Report on School of Ecumenical Leadership Formation for Indian Youth (SELFIY) 15 Days Seminar

 

As her commitment towards building ecumenism, the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) through Youth Concerns has produced various young ecumenical leaders in both national and international levels over few decades. In continuing the vision of witnessing in forming young ecumenical leaders, the School of Ecumenical Leadership Formation for Indian Youth (SELFIY) was organized by the Youth Concerns of NCCI from 11th – 25th October 2018 at the NCCI Campus, Nagpur. The programme aimed at enhancing the prophetic Indian young minds so that the Indian Church and society at large may bear witness to ecumenism in a much more organic and tangible way. This year we focused on youth members from North and Central India. The proceeding SELFIY will emphasis on the young people from South and North East India.

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Pakistan acquits Asia Bibi on death row

Pakistan’s Supreme Court has set aside the death sentence for blasphemy of Catholic woman Asia Bibi and ordered her release from prison. The mother of five was sentenced to death in 2010 on charges of making derogatory remarks about the Prophet Muhammad during an argument with a Muslim farm worker.

A three-member court bench comprising Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan announced the verdict on Oct. 31. The apex court ruled that Bibi be released from death row immediately if she had no other case registered against her. The Supreme Court had reserved its judgment on the blasphemy case on Oct. 8 and had barred electronic and print media from covering the issue until the decision was announced by the court.Samson Salamat, the Christian chairman of the interreligious Rawadari Tehreek (Movement for Tolerance), issued a press statement after the verdict. “This is a highly tense and threatening situation for religious minorities, especially for Pakistani Christians, and there is fear of persecution of Christians and attacks on their churches and other properties,” he said. “Therefore, we call upon the government of Pakistan and the Supreme Court to take notice of the threats made by [Tehreek-e-Labaik leader] Khadim Rizvi and his group prior to the announcement of the Asia Bibi verdict. “We also call for a ban of Tehreek-e-Labaik and all similar extremist groups who are involved in hate speech and use religion as a tool to promote violence in society. “We also call upon the government and law enforcement agencies to beef up security and ensure the deployment of military troops to safeguard the lives and property of religious minorities, especially the Christian community.”

Rizvi recently warned the judges, the government and local as well as international non-government organizations of “dire” consequences if Bibi was set free. He also threatened Saiful Malook, the lawyer representing Bibi in court.”We will hold massive protests and not let the government function if it releases Asia Bibi to appease the United States,” said Rizvi.

Source: ucannews.com reporter 

Fellowship of Least coin (FLC) ecumenical prayer movement 2018 for justice peace and reconciliation

Mission and Vision of Fellowship of Least Coin Movement

The Fellowship of the Least Coin has flourished as a global ecumenical women’s prayer movement. Each time a woman prays, she sets aside the least coin of her local currency as a symbol of the prayer. Women’s national groups collect the coins and send them to the central FLC Fund c/o World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland. The prayers offered and the least coins collected support projects for women and the children around the world.

Brief History of FLC Movement

This worldwide women’s prayer movement started in 1956 in the Philippines by an Indian woman called Shanti Solomon who was on a peace mission with an international team of Presbyterian women to overcome the wounds between countries caused by World War II. Her visa to Korea was refused, and she had to stay in the Philippines while the others moved on. In her vision that prayer surpasses national boundaries she got the idea that each woman – even the poorest – can contribute whenever she prays for peace and reconciliation by setting aside her ’least coin’.  She got her insights from the parable of the widow’s mite in the gospel. This ecumenical prayer movement spread quickly among the Asian countries and beyond. Today all continents are part of it. Women’s fellowships of different churches in the world promote FLC movement.   Participating Ecumenical Organizations are.

All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC)
Asian Church Women’s Conference (ACWC)
Christian Conference of Asia (CCA)
Caribbean Conference of Churches (CCC)
Ecumenical Forum of European Christian Women (EFECW)
Latin America Council of Churches (CLAI)
Middle East Council of Churches (MECC)
Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada (WICC)
Church Women United CWU-USA
Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC)
World Council of Churches Women’s Program
World Day of Prayer International Committee

Every year the International Committee meets to allocate grants to about forty projects and some scholarships for young female students. This grant is from the least coins collected by women during praying all over the global for justice and peace, healing and reconciliation.

