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.

PRESS RELEASE: NCCI EXPRESSES GRAVE APPREHENSION OVER THE DRAFT OF THE NEW EDUCATIONAL POLICY.

PRESS RELEASE


The Executive Committee of the National Council of Churches in India, meeting in Chennai on August 13, 2016, has expressed grave concern over the new education policy drafted by the Government of India. 

The major points of concern are the following:

1. The preamble of the draft eulogizes the ancient patriarchal gurukul system, and praises the contributions of male hindu scholars of the past and of hindu leaders in modern India. Such a review smacks of ‘hindu reading’ of educational history and gives rise to the apprehension of introducing a deliberately purported hinduized educational system. Furthermore, the draft makes mention of male hindu scholars only thereby giving the impression of a male-dominated hinduized educational system.

2. The draft does not give any credit to the immense historic and continuing contribution of the Church to education in Indian society. The Church has been making a very valuable positive impact to school, college and professional education through its thousands of institutions in the country.

3. The policy lays emphasis on internationalization of education, which raises concerns of educational equity. It would lead to a class divide in society: the rich availing international education, and the poor left with a different standard of education. 

4. The policy also makes an implicit division in the quality and levels of education: the higher international standard education for the rich and the skill-oriented education for the poor. It thereby again reinforces a kind of caste and class hierarchy in education. 

5. While the government hardly invests 3% of GDP on education, the policy aspires to invest 6% of GDP on education. Way back in the 1990s, the government had committed to invest 6% of GDP on education, but failed to do so. In the present context the government should invest at least 8% of GDP, if not more. 

6. The draft with its emphasis on governance and administration through a hierarchy of offices at state division, district, block and schools gives rise to the fear of the imposition of a centralized system of education which takes away the freedom and dynamism of minority-run institutions and individual schools. 

7. The Government would also have to be sensitive to the pluralistic multicultural, multi-religious context of the country, before imposing any centralized system of education for it to be truly inclusive.

8. The draft also suggests reviewing of RTE 12 (1) clause. This issue has been settled in the Supreme Court after several litigations. Therefore the suggestion for reviewing RTE 12 (1) clause appears to be a ploy of the government to interfere in the life and administration of institutions run by religious minorities. Article 30 of the constitution upholds the rights of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions. 

The NCCI, with its emphasis on Just and Inclusive Communities, strongly urges the government to have a special consultation with minority educational Institutions on the draft national education policy.

-NCCI NEWS

NCCI EXPRESSES SERIOUS RESERVATIONS ABOUT THE INTENTION OF THE GOVERNMENT TO INTRODUCE THE LOKPAL ACT 2013.


The National Council of Churches in India, in its Executive Committee meeting in Chennai on August 13, 2016, has expressed serious reservations about the intention of the Government to introduce the Lokpal Act of 2013.

The Act designates directors of organisations receiving annually either Rs. One Crore or more from Government grants, or Rs. Ten Lakhs or more from foreign funding, as ‘Public Servants’. It therefore requires the directors to declare their assets and file annual returns giving particulars not only of themselves, but also of their spouses and dependent children.

The NCCI has the following serious concerns about this Act:

1. By designating directors of Church bodies and NGOs as public servants, the Government is extending its strictures to non-profit charitable ministries which is contrary to the original objectives of the Act that was primarily meant to hold Government servants to be accountable and responsible.

2. This Act could be used as a tool to interfere in the laudable services of religious bodies and organisations, particularly of minority communities. This would severely hamper the good work rendered in the service of the nation.

3. The compulsion and extent of declaring assets and filing returns is an invasion on the privacy of the persons serving as directors of noble religious bodies and organisations.


-NCCI NEWS

STATEMENT. NCCI STRONGLY CONDEMNS ATROCITIES AGAINST DALITS IN INDIA

PRESS RELEASE | STATEMENT

The National Council of Churches in India, meeting as a General Body in Chennai on August 12, 2016, strongly condemned  the growing atrocities against dalits in India:

National Council of Churches in India expresses its grave concern over the vehement hate campaigns and brutal attacks on Dalits in different parts of India. We condemn the perpetrators, cow vigilante groups and the right wing fundamentalists who take the law in their hands and torment the Dalits in our country. Serious cognizance must be taken of the hate campaigns manifesting in their most recent forms such as the activities of ‘Cow-killers’ and restrictions sought to be imposed on ‘Cow-meat-eaters’. This is an extreme form of modern-day practice of untouchability and discrimination.

