacted countless leaders. I remember his cheerful disposition, boundless energy, sensitive nature, and willingness to serve," Lal recalled. "Our shared trips particularly to Arunachal and Tripura remains etched in my memory. Though we were praying for his health, we also had the honour of briefly hosting him and his family at the EFI centre. I was looking forward to seeing him this new year, but now we will meet before our Master."

Lal remembered Rev. Thiek as "a faithful and cheerful servant of God."

The Rev. Richard Howell, former general secretary of EFI, shared his condolences on Facebook, remembering Rev. Thiek as a "mighty servant of God" and a powerful preacher who brought many to faith.

Howell highlighted Rev. Thiek's international preaching and his role in initiating a "prayer mountain" in Manipur. Rev. Thiek's death is not only a loss to his family, including his three sons and devoted wife, but also to the countless lives he touched through his ministry, he said.

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