 2018 FLC In-Gathering Liturgy

NCCI – IDEA Seminar on World Mental Health Day 2018

National Council of Churches in India – Indian Disability Ecumenical Accompaniment (NCCI – IDEA)

‘Acceptance is a Gospel Demand and Inclusion is a Gospel Affirmation’ says Mrs. Rachna Singh, Executive Committee member of NCCI, in a commemoration seminar on World Mental Health DayThe United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organisation called the global communities to commemorate and observe the World Mental Health Day on the 10th October every year with the overall objective of raising awareness about mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health care. This commemoration provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.

The National Council of Churches in India – Indian Disability Ecumenical Accompaniment and the Church of Scotland (World Mission Council), Student Christian Movement of India (Mid-India Region), Asia CMS, Church of North India – All Saints Cathedral Youth Fellowship and Christian Service Agency organized a Commemoration seminar on Mental Well-being of students in Nagpur at All Saints Cathedral’s  Chatterton Hall on October 10, 2018.

There were 60 participants from 30 different schools, colleges, institutions, organisations and Churches.

This seminar was inaugurated by Mrs. Rachna Singh, the Executive and Finance Committee Member of the National Council of Churches in India. She is also Principal of St. Ursula Girls High School and Junior College, and President of the Young Women Christian  Association, Nagpur. Mrs. Rachna Singh challenged and inspired participants to action as she said: Acceptance is a Gospel Demand and Inclusion is a Gospel Affirmation. We, as teachers should have more patience in working with Children who are in need of healthy mental status and environment. There are areas where Children find themselves isolated. In such contexts we need to play the role of a catalyst by way of making the student communities to be inclusive student communities by creating awareness among the students. Also, she invited all school and institutional campuses to become inclusive communities ‘OF’ all and ‘FOR’ all students.

This session opened with a word of prayer by Rev. John George, Presbyter of the CNI – All Saints Cathedral, Nagpur. He moderated the seminar. Rev. Christopher Rajkumar, Executive Secretary of NCCI – Unity and Mission, and Director of the NCCI – Indian Disability Ecumenical Accompaniment (NCCI – IDEA)  introduced the theme and the context. Ms. Pranita P. Sandela of the CNI – All Saints Cathedral and Mr. Jeswin Rajan, Programme Secretary, Student Christian Movement of India Mid-India Region, jointly welcomed the gathering and honored the speakers and guests of honors.

The Seminar had four speakers to speak on four perspectives of the theme: Academic, Clinical, Media and Medical perspectives.

Prof. Dr. Dipti Christian, Principal of Hislop College, Nagpur, spoke from the academic perspectives.  Dr. Christian invited the attention of the participants by sharing her life and academic interventions of creating mental well-being environment in the institutions she is associated with. She presented tips to identify the students who are under a great stress due to their autism, slow learning, hyper-activity, and colour / vision deficiency, other issues related to vision and the such. She emphasized the need to create space for children to express themselves as they are. She said “We teachers and community workers need to appreciate students who express themselves rather discourage them”. She also invited the teachers to not be judgmental, but rather accept the students as they are, and encourage the other students also to understand each other though encouragement, support and accompaniment. She also proposed a paradigm shift in the present educational system and curriculum  in the direction of giving importance to the mental well-being of students rather than importing data alone.

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CHURCHES WEEK OF ACTION ON FOOD

Theme: Zero Hunger World: A Missional Agenda

October 16th is World Food Day. The theme for this year (2018) is “Zero Hunger World: A Missional Agenda”.  It has been chosen to highlight the role of civil societies and faith communities in improving food security and contributing to the eradication of hunger by addressing  climate change with the Gospel Values of Justice, Love and Peace.

Despite the economic growth achieved during the last 20 years, India continues to suffer from ‘alarming hunger’ and acute malnutrition among children below age five. The recently introduced National Food Security Bill tries to address some of these concerns seriously. The Government of India also has to improve the design and supervision of the welfare programmes like the Public Distribution System (PDS) which distributes basic commodities at subsidized cost to the people who live under the poverty line. However, food alone does not solve the problem of underweight children; it needs a multidimensional thrust through the right to health, right to hygiene, right to water and right to live.

