Request for Churches and Congregations to pray for the Supreme Court hearing on the 20th of April to uphold the rights of minorities as per the Constitution of India

Letter from The Synod of The Church of North India: Request for Churches and Congregations to pray for the Supreme Court hearing on the 20th of April to uphold the rights of minorities as per the Constitution of India.

 


 

Open letter to The Prime Minister of India.

To

Shri Narendra Modi,
The Prime Minister of India

Dear Prime Minister,

Greetings!

Though a Christian pastor, and serving the National Council of Churches in India as its General Secretary, I am writing this open letter to you as an Indian citizen, joining all Indian citizens who are concerned about the state of affairs in our country, India

You have been giving the country very impressive slogans about its future, be it “Achhe Din!” or “New India!” Harping on “Development” you have been advocating and initiating schemes such as “Make in India”, “Skill India”, “Start-up India”, “Digital India”, “Smart Cities”, etc.

The question which many would like to ask: Achhe Din for whom? New India for whom? The Preamble to the Constitution of India gives us a vision for all citizens:

We the People of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic, and to secure to all its citizens:

JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;
and to promote among them all
FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation

However many people who belong to your government, party, and other likeminded bodies give us a different picture of Achhe Din and of New India where the values of Justice, Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity are stifled. “Vigilantism” has become a popular methodology of such persons and bodies.

Cow Vigilantism: Cow reverence and cow protection has become a very serious concern among such people. They claim that the cow represents their religion and culture. I appreciate the cow symbol as it represents love, compassion, service, sacrifice, and non-violent living. People, when they become politically emotional about this symbol, tend to give expression to hatred, cruelty, harm, murder, and violent life-styles. I wonder whether the cow would approve of such things done in her name. Read more

Christians urge the government not to celebrate ‘Digital India Day’ on Good Friday this year.

  • LETTER 1

(from The Synod of The Church of North India)

 


  • LETTER 2

 

Text of the letter

Nongpyngrope,  Circle  III,
Mawpat,
Shillong  793 012.
13  April,  2017.

The  Honourable  Chief  Minister,
Meghalaya,
Shillong.

Subject:  Expressing appreciation for your stand with  regard  to  sacredness  of  Good  Friday:

Sir,

It  is  with  a  deep  sense  of  relief  and  appreciation  I  have  come  to  learn  that  you  have  made  your  stand  unequivocal  with  regard  to  the  sacredness  of  Good  Friday  for  Christians  not  only  of    the  State  of  Meghalaya  but  the  world  over  as  it  is  the  day    observed   with  all  solemnity  and  introspection  on  the  death  of  Jesus  more  than  2000   years  ago  through  and  an unjust  decision made  by  Pontius  Pilate,  as  he  was  swerved  by  a  crowd  crying  for Jesus’  crucifixion  through  manoeuvring  by  religious  and  political leaders  of the  day.

Though no  one  would  express  reservation  on  having  Digital  India  Day  but  the  choice  of  date  which  falls  on  Good  Friday  does  not  behove  well  as  also  Christmas  Day  has  been  declared  to  be  Good  Governance  Day.  Here again, everyone  wants  good  governance  on  a  daily  basis,  in  fact,  24 x 7   but  to  have  chosen  25th  December,  which  also  happens  to  be  the  birthday   of   former  Prime  Minister,  Shri  Atal  Behari  Vajpayee  is  akin  to  belittling  the  spiritual  sentiment  of  Christians  in  India  and  to  marginalise  the  date  observed  as  the  historical  date  of  birth  of  Jesus.

As  the  date  for  observing  Digital  India  has  been  fixed,  we  would  like  to  thank  you  profusely  for  having  stated  that  in  Meghalaya,  it’ll  be  Good  Friday  on  Friday,  14  April,  2017.

It  is  hoped  that  through  your  intervention  along  with  request  made  by  our  two  Lok  Sabha  MPs,  Church  of  North  India,  Meghalaya  Youth  Federation  (MYF)  and  others  for  Government  of  India  to  defer  the  date  of  Digital  India,  the  Union  Government  will  henceforth,  consider  alternative  proposals  not  hurting  religious  sentiments  of  minorities.

