When I contacted Rev. Darihun Khriam via WhatsApp for news of our Khasi partners, I was prepared to hear about some unanticipated joys and sorrows. But I didn’t expect her to be at Bethany Hospital in Shillong with her youngest sister Barisuk, an attorney and magistrate, awaiting word from a doctor. Barisuk and Danny’s six week old son (who as yet has no name, per Khasi tradition) had been in isolation on the “baby ward” for the past two days for diagnostic tests and treatment of a severe viral infection. Darihun was there to offer the pastoral support she also lovingly provides to congregational members who are ill or in crisis. Her middle sister Sanihun would take her place when Darihun had to leave to perform a wedding in Puriang or work at the UUNEI office later that week.
Darihun has been the primary minister for the Smit and Kharang congregations since before the turn of the century… before we knew that India has the third largest population of Unitarians of any nation. But preaching on Sundays is only a small part of all she does. As the only woman minister in the Unitarian Union of North East India (UUNEI), she is often called by other congregations in the Khasi Hills (there are more than 40) to preside at weddings, naming ceremonies, or other functions. She recently unveiled the painting honoring the retiring teachers at the Friendship School that East Shore supports. And she has spent most of the 15+ years of our partnership as the Financial Secretary of UUNEI, a role that became increasingly challenging under new Indian government regulations concerning foreign contributions.
And now, with so many volunteers forced to resign their positions, Darihun has taken on the huge responsibility of becoming the General Secretary of the UUNEI, charged with administration of all the resolutions adopted by the UUNEI Board and officers. Rev. Darihun Khriam is indeed an amazing woman, lovingly dedicated to her family and her faith. (Darihun and her husband Lambok also raised three beautiful and talented children since we’ve known her.) Let us hope and pray that she remains happy and healthy, and lets her light shine upon the nearly 10,000 Unitarians in North East India who love and respect her so much.
by Roger Corn