A Fresh Call for Applications to the post of Executive Secretary, NCCI – Policy Governance and Public Witness

NATIONAL COUNCIL OF CHURCHES IN INDIA

A Fresh Call for Applications to the post of

Executive Secretary, NCCI – Policy Governance and Public Witness

Qualifications Required:

  1. A post-graduate degree or its equivalent in Political Science or Economics or Sociology or Law or any related subjects.
  2. Having experience in Advocacy and Campaigning on issues of contemporary concern;
  3. Skilful in relating with government, churches and civil society.
  4. Proficiency  in English and Hindi language articulation (written and oral)
  5. Excellent knowledge of MS Office, social media and apps.

 

Age Requirement:

  1. The candidates should be between 40 and 55 years of age.
  2. The upper limit of age criterion will be relaxed in the case of any Christian high level Government officer.

 

Responsibilities:

  • Strengthen the churches in their public witness;
  • Accompany and facilitate churches to address contemporary political, economic, social, and religious issues in the country;
  • Liaise between the churches and the government on important matters;
  • Work with NGOs and civil society bodies on concerns of national importance;
  • Collect and disseminate information and news relating to issues of democracy secularism, justice liberty, equality and fraternity;
  • Draft news reports and press releases on issues of importance, and national and international significance, for and on behalf of the General Secretary;
  • Maintain contact, and liaise, with representatives of media particularly at the national capital;
  • Any other related work that may be assigned from time to time.

 

Salary: Depending on qualification and experience, the selected candidate’s salary will be appropriately fixed on the scale: 26,325-975-31200-1170-37050-1365-43875-1560-51675-1755-60450. Allowances would also be paid as per the standards and norms of the NCCI

 

Location: The Executive Secretary – Policy Governance and Public Witness will operate from Delhi.

Applications: Interested and eligible candidates may apply enclosing copies of relevant documents including an endorsement from the Church by 31st May 2018, to

The General Secretary

National Council of Churches in India

P.O. Box # 205, Civil Lines,

Nagpur – 440 001, MAHARASHTRA

Phone: (0712) 2531312/2561464,

Fax: (0712) 2520554, Email: ncci@ncci1914.com

 

Applicants should also provide their telephone/cell phone contact nos.

Candidates, who have applied earlier, need not apply again.

Short listed candidates will be called for an interview. Selected applicant will be expected to join soon after the selection is made in June 2018.

Open Letter to Prime Minister of India | End Culture of Rape & Sexual Violence on Girls, Children & Women in India!

Date: 16th April 2018

To

Sri Narendra Modi,
Honourable Prime Minister in India,
South Block, Raisina Hill,
New Delhi -110011

Open Letter to Prime Minister of India
End Culture of Rape & Sexual Violence on Girls, Children & Women in India !

 

Honourable Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi,

Greetings from the National Council of Churches in India.

National Council of Churches represents around 14 million Christians in India from Reformation and Syrian Christian Traditions.

We write this letter at the darkest hour of our country when our Government is failing to protect girls, women and children. We express our deep anguish and pain, regarding the barbaric and heinous act of gang rape and murder of the little eight year old girl in Kathua and the rape of young 20 year old girl from Unnao in Uttar Pradesh.

Read more

For our Prayerful Commitment to the Cause of Justice in Secular Democratic India

As we are all aware, members of vulnerable communities in India organized mass protests on 2nd April 2018 against a Supreme Court ruling, which activists say will likely dilute a stringent law that was enacted to address atrocities against scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, the rate of crimes against Dalits, who number more than 200 million, has risen in recent years. Reuters News Agency reports that Government data shows that by the end of 2016, about 90 percent of roughly 145,000 cases involving Dalits were still awaiting trial. Government data also shows that less than a tenth of the cases brought by Dalits in 2016 were proven to be false. In a democracy the people, who are weak, are protected by the law; the courts work for them. Hence the concern and campaign of the vulnerable sections of society for justice that assures them of protection of their lives, land and livelihood.

Dalits who constitute 16.63 percent and Tribals who constitute 8.6 percent of the Indian population, are a social minority. Dalits and Tribals/Adivasis have realized that arrests under the ST/SC (Prevention of Atrocities) Act have worked as a great deterrent.

