Serampore- Johnnagar Baptist Church (CNI)

Serampore- Johnnagar Baptist Church, formerly the Carey Baptist Church was founded by Rev. Dr. William Carey in the year 1880. William Carey, Ward and Marshman lived in the parsonage of this church. The river Ganges flows in front of the church. One portion of the church housed his press for printing purpose. Carey himself, with the help of pundits translated the full Bible into Bengali, Sanskrit, Oriya, Hindi, Marathi and Assamese. He also wrote a Bengali Grammar and a Bengali dictionary. The Serampore College and the Carey’s Baptist Church were regarded as places of pilgrimage.

Mr. Krishna Mohan Pal the first Bengali of Serampur was baptised by William Carey.

William Carey – the Great Visionary

Dr. William Carey was born on august 17, 1761 in Paulerspury, an obscure village of Northamptonshire, England. He founded the Baptist Missionary Society in Britain and as its first representative arrived in Bengal on November 11th, 1793. His motto was,

“Expect great things from God
Attempt great things from God”

The British East India Company had aroused, in the closing decades of the 18th century, new thoughts which quickened the latent greed of the colonial masters as well as the colonised natives. The people were thrown into a state of stagnation and inertia. At this crucial moment, Carey, Marshman and Ward appeared in this part of the continent and brought us something which we needed very much, something which neither the greedy traders nor the arrogant colonial masters could provide.

William Carey was particularly instrumental in creating the fervour of our National awakening, prior to Raja Rammohan Roy. Carye’s biographer, George Smith has written, “Carey was successively and often at the same time, a captain of labour, a schoolmaster, a printer, a developer of vernacular speech, an expounder of classical language, a translator, a purifier of society, the watchful philanthropist, the saviour of the widow and the fatherless. This gives an idea of then vastness of the fields in which Cary plodded throughout his life.”

Carey’s missionary zeal had its root in deep feelings for the helpless innocent people who were made victims of various inhuman practices. Throughout his life not for the single moment had he detached himself from the sufferings of these poor victims. To his great satisfaction hr found at the end of his life that all the cruel practices (for which he landed movements) were abolished.

John Nagar Church

The story of Johan Nagar Church is the story of the indigenious church movement in Bengal. During the early decades of teh 19th century, the Baptists were eager to build indigenous churches here. After 1822, the missionaries established a Christian village new Serampore. It was set up mainly for the settlement of Christian worker of Serampore Mission establishments. The village was established for the purpose of promoting the general comfort of the native brethren and also facilitating the dissemination of religious instruction to them. It consisted of thirteen dwelling houses with a small Chapel at the centre.

A number of native Christian families also came to  live there. They built a small church of their own. A native congregation was formed. The place was given the name of Johannagar and the came to be known as Johannagar Church.

It was built with the help of donations raised by members and is reputed as the first indigenous Church in Bengal. Initiative was provided by the Serampore Missionaries who also helped to maintain the Church. The BMS Report of 1827 says that the number of members of Johannaagar was 678, whereas the Christian population in this place was 150 only. The rest came from nearby areas.

Prankrishna, a convert of William Carey was a pioneer. Church leaders who stayed here under his influence and leadership and this Church survived gloriously. After 1837, these rural Baptist Churches run by the natives came under the Baptist Missionary Society. Today Johannagar Church is still surrounded by the Christian residential area known as the Johannagar Church Compound. The Church however is now administered and maintained by the Diocese of Calcutta, CNI and forms part of the Congregation of Serampore-Johannagar Baptist Church (CNI). Worship services are held on Sunday evenings here.

Worship Service Timing: 5:00 pm April - September & 4:30 pm October - March

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