LWSIT observes “Day of Prayer to End Famine”

In response to the call given by World Council of Churches – Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (WCC – EAA) and All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) to observe May 21, 2017 as a Global Day of Prayer to End Famine, the Lutheran World Service India Trust, which is a member of the National Council of Churches in India, observed the same at its National Office in Kolkata.

Download the letter from LWSIT

Ministry of Women and Child Development is Updating About National Policy of Women’s Empowement

Mrs Maneka Sanjay Gandhi – Union Cabinet  Minister of Women and Child Development Ministry of  Government of India

The Ministry of Women & Child Development in India  has formulated   a draft National Policy for Women. According to Mrs Maneka Sanjay Gandhi Honourable  Indian  Union Cabinet  Minister of Women and Child Development Ministry  “This transformative policy will address the needs of women in the New India and also guide the functioning of the Government in decades to come. For the last two years, the Ministry of Women & Child Development has been actively engaged with various stakeholders in formulating a National Policy For Women.” Mrs Maneka Sanjay Gandhi requests concerned citizens  to share new ideas for women’s safety and empowerment and participate in developing this policy for women.

Women’s Concern’s Ministry of the National Council of Churches in India invites member Churches, Church leaders, Christian organizations and institutions to respond to  Mrs Maneka Sanjay Gandhi’s request and contribute ideas to the policy for transformative change.

Promoting rights to life and dignity of women and children , women’s empowerment and  empowering churches  to engage in  advocacy to end gender based violence is one of the priority mission foci of the National Council of Churches in India

Suggestions can be sent  on Twitter  and on the Facebook  page of the Ministry. (Pleaseadd#NationalPolicy4Women on all your suggestions.)

Click on the Link for draft national policy for women 2016_0

An Ecumenical Call to join and Pray – “Global Day of Prayer to End Famine”

National Council of Churches in India – Unity and Mission

and

Ecumenical Commission on Drought and Water Management (ECODAWM)

join

World Council of Churches – Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (WCC – EAA) and

All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC)

 in extending an Invitation to

All Churches, Christian Organisations and All Faith Communities to participate in the

Global Day of Prayer to End Famine (May 21, 2017).

To

The Church Leaders, Heads of the Institutions and

Leaders of all Faith Communities

Respected and Revered Church Leaders, Heads of the Institutions and All Faith Leaders,

Greetings of Peace!

“For I was hungry and you gave me food,  I was thirsty and you gave me to drink,

I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” (Matthew 25:35).

Most of the Earth Communities including human communities of today  face drought and famine, more than at any time in modern history. Famine has been declared in South Sudan. Somalia, Nigeria, and Yemen are on the brink of famine and drought, and  some of the Indian States are facing a similar situation.

Globally, more than 20 million people are at risk of starvation, while millions more suffer from drought and food shortages. In this desperate situation children suffer most and become increasingly vulnerable. The UN is calling this the largest humanitarian crisis since 1945.  There is great danger that on its current course, the global response to this crisis will be hugely inadequate and will lead to unimaginable suffering and death, which is eminently avoidable. Hence, Church as a community that cares for others, have a responsibility and prophetic role in calling to mobilizing their members, the wider society and governments, and making a difference during this unprecedented period of suffering.

At this juncture of crisis, the World Council of Churches – Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance  (WCC – EAA) joins the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC)  in inviting the entire global Christian faith communities and ecclesial confessions to participate in  the ‘Global Day of Prayer to End Famine’ on the May 21st 2017.  with a special focus on the African continent. Thousands of churches, church related organisations and faith communities and their net-works in hundreds of countries are joining this global campaign considering its timely importance and need.

As we all are aware, India is not free of  such vulnerability. Agriculture is slowly dying. Everywhere we witness   water scarcity and in some places hunger deaths. In many parts of India, farmers commit suicide due to unprecedented drought,

Therefore, the National Council of  Churches in India (Unity and Mission), and Ecumenical Commission on Drought and Water Management join together in encouraging all Indian Churches to participate in the Global Day of Prayer to End Famine, and pray for India also along with offering prayers for Africa.

We sincerely request you to  encourage all your local congregations and grass-root communities to join  this prayer campaign on the 21st May 2017, to pray during our Sunday holy Masses, Worships and Services, beseeching God’s pardon for  human sin against the earth communities and seeking God’s providential grace to end famine and give life.

