An Ecumenical Call for Global Day of Prayer to End Famine (10th June 2018)

An Ecumenical Call for Global Day of Prayer to End Famine (10th June 2018)

Did you feed me, when I was hungry? Though this was a question posed by Jesus several years hundred years ago, communities and nations who are starving for food and suffering from hunger put forward the same question to the world even today. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, 825 million people in the world are malnourished and therefore are deprived of a healthy life (2017)

Here are some alarming facts about hunger and famine in 2016:

  1. Ninety-eight percent of those who suffer from hunger live in developing countries. 553 million live in the Asian and Pacific regions, while 227 million live in Sub-Saharan Africa. Latin America and the Caribbean account for 47 million.
  2. India has the highest population of hunger. In 2014, over 190.7 million people were undernourished in India.
  3. Approximately nine million people die of hunger every year according to the World Hunger statistics; more than the combined death toll for malaria, AIDs and tuberculosis in 2012.
  4. Over 60 percent of the world’s hungry are women, who have limited access to resources in the patriarchal societies in which they live.
  5. Hunger in women of developing countries causes malnutrition and death of children. Approximately 3.1 million (8500 per day!) children die of hunger each year, and in 2011 poor nutrition accounted for 45 percent of deaths of children under five.
  6. The alarming tragedy is that such deaths take place when the world produces enough food to feed everyone. Food availability per capita has increased from approximately 2220 kcal per person per day in the 1960s to 2790 kcals per person per day in 2006.

In this context, the question of Jesus ‘Did you feed me, when I was hungry?’ in Matt 25: 35 – 40 is not only an indictment of Jesus, but also an experience of several people in the Horn of Africa and elsewhere in the world, who do not have accessibility to adequate food!

Many a time, faith communities( including churches) and even affluent States are comfortable in processing a few philanthropic services in addressing or combating poverty and hunger by providing food grains, rather than seriously looking at poverty and hunger as ‘Justice’ and ‘Human Rights’ issues.

Famine is mostly seen as non-availability of food due to various reasons including draught, war and ecological and natural catastrophes. Moreover, there prevails a view that it is also due to over population. However, the fact is that erroneous and unjust policies of the States and the unjust distribution of food grains cause famine conditions.

Therefore, the World Council of Churches – Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance facilitates this campaign, joining the World Evangelical Alliance and the All Africa Conference of Churches, inviting churches and faith communities around the globe to pray for God’s intervention in the healing of the lands, by sharing enough and healthy food (grains) among the people and also to facilitate the States to develop pro-people policies to ensure healthy food for all citizens.

This ‘Global Day of Prayer to End Famine’ motivates the participating organisations and individuals to affirm “food justice ‘FOR’ all – food-justice ‘OF’ all”.

The idea behind this ecumenical call for prayer is to:

  • Unite the ecumenical partners and faith communities around the globe together in spirit and in action to ministerially and theologically respond to the issues related to famine, poverty, hunger, and malnutrition.
  • Encourage and facilitate their congregations and constituencies to pray for, and reflect and act upon the situation of hunger with information and suggestions.
  • Facilitate the Ecumenical Bodies and Partners to prayerfully work with their respective States to develop pro-people policies to affirm just-distribution of food and health.
  • Bring about concerned awareness regarding impact of famines on the most vulnerable children, women and families and to help address its root causes.
  • Connect with church-related and other humanitarian organisations that are currently working to bring immediate relief and positive long-term change so that children and families can live out God’s aspiration for a dignified, peaceful and violence-free future.
  • Help communities and congregations to uphold each other in prayer and support, by sharing experiences, challenges and solutions.

Hence, the Unity and Mission of the National Council of Churches in India and the Ecumenical Council for Drought and Water Management (ECoDAWM) are  jointly inviting all Members of the NCCI and other faith communities, people’s movements and action groups to observe this day to spread awareness and commit ourselves to act towards eradicating poverty.

