A Wheel Chaired Santa… made the Christmas Celebration Meaningful

CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION OF  PERSONS  WITH DISABILITIES

A wheel-chaired Santa graced the Christmas Celebration of the Persons with Disabilities (PWD). This radical imagery of Santa on wheel chair rather than his regular sleigh or dance rung hard in the minds of the participants. 8th December 2017 marked a one of a kind celebration with over 250 people and over 100 persons with disabilities who made it to this historic eventful Christmas celebration. Neither the foggy winter nor the chill wind that brushed the people could move the people present as they joyfully participated in some soul inspiring and mind boggling renditions of the Children with disabilities. The Children enthralled the participants by their thought provoking and energized engagement.

NCCI-IDEA’s 2nd Christmas Celebration of the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) embedded with the core PWD expectations of inclusion, justice, identity and dignity. The children and the persons with disabilities, who came in numbers to spell the good news of the season, ornamented the celebration. Before the children presented their artistic Christmas messages, the people who came there were inquisitive on seeing question marks everywhere. This inquisitivity drew the audience to reflect on what that question marks could mean.

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Concern for Justice and Peace over the Jerusalem Issue

The recognition accorded by the US Administration  to Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel, and its decision to shift its Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will further aggravate the problem of finding a just and peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian tension, and the larger issue of peace and goodwill in the West Asian region. It also undermines the role of UN (and all its member nations) who have resolved in 1980 that Jerusalem should be respected as  a  sacred place for three religious traditions, that no diplomatic missions of countries should be established in Jerusalem, and the declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel constitutes a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

It is in this context that the following appeal has been submitted to the US Embassy in India, and copies of the same have been circulated to all important state and civil society bodies. This is for your consideration, prayer and action. Let us be careful that we do not get carried away by unjust Zionist perspectives. Especially at Christmas time let us be committed to the Prince of Peace.

URGENT APPEAL

We, the undersigned, Justice and Peace-loving citizens in India, urge the US Adminstration to withdraw its recognization of Jerusalem as the Captital of Israel and the proposal to shift its Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

Realizing the adverse impact of the announcement by President Trump on Wednesday, the 6th December 2017,  on Arabs, Christians and Muslims who live in Palestine and all over the world;

Noting that this declaration will go against the UN Resolution that Jerusalem should be the ‘sacred place’ for all the major three religions – Judaism, Islam and Christianity;

Sensing that such an action will disrespect and jeopardise the peace process that has been under progress for both Jews and Palestinians to live together with a two-nation theory and peaceful settlement;

Understanding that this has already geared up the Islamic and other countries to express their deep concern and anguish against such an unwarranted decision by the US;

Considering that most of the world leaders including Pope Francis, State Heads of Britain, France and Germany and several Islamic States have condemned this unilateral decision and raised their voice against this proposal;

Bearing in mind that such an impulsive and drastic decision would lead to disturbance of peace not only in Middle East but also across the world;

Reflecting that this kind of unwarranted announcements may further instigate and perpetuate  the never ending war in that region that may spread over to different parts of the world;

Considering that this kind of irresponsible decions and desparate and impulsive actions would accelerate tension in Palestine and would worsen the life and livelihood situation of the marginalized especially the aged, otherwise abled, women and children in the occupied territories;

While expressing our deep concern and solidarity with the struggles of our brothers and sisters in Palestine for their life, livelihood, dignity, equality, justice and peace,

  • We strongly condemn the US Adminstration for the unilateral way of making decision on an internationally arbitrated issue that goes against all norms of democracy that the US keeps speaking about time and again for other nations to follow;
  • We urge US to withdraw this untimely and autarchic decision and allow the people of Israel and Palestine to live with Justice and Peace in mutually recognized states;
  • We also urge the Indian Government not to take sides with US and Israel but to intervene with the US Administration to call back this decision and announcement and to enable the Middle East and the entire world to live in Peace with due respct for humanity, dignity and diversity.

10.12.2017 – New Delhi

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Human Rights Day – December 10, 2017.

