Karnataka Christian Council’s new Executive Committee formed. Commits to counter fundamentalism.

Bangalore, March 26, 2015.

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.

This is the newly elected executive committee of KaCC for the next three years:
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.
As part of the General Body Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar, Executive Secretary, Commission of Justice, Peace and Creation and Commission on Unity, Mission and Evangelism, presented a paper on ‘The Challenges before the Karnataka Christians / Churches Today, and the need for Grassroots Ecumenism’. He said:…considering the political context and rise of fundamentalism, the Karnataka Christians and Churches are some of the most vulnerable communities in India that are encountering constant attacks on Churches, Christian Workers and Christian institutions. Therefore the Churches and Christians in Karnataka must be united for common witness and service. In keeping with the call of the NCCI Centenary findings, the Council should be involved in facilitating the grassroots ecumenical expressions to combat Hindutva strategies of ‘moral policing’, ‘ghar wapsi’ and ‘hate campaign’ based on caste and religions.
After a detailed discussion, the Council has called all the member Churches to get united and organized for a strong common witness. Considering the importance and urgent need of the hour, all the member churches of KaCC mandated the council to launch a campaign against religious fundamentalism.
NCCI Communications

Peace Rally In Nagpur Against Atrocities On Christians

Peace Rally In Nagpur Against Atrocities  On Christians
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The Hitavada | Nagpur | March 27, 2015


Christians of Nagpur took the street on Tuesday, solidly standing by each other as they protested against the atrocities being meted out against their community, specially in the recent past.

They culminated their protest march by submitting a memorandum of their recommendations to the government of India through Deputy Collector, Nagpur.
Among the recommendations include: urgent and effective action to restore rule of law to curb targeted and communal violence; insulation of government controlled educational institutions, syllabus and curriculum from political intervention and thesis of religious nationalism; enhance allocations  to strengthen poorer sections of religious minorities, to ensure their participation in public life; and to ensure adequate representation of religious minorities in the police, administrative and judicial services at all levels.

MAKE IT HAPPEN NOW!!!

COMMEMORATING INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

NEWS FROM ALL INDIA COUNCIL OF CHRISTIAN WOMEN

pic1As 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.

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Diaconal Church in a Radically Changing India.

Chennai Affirmation

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.

Context

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.

Proposed Activities

  • 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 India Launched

‘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.

===================================================================

Contact:

The Executive Secretary,

Commission on Justice, Peace and Creation,

National Council of Churches in India,

<ncci.cjpc@gmail.com>, <ncci@nccindia.in>

NCCI Centenary Celebration 2014 – Glimpses

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:

Seminar Report – Smart Church: Youth initiatives for an efficient, vibrant, communicating Church

DSC00256_crA seminar entitled “Smart Church: Youth initiatives for an efficient, vibrant, communicating Church” was held on February 17, 2015 at Azariah House at National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) campus in Nagpur. It was jointly organized by NCCI’s  Commission on Communications & Relations and the Commission on Youth. The purpose of this seminar was to provide space for young people from our Churches to come together bringing their own experiences and ideas towards enhancing the ministries of the Church, especially in their organizational aspects, and particularly in terms of consolidating the communication systems, tools and processes. The program was attended by 28 participants from several protestant denominations as well as Roman Catholic orders.

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Christians protest in Delhi against continuous Church attacks

delhiprotChristian communities are now more frequently targeted for violence.  In Delhi, in less than two months five Church buildings have been vandalized or burnt down.  The police have not solved most of the cases and it has created a sense of fear among the Christian Community in India.

The Christian community had peaceful protest in front of Sacred Heart Cathedral on 5th February, 2015 against Government inaction on Church attacks. However, Protesters were dealt very roughly by the Delhi police. Many of the priests, lay men and women, were dragged into police van and detained at the Parliament street police station. Around 500 protesters were taken to the Police station.  The police was not even allowing them to protest inside the Church and not allowing protesters to meet the media.

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Indian Churches called to ‘MINISTER TO SAVE WATER’

PRESS NOTE

Indian Churches called to ‘MINISTER TO SAVE WATER’

At the instance of

Week Of Prayer for Christian Unity (Unity Octave) | 18 – 25 January 2015

____________________________

Unity Octave BackdropNagpur (India) 14 Jan 2015 The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is an international Christian ecumenical observance kept annually between 18 January and 25 January. It is actually an octave, that is, an observance lasting eight days. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity began in 1908 as the Octave of Christian Unity, and focused on prayer for church unity.

In India, each year, the Commission on Unity, Mission and Evangelism of the National Council of Churches in India facilitates the Indian Christian communities to come together for prayer, fellowship and witness during this time.  This year, from January 18 – 25, 2015, with the theme “Water is Right – Water is Life”, the prayers will lead the water campaign with a more expansive focus to include water issues in the list of concerns for all people.

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Church Leaders Called on the President of India on the Christmas Eve

Meeting with President of IndiaChurch leaders representing the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) and the Regional Christian Council of North West India met the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhawan on 24th December, 2014. The Church leaders greeted him on the occasion of Christmas and offered prayers for his health and for the Nation.
The leaders also raised their concern with the President about the attacks on Christians in the different parts of the country as well as about conducting of Government functions on 25th December which is a public holiday (Christmas). The President affirmed that India is a pluralistic society and all the religious communities are to be given equal respect. He was very concerned that the social harmony, which has existed for a long time in India, should not be allowed to be disturbed.
The delegation consisted of Bishop Subodh Mondal, Bishop of Delhi Episcopal Area, Methodist Church in India; Mrs. Sudipta Mondal; Bishop Collin Theodore, Delhi Brotherhood Society; Bishop Warris. K. Masih, Moderator’s Commissary, Diocese of Delhi CNI; Archbishop Anil Couto, Archdiocese of Delhi Catholic Church; Bishop Simon John, Believers Church, Delhi Diocese; Dr. Sushant Agrawal, Director, CASA; and Mr. Samuel Jayakumar, Executive Secretary, CoP, NCCI.
We hope that the President will take some proactive steps in addressing the concerns presented by the delegation.
Samuel Jayakumar
Executive Secretary,
Commission on Policy, Governance and Public Witness, NCCI.