We hope all concerned Church and Community leaders will support this effort by organizing meaningful programmes within our churches and organisations.

PLEASE JOIN THIS GLOBAL PRAYER MOVEMENT ON THE 10TH JUNE 2018.

To Know more about the Prayer Day please visit

<https://www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/news/wcc-calls-for-global-day-of-prayer-to-end-famine> and  <https://www.wvi.org/learn-more-about-global-day-prayer-end-famine>

To Download Resources Please click:

<https://www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/events/global-day-of-prayer-to-end-famine-1>

To join the campaign Please click: (Register Your Church / Organisation)

<https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdbN309d0m_m_QxUFG_eRxi8_ymXBPAhqU-NXrmoC6-hS1WVA/viewform>

Yours in God’s Mission,

Dr. William Stanley

President – ECoDAWM

 

Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar

Executive Secretary, NCCI – Unity and Mission

 

Most. Rev. Dr. P C Singh

President – NCCI

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad

General Secretary – NCCI

Green Epistle

Green Epistle to the Indian Churches :

Curse devours the earth  and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt (Isaiah 24:6)

on 

World Environmental Day (June 5, 2018)

Dear Fellow Pilgrims in faith Journey,

Grace to you and Peace from God our Creator!

God created earth and heaven. In the process of creating the cosmos, God  created human beings along with  other earth communities. Unfortunately, due to human greed and irresponsibility, all of God’s earth is polluted with several toxic gases, degradable wastes including plastics. The deep seas are  filled with plastic wastes and consequently the species in the deep seas are adversely affected by plastics. Every year 8-10 million tons of plastic is dumped in the sea.

So also the species on land are afflicted by plastics. Daily we see so many plastic bags lying scattered here and there. Plastic is such a material which cannot be reused. Plastic is damaging our existence. It is estimated that one third of all plastic waste ends up in soils or fresh waters. Most of this plastic disintegrates into particles smaller than five millimetres, referred to as microplastics, and breaks down further into nanoparticles, which are less than 0.1 micrometre in size. In fact, terrestrial microplastic pollution is much higher than marine microplastic pollution – an estimate of four to 23 times more, depending on the environment.

PLASTIC IS A DANGEROUS INVENTION OF HUMANS AND IT NOT ONLY AFFECTS BUT ALSO KILLS THE EARTH COMMUNITIES INCLUDING HUMAN COMMUNITIES. We as faith communities need to be dedicatedly engaged in eliminating the very presence of plastics in our day to day life.  The use of plastic has to be stopped.

In this alarming context of the earth being filled with plastics, UN Environment is making its biggest global call and seeks to mobilize humans for action on 5th  June, World Environment Day (WED). The theme for this year is “Beat Plastic Pollution”. While WED  day has been observed every year since 1973,  from the last couple of decades it is being observed on a larger scale.

We have been experiencing tremendous climate changes since the last few years. These changes have brought  much suffering to living creatures in the various forms: global warming, drought, floods,  landslides, incurable diseases, irregular climate changes and so on . Today the question is ‘How do we as Christians deal with this concern?’

One of the reasons why God created humans is that they should take care of the earth. God has entrusted us with this responsibility. Therefore, whatever good or bad happens,  we are responsible. So far we have not done much in  nurturing, sustaining and protecting God’s creation.

Prophet Isaiah talks about the earth being polluted by its inhabitants. In Isaiah’s context he was talking of earth being polluted by the inhabitants through their disobedience of God’s commandments. This situation  continues even till today; in fact it has become worse. Humans are not only tempted to continue disobeying God but they are destructively tampering God’s creation. Chris Appleby,  in one of his sermons  states:

“The great temptation for Christians as well as for the Jews is the temptation to take God’s  grace for granted; even worse, to feel a sense of superiority, of smugness, because we’re part of  God’s chosen people. The way to overcome that temptation is to remember that with the privilege of being God’s people comes the responsibility to remain faithful; to allow God to be God in every part of our lives.”

