Re-routing Mission- Church Women’s Mission and Evangelization Paradigms to Support Widows and Single Mums

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A young girl sharing her testimony of struggles and sacrifices of her mum as single parent raising and educating her and how the scholarship from Project Deborah will help her

All India Council of Christian Women congratulates Diocesan Women’s Fellowship of Christian Service (DWFCS) – Delhi Diocese of Church of North India for initiating Project Deborah to provide educational scholarships for children from economically challenged mothers or who are widows and single parents. The strategy of fund raising adopted by these women is organizing fetes. This year a fete was organized on 11th October at St James Church, New Delhi.  According to Mrs. Mavis Perez Russel, President, Women’s Fellowship of Delhi Diocese, CNI, Widows and single mums are most vulnerable, neglected, and stigmatized by Indian society. They face different forms of violence and discrimination perpetuated even by their own family members and relatives. Such violence not only affects them but has negative impact on their children. Those mothers from economically poor background suffer much more and have to struggle hard to raise their children. This scholarship is to support and acknowledge the contributions and sacrifices made by widows and single mums to raise their children.”  

NCCI MOURNS THE LOSS OF ITS PRESIDENT, BISHOP DR. TARANATH S. SAGAR.

ts1Bishop Dr. Taranath S. Sagar, President of the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) from 2008 to 2015, and Bishop of the Methodist Church in India, suffered a heart attack and passed away at about 8:00 pm on Monday, October 19, 2015 in Bangalore, India. His untimely demise has shocked and deeply saddened everyone. His contributions to the Church and ecumenical movements in India and abroad have been profound and unprecedented.

As a prominent dynamic leader not only locally and all over India, but around the globe, he served as member of the central committee of World Council of Churches (WCC) elected first at the Port Allegro Assembly, Brazil in 2006, and again at the Busan Assembly, South Korea in 2013. He was member of the constitutional amendment session during the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA)Extraordinary General Assembly for constitutional amendments in May 2015 prior to the General Assembly. He has been a member of the Executive Committee of CCA since its last General Assembly held in Jakarta in May 2015. Even as a humble pastor  of the Bombay Regional Conference of the Methodist Church in India serving local congregations in Bombay over three decades ago, his pastoral heart won him the love of the masses. Over the years he held several important positions at various times including President of the Council of Bishops of the Methodist Church in India, President of the Asian Methodist Bishops Conference, Secretary of NCCI’s Maharashtra Council of Churches, President of Ecumenical Christian Centre, Executive member of United Theological College in Bangalore, President of ECLOF, and many others. He has contributed immensely also to the formation of ministers and ministries. His guidance and insights have resulted in many important accomplishments. His life has proved to be a blessing to individuals and communities, and will continue to inspire the journey of faith, witness and Christian service.

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NCCI congratulates the CMCH, Tamilnadu and wishes well for its ECP Therapy centre

The National Council of Churches in India congratulates the Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) in Tamil Nadu on the opening of a new External Counter Pulsation (ECP) centre.

ECP will promote non-surgical procedures for heart ailments.  ECP therapy — a non-invasive procedure — helps stimulate the growth of new blood vessels in the heart and, in some cases, improves the flow of existing blood vessels. Often, ECP is used when physicians have exhausted other therapies.

The treatment provided at the centre is covered under the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Medical Insurance Scheme and the revenue generated from the treatment will also help finance the hospital’s development, hospital authorities said.

The NCCI wishes the CMCH, Tamilnadu to be a blessing and a healer to the Indian society and the people at large.

North Korea – South Korea tension. Pray for Peace

Monday, 24 August 2015
north-south-korea-map-rapplerNational Council of Churches in India  is concerned about, and solicits prayers for the situation between South Korea and North Korea in light of recent developments in cross-border tension.
Please read the mail received from CCA concerning this.
The Christian Conference of Asia is saddened to hear that tensions have escalated between South Korea and North Korea, following exchange of fire across their borders, prompting evacuation of residents nearby. It is reportedly the first major armed clash between the two countries, in five years.

ESHA Steering Committee Meeting Reviewing The Present, Envisioning The Future

IMG-20150805-WA0003The Steering Committee of ESHA (Ecumenical Solidarity for HIV and AIDS) met in Neemrana, Rajasthan for a two-day meeting on July 22-23, 2015.

The Present Phase

As the present phase of ESHA is drawing to a close, the committee took stock of the work achieved.

Work Place Policy: – Ms. Ella Sonawane, Secretary – Publishing and Programmes, ISPCK has been facilitating this work. It was noted that a few of the All India Christian Organizations had made good progress in drafting their work place policies while some others were at different stages of its formulation. Even the NCCI has prepared a draft of the Work Place Policy for approval by the NCCI Executive Committee
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NCCI mourns the loss of the great leader Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

Former president Abdul KalamThe passing away of India’s most beloved and iconic leader, ex-president Dr. A. P. J Abdul Kalam on July 27, 2015, has cast a pall of grief over the whole country and even beyond its borders.
He won the awe and delight of India’s masses because of his profound futuristic contribution to the country and indeed our planet. He was popularly known as the “Missile Man of India”, a reference to his role in shaping India’s missile program during his tenures at India’s space and defense-research agencies respectively from the 1960s to the 1990s. He was also a key player in India’s emergence as a nuclear power. As time.com notes, Few Indian leaders in the 21st century enjoyed the kind of popular support experienced by Kalam, evidenced by the near-unanimous backing of his election as India’s 11th President in 2002 among all the parties across India’s fractious political spectrum, as well as the overwhelming outpouring of grief at his death. (http://time.com/3974357/apj-abdul-kalam-death-tributes-condolences). He was awarded the Padma Bhushan and Bharat Ratna for his achievements.
Although a modest and unassuming man, Dr. Kalam captured the imagination of the country’s youth encouraging them to confidently forge ahead to pursue their dreams. He instilled patriotism and ideas of secularism in the hearts of people that united everyone in the values of humanity and greater benefit transcending region, religion, language and culture. This secularism in praxis is truly remarkable and exemplary.
As the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) joins in mourning the loss of this great leader, a hope is expressed that Dr. Abdul Kalam would continue to be an inspiration and model for the awakening of people to the values of integrity, true joy and peace.
Bishop Dr. Taranath Sagar
President, NCCI
Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad
General Secretary, NCCI