The key features of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015, (http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=135764) are:

  • New offences of atrocities like tonsuring of head, moustache, or similar acts which are derogatory to the dignity of members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, garlanding with chappals, denying access to irrigation facilities or forest rights , dispose or carry human or animal carcasses, or to dig graves, using or permitting manual scavenging, dedicating a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe women as devadasi, abusing in caste name, perpetrating witchcraft atrocities, imposing social or economic boycott, preventing Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes candidates from filing of nomination to contest elections, hurting a Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes woman by removing her garments, forcing a member of Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe to leave house , village or residence, defiling objects sacred to members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe, touching or using words, acts or gestures of a sexual nature against members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe.
  • Addition of certain IPC offences like hurt, grievous hurt, intimidation, kidnapping etc., attracting less than ten years of imprisonment, committed against members of Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe, as offences punishable under the PoA Act. Presently, only those offences listed in IPC as attracting punishment of 10 years or more and committed on members of Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe are accepted as offences falling under the PoA Act.
  • Establishment of Exclusive Special Courts and specification of Exclusive Special Public Prosecutors also, to exclusively try the offences under the PoA Act to enable speedy and expeditious disposal of cases.
  • Power of Special Courts and Exclusive Special Courts, to take direct cognizance of offence and as far as possible, completion of trial of the case within two months, from the date of filing of the charge sheet.
  • Addition of chapter on the ‘Rights of Victims and Witnesses’.
  • Defining clearly the term ‘wilful negligence’ of public servants at all levels, starting from the registration of complaint, and covering aspects of dereliction of duty under this Act.
  • Addition of presumption to the offences – If the accused was acquainted with the victim or his family, the court will presume that the accused was aware of the caste or tribal identity of the victim unless proved otherwise.

SC/ST people, who are most vulnerable on account of corruption, criminalization and communal grounds, are threatened, victimized and pressurized by unsocial elements. Therefore, the ruling of the Supreme Court on March 20, 2018 which does away with immediate arrests gives rise to the apprehensions of the vulnerable minorities that perpetrators of violence will get away without being immediately taken to task for their criminal acts.. Hence the importance and urgency of protection and immediate action against the perpetrators of atrocities on them.

The State with all its mechanisms and the Society have to ensure that vulnerable communities are granted due protection against atrocities and that the injustices of the caste system are rooted out.

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad
General Secretary,
National Council of Churches in India.
Mr. Pradip Bansrior
Executive Secretary
Dalit and Tribal / Adivasi Concerns, NCCI.

Call for applications to the post of NCCI Executive Secretary – Policy, Governance and Public Witness.

Kindly download a copy of the advertisement of the NCCI calling for applications to the post of NCCI Executive Secretary – Policy Governance and Public Witness.

Please encourage suitable candidates to apply for the same.

Thanking you,

Sincerely,

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad,
General Secretary, NCCI

 

Download

 

Consultation on Ecumenical Formation and Capacity Building for Young Dalit, Tribal/Adivasi Theologians

National Council of Churches in India – Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns
in Partnership with
EMW-Germany, Christian Service Agency and Leonard Theological College

Consultation on Ecumenical Formation and Capacity Building for
Young Dalit, Tribal/Adivasi Theologians
1-3 February 2018 | Mahatma Gandhi Hall, Leonard Theological College, Jabalpur

Ecumenism as mission of all churches involves building relationships, challenging the local styles of being church and leading to the sharing of resources by establishing solidarity and accepting the fact that every church is called by God to be a partner in mission, not be isolated. A clear theological self-understanding reflected on the concept of life and mission of the church must be proclaimed with bold options in support of the marginalized people around us. Ecumenism must motivate the church and society to develop a countervailing power in the midst of gloom and despair. Dialogue with people of other faiths and respect of the religious values of our neighbor should be our lifestyle. There is a need to bring an effective awareness among all the Christian communities across India to be united in bringing significant changeswith regards to addressing the evils of caste, creed, colour as well as socio-political, cultural and economic changes which our Indian society has been undergoing from ages and which has seen a rapid growth in the recent times. Therefore it is the need of the hour for the Indian churches and Christian institutions including the theological colleges to work together and work effectively on denominationalism and fundamentalism which can lead to or create differences among the Christian communities and societies.