Talk about issues faced because of pollution and what can be done about it, is often a topic of discussion in our family and friend circles, but we fail in taking appropriate actions.  Global warming is a curse not only for human kind but also for all  living beings.

 We are responsible for the phenomena of global warming, climate change, and the ever increasing pollution,  and we have to bear the consequences. We have to do something about it.  Today is the time to get into action!  Now the question arises ‘Where do we start?’ and ‘When do we start?’

Therefore to start with, the NCCI – Unity and Mission encourages all its members and the public  at large to give up the use of plastics in our day today life. We have to start  someday,  so why not today? The UN has a very practical slogan this year “If you cannot reuse it, refuse it.” There are few alternatives for plastic which we need to start using. Let us make our campuses and neighborhood ‘PLASTIC-FREE’.

Let us boldly and publicly declare “NO TO PLASTIC !”

Ecologically Yours,

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad

General Secretary

Rev. Christopher Rajkumar

Executive Secretary – Unity and Mission

 

A Report on Three Months Computer Application Training Program at NCCI Campus

National Council of Churches in India

NCCI Communications | NCCI Youth

Computer Application Training Program

28th January 2018 – 30th April 2018

Venue- NCCI Campus, Nagpur

The biggest challenge that young people living below poverty line (BPL) face in their day to day life is the difficulty of accessing employment opportunities.

Though some of them are educated, they fail to get  jobs due to lack of many necessary skills. One  such necessary skill  is  digital skills, which are needed in this era of computer assisted applications. To address this concern,  Rev. Caesar David, Executive Secretary – National Council of Churches in India Communications (NCCI-Com) and Mr. Jianthaolung Gonmei, Executive Secretary- Youth Concerns (NCCI-YC) started a Digital Literacy Modular Course of three months for Capacity Enhancement of disadvantaged youth. The aim of this project was to provide the benefits of computer based education and skills training to  students from socially and economically backward areas of Nagpur city, and to equip them for work with computers thereby being able to do better in their life.

The list of students is given below-

 Priyanka Arun Nanhe

 Nandini Umesh Wasnik

 Priyanka Umesh Wasnik

 Somiksha Dilip Gawande

 Sumesh S. Rawte

The pilot project which started with 5 students on January 28, 2018  and which concluded on  April 30, 2018 was conducted  in the  NCCI premises at Nagpur. All the students were from economically weak backgrounds, living in slum localities.

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NCCI-IDEA observes CCA-Asia Sunday at All Saints Cathedral -Nagpur

Theme: ‘Embracing  People with Disabilities: Upholding Their Dignity’.

Greetings from NCCI-IDEA!

The Indian Disability Ecumenical Accompaniment of National Council of Churches in India (NCCI-IDEA) along with the Church of North India-Nagpur Diocese observed CCA-Asia Sunday on the theme, “Embracing  People with Disabilities: Upholding Their Dignity” on 20th May 2018 at All Saints Cathedral, Nagpur.  This cathedral, which is more than 100 years old, observed Asia Sunday in solidarity with Persons with Disabilities.  This initiative of Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) paved the way to encourage Churches in Asia to renew their commitment towards embracing  people with disabilities and to uphold their dignity in accompanying them and mainstreaming their concerns.

All Saints Cathedral and its premises were done up to create awareness and sensitize the worshippers with posters and wheelchairs, emphasizing that the church should take  the initiative to be more disabled-friendly.  The Cathedral for the very first time in its more than 100 years of their faith journey witnessed on the occasion of Asia Sunday a preacher with disabilities, Mrs. Cynthia Shinde, Coordinator of NCCI-IDEA, preaching to the congregation and exhorting them to be Disabled-Friendly. The worship was conducted on the Asia Sunday Theme. Rev. John George, Presbyter, welcomed NCCI –IDEA and called on Dr. Rev. Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary of NCCI and President of IDEA to introduce Christian Conference of Asia and the theme of Asia Sunday.  He also introduced the ministerial journey of IDEA, the forum of NCCI.

