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.
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
Click on the Link for draft national policy for women 2016_0
National Council of Churches in India – Unity and Mission
Ecumenical Commission on Drought and Water Management (ECODAWM)
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).
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
|Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar
NCCI – Unity and Mission
|Rt. Rev Dr. P C Singh
President – NCCI
|Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad
General Secretary – NCCI
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 <email@example.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:
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.
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.
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.
Shri Narendra Modi,
The Prime Minister of India
Dear Prime Minister,
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
- LETTER 1
(from The Synod of The Church of North India)
- LETTER 2
Text of the letter
Nongpyngrope, Circle III,
Shillong 793 012.
13 April, 2017.
The Honourable Chief Minister,
Subject: Expressing appreciation for your stand with regard to sacredness of Good Friday:
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.
Rev. Dr. P. B. M. Basaiawmoit
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,
Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad
Click on link to download Action Plan –
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