Therefore, considering the seriousness of the issue, then Commission on Justice, Peace and Creation, of  the National Council of Churches in India joined the World Council of Churches – Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance in launching a National Campaign on “FOOD-JUSTICE for LIFE” in 2012 and initiated missional interventions in promoting ‘Life Giving Agriculture’ as a commitment to facilitate their constituent members and communities of people to join the campaign to give expression in the entire world to the Gospel of Food-Justice for Life.

The week between, 11 – 17 October is considered as an important week! This week includes the International Day of Girl Child (11 October),  ‘International Day for Disaster Reduction’ (13 October), ‘International Day for Rural Women’ (15 October), ‘World Food Day’ (16 October) and ‘International Day for Eradication of Poverty’ (17 October).  Hence,  the WCC – EAA has declared this week as “Churches’ Week of Action on Food”.    ‘This  Churches’ Week of Action on Food’,  is a to advocate Food-justice ‘OF’ all – Food Justice ‘FOR all. This is part of the WCC -EAA’s global campaign on ‘Food for Life.’ The Members of EAA observe this week globally with the their networks and constituencies. The NCCI – Unity and Mission is facilitating the Indian Churches to observe the same for the past 8 years. This year (2018) the entire focus would be on ‘Zero Hunger World’.

The National Council of Churches in India continues to be a part of the World Council of Churches – Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance’s Churches Week of Action on Food. This year also the NCCI has developed an Order of Worship for the entire week with seven reflections based on the UN special days.  Indeed such a ‘Prayer’ campaign is an urgent necessity to inform the world that food insecurity is sin caused by unjust systems and practices of the society! It is a call to the entire society to campaign for just-production, just-consumption, and just-distribution on the basis of needs, necessity and equality along with practicing and promoting socially, environmentally sustainable agriculture. The Gospel imperative is that we all work together, irrespective of caste, creed, faith, ideology and philosophies to change the unjust practices, structures and systems of our society.

We request you to kindly use this worship order and reflection, publish and disseminate the same among your congregations and net-works and encourage them to join the campaign by observing the Week of Action for Food from 11 – 17 October 2018. We also urge you to observe Food Justice Sunday on 14th October 2018 in your respective congregations.

Please CLICK HERE for the WORSHIP ORDER and REFLECTIONS

Please CLICK  Ten Commandments on Food Poster

Other resources…

<https://www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/events/churches-week-of-action-on-food>

<https://www.presbyterianmission.org/food-faith/2018/09/12/claimingrights/>

The Campaign envisions “Hunger-free Society of All and Society for All!

Yours in God’s Mission

 

Most. Rev. Dr. P. C. Singh,

President

NCCI

 

 

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad,

General Secretary

NCCI

 

 

 

Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar,

Executive Secretary,

NCCI – Unity and Mission,

 

NCCI – VCLC (Vidarbha Centre for Labour Concerns) empowering the next generation Journalists for a just society.

The VCLC along with District Journalist’s Forum and Star Apex News had jointly organized a one day work shop for the progressive Journalist’s of Butibori in Hotel Royal Regency, Butibori on 30th September 2018.

The Butibori Journalist’s Union welcomed the participants. The Deputy Superintendent Ms Reena Janbandhu congratulated the efforts of the local organisers for this attempt to empower the next generation of budding Journalists. During this workshop many Journalist’s were awarded for their fearless write ups which challenged Corruption and the various Developmental issues.

The workshop had two sessions. In the first session, the legal aspects and role to be played by the press and media were spoken of. One of the speakers hailed the Maharashtra Government for introducing the bill to protect the on-duty journalists and media persons. He also congratulated them for taking the lead in enacting the first ever law in the country to protect the media and journalists, who have been paying a heavy price for upholding their right to “free and fearless reporting” of news and views.

Resource person Yogesh slated that the (Prevention of Violence and Damage or Loss to Property) Act, 2017, adopted by both the Houses of the State’s legislature early this month, covers all journalists and media houses and organizations and makes the attacks on journalists and media establishments punishable with both fines and jail terms. The Act, however, also penalizes its willful misuse by journalists or media organizations. The participants found this session enlightening and helpful.

Post-lunch, the Second Session discussed on the roles and responsibilities of the Journalist’s in the changing sociopolitical context. Dr. Bhola Sarovar slated that the role of the media is influential in social change and social innovation processes.