The Biblical Reflection started with three dramatic voices: one of a person on wheelchair who said, “I cannot come into the Church because my wheelchair cannot climb the stairs of the church or the raised alter for communion” ; the second  of a parent who said,  “My child who cannot hear and speak is not able to follow the worship or the preaching because there is no sign interpreter, and so I cannot leave my child alone at home and come to church”;  and, the third voice declared,  “I’m a person with visual impairment, I don’t mind coming to church but there is no Braille Bible or Song Book for me to follow the worship. I don’t want to be a mere passive worshipper.”

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Maharashtra Manthan 2018: Strengthening secularism

Report of Maharashtra Manthan 2018-19: Strengthening Secularism
NCCI , EFI, UM | 30th April – 2nd May 2018 | M.L.A. Hostel, Nagpur.

“Maharashtra Manthan : Strengthening Secularism”, a 3 days seminar organized by National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) and United Maharashtra (UM), was held at MLA Hostel, Nagpur from April 30 to May 2, 2018. More than 75 people which included youth and female participants from different cities of Maharashtra state participated in this seminar. There were 8 women participants and about 25 young people.

30th April 2018 (Day 1)

Maharashtra Manthan started at 12:45 pm with an opening prayer by Pastor Amit Manwatkar. The Coordinator of the Maharashtra Manthan was Rev. Devashish Dubey who introduced the concept of Maharashtra Manthan to the participants. He emphasized that the main objective of Maharashtra Manthan 2018 is to bring awareness about the contemporary contextual situation in the country among the participants and to guide the community and society in building new, sensitized and responsible leadership through the training.  Mr. Pradip Bansrior (NCCI Representative) presented the guidelines for the two and half day’s seminar to all participants.

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Prof. Dr. Z. C. Devadanam passes away.

Prof. Dr. Z. C. Devadanam who served as Treasurer of National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) from 2004 to 2008, passed away on May 10, 2018.

He belonged to Samavesam of Telugu Baptist Churches, and served as Chairperson of the General Body of the Stanton Memorial Telugu Baptist Church. Dr. Devadanam was professor of Economics. He was passionate about Church work, and participated in many programs especially for the upliftment of the underprivileged. He was prominently present in efforts that sought justice for Dalits and Tribals.

The funeral is scheduled for May 12, 2018 at 2:00 pm in Kurnool. He is survived by his son, two daughters and five grand-children. We thank God for Dr. Devadanam’s life and many contributions, and we pray for God’s peace to be with the family. May his life continue to be an inspiration for faithful Christian witness and service.

NCCI NEWS

ASIA SUNDAY 2018 (May 13, 2018)

Theme: ‘Embracing the Differently Abled and Upholding Their Dignity’.

Respected and Revered Church Leaders and People of God,

Greetings from the Indian Disability Ecumenical Accompaniment  of the National Council of Churches in India!

The Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) has invited the entire Asian Churches to  observe ‘Asia Sunday’ on 13 May, 2018 on the theme, ‘Embracing the Differently Abled and Upholding Their Dignity’.

The Indian Disability Ecumenical Accompaniment of NCCI (NCCI -IDEA) congratulates the CCA Leadership for having chosen the theme concerning The People with Disabilities (PWDs).

The Asia Sunday is observed every year on the Sunday before the Pentecost. But, some of the Indian Churches are observing  Mother’s Sunday on the 13th May. However, we encourage the Church leaders, clerics and people of God to observe the Asia Sunday either on the 13th May or on subsequent Sundays that are convenient to you.

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NCCI condemns act of labelling candidates for constable post as SC/ST/ OBC on their chests

Pic Source: zeenews.india.com

Despite the right to non-discrimination on the basis of race or caste enshrined in Article 15 of the Indian Constitution, discrimination against SCs and STs is pervasive. Markings of “SC” for scheduled caste, “ST” for scheduled tribe, “O” for OBC (other backward class) and “G” for General, of candidates for the post of constable on their chests in a bid to identify their castes during their medical examination in Dhar district of BJP ruled state, Madhya Pradesh, is not only a violation of human rights but also a criminal offence under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.