We appeal to the Central and State Governments to ensure justice for Dalits without bias by maintaining the appropriate Law and Order to protect the vulnerable communities who are victimised in such hate campaigns.

We are informed by the media that, the perpetrators are booked under public nuisance charges instead of taking legal action under SC&ST Prevention of Atrocities Act. Therefore, we urge the state governments to apply the SC&ST Prevention of Atrocities Act rightfully against the perpetrators in order to safeguard the constitutional rights that affirm life ‘OF’ all and life ‘FOR’ all.

-  NCCI NEWS

NCCI EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER THE TROUBLED SITUATION IN KASHMIR.

The National Council of Churches in India, in its Executive Committee meeting in Chennai on August 13, 2016, has expressed deep concern over the disturbed situation in Kashmir.


It urges the central and state governments to facilitate peace in the region on the principles of justice and inclusivity. The NCCI also urges the Government to reconsider the continuance of the imposition of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Kashmir and North-East India. 

The NCCI calls upon all Churches, Regional Councils, All India Christian Organisations and Related Agencies to earnestly pray for justice and peace in Kashmir and all other troubled areas in the country.

- NCCI NEWS

NCCI CONDEMNS CONTINUING ATROCITIES ON CHRISTIAN MISSION WORKERS.

PRESS RELEASE


The National Council of Churches in India, in its Executive Committee meeting in Chennai on August 13, 2016, condemned incidents of physical attacks on Christian Mission workers in different parts of the country.

The NCCI is concerned about wanton actions taken by right wing fundamentalist forces on dedicated workers seeking to serve the society through their ministries of education, health care and life-transformation. So also the worship services conducted by them in houses of Christian families have been disrupted on the false allegation that they are converting people to the Christian faith. Such workers have been subject to much humiliation including being imprisoned on false charges.

This is indeed a violation of their basic constitutional rights of professing and practicing their religious faith. It is also a grave injustice to the selfless, loving service rendered by Christian Mission Workers to the society.

The NCCI calls upon Churches to be vigilant and to extend solidarity to all Christian workers who are engaged in responsible evangelism and mission. At the same time, the NCCI calls upon the central and state governments to ensure law and order in the society, and extend its protection to religious minorities and weaker sections of society.

- NCCI NEWS

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Black Day Observance at NCCI Campus, Nagpur






All NCCI Staff members observed “Black Day” on August 10, 2016 at the NCCI Campus, Nagpur to  protest about the continual negligence of the government to the cry for the rights of Dalit Christians and Muslims in the country.  In his address, Mr. Pradip Bansrior, Executive Secretary- Dalit and Tribal/ Adivasi Concerns,  highlighted the injustice related to the issue and lamented that the Civil Writ Petition 180/2004 in the Honorable Supreme Court of India praying for the deletion of paragraph 3 of the Presidential Order 1950 has been pending in the Supreme Court of India for the past 12 years, since the Government has not yet replied to the Supreme court. 

The infamous Presidential (Scheduled Caste) Order 1950 was signed on 10th August 1950 by the then President of India, which says “No person who professes a religion other than Hinduism shall be deemed to be a member of the scheduled caste”. It was later amended to include Sikhs (1956) and Buddhists (1990) in the Scheduled Caste net. But this law has continued to keep  Dalit Muslims and Dalit Christians out of the Scheduled Caste list.

The NCCI Staff members along with the Secretaries assembled in front of the NCCI Secretariat, with black ribbons pinned on their chests/shoulders and  held  Black Day posters in their hands as a mark of protest. Rev. Christopher Rajkumar hoisted a Black Flag as an affirmation of solidarity with the suffering Christians and Muslims of Scheduled caste origin.  The protest came to a close with the word of prayer by Rev. Caesar David.

Pradip Bansrior
Executive Secretary
Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns
National Council of Churches in India

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

A Relevant Diaconal Intervention for Youth Today

Workshop on ‘Youth for Peace’
23rd July 2016, Aruppukottai, Virudhunagar, Tamilnadu


A one-day workshop on Relevant (Diaconal) Mission for Youth under the theme “Youth for Peace” was held on 23rd July 2016, at Church of South India (CSI) Parish Hall, Aruppukkottai, Virudhunagar District, Tamilnadu. The Unity, Mission and Evangelism Unit and the Youth Unit of National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), the Commission on  Conflict Transformation and Peace Building Program of United Evangelical Lutheran Churches in India (UELCI), Christian Service Agency (CSA) and Congregation Accompanied Reformed Diaconia In Action (CARDIA) and Dept. of Communication of CSI Diocese of Madurai and Ramnad jointly organized this workshop.

