The General Body of the Karnataka Christian Council (KaCC) met on March 26, 2015 at the Unity Building, Bangalore. KaCC has been significant for many important decisions including unanimously being committed to working with all Churches against religious fundamentalism and fanaticism. Rt. Rev. Ravikumar Niranjan, CSI Bishop for Karnataka Northern Diocese chaired the meeting. Rev. Dr. Hubert Watson, the Secretary of the Council presented the activity report. Members representing Churches and institutions from all over Karnataka participated in the meeting and elected new office bearers and Executive Committee Members.
Rt. Rev. Mohan Manoraj (CSI Bishop of Karnataka Southern Diocese) unanimously elected as the President of the council; Rev. Dr. N. Jayawant(Methodist Church in India, Bangalore Regional Conference) as the Vice-President ; Rev. Dr. Hubert Watson (Karnataka Theological College) as Secretary; Mr. G D Pushparaj (the Executive Secretary of the CSITA – Karnataka Inter-Diocesan Administrative, Finance and Property Board) as Treasurer.
COMMEMORATING INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
NEWS FROM ALL INDIA COUNCIL OF CHRISTIAN WOMEN
As the world commemorated International Women’s Day All India Council of Christian Women the women’s wing of National Council of Churches in India launched the campaign 365 Days Zero Tolerance To Gender Based Violence: Make it Happen Now!!! IWD was also commemorated in different churches all over India.
The Executive Committee members of AICCW along with women leaders from Diocese of Nagpur, Church of North India visited different police stations in the city of Nagpur to honor the women police for the contributions. “This is the first time in my life someone is honoring me on International Women’s Day. Such event has never happened in any Police station in Nagpur.” opined Shefali Police woman serving in Sadar Police station Nagpur. Certificates of appreciation, trophies were distributed to police women in different police stations in Nagpur. “In our country where women are regarded as a burden and suffer discrimination and violence from womb to death it is not easy for a woman in India to be a police woman. Yet there are women who dare to risk their lives and overcome all challenges to become police women. They deserved to be honored” states Moumita Biswas Executive Secretary of AICCW.
We, the participants of the National Consultation on ‘Diakonal Church in the Radically Changing India’, held at Chennai on the 23rd and 24th February 2015 jointly organized by the Church of South India Synod and Christian Institute for the Study of Religion and Society hereby declare that…
The ‘Diakonal Church’ is the one that is sensitive to the concerns of poor, oppressed and socially, traditionally and historically excluded communities. It is to prepare a Table for ‘all’ to join the ‘koinonia‘ of the resurrected Christ’s community without any discrimination by affirming everyone’s dignity, respect, identities and differences.
The motto of ‘Diaconal Church’ is to serve but not to be served (Mark 10: 45). It facilitates the Christian faith communities to embark on a journey to serve the earth communities leaving the comfort zone to take up a ‘kenotic’ and servant leadership. It is to bear a public witness politically in the presence of resurrected Christ and to re-embark on a journey of accompaniment with the struggling communities for fullness of life and livelihood.
This ‘diakonia‘ demands not only the ‘service’ but also preparation of the space to create communities of equals and dignity as described in Nazareth manifesto (Luke 4: 61-21). It is to explain the vision of God and symbolize the ‘reign of god’ with the values of Love, Justice and Peace by prophetically healing, restoring and reconciling the societies of conflicts and disparities towards fullness of all lives.
We realize that, the ‘mantra’ of Economic Globalization and Developmental paradigm of the States change the whole world to be ‘flat’ through communicating and consolidating the capital accumulations of wealth through trans-national corporatism, extractive industrialization and ecological exploitation and victimization of the earth communities by uprooting of habitats from their traditionally living and culturally rooted environments.
These ‘flattening’ policies and principals of the ‘Economic Globalization’ are creating the tailor-made ‘flat’ societies and communities by inculcating the values such as ‘consumerism’, ‘privatization’ , ‘individualism’, ‘competition’ and ‘inequality’.