“The role of the media in social change can either be progressive or conservative,” said one of the resource persons. Media can support the renewal of society by introducing new, constructive angles and new knowledge. It can question prevailing operative models and paradigms. The media can, however, also impede progress and cast doubt on warranted social reforms or take a passive stance in a change situation.

 

What is particularly important in a change situation is the feedback that policy-makers and other social actors receive through the media. It has a direct impact on how positively social reforms and initiatives are perceived and how likely they are to be accepted.

“The media could take a more active role in promoting social reform without compromising their journalistic principles. Involvement in social change does, however, require solid competence on behalf of the media,” said the Resource person.

The workshop concluded with all the participants having an open forum. The closing ceremony was done by Naagesh Girhe.

Rajesh Jadhav
Coordinator, VCLC

International Prayer Day for Peace and Peace Sunday

International Prayer Day for Peace (21st September 2018)

Peace Sunday  (23rd September 2018)

Theme: The Right to Peace

(An invitation to Celebrate Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70)

 Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The General Assembly of the United Nations has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals to inculcate the culture of Peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.

António Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nation’s Organisations states: “It is time all nations and all people live up to the words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognizes the inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human race. This year marks the 70th anniversary of that landmark document.” As we all know, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)  is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. Therefore the UNO calls the globe to celebrate the UDHR on the 21st September 2018. This observation affirms the Sustainable Development Goal No 16.

INTERNATIONAL PRAYER DAY for Peace (21 September):

Along with the UN, the World Council of Churches invites Churches and all the faith and peace loving communities to observe the International Day of Prayer for Peace. Observances of the peace prayer day began in 2004 during a meeting between the then WCC General Secretary Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

For the past nine years, the erstwhile Commission on Justice, Peace and Creation, and the present Unity and Mission ministry of the National Council of Churches in India have been facilitating and working with the Indian Churches to ensure that this day addresses the issues related to peace and societal harmony.

The Indian Churches are committed to Peace wherever there are conflicts such as Iraq, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Palestine and other places including India where unjust and inhuman policies and politics are waging war against the innocent public. The NCCI joins the global communities who seek peace and demand suitable mechanisms for ‘truth and reconciliation’.  On 3rd February 2014, at the NCCI’s Centenary Symposium, the South Asian National Councils have decided to work on a common theme ‘Peace and Human Security in South Asia’.

This year the World Council of Churches is calling the world-wide Church to observe a week of prayer for the Peace in Palestine. With this inspiration the National Council of Churches in India calls churches to pray for Peace in India and other parts of the world, including Palestine.

PEACE SUNDAY (23 September 2018):

The Unity and Mission ministry of the National Council of Churches in India, invites all NCCI Constituent Members, Interfaith and Peace Loving Individuals and Communities to creatively observe the Prayer Day for Peace in India as a pledge-taking event at their respective congregations, communities and institutions.

 This observance would offer opportunities for all of us to support the peace campaign widely and to reaffirm the words of Jesus ‘ … blessed are the peace makers (Mathew 5: 20)‘ by ministering towards the Right of Peoples to Peace in order to recognize the call of God in promoting peace in our region.

As we are aware there are several issues of religious, racial and caste disparities which destroy peace among the people.  Women and girl children are not safe in societies, people and communities are forced to migrate, and women and girl children are being trafficked – everywhere we witness violation of human right violations. Therefore we earnestly encourage our members and other faith communities to observe this week sincerely to work towards the Gospel Call of ‘Peace on Earth’ as members of the Jesus’ Community.

Therefore, the NCCI is providing this WORSHIP RESOURCE and encouraging every peace-loving person and congregation to engage with their members, friends and neighbours, community organizations and governments: together let us pray for and claim the right of peoples to peace.

Let us dedicate this day or the Sunday (26th September 2018) to praying and sowing seeds of local possibilities for a harvest of global peace.

An Invitation:

The Prayer Day for Peace, invites all to stand for cessation of hostilities and to commemorate the day by organizing events and programmes such as  ‘lighting a candle’ and encouraging the people to ‘pledge for peace’, offering special prayers for victims and martyrs in conflicts and for peace, through education and creating public awareness on issues related to peace,  and  by affirming the declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace, with its central message that humanity’s sustainable progress and the realization of fundamental rights and freedom depend on peace and security. It is central to the Rights upfront approach, which calls upon the national and international communities to act early and more concertedly in the face of human rights violations, which are often the precursors of worse things to come.

