Wednesday, 21 September 2016

NCCI DALIT LIBERATION SUNDAY 2016



Respected Ecumenical Colleagues,

Warm greetings from National Council of Churches in India!

Dalit Liberation Sunday has become an important feature in the calendar of Indian Churches and Ecumenical movements. Over the years, there has been a positive response in sensitizing the local congregations towards concerns of Dalits, for no longer caste issue is visualized as a sociological issue or an issue outside the purview of church but more seen as an issue challenging the core of our faith and gospel.

The theme for this year's Dalit Liberation Sunday is “Administer Justice Daily! Deliver the Oppressed!” (Jeremiah 21:12). We take this opportunity to invite you to observe Dalit Liberation Sunday on 13th November 2016 in your church/local parish/institution in a creative way and rededicate your commitment to the Gospel by accompanying the unaccompanied. However, if you already have some programme on 13th November 2016, you may think of celebrating this Special day on a later Sunday i.e. on 20th November 2016. Herewith we are sending you hard copies of posters and a special order of worship for the day. You may take the freedom to use the entire worship order and translate it in your vernacular language or adapt parts of it.

We would appreciate if you send a brief report along with a few photographs of the observance to the undersigned. Let us join to observe Dalit Liberation Sunday on 13th November 2016.

Thanking you in anticipation. With regards,

In Christ,

Pradip Bansrior
Executive Secretary
Commission on Dalits and Tribals/ Adivasis
National Council of Churches in India


Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Celebration of Tribal and Adivasi Sunday at MBC Bible College, Hyderabad.



Tribal and Adivasi Sunday was celebrated at MBC Bible College, Hyderabad on 7th of August 2016. It was an enlightening evening, the whole community gathered at the academic centre to participate and celebrate through this worship.

 It was a enriching experience to the whole community to know about various tribal and adivasi groups in India. A power point presentation was made to educate the community about the rich culture and tradition of various tribes in India.  MBC community remembered the life and living style of the tribal and adivasi people amidst of the discrimination and subjugation they face. An attempt was made not to romanticize the plight of the tribals but to understand the resistive modes they employed for their survival in midst of struggle. 

Mr. Suju Marandi, an adivasi from the Santal tribal area was invited to share the word of God. He explained the condition of the tribal and adivasi people in his region and shared God’s word from tribal perspective relating with various issues.  

The SCMI Regional Secretary of the college Mr. Immanuel Pradeep had creatively planned and organized the service under the guidance of the Principal Rev.  Dr. I.P. Asheervadam, faculty advisors and the Chaplain and appreciate the role of NCCI and particularly the Tribal and Adivasi concerns for equipping the institutions with worship order and posters.

Pradip Bansrior
Executive Secretary
Commission on Dalits and Tribals/ Adivasis

National Council of Churches in India

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Observance of Black Day on August 10th, 2016

August 10th is observed every year as ‘Black Day’ by the member Churches of National Council of Churches in India, Theological institutions and Christian organisations across India demanding the deletion of the infamous Presidential Order 1950, Paragraph 3, which excludes Christian and Muslim Dalits from the Scheduled Caste list.

The foundation of state discrimination against Christian Dalits was laid in the 1930s when the then British India Government passed the “Scheduled Caste (SC) Act 1936”. This Act made only ‘Hindu’ Dalits eligible for protective discrimination (SC reservation) and deprived Dalits of other religious faiths, including Christian Dalits from it. In post independent India, the “Presidential Order (SC) 1950” was very similar to the Act of 1936, denying again protective discrimination for Dalit converts to Christianity. This clearly violates the principle of equality and religious freedom guaranteed in the Indian Constitution – Articles 14, 15 and 25. The argument of the Government very often has been that since Christianity is an egalitarian religion where caste has no place, the question of granting protective discrimination to Christian Dalits does not arise! This argument is not just simplistic but ill-motivated. It is a universally known truth, a fact even amply proved by several Central and State Government-appointed Commissions that the phenomenon of caste is so pervasive and wide spread that it has made deep inroads in all religious communities in the country, without exception. Subsequent to the Presidential Order of 1950, the Government of India brought in amendments and granted protective discrimination (SC reservation) to Sikh Dalits and Neo Buddhists, but the plea of Christian and Muslim Dalits has remained a cry in the wilderness until now. The Government of India appointed a National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities to investigate the demand of Christian and Muslim Dalits on 29 October, 2004. Ranganath Mishra, Head of Commission submitted the Commission Statement on 21 May, 2007. According to the Commission Report, paragraph 3 of the Constitution’s Order 1950 should be deleted from the Constitution in order to bring Equality and Justice for Christian and Muslim Dalits. However the Central Government kept silent when 12 state governments along with Union Territories and several political parties had endorsed the proposal to delete Paragraph 3 from the Constitution of India.


