Report of Citizen Journalism National Consultation and Training Program

2A Citizen Journalism national consultation and training program “Pathways to Digital Frontiers: Communication Rights and Inclusion” was organized from March 11 – 12, 2016 in Panjim, Goa. It’s a program of the Commission on Communications and Relations of National Council of Churches in India (NCCI-COCR), Christian Service Agency (CSA) and World Association for Christian Communication (WACC). There were 30 participants of various profiles: Theologians, Church leaders and Pastors, Social Workers, Community Development workers, Grassroots community enablers, heads of Institutions, Heads of NGOs, Communication leaders, and publishers. Many of NCCI’s constituent member bodies and all major regions from across India were represented. The concept of Citizen Journalism as communicated in the course of this national consultation and training program was a serious take on the responsibility and privilege to enable information sharing by developing communication pathways to digital frontiers in a way that opens up possibilities for advocacy and self-advocacy towards wider engagement, inclusion and ensuring communication rights.

Sing the Song of Love ….Rise! Strike! Dance! to Break the Silence and Puncture the Culture of Gender Based Violence

One Billion Rising Join the Revolution – Break the Silence 

1 in 3 women across the planet continue to face domestic  violence or raped during her lifetime. That’s ONE BILLION WOMEN AND GIRLS. Every February through March 8th, thousands of ‘Risings’ take place in hundreds of countries across the world and within local communities – to show the world what one billion looks like and shine a light on the rampant impunity and injustice that survivors of various forms of violence face. People around the world rise through dance to express rage against injustices, and the power of global solidarity and collective action. They dance to express joy and community and celebrate the fact that together, violence can be defeated. They rise to show a determination to create a new kind of consciousness – one where violence will be resisted until it is unthinkable
This Lenten season as we observed Valentine’s Day on 14 February 2016 and also International Women’s Day is on threshold ( March 8),  All India Council of Christian Women the Women’s Wing of National Council of Churches in India invites fellow pilgrims of justice and peace to engage in advocacy to end the culture of gender based violence.  Join the revolution “One Billion Rising” against violence on women, girls and children by ‘Breaking the Silence’ and engaging in advocacy activities during this period ( 14th February – 8th March.)
We invite you, your church and women’s fellowship, organization to accompany us and promote AICCW’s Campaign “365 Days Zero Tolerance to Gender Based Violence: Make it Happen Now” in your own churches, communities and families.
“Sing the Song of Love … Strike! Dance! Rise! Break the Silence”
You sang the songs of love to mum when I was in her womb
But when I was born why did you abandon me and mum because I am a girl child?
You went to church regularly
Read the scripture that both male and female are created in image of God
Then why did you deny me of the same privileges of education as my brother?
You kissed me with bunch of red roses on Valentine’s Day 
Walked me down the aisle with proud smile on your face
You said I am your beloved and better half 
But then why did you torture me for dowry?
You said that you love me more than your life
But tell me why did you batter me day after day?
Why did you choke my voice with your threats?
Why do you instill fear in me and make me carry the burden of guilt and shame?
You told me I am a talented and hard working woman
But yet   you paid me less than my male colleagues for same work?
In work place you have ‘Gender Justice Polices’ safe in crimson paper files
Tell me then why I am deprived of my dignity and rights in work place?
You said the church is safe place for women a place for healing 
But then why was I wounded when I broke the silence?
Tell me why you prayed and then glorified my pain as sacrifice and a virtue?
You preach from pulpit ‘Discipleship of Equals’  
 Tell me why then you do not acknowledge me and my sisters to be part of body of Christ.
You say we are called to be stewards in Creator’s Oikos 
But then why do you pollute our rivers take away our natural resources?
Why do you harness the rhythms of our   rivers with dams and control flow of water?
Tell me why I cannot give fresh drinking water to my children?
Tell me why I spend hours in the field under the blazing copper sun sowing rice saplings
Yet my children go to bed hungry craving for a hot bowl of rice.
You empower people on climate change and fund our projects
But then why do you dump nuclear wastes in our seas?
Tell me why in the name of development you plunder and rape mother earth?
Why you fight wars and kill people for oil and water?
Why do you rape our daughters and their bodies become battle field to shame our community and nation?
Why do you take away our lands where the spirit of our ancestors dwells?
And force us to migrate to unknown lands?
Tell me why you make us refugees
And our sons terrorists and daughters sexual slaves ?
Sisters and brothers Rise! Strike! Dance! 
Sing songs of love stripped of violence to break the silence,
Rise as Christ has risen to set us free.
Our hope is the empty tomb.
Strike hard to break free from shackles of bondage of violent love
Dance with rhythms of power of   broken body to share your stories
Beat the drums of your soul to break the silence.
Sing the song of love to heal one another.
Sisters and brothers Rise! Strike! Dance!
Puncture the culture of gender based violence.
Reflection by : Moumita Biswas ( Executive Secretary – All India Council of Christian Women)


Advocacy Resource Material : All India Council of Christian Women – Women’s wing NCC India

Report of the Pithora Consultation 24-26, JANUARY 2016

To commemorate the long historic legacy of organizing people on issues of life by Comrade Gardiaji, Programme for Social Action [PSA], Public Justice Concern [PJC], Delhi Forum, Urban Rural Mission [URM] and Jan Jagruti Munch [JJM ] and the local groups came together to reflect upon and to redirect the vision of peoples struggle in the era of Neo Liberalization. Peoples Movements including activists of various issue based movements assert the principle that a consultation needs to be “people-driven”. Allowing delegates the time and space to tell their own stories contributes to that goal and plays a vital role in answering the real needs of the oppressed and the victims of the Neo Liberal System.