As  it  is,  14  April  also  happens  to  be the  birthday  of  Dr.  Bhim  Rao  Ambedkar,  the  architect  of  India’s  Constitution  who  also  championed  for  the  Sixth  Schedule to  become  a  reality  through  the  efforts  of  a  three  member  Committee  led  by  (L)  Gopinath  Bordoloi  with  (L)  Rev.  J.  M.  M.  Nichols-Roy  and  (L)  Jaspal  Singh  as  members.

May  God  bless  and  guide  you  and  your  Government.

Yours  sincerely,

Rev.  Dr.  P.  B.  M.  Basaiawmoit

 

Consultation of Church Heads – March 15, 2017 | ACTION PLAN

To

The Constituent Members
National Council of Churches in India.

 

Dear Ecumenical Leaders,

Kindly find attached a copy of the Action Plan which is the result of the Consultation of Church Heads which was held on 15th March 2017 in Delhi.

The Action  Plan addresses three major concerns : Uniform Civil Code, National Education Policy and Juvenile Justice Act. There is also a fourth section which refers to other concerns, particularly the growing control of the Government on our Medical Institutions in Vellore and Ludhiana.

I request you to kindly address the concerns in the Action Plan in whatever appropriate effective manner you deem fit.  It is high time that churches and Christian organizations start speaking up on issues that threaten the democratic, secular structure of the country. Please keep us informed on the actions taken by your Church/Christian Organization/Council in addressing the issues mentioned in the Action Plan.

Thanking you in anticipation,

Yours sincerely,

 

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad
General Secretary

 

Click on link to download Action Plan –

 Action Plan .doc  

 Action Plan  .pdf 

Spirituality behind the bar: Indonesian peasant struggle for agrarian justice

NCCI received this email letter (as reproduced below) from Rev. Josef Purnama Widyatmadja with an article on “Spirituality behind Bar” which is an interview of Rev. Sugianto, a local Pastor in Indonesia who is engaged in the defence of people whose lands have been grabbed by a big corporation.

Messages of Solidarity have been sent from around the world. Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary of NCCI has also written a message of solidarity which is appended to the other messages listed below the interview.


Email from Rev. Josef Purnama Widyatmadja

QUOTE

Dear friends

Hope you are fine

By the way ,  enclosed I send you an article on ” Spirituality behind Bar “. This is an interview between Rev Sugianto and Ms. Henriette Johana Niuewenhuis , wife of Rev Karel Barus  a local pastor in Tulang Bawang Lampung South Sumatera Indonesia. I spent one week from 8 t0 13 Febuary 2017 in Lampung to visit detainees peasants and Rev. Sugianto, a local pastor who defended the  people whose their lands have been grabbed by BNIL a big corporation. I went to Lampung to be a witness and  to give my testimony in tribunal trial. I gave my testimony on  The scope of Church mission and the vocation of ordained pastor. In my testimony I confess that the mission of Christian mission is not limited within the wall of church building. Christian mission and vocation of pastors must respond to also the cry of poor . Proclaim the good news to the poor and oppressed are the obligation of christian mission throughout history. I cited also ths story of Toyohiko kagawa, Martin Luther King Jr,  Desmond Tutu, Van Lith and local pastors from Indonesia such as in Mangkid North Sulawesi, Asahan in North Sumtera and Kedungombo in Boyolali..

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NCCI – VCLC Agrarian Crisis Consultation held

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An AGRARIAN CRISIS CONSULTATION was organized by Vidarbha Centre for Labour Concerns (VCLC), a project of National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) in Butibori on November 19 – 20, 2016. There were 30 people participating in the consultation. Prof. Dr. Yugal Rayalu presented a helpful analysis of the agricultural situation. Small group discussions catalyzed the issues, and the participants planned a draft to be submitted to the Government of Maharashtra Ministry of Agriculture during the winter assembly.

The issue of Farmers cooperative movement has gathered momentum after the NCCI – VCLC consultation.

Here are some pictures –

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Rajesh Jadhav
Coordinator
Vidarbha Centre for Labour Concerns
National Council of Churches in India.