Report of YOUNG THEOLOGIANS CONCLAVE “Ecclesiology in the Cyber Age”

National Council of Churches in India organized a Young Theologians Conclave in partnership with the support from 2014-06-26aw0483bapThe Church of Finland and with help from promoters and partners from Church of Ireland and Church of England in Ecumenical Christian Centre, UTC, Bangalore from June 26-27, 2014.

The theme of the Programme was “Ecclesiology in Cyber Age”. The aim of the Programme succeeded by gathering Young Theologians who are techno savy and cyber oriented to come together to devise plans and ideas to respond to the changing definition of Church in the Cyber Age. The diverse Challenges that were faced by the young people were discussed, the threats posed by the Cyber age were brought to the fore and the action plans were devised to ensure that we respond so that the Church will become a relevant Church even with the growing challenges of the changing times. The various presentations have thrown light on the Cyber Age, Cyber space and the Cyber Church.

The Inaugural worship was led by the students from United Theological College, Bangalore. After this, Rev. Sweety Helen welcomed the gathering, and the inaugural session was led by Rev. Sunil Raj Phillip. The Programme was creatively inaugurated by all the participants after which Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad  lit a virtual lamp. The inauguration encompassed the use of symbols such as Cross and various technologies available with the participants.

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Bishop George Ninan rests in glory

bnBishop George Ninan, renowned ecumenical leader, described by many as campaigner for justpeace for the urban poor and slum development in India and in Asia, passed away in New York on June 21, 2015.
 He was born in Kaviyoor in Kerala and started his ministry as the Secretary of the Church of South India (CSI) Christian Institute in Alleppey. He served the CSI Madhya Kerala Diocese as the Secretary of the Diocesan Youth Movement. He was sent to Japan as a youth worker while he was actively involved in the Student Christian Movement of India (SCMI). He was ordained minister in the Anglican Communion in the year 1964. In 1970 he joined the Philips University in Oklahoma for his doctoral studies.

International Day of Yoga

yogaThe UN General Assembly has declared 21st June as International  Day of Yoga. The Government of India is making preparations for a large scale observance of this day in India and in other parts of the world this year. Yoga is considered by many to be a healthy discipline and therefore has become popular worldwide. Many persons belonging to different religious traditions already practice yoga as a matter of personal choice and conviction.
Yoga is essentially a way of life that integrates the means of harmonizing the body, mind, and spirit. One should also keep in mind that, internationally, there are other disciplines similar in intent and content to Yoga. For example, T’ai chi is a meditative exercise that requires you to pay close attention to your breathing while completing a series of choreographed, slow, fluid, and continuous dance-like movements. Chi-gong is an exercise that focuses on breath work, while incorporating meditation and very gentle, slow physical movements. In Zen Buddhism, zazen (literally “seated meditation”) is a meditative discipline in which body, breath and mind come together as one reality.
Therefore people should not be compelled to practice yoga as if it is the only method for bringing harmony between mind and body – such a philosophy runs through all religions and cultures. We are deeply concerned that in spite of the declarations made by the Centre, in many states, circulars have been sent to schools to have compulsory Yoga practices. We oppose such compulsions; and especially minority run institutions should be given the freedom to decide how and whether to introduce yoga in their schools.
Surya Namaskar, with its religious overtones, should not be introduced in our schools and institutions. We regret that some responsible people in the government have interpreted yoga with religious motifs. The BJP legislator Yogi Adiyanth’s statement that those opposing yoga and surya namaskar should either leave India or drown themselves in the ocean is not acceptable and is strongly condemned by the churches. It is statements such as these that are making minority communities suspicious about the intentions of the government.
We urge the Government to be sensitive to the different cultural and religious practices in our country. We reiterate that Christianity has existed in India from the first century onwards and over the centuries Christianity has developed its own Indian Christian cultural traditions. We hope this government will respect the ethos and spirituality of the Christian community and not impose any particular practices on any citizens of the country.

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad
General Secretary
National Council of Churches in India

Ecumenical Conference on Christian response to growing attacks by fanatic groups on the Christian community in India

Under the banner of Christi Asmita Manch, Pune, a protestant ecumenical group, a one-day seminar was organised on 9th May 2015 at Christ Seva Prem Ashram, Pune. Christ Seva Prem Ashram is a historical ashram where Mahatma Gandhi stayed for 10 days in the year 1932.

About 150 delegates from various protestant churches attended the seminar. The main theme of the seminar was “Response to the attacks of religious fanatics on the Christian community and its ministries”. The conference began with a worship service led by the Rt. Rev. Naresh Ambala. In the devotion he encouraged the participants to be prudent and wise like serpents and innocent like doves. The seminar was inaugurated by Hon. Bhai Vaidhya, an eminent socialist and former Home Minister of Maharashtra. In his inaugural address, citing examples of Chakravarti Ashok Samrat, Badshah Akbar and Shivaji Maharaj, he established that this nation has been always secular, multi-religious and multi-cultural nation. He said, historically this country was never a Hindu Rashtra. He cautioned the participants citing the example of Godhra massacre in Gujarat during then chief minister and present Prime Minister of India, Hon. Narendra Modi,  and the growing influence of right-wing forces in the country

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