Nations from the North, South, East and West  are urged to embark on this Prayer Journey. It is a journey that is not about us, but about a world in desperate need of God’s compassionate love. It is a call to respond to God’s invitation in 2 Chronicles 7:14 to humble ourselves, pray, seek His face and turn from our wicked ways. May God hear our prayers, forgive our sin and heal our land.

Come let us join the ‘Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace’ with faith and prayer that  bring blessings to all the earth communities.  May our collective repentance, prayer and timely intervention assure and ensure  ‘zero hunger deaths’.

With kind regards and prayers,

Dr. William Stanley

ECODAWM

Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar

NCCI – Unity and Mission

Rt. Rev Dr. P C Singh

President – NCCI

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad

General Secretary – NCCI

Note:

The WCC worship and prayer resources are available in https://www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/events/global-day-of-prayer-to-end-famine.

If you wish to share your experiences, please share with us at <mission@ncci1914.com>

India at UPR UN meet on May 4, 2017

Photo Credit: ndtv.com

Minority rights, NGO crackdown raised at UN meet, India says freedoms secure

Concept of torture alien to our culture: Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi


From complaints of eroding minority rights and religious intolerance to the crackdown against NGOs, women’s rights to LGBT rights, Kashmir to Afrophobia — India’s track record on human rights came under sharp scrutiny at the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday in Geneva.

Several countries expressed concerns on India’s FCRA laws, incidents of religious intolerance, women’s rights and even racism. The Kashmir issue was also raised by Pakistan during the hearing of the third “Universal Periodic Review.” India has undergone this voluntary review twice before, in 2008 and 2012.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who presented India’s position, strongly denied the allegations. “The right to fair trial and free legal aid up to the highest court are enshrined as fundamental rights in the Constitution of India and thus guaranteed to all individuals. So much so that as the Attorney General of India, I was summoned by the Supreme Court at 2 in the morning to hear a last-ditch petition, after several rounds of litigation, by a convict who was guilty of terrorism to escape punishment (a reference to the Yakub Memon case). This shows the importance attached to upholding of human rights by India,” he told the UNHRC.

Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka backed India on its human rights record. But a group of countries, including the US, Australia, Germany, Czech Republic, Norway and Ireland, asked India to look at its FCRA laws with US saying that there is “complete lack of transparency” in the implementation which affects NGOs in India.

Germany, Vatican, Kazakhstan, Kenya, UK, South Korea and the Netherlands expressed concern over the issues of rights of religious minorities and intolerance.

Pakistan called for a stop to the use of pellet guns. India countered saying the situation in Kashmir is due to Pakistan’s actions and there is zero tolerance to terrorism.

Haiti raised the issue of “Afrophobia” which was denied by an Indian delegate who called the country a “land of Buddha” which did not have a racist mindset and said that these incidents were a case of local crime.

While Japan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan and Liechtenstein were among countries which raised concerns on women’s rights, Israel and Ireland raised the issue of equal rights for the LGBT community. Several countries asked India to ratify the convention against torture.

Leading the Indian delegation, Rohatgi said that India makes no distinction between caste, creed, colour or religion of a citizen. “India is a secular state with no state religion,” he said, adding that the Indian Constitution guarantees freedom of religion to every individual. He said the right to free speech and expression occupies its rightful place in the core of the Constitution.

“As the world’s largest multi-layered democracy, we fully recognise the importance of free speech and expression. Our people are conscious of their political freedoms and exercise their choices at every opportunity,” Rohatgi said. “We believe in peace, non-violence and upholding human dignity. As such, the concept of torture is completely alien to our culture and it has no place in the governance of the nation.”

On the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Rohatgi said the Act is applied only to disturbed areas — few and in proximity to some international borders. Several countries, including the US, raised the issue of AFSPA. “Whether this Act should be repealed or not is a matter of on-going vibrant political debate in my country,” he said.

On transgenders, Rohatgi said that India has been at the forefront of recognising their equal rights. The Supreme Court gave a landmark judgement in 2014 directing the government to declare trans-genders a “third gender” and included them as an “Other Backward Class” entitled to affirmative action benefits.

The apex court also reinforced that trans-genders should have all rights under law, including marriage, adoption, divorce, succession and inheritance, Rohatgi added.

Rohatgi said India seeks to ensure inclusive development and the protection of rights of vulnerable groups and it has enacted a range of laws to address sexual assault and other gender-based crimes.