“Open your mouth for the speechless,  in the cause of all who are appointed to die. 
Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.”
(Proverbs 31:8-9)

   Human Rights Day – 10 December 2017

“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home — so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. […] Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70.

Let’s stand up for equality, justice and human dignity.

Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December – the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year, Human Rights Day kicks off a year-long campaign to mark the upcoming 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a milestone document that proclaimed the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being — regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. It is the most translated document in the world, available in more than 500 languages.

Drafted by representatives of diverse legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration sets out universal values and a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. It establishes the equal dignity and worth of every person. Thanks to the Declaration, and States’ commitments to its principles, the dignity of millions has been uplifted and the foundation for a more just world has been laid. While its promise is yet to be fully realized, the very fact that it has stood the test of time is testament to the enduring universality of its perennial values of equality, justice and human dignity.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights empowers us all. The principles enshrined in the Declaration are as relevant today as they were in 1948. We need to stand up for our own rights and those of others. We can take action in our own daily lives, to uphold the rights that protect us all and thereby promote the kinship of all human beings.

#StandUp4HumanRights

  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights empowers us all.
  • Human rights are relevant to all of us, every day.
  • Our shared humanity is rooted in these universal values.
  • Equality, justice and freedom prevent violence and sustain peace.
  • Whenever and wherever humanity’s values are abandoned, we all are at greater risk.
  • We need to stand up for our rights and those of others.

National Church Mission Association (NCMA) 
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) India
Milap Community Church of India
Chhattisgarh State Christian Alliance
Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), Raipur

 

(Source:  Rev. Akhilesh Edgar)

“You can be one of the five daughters of Zelophehad or can support them…..” – Hungreiphy engages in Advocacy for Indigenous Women’s Rights to Inheritance of Ancestral Property on ‘Human Rights Day’

Hungreiphy ZAS Zimik Young Indigenous Baptist woman Theologian

As the world commemorates ‘Human Rights Day‘ on 10th December  ‘Hungreiphy ZAS Zimik a young Baptist indigenous theologian  shares her story  and efforts to promote ‘Women’s Rights are Human Rights and ‘Indigenous Women Right to Inheritance of  Ancestral Property’.  Zimik states “I am indigenous woman and belong to Tangkhul Naga Tribe  from Ukhrul District in  Hungpung Village in state of  Manipur in India. My immediate family consist of six members i.e. my mother, father, two brothers, me and my sister.  Tangkhul  indigenous society is a classless society and forbids any kind of unreasonable discrimination among the members of the tribe. However there are certain areas guided by indigenous customary laws where the principle of ‘Rights to Equality’ of men and women cannot be strictly applied.

Tangkhul  tribe women are not allowed to participate in the decision making process of the village till date. They are not given recognition as members of the Village Assembly. Tangkhul women are also prohibited to become Village Councillors even though Government of India and our constitution allows equality. No Tangkhul village has a woman Village Councillor till date. Thus, the general expression ‘Equality before Law’ has got no central place for women in my tribe.

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‘Blue-ing’ Our Churches & Communities : National Council of Churches invitation this Advent to End Child Abuse

‘Blue-ing’ Churches & Communities, 16 Days of Activism Campaign @NCCI ( Photo Source www.boston.archive )

On 28th November 2017, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) in India requested for valuable suggestions to end child abuse in the context of increasing abuse of violence on children in India. Stuti  Kacker Chairperson of NCPCR in her request letter of 28th November 2017 states: “Sexual crime against children is showing an alarming increase and there is urgent need to tackle this problem on a war footing. Parliament has already brought a comprehensive Act namely ‘The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 to punish those who commit sexual offences against children. However, there is a pressing need to formulate a broad based strategy to prevent such crime from occurring, which is only possible if all stakeholders namely children themselves, their parents, school administration, law enforcement agencies, NGOs and civil society etc. as a whole, create awareness and highlight the moral repugnancy of such crimes.”