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A Brief Report on Colloquium on Reclaiming the Constitutional and Democratic Rights

Colloquium on Reclaiming the Constitutional and Democratic Rights

Jointly organized by India Peace Center, Diocese of Chhattisgarh – CNI and NCCI- Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns

17th April 2018, Gass Memorial Hall, Raipur (Chhattisgarh)

The issue of rising communal unrest in the country and the steady penetration of the Right wing hindutva ideologies have paved an extremely narrow path for the minority groups and oppressed communities especially SC/ST’s in the country by withholding their fundamental rights in the recent times which created a great imbalance in the economic and social forms. The responsibility of the Christian communities and other faith communities is therefore to be united and to strive against the fascist forces and to rule out such ideologies which can disrupt and damage the peace and harmony of the country which is yet again a threat to the democratic values of any country and its people (citizens) as a whole.

To mark the 127th birth anniversary of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, on 17th April 2018, a Colloquium on Reclaiming the Constitutional and Democratic Rights was held at Gass Memorial Centre, Raipur, Chhattisgarh jointly organized by the India Peace Center, NCCI- Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns and Diocese of Chhattisgarh, CNI. The colloquium witnessed a participation of 50 delegates representing different Churches, Denominations and organizations as well as nine Resource Persons. The colloquium was meant to highlight the issue of reclaiming the Constitutional and Democratic Rights and also to address the growing fascism and communal activities spread by Hindutva and Right wing forces in India.

A series of sessions taken by the resource persons on the topic highlighted the various issues happening in the country and what could be the possibilities and approaches to be taken by the Christian communities in order to address them.

The introduction of the colloquium was given by Mr. Kasta Dip, Director of India Peace Centre (IPC) highlighting the various ways the present government and Right wing groups are trying to disrupt the peace and harmony of India by tampering the Indian Constitution and by bringing various changes to the laws and rights which the Dalit and the Tribal communities hold by downsizing their right to file the complaints about the atrocities done on them. Mr. Kasta Dip gave example of the murder of the late journalist Ms. Gauri Lankesh and emphasized that Christian communities should voice out the atrocities and violence committed on people from different faith groups and not only for their own Christian brethren.

Rt. Rev. Robert Ali, Bishop of Diocese of Chhattisgarh – CNI welcomed the august gathering on behalf of Diocese of Chhattisgarh and gave  a short reflection from Bible and spoke on various ways how Bible highlights the different voices of the oppressed people and identify like Jesus Christ and following the path and his teachings.

The Keynote address was delivered by Prof. Dr. Yugal Rayulu, Professor at Dharampeth Science College, highlighted the present situation of the Indian judiciary and the attack on the Constitution. Dr. Rayalu also vehemently criticized the actions taken by the present government towards attacking the rights of the SC/ST communities and following and propagating a dictatorship ruled ideology against the democratic rule in the country.

 Professor Dr. Vikas Jambulkar, Professor at Rashtriya Santh Tukdoji Maharaj Nagpur University (RTMNU), highlighted the various egalitarian qualities which Buddhism and Christianity professes. Dr. Jambulkar stressed on the democratic principle which the Indian Constitution holds and provides equal opportunities to both men and women. Dr. Jambulkar also highlighted the issues of moral policing done by the present government with regards to changing the eating habits and bringing pseudo-scientific discoveries in the colour of religious belief system.

Mr. Arun Panalal from United Christian Forum of Chhattisgarh, an activist based and working in the regions of Chhattisgarh especially in Raipur stressed on the importance of the Preamble and the Indian Constitution and raised the issue of knowing and be through with the fundamental rights which a Christian has. Mr. Panalal also encouraged the Christian leaders to give importance to the politics and its principles and to teach and incorporate at different levels in the churches as well as in Christian institutions especially among the youths and upcoming generations.