21st September 2016 - International Prayer Day for Peace (An invitation to "Do" and “Practice” Peace)

21st September 2016 - International Prayer Day for Peace
(An invitation to "Do" and “Practice” Peace)


"Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace” (United Nations)

Each year, the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21st September. The General Assembly of the United Nations has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals to inculcate the culture of Peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.  

The World Council of Churches calls Churches and all the faith and peace loving communities to observe the International Day of Prayer for Peace. Observances of the peace prayer day began in 2004 during a meeting between the then WCC General Secretary Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and coincides with the UN International Day of Peace.

The Commission on Justice Peace and Creation of the National Council of Churches in India has been facilitating and working with the Indian Churches for the past seven years to ensure that this day addresses issues related to peace and societal harmony.  Along with the Indian Churches we are working and raising voices for Peace wherever there are conflicts such as in Iraq, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Palestine and other such contexts, even within India where unjust and inhuman policies and politics are gravely affecting the general innocent public. The NCCI joins the global communities who seek peace and demand suitable mechanisms for 'truth and reconciliation'.  On 3rd February 2014, at the NCCI's Centenary Symposium, the South Asian National Councils have decided to work on a common theme 'Peace and Human Security in South Asia'.

Invitation:

The Commission on Unity and Mission of the National Council of Churches in India, invites all NCCI Constituent Members, Interfaith and Peace Loving Communities to creatively observe this day in your respective congregations, communities and institutions. 

Such observances would offer opportunities for all of us to support the peace campaign widely and to reaffirm the words of Jesus ' ... blessed are the peace makers (Matthew 5: 20)' by ministering for the Right of Peoples to Peace, thereby following the call of God in promoting peace in our region.

The International Prayer Day for Peace also invites all to honour the practice of cessation of hostilities and to commemorate the Day by organizing events to 'light a candle' and encouraging the people to 'pledge for peace', offering special prayers for  peace and for victims and martyrs in conflicts,  creating  public awareness on issues related to peace, thereby affirming the declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace, with its central message that humanity’s sustainable progress and the realization of fundamental rights and freedom depend on peace and security. It is central to the Rights upfront approach, which calls upon the national and international communities to act early and more concertedly in the face of human rights violations, which are often the precursors of worse to come.

This Day also unites all of us as an earth family to deliver the right to peace by encouraging fighters to lay down and give-up their arms.  Let this Day make us stand in solidarity with the civilians killed by terrorism and war, the traumatized families whose homes and futures lie in ruins, the countries whose development has been set back by decades.

History has shown that, no matter how fierce, conflict can end, peace can prevail and reconciliation can triumph.  On 21st September, at concerts and special events around the world -- in major cities and small towns, in conflict zones and peaceful communities – people will broadcast this essential message.  They will celebrate the value of human diversity and the strength of our unity. 

Therefore, the NCCI urges every peace-loving person and congregations to engage with their friends and neighbours, their community organizations and governments: together let us pray and claim the right of peoples to peace. Let us dedicate this day to praying and sowing seeds of local possibilities for a harvest of global peace.

Yours,
Rt. Rev. Dr. Prem Chand Singh,
President

Mr. Liju J Kuriakose                    Mrs. Aleyamma Thomas          Rev. Dr. Rathnakara Sadananda
                                                                Vice Presidents

Rev. Dr. A G Augustine Jayakumar                                                             Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad
Treasurer                                                                                        General Secretary

Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar
Executive Secretary



Suggested Prayers

God our creator, 
Your Son Jesus Christ said to the apostles
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you”. 
Give us courage to challenge the perpetrators of violence 
and to change their behaviour.
Help us devote our whole life, 
thought and energy to the task of making peace.
We pray for the war affected societies including Gaza, Sri Lanka, Iraq, Egypt and other places and the victims of the conflicts,
where fear, violent thoughts or action shall no longer exist,
and where selfishness will not lead people to commit injustice to others.
As for the peoples of every earth community and race, 
may your 'kindom' come; through your reign of Justice, Peace and Love.
May peace prevail in Asia.
May peace prevail on earth.
We pray in the name of Jesus the Prince of Peace
Amen.

While holding a lighted candle the following 
Peace Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi could be recited as a pledge

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.  Amen...