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Gender Equity Enabling Timetable (GEET) of Church of South India Removing Bottlenecks to Build Just Inclusive Communities

Mission Paradigm Shift from Equality to Equity to Promote Gender Justice & Build Just Inclusive Communities

Women’s empowerment programs have been at the core of the ‘Diaconal Ministry’ of the Church of South India. According to Revd Asir Ebenezer- Director of Diaconal  Concerns- CSI Synod “these programs have taken many forms in different contexts. Education, empowerment, and economic livelihood options were some of the areas that took root in most places. Education of girls was the flagship of church’s education ministry. Many hostels for girls as well as nursing and teacher training schools for young women were started and flourish to this day.”  CSI also initiated the ‘Girl Child Campaign’. Ebenezer further states “However despite a radically sound theology and a reformist mind with regard to gender sensitivity, there are many bottlenecks. The aim of the discourse on gender equity is to reach beyond the domain of women and their associations. There is a vital need for gender mainstreaming to end gender based violence.  So GEET  brings the discourse to the mainstream life and witness of  Church Women and Men. The present visible leadership of males in the church sphere is to be challenged to bring significant changes.”

Gender Equity Enabling Timetable (CSI-GEET) –   Has three foci:

 1) Workplace- To ensure a safe working space, institutions of the CSI are oriented on  awareness , prevention, and redressal of sexual harassment of women at workplace  promoting ‘Prevention, Prohibition & Redressal Act, 2013’ . Ebenezer states that many christian  institutions have constituted an Internal Complaints Committee  in compliance with the Act. After the constitution of ‘Internal Complaints Committees’ in our institutions, male staff have become more sensible in their interactions with their female colleagues. Women are aware that they can be treated with dignity and do not have to ‘adjust’ or put up with inappropriate behaviour from the opposite sex.”

2) Homes including Christian Homes –  CSI is also engaging in various endeavours of spiritual formation  to  create safe home free from abuse and empowering both men and women to work towards ending domestic violence and other gender based violence within home .

 3) Mind of the Man for Nurturing Gender Equity– Developing contextualised study material based on ‘Created in God’s image: from Hegemony to Partnership’ (a church’s manual on men as partners promoting positive masculinities was published by WCRC in collaboration with the WCC and the United Methodist Church) to be studied by men in five locations in each of the 24 CSI Dioceses.

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NCCI mourns for the sad demise of Bishop B. P. Sugandhar, the former Moderator of the Church of South India

Rt. Rev. Dr. B. P. Sugandhar, the former Moderator of the Church of South India, passed away on 05 December 2017. He was residing at Hyderabad after his retirement as the sixth Bishop of the Medak Diocese of the CSI.

Bishop Sugandhar was the Deputy Moderator of the CSI for two terms (2000- 2004) and the Moderator for another two terms (2004- 2008). He was very well known as a people’s bishop, and his memory power to remember people and their names was highly appreciated. He was an office-bearer of the Andhra Pradesh Federation of Churches, (APFC) a society that incorporates bishops of the Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Indigenous Church traditions and whose members strive for ecumenism

He served as the Vice-President of the Andhra Pradesh Auxiliary of the Bible Society of India. He was also on the governing board of the United Theological College, Bangalore, and the Andhra Christian Theological College, Hyderabad.

He started his student life at Wesley Boys’ School in Secunderabad. He had done his Bachelor of Divinity at United Theological College in Bangalore and later earned a Doctorate in Theology.

Bishop Sugandhar is survived by his wife Mrs. Nalini Sugandhar, Sons Mr. John Priya Babu and Dr. Vimal Sukumar (Treasurer of the Medaka Diocese of the CSI), Daughter Ms. Glory and five grandchildren. His demise was on the evening today (05.12.2017).

Most Rev. Thomas K. Oommen, the Moderator of the Church of South India, Rt. Rev. Dr. Vadapalli Prasada Rao, the Deputy Moderator, Rev. Dr. Daniel Rathnakara Sadananda, the General Secretary, and Adv. Robert Bruce, the Hon. Treasurer expressed their deep condolences to the bereaved family of late Bishop Sugandhar.

NCCI mourns for the loss of a good leader.

news courtesy-

Rev. Sunil Raj Philip, CSI Communications.