This principle was put into practice at this commemorative consultation in honour of Comrade Gardiaji on 24th-26th January 2016 in Pithora, Chattisgarh. Over 50 members representing  movements from all over India participated in this consultation. Stories of human rights being violated, of injustice, and of violence, as well as stories of liberation from bondage, dominated the agenda.

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All India Council of Christian Women – Women’s Wing of NCC India invites Churches during this Advent Season to Welcome Baby Jesus by Taking a Stand Against Child Abuse

16 Days Poster
ALARMING FACTS:
* In India 65% of school children reported facing corporal punishment – beatings by teachers mostly in government schools.
* Of children physically abused in families, in 88.6% of the cases, it was the parents who were the perpetrators.
* India is the 4th most dangerous country in the world for girl child to be born in and for a girl woman to live in. (Indian Government Commissioned Survey Report, source: www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com assessed on 2nd Dec 2015)
* Over 53% children in India face sexual abuse (That means out of every two children one child faces sexual abuse in India)

Open Letter to Prime Minister of India from the General Secretary of NCCI

Dear Prime Minister,

Greetings!

Kindly lend me your ears as I share my mann ki baat with you.

You are a very good orator, who can rouse the masses. You are a very powerful executive, who can control all actions of the government. You are an IT savvy person, who can make clever use of all forms of media to your development schemes. You are an astute business entrepreneur, who can maneuver the globalization system to serve your vision of development. You are indeed a model for many 21st century persons who aspire to fame, position and power.

However while all seems grand and beautiful with your leadership, there are serious concerns that many Indian citizens would like to draw to your notice. They know that you are not unaware of these serious concerns, but are distressed that you are not taking actions which the situations demand. Let me highlight these concerns by drawing your attention to the Preamble of the Indian Constitution.

The Preamble of the Indian Constitution describes five cardinal features of the Indian state:

(1) India is a Sovereign State:
As a sovereign independent state, India is free both internally and externally to take her own decisions and implement these for her people and territories.

However don’t you think that our sovereignty is under threat at the hands of certain powers within and outside the country? For instance, as you are well aware, economic globalization limits the capacity of our country to determine our own policy outcomes in three main ways: through trade and economic integration; financial markets; and the competition for employment. So also our state sovereignty is weakened by fundamentalist, casteist, communal and commercial forces within the country.

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Funeral Service of Bishop Dr. Taranath Sagar, Tributes and Condolence messages

The funeral service of Bishop Dr. Taranath Sagar was held on October 21, 2015  at 11:00 am at Richmond Town Methodist Church, Bangalore. It was attended by large numbers of people from around the country and abroad. The service was conducted by Rev. M. A. Daniel, General Secretary, MCI. Bishop Anil Servand delivered the message in which he spoke about Bishop Sagar’s ecumenical initiatives, various accomplishments and works he inspired. He also shared his intention to continue exploring possibilities to further the talks of the Methodist Church in India joining Church of North India (CNI), Church of South India (CSI) and the Marthoma Church in the Communion of Churches in India (CCI) for greater witness and service.

Among many esteemed leaders present, the following members gave eulogies: Bishop N. L. Karkare, President of the Council of Bishops, MCI; Bishop Subodh Mondol, Bishop, MCI Delhi Episcopal area; Bishop Philip Masih, Bishop, MCI Lucknow Episcopal area;  Dr. J. N. Hanchinmani, Central Treasurer, MCI; Fr. Bernard, Archbishop of Bangalore; Rev. M. A. Daniel, General Secretary, MCI; Mr. Michael Paul, Executive Council Member, MCI; Most Rev. Dyvashirvadam, Moderator, CSI; Rt. Rev. P. C. Singh, Deputy Moderator, CNI; Dr. Mathews George Chunakara, General Secretary, Christian Conference of Asia; Rev. Christopher Rajkumar (on behalf of Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary, NCCI); Dr. Santanu Patro, Registrar, Senate of Serampore College; Rev. Dr. Vincent Rajkumar, Director, CISRS; Mr. Sanjeev Dayanand, Conference Treasurer, South India Regional Conference, MCI; Rev. B. U. Bhaktanand, Brother-in-law of Bishop Dr. Sagar; Mr. Surendranath Sagar, Brother of Bishop Dr. Sagar; and Mrs. Sharon, Daughter of Bishop Dr. Sagar.

From the NCCI, Rev. Christopher Rajkumar, Rev. Caesar David, Rev. Sweety Helen and Mr. Samuel Jayakumar paid their respects on behalf of the NCCI family and placed wreaths. Dr. Saramma Varghese also placed wreaths on behalf of All India Council for Christian Women (AICCW) and the Orthodox Church. It was a solemn service marked with an air of grief. It was also a time of thanksgiving to God for the leadership and vision that the Church has been blessed with by the wonderful ministry of Bishop Dr. Sagar. The rich tributes and remembrances shared during this service gave evidence of the profundity of Bishop Dr. Sagar’s work, and there was the overwhelming sense of inspiration to continue carrying on his vision and faithful service for the Glory of God and to the blessing of people.

NCCI office received several condolence messages / tributes.

Please download the messages file

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

Girl

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.