Advocate Rajendra Sail, highlighted the significance of the constitution and bringing people towards the understanding of becoming ‘Republic’ and “Re-peopled the De-peopled people.” Adv. Sail also stressed and talked about the minority rights and religious freedom which is been tampered and drastically changed by the influence of the Hindutva forces. Adv. Sail also spoke about the slow penetrating fascist and communal ideologies which are spreading in the country by the Right wing groups and Hindutva forces by the present government.

Mr. Akhilesh Edgar from ADF, spoke on the rising tide of the communal tension in the state of Chhattisgarh and different parts of the country. Mr. Akhilesh Edgar also in his session highlighted that there should be effective steps taken in order to preserve the Indian constitution and the rights of the SC/ST communities in the country from any kind of damage done on it and to claim the identity of the people as an integral part of country.

Mr. Pradip Bansrior, Executive Secretary – Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns from NCCI stressed on Supreme Court’s ruling on dilution of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and how the right wings in the country are making efforts and changes in manipulating and dismantling the historical accounts and bringing their own narratives in the historical accounts by tampering them. He also highlighted the articles 15, 16 and 17 of our Indian constitution

The concluding message was given by Rev. Dr. Atul Arthur, Secretary of Chhattisgarh Diocese, CNI. He encouraged the delegates to be united and strive to protect the Constitutional and Democratic Rights which in the contemporary times are at the risk of getting ruled out by the present invisible Right wing forces and Hindutva groups lead by the support of present government which aims to spread in the fascist ideology in the Indian masses which is a threat to an egalitarian based Constitution and Democratic society.

The colloquium highlighted the key points towards reclaiming the Constitutional and Democratic Rights in India.

  • To encourage the Christian communities of the state of Chhattisgarh to rise against the ideologies of Fascism and Dictatorship rule.
  • To encourage and teach the democratic values of Indian constitution in the Church and especially to the young people studying in the Christian institutions.
  • To promote an egalitarian ideology in the church and community setup and to stand united instead of being divided in different denominational and doctrinal differences.
  • To follow the path showed by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar towards making a democratic front and an egalitarian community.

The colloquium concluded with a vote of thanks offered by Mr. Kasta Dip followed by the closing prayer and benediction pronounced by Bishop, Rt. Rev. Robert Ali.

Submitted by:

Mr. Saurabh Khobragade

Intern- DATA Concerns, NCCI

Advertisement for the post of NCCI General Secretary

April 27, 2018

To

The Constituent Members

National Council of Churches in India

 

Dear Ecumenical Leaders,

Please find here an Advertisement for the post of NCCI General Secretary. The Search Committee in its meeting held on 21st April 2018 in Chennai decided to advertise for the post of NCCI General Secretary in the official journals of all the Member churches, Related Agencies, Christian Organizations, Regional Councils of NCCI and also in their websites. The application should be addressed to the President of the NCCI. The hard and soft copies of the application must reach the following address on or before 30th June 2018.

The Most Rev. Dr. P.C. Singh
President, National Council of Churches in India
2131, Napier Town
Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh 482001.
Email: bishoppcsingh@yahoo.co.in

The application must contain a vision statement, resume, and copies of the certificates. It was further decided that if more than ten candidates apply, they will be shortlisted before being called for the interview.

Therefore, with this email you are requested to kindly contribute/support by publishing the attached advertisement in your official journals and also put in your official website for the upliftment of ecumenical movement.

With all good wishes,

Sincerely,

Most Rev. Dr. P.C. Singh
President
National Council of Churches in India.

Christian Council Campus
Near Maharashtra State Biodiversity  Board, NCCI Road,
Post Box # 205, Civil Lines, Nagpur-440 001, Maharashtra, INDIA
Tel: +91-712-2531312, 2561464 | Fax: +91-712-2520554
Email: ncci@ncci1914.com; ncci@nccindia.in |Website: ncci1914.com

 

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General Secretary 2018 Adv