We observe that, in the context of radically changing Indian contexts, the ‘majoritarianism’, rise of ‘right-wing ideological fundamentalism’ and hate campaigns are creating panic and insecurity among the ‘minority communities’, ‘economically poor’ and ‘religiously and culturally excluded’, such as Dalits, Adivasis, Tribals, Women and Children. They turn the communities to be against one another with hate and hostility.
In this context of crisis, the churches as called and committed faith communities are to be prophetic and mandated to work ‘on’ equality and ‘for’ equality. The 2010 Edinburgh declaration calls the churches of our times to re-look and review our vision, theologies and ministries from the growing influence of ‘prosperity theologies’, ‘individualistic eschatology’, upholding caste and patriarchy, and becoming the mammon worshipers.
We affirm that…
- The Diakonal Church as a prophetic community, is called to ensure respect, dignity and life of the earth communities including the human communities through the appropriate interventions and encounters with the oppressive attitudes of the ‘Powerful, Dominant Empires and States’ by engaging in ‘diakonia’.
- The Diakonal Church is a conscious servant ‘of’ and ‘to’ all by prophetically engaging and encountering conformity with the Powers
- The Diakonal Church is called to promote and prorogate the liberative and transformative Gospel values of Love, Justice and Peace in combating the exclusivism, fundamentalism and economy based prosperity gospel and theology
We Confess that…
- the ‘diakonia’ today is mainly dependent on funded projects and serving from comfortable zones
- the Indian Church today is panicked and suffocated by the ‘minority phobia’ with exclusive demands of ‘minority Rights rather than working towards promoting, defending and affirming the fundamental rights of every individual
- the churches today are mostly crawling with the exclusive and prosperity theologies rather than having faiths on ‘theology of fullness of life and Economy of Life’.
the diakonal expressions were initially founded to serve the poor and the excluded communities but now it meets the expectations of the elites and rich involving in commercialization and comodifaction of knowledge through our Institutions
- the Churches today are strategically made silent by the law enforcement of States while it is supposed to be prophetically accompany the journeys with the victims.
We are committed to…
- charting a discourse on vision, mission and diakonal expressions of the churches today in terms of Kerigma, Metanoia and Koinonia as embedded in the Scripture.
envisioning a world with fuller humanity and fullness of life by enabling truth and reconciliation with the entire earth communities towards Just-peace
ensure the ‘transparency, accountability and responsibility in all our structures and institutions and launch a campaign for ‘transparent India’
- listening stories of the ‘diakonia’ of neighbors of other faiths to encompass the diakonia ‘of’ all and diakonia ‘for’ all
We call upon all the churches and ecumenical movements:
- to draw a creative and relevant, radical and prophetic ‘diakonia’ for today
- to strategically plan and execute ‘prophetic ‘diakonia’ by facilitating the local congregations for public witness
to be united in combating the hate campaigns such as ‘Ghar Wapsi’ constitutionally and politically.
- Net-working with the churches, Christian Institutions and Ecumenical Movements to promote a relevant ‘diakonal Church’
Initiate the process of organizing conversation with the church leaders and ecumenical bodies at the regional level enhancing the capacities of the laity and clergy engage in the ‘prophetic-dia’konia’ towards transformative mission in the Socio Economic and Political Context of India
- Initiating process to develop, articulate and promote a new context specific and relevant ‘diakonia’ for all
- Facilitating the theological fraternities and local congregations to move from the prosperity theology to ‘economy of life’ and to move from charity to solidarity and accompaniment
- Promoting the holistic vision of theology of life as a pilgrimage of justice and peace
‘Life-Giving Agriculture’ Forum – 2015
Theme: “Agriculture is Life – Agriculture is Right”
2 – 6 Feb 2015, ECC, Bangalore, India
Jointly organized by:
Commission on Justice Peace and Creation – National Council of Churches in India – NCCI
Christian Institute for the Study of Religion and Society – CISRS
Ecumenical Christian Centre – ECC
Korean Christian Life Giving Agriculture Forum – KCLGAF
Mainstreaming Life-Giving Agriculture in India & Korea
(Statement Issued by the Participants)
We, the 55 participants representing various walks of life such as farmers, activists, theologians, clergies and academicians from India and South Korea meeting at a National Consultation on ‘Life Giving Agriculture‘ from 2nd to 6th February 2015 at the Ecumenical Christian Centre, Bangalore, India, deliberated on important concerns and issues affecting farmers in India and Korea, and have issued the following Statement:
I- Life-Giving Agriculture – Threats & Challenges
Through the deliberations, exposure, sharing and interaction discussion we realize that, the Life Giving Agriculture Forum meets in the context of adverse effects of the Economic Globalization and Market Economy faced by farmers in both countries (and elsewhere) wherein agrarian communities have started moving from ‘agri-culture to agri-business’ by paving ways for Genetically Modified (GM) technologies to the cash crops and high-yielding variety and, often, termination seeds, mechanization for ploughing and harvesting, and chemical fertilizers and pesticides aiming at quantity rather than quality.