In order to bridging gaps and helping the young dalit, tribal/ adivasi theologians to understand the gospel in totality, as a gospel that deals with humanity and all creation, helping people towards better life integrated with ecology, and which supports freedom, and stands for human rights and eco dignity,  NCCI-Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns in partnership with EMW Germany, Leonard Theological College, Jabalpur and Christian Service Agency organized  a three days Consultation on “Ecumenical Formation and Capacity Building for Young Dalit, Tribal/Adivasi Theologians” from 1st -3rd February 2018 at Mahatma Gandhi Assembly Hall, Leonard Theological College, Jabalpur. A total of 41 participants in which 30 Theological Students from twelve different theological colleges/seminaries from the Northern, Eastern and Central regions of India, affiliated to the Senate of Serampore Colleges and 11 Resource Persons participated in the consultation. The consultation started with a creative and participatory worship led by Mr. Pradip Bansrior, Executive Secretary-Dalit and Tribal Concerns-NCCI along with the team of theological students, the reflection was given by Mr. Jianthaolung Gonmei, Executive Secretary- Youth Concerns, NCCI and concluded with the benediction pronounced by Rev. Dr. Naveen Rao, Principal, Leonard Theological College. Following the inaugural worship, Mr. Pradip Bansrior welcomed the delegates and the resource persons and shared the purpose of the consultation and also extended his sincere thanks and gratitude to Rev. Anil Michael, Treasurer- LTC and the administrative body for hosting the consultation in the Leonard Theological College, Jabalpur.

Read more

Statement of the Consultation on Ecumenical Formation and Capacity Building for Young Dalit, Tribal/Adivasi Theologians

Statement of the Consultation on Ecumenical Formation and Capacity Building for
Young Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Theologians

1 – 3 February 2018 | Leonard Theological College, Jabalpur (MP)

 

We, 30 young theologians from 12 theological colleges across Northern, Eastern and Central India representing different social and cultural identities as well as churches from different parts of India, gathered at Leonard Theological College, Jabalpur from 1st to 3rd of February 2018 for a Consultation on Ecumenical Formation and Capacity Building for Young Dalit, Tribal/Adivasi Theologians organized by NCCI’s Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns.  During our discussions and deliberations we dealt with many concerns such as trends and development of ecumenical movement from various contextual issues including struggles for Dalits Rights; Rights of indigenous people; Rights of women and children; Youth in the Cyber Age; Human Trafficking, Human Sexuality and Gender Diversities; Prophetic communication; Ecumenical formation; Inter-Religious harmony and Ecological justice.

We affirm that:

  1. God has created humankind in God’s own image. In the household of God, there is no discrimination on the basis of caste, gender, race, creed, or religion.
  2. Unity is the essence of Christianity and the Christian community can transcend differences and divisions by coming together to address social concerns and campaign against evil forces that undermine or violate people’s rights and dignity on the basis of their gender, generation, caste, tribe, ability or sexual orientation.
  3. Our God is the God of love, compassion and justice who always takes the side of the oppressed in their struggle for justice and liberates them from oppressive and unjust systems.
  4. The ecumenical spirit transcends ecclesial realms and facilitates visible unity and symbiotic living with all of God’s creation, peace and reconciliation with people of all faiths, and commitment to social causes.
  5. The Church has to take serious cognisance of the changing socio-political, cultural and technological context, and should engage with the same meaningfully, relevantly and effectively.
  6. The Church is called to remain committed particularly to the cause of Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi communities in her prophetic ministry.

We reject and condemn any discrimination and social injustice within and outside the church, denying the rights to the fullness of life of women, youth, children, Dalits, Tribals/Adivasis, sexual minorities and of nature.

We, therefore, make the following recommendations to the churches and theological institutions for effective ecumenism and social justice:

  1. To declare and accept social diversities in gender, caste, race or creed as designs of God.
  1. To widen the ecumenical movement beyond ecclesial relationships within and among the churches, and even beyond inter-religious relationships to inter-human relationships and integrity of all creation.
  2. To be more inclusive, and to be more sensitive towards sexual minorities and marginalised sections of the society.
  3. To incorporate teachings of peace and reconciliation not only in curricula, but also to practice the same in day to day lives.
  4. To understand and interpret the Scripture in a holistic manner of inclusivity and ensure justice and equity for all creation.
  5. To strengthen prophetic communication with regard to issues of women, children, Dalits and Tribals/Adivasis, sexual minorities and nature.
  6. To publicly affirm the identity of Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi communities and promote their spirituality.
  7. To make use of Dalit/Tribal/Adivasi cultures and traditions in strengthening grassroots ecumenism.

