Commission on Justice, Peace and Creation
National Council of Churches in India
International Prayer Day for Peace – Celebrations
September 21, 2015, Ranchi, Jharkhand
The NCCI Commission on Justice, Peace and Creation (CJPC) organized its annualInternational Prayer Day for Peace Celebrations on the 21st September, 2015 in Ranchi, Jharkhand, joining the SCM Jharkhand Bihar Region, CNI Chota Nagpur Diocese, GEL Church and Christian Service Agency on the theme ‘Peace and Dignity on Earth’. There were 150 participants from the different colleges, Churches and Civil Society Movements.
Rev. Fr. Aswin Fernandis, Chairperson of NCCI-CJPC chaired the celebrations. He called all the Churches to involve in doing peace and ministering for peace.
Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar Executive Secretary of NCCI–CJPC welcomed the gathering and gave a briefing about the International Prayer Day for Peace initiated by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the United Nations (UN), and requested remembrance of the victims of the conflicts all over the globe. Also, espoused that, the Jharkhand and Bihar regions are found to be some of the most conflict-affected zones in India in terms of Education, Employment, Agriculture, Human Trafficking, Migration, Invasion of Extractive Industries and the such. So, it is the right time to discuss on ‘Peace from Dalit and Adiviasi Perspectives’. And this day paves a way for the faith communities and the CSOs to initiate discussions and conversations on peace.
Rt. Rev. B. B. Baskey, the CNI Bishop in Chota Nagpur welcomed the dignitaries and the participants on behalf of the Chota Nagpur Diocese. Also Bishop presented a brief background about the regions and the conflicts that ruins the harmony in these regions. He also solicited an accompaniment with the churches in these regions to work for holistic peace.
Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary – NCCI opened up a discussion on the ban of the hindi movie ‘Messenger of God – II’ in Jharkhand and Punjab, in which the ‘Tribal and Adivasi’ communities are depicted as ‘god-rejected’, ‘evils’ and ‘anti-god’ communities. The concern was about the rise of ‘rightwing fundamentalism’ that divides the communities of people and creating ‘enmity’ among the communities with racial profiling strategies. Also he referred to the struggles of the migrating communities from these regions who struggle for ‘citizenship’ in Nepal and other neighbouring countries, and also problems including discrimination and statelessness that they face in several places in India itself.
Dr. Sushant Agrawal, Director, Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action and the Moderator of the ACT Alliance was the main speaker. Dr. Sushant identified and highlighted the conflicts in four areas which make victims of ‘economical violence’in Greece that creates the whole issue of migration and the refugees in the European region and their economy, the ‘faith conflict’ victims in Syria and the entire African regions, the increase of human-made ‘ecological conflicts’ by the extraction industries, climate change and carbon emission, and the ‘conflicts among the peoples communities’ such as caste conflicts. He challenged all the faith communities and the CSOs to join together in ignoring our differences to become ‘channels of peace’ and ‘peace-makers’. He further emphasized those faith communities to radically depart from their traditional ‘inward looking’ practices and move towards being ‘outward looking, ’ facilitating ‘holistic and inclusive’ communities of all. And finally he suggested all the well-wishers of peace to work together with a common minimum programme to address conflicts by educating and emancipating the youth and children at grassroots.
Rev. Dr. A G Augustine Jeyakumar greeted the participants and the church leaders urging them to become ‘peace-makers.’ He said, it is a challenging ministry but the churches are mandated to be ‘peace-makers’ and Jesus says ‘blessed are the peace makers’. So peace-making ministry is the blessed ministry and we all need to work together forgetting our ecclesial and theological differences.
Mr. Suman Biswas, Vice-President – NCCI, Rt. Rev. Dr. Nelson Lakra, Chairperson of the NCCI – Commission on Tribals and Adivasis, Mr. Inbaraj Jeyakumar, General Secretary SCM India and Mrs. T P Agrawal brought greetings. Rev. Dr. Samuel Meshack, President, World Association of Christian Communication and the Chairperson of the NCCI – Commission on Communication and Relations graced the occasion along with other several NCCI Executive Committee and General Body members.
Mrs. Ramani Dyvasirvadam, the Chairperson of the NCCI – Commission on Dalits, led in the ‘candlelight vigil’ remembering the ‘conflict victims’ all over the globe’ and a special prayer was offered for the conflict victims in Palestine suggested by the World Council of Churches. All recited the ‘Prayer for Peace’ by St. Francis of Assisi. All the participants solemnly prayed for peace with lighted candles.
Mr. Ranjit, Programme Secretary -SCM Jharkhand proposed the vote of thanks and Bishop Baskey offered a closing Prayer and Bishop Collins Theodore pronounced the benediction.
NCCI – Commission on Justice, Peace and Creataion