Special Event:

This NCCI joins hands with the United Evangelical Lutheran Churches in India, Gurukul Lutheran Theological College and Research Institute, Tamilnadu Christian Council and Christian Service Agency in organizing a peace symposium on the UN’s theme of the day i.e., ‘Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks of Peace’. The Peace Worship is scheduled to be held at the Gurukul Chapel at 10.00 and followed by a Peace Tree Plantation and Peace Fellowship at 10.30 am, and from 11.00 am to 1.00 pm, a Peace Symposium is scheduled at Church Women Centre, UELCI Campus, Chennai.  Chennai based ecumenists, clerics and interested people are welcome.


Note: The Commission on Justice Peace and Creation of the NCCI (now renamed as Commission on Unity and Mission) and the United Evangelical Lutheran Churches in India (UELCI) have jointly developed a ‘Peace Manual’. Interested persons may contact The Commission on Unity and Mission - NCCI Post Box 205, Civil lines, Nagpur - 440001. (Maharashtra) Phone: +917122561464 email: ncci@nccindia.in.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Tribal and Adivasi Sunday-2016 Celebrated Across India

The lives of Tribals and Adivasis in India are always an intertwining of struggles and celebrations. Over the years Tribal and Adivasi Sunday has been observed in many parts of our country to sensitize the Indian churches to break down barriers that separate indigenous people from other communities and to express solidarity with the struggles of our Tribal and Adivasi brothers and sisters. The member churches of the National Council of Churches in India and Theological Colleges in India celebrated Tribal and Adivasi Sunday all across the country on Sunday, the 7th of August 2016 and also on following Sundays. The theme for the celebration was, “Towards Just and inclusive Communities: Visions and Voices of Tribals and Adivasis”.

Celebration in All Saints Cathedral, St. Thomas Church and AHM 1840 Church, CNI, Nagpur:


Rev. Dr. Hmingthansanga, General Secretary of All India Sunday School Association preached at All Saints Cathedral CNI Church on Luke 10. In his sermon he emphatically asked  “Who is my neighbour?’’ and highlighted the problems faced by Tribal, Adivasis and Dalits in today’s context.




Categorizing Tribals and Adivasis as inferior or backward, marginalising and discriminating on any ground is a sin before the creator God as God has created all human beings in God's own image, said Mr. Pradip Bansrior, Executive Secretary-Commission on Dalits, Tribals and Adivasis during the Tribal and Adivasi Sunday worship at St. Thomas CNI Church, Nagpur on 7th August 2016. 



Ms. Ngalaton Ningsen, Intern-Commission on Dalits, Tribals and Adivasis shared briefly about the struggles of Tribals and Adivasis at AHM 1840 CNI Church, Nagpur.



Celebration in Mennonite Church in India, Chhattisgarh

Mennonite Church in India celebrated Tribal and Adivasi Sunday on August 07, 2016. Dn. Vikal Rao, Secretary of Mennonite Church in India encouraged the congregation to voice out for Adivasi brothers and sisters who have been deprived of their rights especially of their  land and forest rights for the sake of development. Two of the Adivasi Bishops from MCI shared their life experiences, the present political scenario and challenged how the Church can provide help and make a difference in their lives.


Celebration in  Samavesam of Telugu Baptist Church, Andhra Pradesh
The General Secretary, Rev. Dr. J. M. Franklin of the Samavesam of Telugu Baptist Churches thanked and acknowledged NCCI for encouraging the observance of Tribal and Adivasi Sunday as he believed that through this service the churches realized the suffering of Tribals and Adivasis at the hands of dominating communities. On 7th August 2016 the STBC churches celebrated Tribal and Adivasi Sunday and prayed for freedom, equality, and proper education facilities for Tribals and Adivasis.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Interfaith Communities Dream a World Without Persons with Disabilities

Report of the Interfaith Round Table on Disability held on  25th August 2016 at Tamilnadu Theological Seminary







The National Council of Churches in India - Indian Disability Ecumenical Accompaniment (NCCI – IDEA) and World Vision India joined the Tamilnadu Theological Seminary, Tamilnadu Christian Council, Engage Disability, Christian Service Agency, Church of South India – Diocese of Madurai–Ramnad and the Madurai Interfaith Initiative in organizing an ‘Interfaith Round Table on Disability’ on 25th August 2016 at Tamilnadu Theological Seminary, Madurai on the theme “Faith Journey Together Towards Inclusive Communities’.  

70 faith practitioners from different faith backgrounds including clerics, lay leaders, students of theology, philosophy, secular studies, research scholars, theological and secular educators, social and development workers and representatives from different interfaith initiatives participated in this round table representing the major faiths including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Dalit, Folk and also Secular Ideologies.

