The Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar, or Fiangonan'i Jesoa Kristy eto Madagasikara (FJKM), celebrated its 50th anniversary on 18-19 August with events that included a special thanksgiving worship service in Toamasina.
This year also marks the 200th anniversary of the arrival of the first Protestant missionaries sent by the London Missionary Society (LMS) to Madagascar in 1818.
Rev. Dr Rakoto Endor Modeste, a member of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee, attended the celebration and delivered a message on behalf of WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit. “The worldwide fellowship of WCC member churches joins me in wishing you and your church members a blessed and vibrant thanksgiving worship and celebration marking the Jubilee of your Church as well as two centuries of LMS settlement,” reads the message.
Tveit also invited the FJKM to join in prayer for the WCC’s 70th anniversary. “We therefore also invite you to pray and celebrate with us during the special thanksgiving worship service,” he wrote.
On 19 August, Modeste joined a procession leading to the Service of Thanksgiving held in the David Jones Place. Jones was a Welsh Christian missionary to Madagascar. People joined the processional from all directions, many wearing special robes, markers or signs in celebration of the day. Modeste read the message in English then in Malagasy.
“I estimate the number of people present at this worship service to about 15,000 because the whole yard was full and so were the sides of the surrounding streets,” said Modeste. After the service, public officials joined church leaders and residents for a meal.
“The officials of the FJKM thanked all the invited churches, councils and entities who were able to rejoice and celebrate with them by sending representatives, and all who wrote letters of greetings, and all church members who were able to come,” said Modeste.