“We have overhauled the legal framework for dealing with child sexual assault,” he said, adding that India remains deeply committed towards reinforcing and accelerating efforts towards combating human trafficking.

Source: Indian Express (http://indianexpress.com/article/india/minority-rights-ngo-crackdown-raised-at-un-meet-india-says-freedoms-secure-4641197/) Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Published:May 5, 2017 5:17 am

 

Read more on this at the following links:

MAY DAY CELEBRATION WITH THE MIGRANTS

Migrants form the largest part of India’s vast unorganised work sector. Their entry into the labour markets is marked with several endemic disadvantages. Devoid of critical skills, information and bargaining power, migrant workers often get caught in exploitative labour arrangements that force them to work in low-end, low-value, hazardous work. Lack of identity and legal protection accentuates this problem. The hardships of migrant workers are especially magnified when state boundaries are crossed and the distance between the “source” and “destination” increases. In India, thousands of people including men, women and children mostly Dalits and Adivasis, are forced to migrate from their homes to other places because of poverty, unemployment, limited economic activities, landlessness, global warming, environmental calamities, failure in agriculture due to uncertain monsoon and floods, deforestation, political persecution, poor medical care facilities in their native place, forced displacement due to so-called developmental work, and so on. Keeping these things in mind NCCI-Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns in partnership with Vidarbha Centre for Labour Concerns and Bahujan Rangbhoomi (street theatre group) celebrated May Day with more than 200 various labour migrants as well as locals from the Butibori and Hingna (Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation) MIDC area at Samvidhan Chowk (Constitution Square), Near Kasturchand Park, Nagpur on 1st May from 4:30 to 6:30 pm. This celebration was done through sharing of Experiences, Street Theatre performances, singing songs of Liberation and Expressions of social-workers.

Read more

Birth Centenary Celebrations – His Grace The Most Rev. Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar Thoma Valiya Metropolitan.

Mar Thoma Church is eagerly waiting for April 27th 2017 which is a historical day for the Church. Our Mar Thoma Valiya Metropolitan is entering into the 100th year. Thirumeni is an exceptional personality in the demographics of Church by serving as an Evangelist, Semsano, Kasseesa, Ramban, Episcopa, Suffragan Metropolitan, Officiating Metropolitan, 20th Metropolitan and Valiya Metropolitan.

The Birth Centenary Celebrations of the Valiya Thirumeni is scheduled to be conducted on Thursday, the 27th April 2017 at Sabha Head Quarters at Thiruvalla. This Birthday Celebration is also the culmination of all the Birth Centenary Celebrations conducted by the different Dioceses of the Mar Thoma Church.

The Birth Centenary celebration will begin by the Holy Communion and Thanksgiving service at 8:30 AM at St. Thomas Mar Thoma Church Thiruvalla. His Grace the Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan will celebrate the Holy Communion service.

Read more

Request for Churches and Congregations to pray for the Supreme Court hearing on the 20th of April to uphold the rights of minorities as per the Constitution of India

Letter from The Synod of The Church of North India: Request for Churches and Congregations to pray for the Supreme Court hearing on the 20th of April to uphold the rights of minorities as per the Constitution of India.

 


 

Open letter to The Prime Minister of India.

To

Shri Narendra Modi,
The Prime Minister of India

Dear Prime Minister,

Greetings!

Though a Christian pastor, and serving the National Council of Churches in India as its General Secretary, I am writing this open letter to you as an Indian citizen, joining all Indian citizens who are concerned about the state of affairs in our country, India

You have been giving the country very impressive slogans about its future, be it “Achhe Din!” or “New India!” Harping on “Development” you have been advocating and initiating schemes such as “Make in India”, “Skill India”, “Start-up India”, “Digital India”, “Smart Cities”, etc.

The question which many would like to ask: Achhe Din for whom? New India for whom? The Preamble to the Constitution of India gives us a vision for all citizens:

We the People of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic, and to secure to all its citizens:

JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;
and to promote among them all
FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation

However many people who belong to your government, party, and other likeminded bodies give us a different picture of Achhe Din and of New India where the values of Justice, Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity are stifled. “Vigilantism” has become a popular methodology of such persons and bodies.