The round table started with a  Buddhist prayer by monks. Rev. Dr. Kanagu Nelson welcomed the gathering. The Coordinators shared greetings from Rt. Rev. Dr. M Joseph, Bishop CSI Diocese of Madurai – Ramnad and Dr. Esther Kathiroli, Secretary Tamilnadu Christian Council. Rev. Dr. David Rajendran, Principal, Tamilnadu Theological Seminary, inaugurated the Round Table by joining different faith representatives in lighting the ‘kuthu vilakku’. Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar (NCCI) and Dr. Christopher Baskaran (World Vision India) shared  greetings from NCCI and World Vision and introduced the round table.

Rev. Dr. David Rajendran, in his inaugural address informed the participants that the entire Christian world is getting ready to commemorate 500 years of Martin Luther’s Reformation in 2017. 500 years ago the ‘reformation movement’ questioned and countered the oppressive and discriminating faith practices of that time and the reformation helped the adherents to get away from oppressive components in their faith journey. He further called upon the faith communities to work towards reformation in contemporary times in order to promote and uphold  inclusive society through our spiritualties, faith expressions and religious practices, and to completely eliminate and eradicate  oppressive and discriminating practices in our societies by expanding the inclusive realm to all the religiously, socially, culturally and historically excluded communities including ‘People with Disabilities’ (PWDs). 


Thursday, 25 August 2016

Applications for scholarship 2016 - 2017 invited from Ministry of Minority Affairs

National Council of Churches in India encourages  member churches and institutions to avail the opportunities offered by Ministry of Minority Affairs.The details about the scholarships and the links of the related websites are given below:
It is mandatory for all students to apply online on
Documents to be attached:
● Aadhar Card
● Photo with signature
● Last year Mark list
● Residential Proof
● Self-Declaration of Income Proof.
● Self declaration of Religious Certificate.
● Bank Passbook Xerox with IFSC Number.
please download  

time line for scholarship
guide line for scholarship 

Monday, 15 August 2016

Churches and FBOs call for land rights, equitable financial flows and life-enhancing learning at the World Social Forum


Land rights, equity in development resource flows and life-enhancing epistemologies were among the themes emphasized by churches and faith-based organisations at the World Social Forum (WSF) held in Montreal, Canada from 09-14 August 2016.

“Land creates an ecology of life…It is about relationships”, reflected Bishop Mark McDonald, World Council of Churches (WCC) President for North America, in an event titled “Listen to the the Land” organized by the Oikotree movement at the WSF. “However, the way land is understood in Western thought is completely hostile to the indigenous understanding of land.” For Indigenous peoples, the concept of land stewardship rather than ownership is recognized.

“In the case of Palestine, the Israeli occupation, particularly illegal settlements, have not only dispossessed Palestinians of their land, it has adversely impacted soils and water sources in the occupied territories,” said Nora Carmi. “Our soils and waters are poisoned, our cattle and people are dying of cancers and other illnesses.”

“Land is now subject to the dominant growth-obsessed, profit-oriented paradigm of production, consumption and distribution, intensifying land grabbing in Africa and many parts of the world” said Dr Rogate Mshana, representing Ecolife in Tanzania. “But the Sustainable Development Goals are silent on land-grabbing.” 

Speaking at another Oikotree event, titled “Who will bell the cat?”, Stanley William from the Integrated Rural Development of Weaker Sections in India, Ecumenical Commission on Draught and Water Management (ECoDAWM) and the National Council of Churches in India observed that development funding and resource flows increasingly follow the same logic of growth and profit. “The result is that finance and other resources continue to be funneled from the global South to the global North.”

In response to these deeply-embedded problems, “we need a different theological and cultural reflection on land and life,” said Rev Dr Susan Davies at the Oikotree workshop on “Life-enhancing learning together.” “Unlearning life-destroying epistemologies and re-learning life-enhancing ones based on Indigenous concepts such as Sumak Kawsay, Ubuntu and Saeng-sen are critical for building a just and sustainable future,” said Rev Dr Seong-won Park, convenor of the Oikotree movement. “These concepts help us to understand that we are all interconnected in the web of life.”

The Oikotree movement is a faith-based network of movements and organizations striving for justice in the economy and the Earth initiated by the WCC, World Communion of Reformed Churches and Council for World Mission.


“As part of the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace, churches ought to accompany the struggles of movements for land and life. The World Social Forum – convened as an alternative to the World Economic Forum – is an important venue to do so,” said Athena Peralta, WCC Programme Executive for Economic and Ecological Justice.