Bangladesh Baptist Church Sangha
The Baptist Church Sangha is the oldest and largest Protestant denomination in Bangladesh. Its origins go back to the work started by Dr William Carey in 1796. Later, Baptist Missionary Societies from New Zealand and Australia began working in East Bengal (now Bangladesh). The church was one community until the separation of India and Pakistan in 1948. In 1971, with the creation of Bangladesh, it took the name Bangladesh Baptist Church Sangha. Right from the start, the BBCS has been involved in spiritual and social development, through various programmes. The life and witness of the local churches is sustained by Sunday school, youth activities and women's programmes. Women are the most active members of the church. They organize activities in the cities and villages, like Bible study, prayer and singing, discussion of problems related to drug addiction and HIV/AIDS, family relationships, etc. The Baptist theological academy trains pastors, deacons and lay leaders. It teaches the Baptist doctrine, the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, pastors' character and calling. The BBCS does not have enough pastors to look after all the local churches. Therefore lay leaders, young people and women are encouraged to follow courses by theological extension education, under the supervision of the Bangladesh Christian College of Theology.
Evangelism is difficult in Bangladesh which is an Islamic country. However the BBCS has established 22 churches among the Santal tribal people and 17 among the Mru in the Bandarban Hills. People are very poor and illiterate, and are struggling to maintain their spiritual values. Proper values will help to develop the churches and the communities. The church is also participating in the hostel programme for students at college and university level. It is concerned with the opportunities of higher education for the poor. In the area of health care, the BBCS supports a wide range of activities, including a hospital, a leprosy hospital, four clinics and an educational programme. The church runs two high schools for girls and boys, a junior high school, 64 primary schools, a school for blind girls, two children's homes with schools, and four hostels.