This Day also unites all of us as an earth family to work for the cause of peace by encouraging fighters to lay down and give-up their arms.  Let this Day make us stand in solidarity with the civilians killed by terrorism and war, the traumatized families whose homes and futures lie in ruins, the countries whose development has been set back by decades.

History has shown that, no matter how fierce the conflict, it will come to an end, peace can prevail and reconciliation can be achieved.  On 21 September, at concerts and special events around the world — in major cities and small towns, in conflict zones and peaceful communities – people will broadcast this essential message.  They will celebrate the value of human diversity and the strength of our unity.

Herewith, we encourage all ecclesial traditions to use our holy shrines and pulpits for prayer and ministering the Word on Peace. Let us observe Peace Sunday on the 23rd September 2018 with the Worship Resource made available for you.

Blessed are the Peace Makers (Matt 5: 9). Come let us follow Jesus and his Words as PEACE MAKERS.

Sincerely yours,

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad

General Secretary

Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar

Executive Secretary

 Please CLICK HERE for the 2018  Peace Sunday Worship Resource

Please CLICK THE LINK to know more about WCC’s Observation <https://www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/events/world-week-of-peace-in-palestine-and-israel>

Please CLICK THE LINK to know more about UNO’s Observation <https://internationaldayofpeace.org/>

Kerala Flood Relief operations of ATTWI

Information about Kerala Flood Relief Operations of Association of Theologically Trained Women of India (ATTWI), a constituent member of National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), as received:

 

The recent floods in Kerala, as we all know, caused colossal damage. during the floods, people were shifted to some safe place but they lost their houses and house hold things.

In this context Grace centre and Association of Theologically Trained Women of India (ATTWI) provided emergency relief materials such as blankets, children dresses, food materials ,rice oil ,milk powder nutritious food for children ,napkins, medicine, and financial helps to Idikki district area

ATTWI requests your prayer support towards the needy people of Kerala….


Thanking you
In Christ 


Rev. Elizabeth Joseph.
Treasurer,  ATTWI.

 

Pictures

 

 

NCCI names General Secretary designate

The Rev. Asir Ebenezer. General Secretary designate, NCCI.

The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), in its Executive meeting in Chennai on August 28, 2018, announced Rev. Asir Ebenezer as the next General Secretary of NCCI. He will be taking charge at the turn of the year to succeed the present General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad.

Rev. Asir Ebenezer is an ordained minister of the Church of South India (CSI). He has been in ministry since 1992 and has served in various positions in national and global ecumenical forums.

He currently serves as Director of Social Empowerment: Vision in Action (SEVA)  at the CSI Synod. He had earlier served the NCCI in various positions, including Officiating General Secretary of NCCI in 2010. A well-known figure in ecumenical circles, theologian, community-enabler and finance expert, the multiple competencies of Rev. Asir Ebenezer will go a long way to strengthen the council.

 

 

‘Day of Mourning’ on 10th August 2018

The National Council of Churches in India – Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns observed the Day of Mourning on 10th of August 2018 as a protest against the infamous Presidential Order 1950 (August 10th) Paragraph 3, which excludes Dalit Muslims and Dalit Christians from the Scheduled Caste (SC) status, and the related affirmative action benefits of the Government.

Thus the Day of Mourning was a time to express  solidarity with the struggles and problems of  Dalit Muslims and Dalit Christians in  contemporary India where they are deprived of their rights.  On this day the NCCI staff gathered on the lawn of the NCCI premises, displaying posters expressing their protest. This act was not only an expression of mourning  but also an urgent appeal to the authorities to repeal the unconstitutional law that violates the rights of the ones who are genuinely in need of it. A short speech was delivered by Mr. Saurabh Khobragade, NCCI Intern of Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns, regarding the significance of the protest.  He not only cited the infamous Presidential Order that was signed on 10th August 1950, but also emphasized how concerned people should  respond in times like this – to be critical  about the unjust ways of the authorities, to relate justly and responsibly  with our neighbours in society, and to be responsible citizens and  stewards in the service  of God. The observance of the Day of Mourning  concluded with a word of prayer remembering the suffering of  marginalized people, and seeking  God’s  intervention in the struggles for justice and inclusivity in the society and country at large.