Cow Vigilantism: Cow reverence and cow protection has become a very serious concern among such people. They claim that the cow represents their religion and culture. I appreciate the cow symbol as it represents love, compassion, service, sacrifice, and non-violent living. People, when they become politically emotional about this symbol, tend to give expression to hatred, cruelty, harm, murder, and violent life-styles. I wonder whether the cow would approve of such things done in her name. Read more

Christians urge the government not to celebrate ‘Digital India Day’ on Good Friday this year.

  • LETTER 1

(from The Synod of The Church of North India)

 


  • LETTER 2

 

Text of the letter

Nongpyngrope,  Circle  III,
Mawpat,
Shillong  793 012.
13  April,  2017.

The  Honourable  Chief  Minister,
Meghalaya,
Shillong.

Subject:  Expressing appreciation for your stand with  regard  to  sacredness  of  Good  Friday:

Sir,

It  is  with  a  deep  sense  of  relief  and  appreciation  I  have  come  to  learn  that  you  have  made  your  stand  unequivocal  with  regard  to  the  sacredness  of  Good  Friday  for  Christians  not  only  of    the  State  of  Meghalaya  but  the  world  over  as  it  is  the  day    observed   with  all  solemnity  and  introspection  on  the  death  of  Jesus  more  than  2000   years  ago  through  and  an unjust  decision made  by  Pontius  Pilate,  as  he  was  swerved  by  a  crowd  crying  for Jesus’  crucifixion  through  manoeuvring  by  religious  and  political leaders  of the  day.

Though no  one  would  express  reservation  on  having  Digital  India  Day  but  the  choice  of  date  which  falls  on  Good  Friday  does  not  behove  well  as  also  Christmas  Day  has  been  declared  to  be  Good  Governance  Day.  Here again, everyone  wants  good  governance  on  a  daily  basis,  in  fact,  24 x 7   but  to  have  chosen  25th  December,  which  also  happens  to  be  the  birthday   of   former  Prime  Minister,  Shri  Atal  Behari  Vajpayee  is  akin  to  belittling  the  spiritual  sentiment  of  Christians  in  India  and  to  marginalise  the  date  observed  as  the  historical  date  of  birth  of  Jesus.

As  the  date  for  observing  Digital  India  has  been  fixed,  we  would  like  to  thank  you  profusely  for  having  stated  that  in  Meghalaya,  it’ll  be  Good  Friday  on  Friday,  14  April,  2017.

It  is  hoped  that  through  your  intervention  along  with  request  made  by  our  two  Lok  Sabha  MPs,  Church  of  North  India,  Meghalaya  Youth  Federation  (MYF)  and  others  for  Government  of  India  to  defer  the  date  of  Digital  India,  the  Union  Government  will  henceforth,  consider  alternative  proposals  not  hurting  religious  sentiments  of  minorities.

As  it  is,  14  April  also  happens  to  be the  birthday  of  Dr.  Bhim  Rao  Ambedkar,  the  architect  of  India’s  Constitution  who  also  championed  for  the  Sixth  Schedule to  become  a  reality  through  the  efforts  of  a  three  member  Committee  led  by  (L)  Gopinath  Bordoloi  with  (L)  Rev.  J.  M.  M.  Nichols-Roy  and  (L)  Jaspal  Singh  as  members.

May  God  bless  and  guide  you  and  your  Government.

Yours  sincerely,

Rev.  Dr.  P.  B.  M.  Basaiawmoit

 

Consultation of Church Heads – March 15, 2017 | ACTION PLAN

To

The Constituent Members
National Council of Churches in India.

 

Dear Ecumenical Leaders,

Kindly find attached a copy of the Action Plan which is the result of the Consultation of Church Heads which was held on 15th March 2017 in Delhi.

The Action  Plan addresses three major concerns : Uniform Civil Code, National Education Policy and Juvenile Justice Act. There is also a fourth section which refers to other concerns, particularly the growing control of the Government on our Medical Institutions in Vellore and Ludhiana.

I request you to kindly address the concerns in the Action Plan in whatever appropriate effective manner you deem fit.  It is high time that churches and Christian organizations start speaking up on issues that threaten the democratic, secular structure of the country. Please keep us informed on the actions taken by your Church/Christian Organization/Council in addressing the issues mentioned in the Action Plan.

Thanking you in anticipation,

Yours sincerely,

 

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad
General Secretary

 

Click on link to download Action Plan –

 Action Plan .doc  

 Action Plan  .pdf