Secondly, the States’ pro-corporate stance leads to enforcing anti-agriculture and anti-farmer policies having adverse affects on the peasants, resulting mostly from agri-based debts, leading to migration and reducing their status to argi-refugees, as well as a major cause for forcing farmers to commit suicides. India is now opening up to corporate pillaging like never before. Traditional knowledge Systems and indigenous practices are being snuffed out. The poor and the marginalized which are solely dependent on agriculture as a means of livelihood, have been forced to abandon their traditional sources and resources for life and livelihood, and migrate to cities. Such onslaught affects mostly the Dalits, Adivasis, Women and other marginalized and excluded communities, especially the landless agricultural labourers in India.
We do inform that, large segment of Indian populace is facing critical questions of food sovereignty and food security since the corporates’ plunder of land, water and other natural resources continue unabated. Initiatives of low external inputs and sustainable agriculture experiments are mostly limited to the land-owning farmers, whereas such initiatives could not be practiced by Dalits and Adivasis who are marginal farmers and landless.
II- LEARNING FROM SOUTH KOREAN FARMERS:
We do learn from South Korean farmers that,
- Korea has experienced land reformation in 1950s. However, the government adopts the globalised economy and World Trade Organization (WTO) and, thus, imports food grains at a large scale. This results in an open confrontation between the imported GM grains and the produce of organic farmers of Life Giving Agriculture Forum. Even so, most of the Korean youth are leaving agriculture for softer options.
- The LGA movement promoted new strategies to popularize the traditional farming methods and knowledge systems with a view to recapturing the youth for farming. The Church in Korea is also actively involved in efforts of promoting LGA and exploring alliances with similar movements in other countries. In Korea, responding to the present oppressive conditions faced by farmers, a movement forLife Giving Agriculture was initiated which faces stiff opposition from GM Corporate giants supported by the Government Machinery. Even, in this adverse context, Korean Life Giving Agriculture Forum continues with its struggle to strive for better food security, ultimately leading to food sovereignty with a priority for the marginalized.
III- A CALL TO THE CHURCHES & CIVIL SOCIETY:
In this hostile situation against marginal farmers prevailing in the two countries, the participants deliberated on the role of the Churches in promoting Life Giving Agriculture. Bible Study inputs helped to understand Faith response to present crisis in agriculture. There were also efforts to understand civil society initiatives and peasant movements both in Korea and India.
We the participants therefore call upon both the Indian and Korean Churches and Civil Societies,
(a) To bring to the centre the rural Dalit and Adivasi Churches which are predominantly agrarian and who constitute eighty percent of our congregations but have been pushed to the margins for generations;
(b) To re-read the Bible through the eyes of the marginal farmers and evolve liturgies that reflect agricultural motifs, seasons and festivals.
(c) To lobby with the Government to implement radical land reforms and sustainable agriculture in the society-at-large.
(d) To plead with Indian Churches to entrust vast tracts of land in their fold with local congregations promoting LGA rather than keep the land idle.