 

CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION OF THE PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

 

INDIAN DISABILITY ECUMENICAL ACCOMPANIMENT

International Day of the Persons With Disabilities

(3rd December 2017)

Respected and Dear Church Leaders, Colleagues and Friends,

Season’s Greetings from NCCI-IDEA!

Christmas is a time to share the gift of the love of God with the World. Very specifically it is a remembrance of the birth of Christ and its relevance in our context today. Christian communities around the globe are celebrating Christmas, with an expectation of God coming again to the World to realize God’s reign by creating just and inclusive communities, through various creative observances such as visiting, and celebrating with, the socially and religiously excluded communities.

In this context, the NCCI – Indian Disability Ecumenical Accompaniment has started organizing a  ‘SPECIAL CHRISTMAS EVENT’ since last year. This Christmas Celebration is special because it is  celebrated ‘BY’, ‘WITH’ and ‘FOR’ the PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES’. In fact,  this is not merely a program that objectifies people with disabilities but makes us to be part of the God’s reign that promotes and affirms ‘Justice and Inclusivity’.

The 2nd Christmas Celebration of Persons with Disabilities is scheduled to be held on 8th December 2017  (Friday) at the NCCI Campus, Civil Lines, (near State Bio-Diversity Office), Nagpur – 440001 at 3.30 pm. It is a 90 minutes long programme by Children and People with Disabilities.

During this auspicious time of festivities, we earnestly solicit your presence in this Christmas of the Persons with Disabilities. Your presence will not only make us glad, but also pass on a message to the society that you stand in solidarity with, and advocate for the Human Dignity and Respect of, Persons with Disabilities, as we journey toward “Just and Inclusive Communities” of God’s people.

Therefore, we earnestly welcome each and every one of you to this important celebration.

Come… let us share the joy of Christmas, with persons with disabilities, and be reformed.

Sincerely Yours,

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad

President

Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar

Director

Mrs. G. Cynthia Shinde

Co-ordinator

Note:   Please share this information with your congregations and related  networks.

             Refreshments will be served at 3.30 and the Programme will start sharply   at 4.00 pm

RSVP: Mrs. Cynthia Shinde 9175427869 and Mr. Vinod Shemron 8310659049

 

The Ecumenical Council for Drought and Water Management – ECODAWM (NCCI Member) is organizing a Rally in Visakapatnam (AP) on the 3rd Dec 2017.

From Chilli Powder to Rights & Justice Oriented Education- Vaccine of Gender Based & Sexual Violence- Jessica Borgoary Promote 16 Days Activism Campaign

Jessica Borgoary Promoting 16 Days Activism Campaign

When I was in school I watched a Hindi film know as ‘ Mirch Masala’ ( Chilli Powder) The film was directed by Ketan Mehta. It starred Naseruddin Shah and Smita Patil in the lead roles. The film is set in colonial in the early 1940s. The plot begins with an arrogant Indian local tax collector and with his henchmen exploiting villagers. The tax collector and his men were harassing women . The village headman who was not strong to oppose him even supplied him with women from the village for his pleasure. No one had courage to protest against such violence.

However the story takes a different turn when the tax collector boldly asks Sonbai a young woman from the village for sexual favours, and harassed  her. Enraged, Sonabai, in an act of defense,  slaps the tax collector. She then had to flee immediately with the soldiers and henchmen in hot pursuit.She takes refuge in a spice factory where red chillies are grounded into powder. The women of the village worked here. Sonabai and the women were supported by a watchman and male school teacher who strategize to end such violence.

Sonabai organized women in the factory and when the tax collector and his men raided the factory the women in factory mount a sudden and surprising defense. They attack the tax collector with freshly ground red chilli powder in teams of two. The film ends with the tax collector on his knees, screaming in pain as the chilli burns his face and eyes.

The situation of women and girls being ‘eve teased’, bullied, harassed and sexually abused has not changed in India. In fact such violence has increased. Now when women  are no longer confined within homes and are out in the world,  they face harassment and abuse schools, colleges and workplaces. 