More than 175 boys and girls from 10 grassroots congregations participated in this workshop. Rev. Vinolin Caleap, Director, Christian Education Department of the CSI-DMR welcomed the gathering.

Rev. Jothinayagam, the Chairman of the Local Council inaugurated the Workshop. Mr. Kasta Dip, Director, India Peace Centre, gave greetings along with a call to the youth to be the ambassadors of peace in addressing the issues that ruin peace in our societies.  

Mr. Jianthaolung Gonmei, Executive Secretary -  Youth, led the devotion on “Blessed are the Peace Makers” (Matthew 5:9). He emphasized three points: Peace Breakers, Peace Fakers, Peace Makers. He further challenged the youth to be effective instruments of peace in the society.

Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar, Executive Secretary - Justice, Peace and Creation, led a workshop on ‘Contextual Scanning' through various cross-learning activities.  This session facilitated the participants to have a better understanding of their neighborhoods and what the injustices are that ruin peaceful and harmonious living of communities. Further he challenged the participants by asserting that since  ‘youth are the heart’ of the church,  we need to know our role and function. If we fail, the entire life of our church would be a failure.  This session challenged and encouraged the youth to stand for justice and peace with love in action.

Rev. Vinolin Caleap and Rev. Timothy Arulkumar jointly conducted an evaluation session. Rev. Ebenezer Joshua, Director, Communication Department of the CSI-DMR proposed the vote of thanks. Rev. Jothinayagam closed this workshop with a word of prayer and benediction. Ten pastors from different churches also graced this workshop with their presence and prayers.


Reported by:
Conflict Transformation and Peace Building Programme of the  United Evangelical Lutheran Churches in India,

Justice, Peace and Creation and Youth Units of the National Council of Churches in India, 
Christian Service Agency and CSI Diocese of Madurai – Ramnad.


Indian Churches’ Pilgrimage of Green-justice…




The National Council of Churches in India and the Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action has jointly initiated a pilot programme with four local congregations to address the climate justice issue, thereby accompanying them in their journey towards becoming ‘green congregations’. This programme is an outcome of the National Church Leaders’ Consultation on ‘Ecumenical Diaconia at the Grassroots’ held from 24 -26 August 2015 in Bangalore. 

Since there has been a long standing concern to strengthen churches in North India, the four local congregations belonging to NCCI Member churches come mainly from this region. The four congregations are part of the Church of North India (Amritsar Diocese), Gossner Evangelical Lutheran Church (Ranchi) Hindustani Covenant Church (Pune) and Methodist Church in India (Delhi Conference).

In order to launch this programme, NCCI and CASA jointly organized a workshop for the responsible persons from the above mentioned churches on ‘Congregation Based Diaconia: Towards Climate Justice’ on 3 – 4 August 2016, at CNI Bhavan, Delhi, India. There were twenty participants including women, youth, lay and clergy from these four local congregations. They will constitute the nucleus of their own congregations in implementing the climate justice programme in their respective grass-roots contexts.

This pilot programme aims at developing a mature understanding of Ecumenical Diaconia at the grassroots, and to evolve relevant diaconal and missional interventions at the local congregational level, addressing the issue of climate justice from devotional faith, theological, ministerial and missional perspectives, in the context of un-earth-friendly ‘growth’, ‘development’ and ‘globalization’ policies of the governments. The underlying principle is that of being responsible stewards of God’s ‘good’ creation.

In the course of one year, the four local congregations will start a process and cultivate a life-style of becoming green communities of love, justice and inclusivity. They will thus be expected to become torch bearers for local congregations all over the country who will follow their example.

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad, Dr. Sushant Agrawal, Ms. Ruth Yamima Kachhap, Ms. Prita Samantaroy, Mr. Sanjiv Tigga, Ms. Ekta Lall and Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar facilitated various sessions in this workshop.

Co-ordinators:

Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar                             
National Council of Churches in India   

Ms. Ekta Lall
Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action