Indian Christian Mission starts ‘FROM’, ‘BY’ and ‘WITH’ the Margins, says Most Rev. Dr. P. C. Singh

The India Pre-conference of the Conference on World Mission and Evangelism was held at the CNI Bhavan, New Delhi from 24 -26 January 2018 on the theme: ‘Transforming Discipleship: Mission of the Missions’. There were forty-eight delegates including fourteen women and ten youth from thirteen various ecclesial traditions, seven theologians from various schools of thought, thirteen social and developmental organizations, nine ecumenists and six mission workers, represented also from the ‘so-called’ socially, religiously and culturally excluded communities like, Tribals/Adivasis, Dalits, People With Disabilities, Sexually Diverse Communities, Women, and Youth. The Conference was jointly organized by the Church of North India Synod and NCCI Unity and Mission along with the WCC – Commission on Council for World Mission and Evangelism.

The Most Rev. Dr. P. C. Singh, President, National Council of Churches in India and the Moderator of the Church of North India inaugurated the Conference. In the inaugural address the Most Revered Moderator ‘invited’ the Churches, Mission Movements and Diaconal Organizations to adopt ‘discipleship’ as a strategy to ‘do’ and ‘practice’ mission in India. Further the President observed that, Christian Mission in India has a 2000 years  history. Christian Mission has been involving in inculcating the Gospel values of Justice, Peace and Love through its education, health and diaconal interventions in and among all the communities and the societies at large. These interventions have reached millions of people and brought a change in their lives and in the societies at large. These interventions are not basically to convert anyone to Christianity; rather these are engaged in the process of molding good human / citizens. But, today a hate campaign is waged against the Churches and its mission services including diaconal interventions, alleging  that these missional interventions are after all for ‘conversion, ‘ even when facts reveal that  the Christian population has been constituting  2.5 % of the Indian population for centuries.

It is clearly evident that in all missional and diaconal interventions Indian Christian missions have largely focused on the ‘transformation of lives’ by ‘DOING gospel’ along with ‘preaching’ of the good news.  The gospel of Christ has directly confronted injustices in society such as caste discrimination, gender injustice and other social divides, and has identified with the socially, religiously, economically neglected, excluded and discriminated communities who are pushed to the edges of society. So, Indian Christian Mission is ‘FROM’ the Margins, ‘BY’ the Margins and ‘WITH’ the margins.  This is the uniqueness of the Indian Christian mission.   Further the President said that, the transforming discipleship strives to enhance human values based on the gospel values of justice, peace and love.  Therefore, he invited the mission movements and churches to be together in mission, facilitating new disciples to transform the society as God intended, thereby realizing the reign of God: “ I call upon the mission leaders to go into the world, strengthening the process of ‘transforming disciples’ in all nations”.

Shri. Alwan Masih, the General Secretary of the Church of North India, moderated the inaugural sessions and several Church leaders spoke at the inaugural session.

Please click  for detailed India Pre-Conference Report

Click here for Coverage in Peoples Reporter

Click for Photographs

Reported by:

Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar,

Executive Secretary,

NCCI – Unity and Mission

<mission@ncci1914.com>

World Day of Prayer (WDP) 2018 – “All God’s Creation is Very Good!”

INFORMED PRAYER & PRAYERFUL ACTION

“ALL GOD’S CREATION IS VERY GOOD”

Dear  Fellow-pilgrims of Justice and Peace,

Greetings of Peace from Women Concerns Ministry of National Council of Churches in India.

It is our pleasure to share with you the Resource Material of World Day of Prayer  2018. The theme of  2018 WDP is “All God’s Creation is Very Good!” .

This year WDP Resource Material is prepared by Suriname WDP Committee, shared by  World Day of Prayer  International Committee (WDPIC)  and contexualized in India  by  Women Concerns Ministry, NCCI.

The WDP is a global ecumenical movement led by Christian Women who join in prayer for peace and justice. It is run under the motto “Informed Prayer and Prayerful Action.” The movement aims to bring together women of various races, cultures and traditions in a yearly common  Day of Prayer as well as in closer fellowship, understanding and action throughout the year.  Every year it is commemorated on the first Friday in March and a  particular country is chosen as country of focus . The  WDP Committee prepares the resource material on particular theme.

 The 2018 Resource material reflects how Women from Suriname lift up their voices to remind us that we are caretakers of God’s creation! How good is God’s creation? That is the question to meditate upon and respond to with a personal commitment to care for creation . They are bringing to our attention the urgent need for caring at a time when more than 180 countries have signed the Paris Agreement on Climate Change: A commitment to take care and heal wounded mother Earth.