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“Violence on Women & Girls Betrays the Teachings of Jesus”- Rev Dr Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary of NCCI Promoting White Ribbon Campaign

Rev Dr Roger Gaikwad – General secretary NCCI promoting White Ribbon Campaign

Men and Boys should take action to end men’s gender based violence on women and girls” states Rev Dr Roger Gaikwad – General Secretary of National Council of Churches in India” ‘Towards Just and Inclusive Communities’ is NCC India’s Quadrennial Theme 2016-2020. Rev Dr Gaikwad states “We cannot build just and inclusive communities unless we seriously address the issue of violence on women and girls in India.”

Gender based violence and sexual violence has become pandemic in India. India 4th dangerous country in the world for women to live and girl child to survive. 53 percent of children in India face sexual abuse. Times of India reports every 20 minutes a woman or girl is raped in India. India witnesses one of the highest female infanticide incidents in the world as revealed in a first ever global study on female infanticide by Asian Centre for Human Rights, a Delhi-based NGO in 2016. The BBC reports about once every five minutes an incident of domestic violence is reported in India, under its legal definition of ‘cruelty by husband or his relatives.’

Gaikwad further states that “The sign of hope is some of our member churches and church leaders are engaging in various forms of ministry to end violence on women and girls. However we need to understand empowerment of women and girls alone is not solution to this problem. Men and boys can play crucial role to end gender based and sexual violence. Gender justice, gender equality and gender equity is not ‘women’s issue’ alone. We need to empower men and boys also regarding gender justice so that they understand the scale of the problem, and become part of the solution, alongside women. If women are empowered alone and not men violence on women will increase more”

Restrictive gender roles and stereotyped gender norms harm men as well as women, boys as well as girls though girls are more vulnerable. . Men and boys have a crucial role to play in creating a culture where male violence, abuse and harassment against women and girls are simply seen as unacceptable. Men also need to support survivors of gender based violence take a stand against gender violence in their workplaces, schools, communities and families.

In 2015 during Quadrennial Assembly of ‘All India Council of Christian Women’ (at present known as Women’s Concern Ministry of NCCI ) Rev Dr Gaikwad promoted ‘White Ribbon Campaign’. He invited men church heads and leaders to take action against violence on women and girls in their own home, church or society.

Church Heads Promoting White Ribbon Campaign during Women’s Assembly in Kerala 2015

The White Ribbon Campaign (WRC) is a global movement of men and boys working to end male violence against women and girls. It was formed by a group men in Canada in November 1991 as a response to the École Polytechnique massacre of female students who was shot dead by Marc Lépine . The campaign was intended to raise awareness about the prevalence of male violence against women. White Ribbon symbolizing “the idea of men giving up their arms and violence.” This campaign is active in many counties in the world. ‘White Ribbon Campaign’ is a the movement that seeks to promote healthy relationships, gender equity, and a compassionate vision of masculinity

Rev Dr Gaikwad opines “Discrimination and violence on women, girls and children betrays the teaching of Jesus. Jesus broke the silence regarding culture of gender based in his society . Jesus showed the world compassion to women and girls through positive masculinity as opposed to patriarchal masculinity. Hence it is prophetic duty of the church to promote such positive masculinity and empower men and boys to end violence on women and girls .”

In 2015 National Council of Churches launched ‘365 Zero Tolerance to Gender Based Violence: Make it Happen Now Campaign: Make it Happen Now !’ NCCI also conducts various Capacity Enhancement and Human Rights Training in partnership with member churches and ecumenical partners to promote gender mainstreaming. ‘Certificate Course for Gender Justice’ is one such initiative of Women’s Concerns Ministry is to train pastors and lay leader ,youth ,community leaders both male and female.

As we commemorate ‘16 Days of Activism Against Violence on Women and Girls Rev Dr Roger Gaikwad invites churches, congregations and individuals “TAKE ACTION NOW. DO NOT REMAIN SILENT REGARDING GENDER BASED VIOLENCE ,SEXUAL ABUSE OF WOMEN , GIRLS AND CHILDREN .”

#16 Days Activism @ NCCI

Reported by Moumita Biswas – Executive Secretary – Women Concerns Ministry – National Council of Churches in India