 

Conflict to Communion: Historical Signatures at Lutheran Cathedral, Sweden on Oct 31, 2016

National Council of Churches in India welcomes the Joint Unity Declaration by the Catholics and Lutherans

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October 31, 1517 became a kairos day in history as Martin Luther nailed 95 theses on the doors of the Wittenberg Castle Church in Germany. After 499 years on the same day, another landmark history was created in the Lutheran Cathedral of Lund in Sweden when Pope Francis and Bishop Dr. Munib Younan (President – Lutheran World Federation) jointly signed a statement in which Catholics and Lutherans pledged to pursue their dialogue in order to remove the remaining obstacles that hinder them from reaching full unity. They also stressed their commitment to common witness on behalf of the poor, the needy and victims of injustice. This commemoration brings hope for greater unity.

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Articles regarding Uniform Civil Code

We are happy to circulate newspaper articles related to the topic of Uniform Civil Code written by different authors. We hope that these materials will help you to broaden your understanding on this subject.  When you respond to the Law Commission, kindly mark a copy to NCCI, Delhi Office also for further follow- up.

Samuel Jayakumar
Executive Secretary
Commission on Policy, Governance and Public Witness, NCCI


October 18, 2016

Deciding issues of personal law

The Supreme Court can and must make a pronouncement on the widely excoriated practice of triple talaq

Wajahat Habibullah, a retired civil servant, has served as Chief Information Commissioner and Chairperson of the National Commission for Minorities.

Thirteen years ago, Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer, pleaded in a piece titled ‘Unifying personal laws’ in The Hindu (September 6, 2003): “My powerful plea is that the personal laws may be reformed from within, without a quantum leap into a common code. Remarkable changes in Islamic laws are possible without violating the Quran but adopting progressive hermeneutics.” The issue described as ‘triple talaq’ has unnecessarily been confused with the issue of a uniform civil code, thus thrusting India’s minority Muslim community into the defensive. But this dilemma is essentially a question of whether the Supreme Court can pronounce on an issue of personal law. It is my case that it not only can, but must.

Ruling in the Shah Bano case

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Planning Meeting for ‘500 Years of Reformation Anniversary’ – NCCI, CNI Synod and EKD

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The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), Church of North India (CNI) Synod and Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland (EKD)  called  the 1st planning meeting for ‘500 years of Reformation Anniversary’ in Delhi on 21st October 2016 at CNI Bhavan.

dsc02746The Most Rev. P.K. Samantaroy, Moderator, CNI presided over the meeting. Rev. Dr. Paul Swarup, CNI reflected on the history of Reformation, Martin Luther’s role and its relevance in today’s world. Rev. Markus Lesinski, EKD, deliberated over 12 points on the impacts and challenges of the Global Reformation Celebration. Over 22 people from various churches and Christian organizations  attended the meeting.

In order to discuss further plans for the celebrations, the next meeting will be held  on 21st November 2016 .

Samuel Jayakumar
Commission on Policy, Governance and Public Witness, NCCI

Churches and FBOs call for land rights, equitable financial flows and life-enhancing learning at the World Social Forum

Land rights, equity in development resource flows and life-enhancing epistemologies were among the themes emphasized by churches and faith-based organisations at the World Social Forum (WSF) held in Montreal, Canada from 09-14 August 2016.

“Land creates an ecology of life…It is about relationships”, reflected Bishop Mark McDonald, World Council of Churches (WCC) President for North America, in an event titled “Listen to the the Land” organized by the Oikotree movement at the WSF. “However, the way land is understood in Western thought is completely hostile to the indigenous understanding of land.” For Indigenous peoples, the concept of land stewardship rather than ownership is recognized.

13925124_1250872571590104_7823197472996799429_n“In the case of Palestine, the Israeli occupation, particularly illegal settlements, have not only dispossessed Palestinians of their land, it has adversely impacted soils and water sources in the occupied territories,” said Nora Carmi. “Our soils and waters are poisoned, our cattle and people are dying of cancers and other illnesses.”

“Land is now subject to the dominant growth-obsessed, profit-oriented paradigm of production, consumption and distribution, intensifying land grabbing in Africa and many parts of the world” said Dr Rogate Mshana, representing Ecolife in Tanzania. “But the Sustainable Development Goals are silent on land-grabbing.”

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