Through the worship service, we listen to the multicultural and multi-ethnic people of Suriname. They take us to their communities and through their concerns. History is before our eyes! The flora and fauna is remarkable! Everyday life is weaved into prayers. Through WDP a movement for “informed prayer and prayerful action” we encourage women’s fellowships in India and churches to care of creation  throughout the year .

We encourage you to involve children and youth during the worship as they are our future stewards and care takers of mother Earth. Not only will they carry the legacy of WDP Movement but sow seeds of justice and peace in the world.

We request you to send 3-4 good resolution photographs and brief report immediately and latest by 31st March 2018 so that we can publish it and share it in the NCCI Website  WORLD DAY OF PRAYER ASIA FACEBOOK PAGE and  send Women Concerns ministry report to  WDPIC. The soft copy reports and photographs can be sent by email to aiccw.office.ncci@gmail.com with a copy to ncci.aiccw.moumita@gmail.com

We have already sent the Resource Material to National Women’s Fellowships of member churches of NCCI.   Please share these resource materials with local dioceses, women’s fellowships,  church leaders, ecumenical partners,  theological colleges and Christian institutions.

Looking forward to all your solidarity in practicing and promoting WDP (Informed Prayer and Prayerful Action) movement.

Shanti! Shalom! Salam!

Rev. Moumita Biswas
Executive Secretary
Women’s Concerns Ministry NCCI.

 

DOWNLOAD: World Day of Prayer 2018 WDP Prayer Book

Posted by Women Concerns Ministry of NCCI

 

Unity Octave 2018 Ecumenical Youth Music Concert

As part of the Unity Octave, the National Council of Churches in India organized an Ecumenical Youth Music Concert on 18th January (Thursday) 2018, at Sristhi Lawn, NCCI Campus, Nagpur, on the theme “Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power (Ex. 15:6).” The main focus of the concert was to enlarge ecumenical rapport and togetherness among the Christians, especially Youth, spreading the message of peace and unity through music in the midst of the rising atmosphere of turmoil and intolerance in our society.

Read more

Towards Just and Inclusive Communities: A Statement on Sec.377 of IPC

A Statement on Sec.377 of IPC

We, the members of the National Ecumenical Forum for Gender and Sexual Diversities of the National Council of Churches in India note the decision of the Supreme Court of India on 8th January 2018 to refer to a Constitution Bench a petition seeking to quash Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalizes homosexuality. The apex court has observed that a section of people cannot live in fear of the law which atrophies their right to choice and natural sexual inclinations.

Homosexuality and homo-eroticism have been practiced in India from time immemorial. Homosexual activity was never condemned or criminalized in ancient India. Such activities were tolerated as long as people fulfilled the societal expectations of marriage and procreation.

This is the context in which the British came to India as part of their mission of colonial expansion.

In Great Britain, from the Middle Ages, heterosexuality was understood as the divinely ordered and natural norm for human sexuality, and any deviance from this norm was perceived as immoral and unnatural, and hence a sin against God. Christian sexual ethics based on heteronormativity thus led to the imposition of Sodomy Law in Great Britain.

The understanding of sexual ethics of the British colonial administration was deeply influenced by Victorian morality and its particular interpretation of the Judeo-Christian scripture and theology. So, the British authorities considered tolerance towards homosexuality as a social evil, and based on heteronormative principles, they initiated stringent measures to criminalize homoeroticism as part of their mission to civilize the heathens in India. In 1861, the British colonial administration imposed the Sodomy Laws in India to “purify” and “cure” the Indians of their primitive and deviant sexual practices.

Today, there are around seventy countries in the world which continue to criminalize private same-sex intimacy between consenting adults, and eleven countries that still impose the death penalty for homosexuals. The fact is that most of these countries are former British colonies. However, in 1967, the United Kingdom repealed the Sodomy laws, and the Church of England played a significant role in it. The first report in Britain, calling for decriminalization, was initiated and published by the Anglican Church. Further, there was a significant Anglican presence in the Wolfenden Committee, appointed by the government, which recommended to the Parliament to repeal the Sodomy Law.