(e) To motivate Churches in India to campaign for Food Sovereignty and negotiate with their respective States to ensure the just and fair public distribution system, and draw up schemes to eradicate hunger, malnutrition, and hunger deaths.
(f) To organize Indian Churches to lobby for just and pro-farmer Land Legislations, and also reject the Land Acquisition Ordinance, 2014 introduced recently that supports multinational industries and corporate houses, and takes away the fundamental rights of farmers.
(g) To promote alliance building with neighbouring South Asian countries so that churches and farmers’ movements learn from each other through exposures, joint consultations and best practices in Life Giving Agriculture.
(h) LGA in Korea and India to address the serious problem of youth abandoning agriculture in villages and address the same on war footing.
(i) LGA in Korea and India to explore new ground for ecumenical cooperation and collective action between rural and urban churches and between diverse denominations with LGA as focal point for the ecumenical journey tomorrow.
(j) LGA in Korea and India to influence Seminaries to adapt theological education per se to include LGA in their regular courses as part of Ministerial Training.
IV – WE RESOLVE:
With regard to mainstreaming LGA in India, we resolve that the NCCI- CJPC promote Life-Giving Agriculture in India, and continue to dialogue and partner with LGA-Korea and promote Joint solidarity struggles and exchange of information on Life Giving Agriculture.
The Executive Secretary,
Commission on Justice, Peace and Creation,
National Council of Churches in India,
National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) celebrated its centenary in 2014 in a series of regional programs all over India. This video is a a compilation of the highlights / glimpses of the year-long celebration.
Check out the video from our YouTube channel:
Do You Know Your Rights?
The rise of violence against Christians in India has led to the formation of a legal aid agency and the establishment of a help hotline both to monitor and provide assistance in the event of an attack against Christian Indians.
According to the World Watch Monitor, Christians in India formed the United Christian Forum for Human Rights on January 19. The forum’s spokesperson, John Dayal, said that its purpose is “to coordinate both legal and advocacy assistance to the community, which has been traumatised in recent months by communal violence in several states.”
The statement gives further details on the agency’s hotline and its purpose: “The UCF has commissioned a 24-hour National Helpline, 1-800-208-4545, so that lawyers and experts can assist victims of violence, intimidation, coercion and illegal confinement by any criminal or political group.”
FIRST INFORMATION REPORT
Anybody can lodge a FIR. You do not need to be a witness to the crime to be eligible to lodge an FIR. If you have come to know about the crime, that would suffice.
- It is illegal for the police officer to deny lodging an FIR. If such a situation occurs, send a copy of your complaint to the Commissioner/ Superintendent of Police by registered post or AD.
- The FIR must be taken down in writing, read over and explained to you before you sign it.
- You can lodge an FIR at any police station convenient to you. The police officer must ensure that it is sent to the appropriate police station nearest to the place of crime.
- Always ask for a copy of the FIR for your personal records. You have the right to a copy of the same free of cost.
- You may also give information of a crime by telephone, to an officer in charge of a police station. In such cases, the police will ascertain your personal details (such as name, age, address and phone no) for their records.
Two independent witnesses (panchas) should always be present when you or your premises are searched.
- An accurate list of articles seized must be prepared and given to you immediately.
LEGAL AID Read more
The Conference of Catholic Bishops in India (CCBI), during their 27th Plenary session in Bangalore from February 3 – 9, 2015, represented by 140 Bishops from around the country, expressed their anguish and concern over the attacks on Christians, Churches and Christian institutions.
Here is their appeal to uphold the rule of law, peace and harmony.
We, the 140 Bishops from across the country attending the 27th Plenary Assembly of the Conference of the Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) during February 3–9 in Bangalore, hereby express our deep anguish and concern over increasing threats to peace and communal harmony in the wake of various untoward incidents affecting the Christian community in different parts of the country.
Hardly a day has passed off in recent months without reports of attacks on Christians, Churches and Christian institutions from across the nation. Churches have been torched even in the national capital while reports of ‘Ghar Waspsi’ and blatant threats to hold mass reconversions are causing anxiety to the Christians scattered in the far corners of the nation.
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