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Kedungpenjalin, the first permanent congregation of the Mennonite mission church in Java, Indonesia, was founded (1869) and pastored for 25 years by Pasrah Karso. He was perhaps the most effective of that church's first-generation national leaders. Pasrah (originally Serwo) was born in the village of Sintru near Pati into the family of a nominally Muslim construction worker. His literacy and the respect he was able to command as a leader suggest that traditions about family connections to people of the ruling class may have some credence.

In his youth Pasrah's family moved to the new village of Pulojati near the present-day town of Pecangaan about 7 miles (11 km.) southeast of Jepara. As a young man he, not unlike many Javanese in that time, was on the lookout for new spiritual insight. Frequent dreams and even a mysterious scrap of writing about a God who was the creator of the heavens and earth figures into this search. A new dimension to his search began in 1855, when an acquaintance by the name of Kimah came from Kayu Apu near Kudus to tell him about the new religion being taught there by Nederlandsch Zendelingengenootschap missionary Hoezoo and his assistant, Filemon, Pasrah became very interested and went to Kayu Apu to learn more. Some time later, having agreed to baptism, he failed to appear at the appointed time. Soon thereafter he learned about a missionary working in Jepara, much closer to his home. This was Mennonite missionary Pieter Jansz. Karso was attracted by the teaching of Jansz and his assistants, Klinkert and Andreas Ngariman, but he was confused by the fact that they restricted baptism to adults and gave no baptismal certificate. After much hesitation he was finally baptized on Christmas Day, 1865, by Pieter Jansz. He changed his name to Pasrah Karso which means "Surrendered Will."

In sharp contrast to Tunggul Wulung, the well-known leader of the indigenous Javanese Christian movement in the area, Pasrah Karso willingly served and learned under the guidance of the European missionaries. Soon he was appointed full-time gospel teacher.

Opposition, including arson, in Pulojati caused Pasrah Karso and his associates to seek another location. After several failed attempts, including placement by Jansz in Bondo, a village of the indigenous Christian movement, in order to gain mission influence there, Pasrah Karso finally led his group to form a new hamlet, Kedungpenjalin, in the area of Karanggondang, in 1869. The settlement and the congregation prospered under Pasrah Karso's able leadership without a resident missionary. This took place in spite of Tunggul Wulung's ministry in nearby Bondo and the launching by the mission of the attractive mission agricultural colony project in Margorejo. At the time of Pasrah Karso's death the mission saw it necessary to take firmer action in response to Roman Catholic and Irvingite Apostolic activities in the area and placed Johann Hübert, a new missionary from Russia, in Kedungpenjalin. A negative effect of this move, however, was the effective dissolution of the fabric of national congregational leadership that had developed so effectively over the previous quarter century. The youthful national leaders, Yahuda Limbundan and Yohanan Semadin, whom Pasrah had trained to take over leadership now took a back seat.

See also Gereja Injili di Tanah Jawa (Evangelical Church of Java).

[edit] Bibliography

Coolsma, S. De Zendingseeuw voor Nederlandsch Oost-Indie. Utrecht: C. H. E. Breijer, 1901.

Doopsgezinde Zendingsvereeniging. Verslag van de Staat en de Verrigtingen der Doopsgezinde Vereeniging to Bevordering der Evangelieverbreiding in de Nederlandsche Overzeesche Bezittingen. The annual reports of the Dutch Mennonite Mission Union published in Amsterdam beginning in 1848.

Hoekema, A. G. "Pieter Jansz (1820-1904), First Mennonite Missionary to Java." Mennonite Quarterly Review 52 (1978): 58-76.

Jansz, P. Manuscripts of annual reports to the Doopsgezinde Zendingsvereeniging. In the archives of the Evangelical Church of Java in Pati, Indonesia.

Jansz, P. Personal correspondence and journal (Daagboek) in three handwritten vols. covering 1852-1860 in archives of the Doopsgezinde Zendingsraad in Amsterdam.

Jensma, Th. E. Doopsgezinde Zending in Indonesia. Gravenhage: Boekcentrum NV, 1968.

Soekotjo, Sigit Heru and Lawrence M. Yoder. "Sejarah Gereja Injili di Tanah Jawa." (History of the Evangelical Church of Java.) Unpublished manuscript.

Wolterbeek, J. D. Babad Zending ing Tanah Jawi. Purwokerto, Indonesia: De Boer, 1939.

Yoder, Lawrence M. Editor. Bahan Serjarah Gereja Injili di Tanah Jawa. [Historical Resources on the History of the Evangelical Church of Jaya]. Pati, Indonesia: Komisi Sejarah Gereja GITD, 1977.

Yoder, Lawrence M. "The Introduction and Expression of Islam and Christianity in the Cultural Context of North Central Java." PhD dissertation, Fuller Theological Seminary, 1987.


Author(s) Lawrence M Yoder
Date Published 1987


[edit] Cite This Article

MLA style

Yoder, Lawrence M. "Pasrah Karso (d. 1895)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1987. Web. 19 Dec 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Pasrah_Karso_(d._1895)&oldid=121271.

APA style

Yoder, Lawrence M. (1987). Pasrah Karso (d. 1895). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 December 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Pasrah_Karso_(d._1895)&oldid=121271.




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Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, pp. 674-675. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.


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