In the contemporary context of growing fascism, it is important for us to understand the Sodomy Law as legal codes of fascism as they provide the State the power to intervene, invade, regulate, and monitor even the intimate spheres of human life. The Sodomy Law legally sanctions a regime of imperial gaze where the people are always under the surveillance of the State. This repressive legal code further reduces human body and sexuality into “colonies” that can be invaded, tamed, and redeemed with the display of abusive power by the law enforcement officers and the judiciary of the State, and the violent interventions of moral policing by the Religious Right.

There have been different initiatives, campaigns and litigations to repeal Sec 377. On July 2nd 2009, in a historic verdict, the Delhi High Court repealed Sec 377. According to the learned judges, “If there is one constitutional tenet that can be said to be underlying theme of the Indian Constitution, it is that of ‘inclusiveness’… In our view, Indian Constitutional law does not permit the statutory criminal law to be held captive by the popular misconceptions of who the LGBTs are. It cannot be forgotten that discrimination is antithesis of equality and that it is the recognition of equality which will foster the dignity of every individual…We declare that Section 377 IPC, insofar it criminalizes consensual sexual acts of adults in private, is violative of Articles 21, 14 and 15 of the Constitution.”

However, the Supreme Court of India, in a verdict given in 2013, set aside the verdict of the Delhi High Court. “We hold that Section 377 does not suffer from unconstitutionality and the declaration made by the High Court is legally unsustainable… However, the competent legislature shall be free to consider the desirability and propriety of deleting Section 377 from the statute book or amend it.”

A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court of India, in a verdict on August 24, 2017, held that “right to privacy is an intrinsic part of Right to Life and Personal Liberty under the Constitution.” “Discrete and insular minorities face grave dangers of discrimination for the simple reason that their views, beliefs or way of life does not accord with the ‘mainstream.’ Sexual orientation is an essential attribute of privacy. Discrimination against an individual on the basis of sexual orientation is deeply offensive to the dignity and self-worth of the individual.” This verdict gave a great boost to the initiatives to decriminalize homoeroticism in India.

Soon after the Delhi High Court verdict repealing Sec 377, the NCCI organized a round table to reflect upon the verdict theologically and biblically. The statement of the round table affirmed that, “We recognize that there are people with different sexual orientations. Our faith affirmation that we are created in the image of God makes it imperative on us to reject systemic and personal attitudes of homophobia against sexual minorities. . . We envision Church as a sanctuary to the ostracized who thirst for understanding, friendship, love, compassion and solidarity. We appeal to churches to sojourn with sexual minorities and their families ministerially, without prejudice and discrimination, to provide them ministries of love, compassionate care, and justice. We request the National Council of Churches in India and its member churches to initiate an in-depth theological study on Human Sexuality for better discernment of God’s purpose for us.”

In the Indian context of religious diversity, it is important to initiate interfaith coalitions to campaign against homophobia. An interfaith round table was organized in 2014 which brought together theologians, clerics and practitioners of all major religious traditions in India. The statement of the interfaith round table affirmed that: “We commit ourselves to critically engage with our belief systems and practices to review and re-read scriptures and moral codes that stigmatize and demonize people who are different from us. We condemn homophobia and bigotry as morally unacceptable, and commit ourselves to eradicate this sin from our religious communities. We pledge to accompany friends who are stigmatized and criminalized due to their sexual orientations and to provide them fellowship and solidarity in their struggles to love and live with dignity. We commit ourselves to transform our worship places to welcome and provide safe spaces for sexual minorities. We discern the need to reclaim and reinterpret our traditions and rituals, festivals and feasts, scriptures and practices, to liberate our religions from the shackles of ideologies of exclusion such as patriarchy, casteism and homophobia. . . We call upon religious leaders to condemn homophobia and to practice non-discriminatory hiring policies in their institutions, and also to follow affirmative action to end the discrimination that transgendered people face in admissions and appointments. We affirm our resolve to work tirelessly to create a new world of compassion, justice, inclusivity and acceptance where the divine gift of sexuality will be celebrated in all diverse manifestations of affirmative love.”

Hence churches in India need to give responsible consideration to the initiative of the Supreme Court of India to review Sec 377 in the light of constitutional rights and the right to privacy, and the gospel of justice and love. As followers of the non-conformist Christ, the one who consistently questioned unjust and non-compassionate traditions of public morality, our call is to reject all laws that demonize, criminalize, and exclude human beings, and work to facilitate just inclusive and loving communities.

In Solidarity,

Members,
National Ecumenical Forum of the Gender and Sexual Diversities,
National Council of Churches in India.