NCCI – APCC Press Meet/ Press Note

The Metropolitan of Marthoma Church, the Most Rev.Joseph Marthoma from Kerala; Rev.Dr. Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary of the NCCI, Dr. J. A. Oliver, Secretary of APCC , Most Rev. Johan Dang and Rt. Rev. Dular Lakra  from Gossner Lutheran Traditions at a press meet in Hyderabad on 18th August 2015.See Press note below.

PRESS NOTE

18th August, 2015

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  • The NCCI is holding a Round Table on the concerns of Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration on 18th, 19th August 2015 at Hyderabad in which the Metropolitan of Marthoma Church, the Most Rev.Joseph Marthoma from Kerala; Rev.Dr.Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary of the NCCI, Nagpur; the Moderator, the Bishops and senior leaders of Gossner Lutheran Church from North and Eastern India are participating in conjunction with which this Press meet is convened.

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ESHA Steering Committee Meeting Reviewing The Present, Envisioning The Future

IMG-20150805-WA0003The Steering Committee of ESHA (Ecumenical Solidarity for HIV and AIDS) met in Neemrana, Rajasthan for a two-day meeting on July 22-23, 2015.

The Present Phase

As the present phase of ESHA is drawing to a close, the committee took stock of the work achieved.

Work Place Policy: – Ms. Ella Sonawane, Secretary – Publishing and Programmes, ISPCK has been facilitating this work. It was noted that a few of the All India Christian Organizations had made good progress in drafting their work place policies while some others were at different stages of its formulation. Even the NCCI has prepared a draft of the Work Place Policy for approval by the NCCI Executive Committee
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Statement on the Middle East, Future Plans

29 May 2015

Greetings in the name of Christ,

wcrc

I bring you greetings as we have recently completed the 2015 executive committee meeting of the World Communion of Reformed Churches in the cradle of Christianity, gathering at the Evangelical Conference Center in Dhour Choueir, Lebanon, run by the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon.

While gathered together we heard the stories of our sisters and brothers from many countries of the Middle East, including Egypt, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon itself. We were deeply moved by the testimonies of ministry in the face of great challenges. Our eyes were also opened as their reality was presented to us, instead of the one distorted through the mass media.

Our sisters and brothers in the Middle East need us to be closer to them than ever. Their very existence is threatened even as they are the key to peace and reconciliation in the region. To that end, the executive unanimously made a statement that fully commits us as a Communion to be deeply involved with them.
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Movements for the Cause of Palestine

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Vatican would soon sign its first accord with Palestine, two years after officially recognising it as a state.  The Vatican said that the “bilateral commission of the Holy See and the State of Palestine” was putting the final touches to the treaty.The treaty states that the Holy See favours a two-state solution to the conflict with Israel and allows the Vatican to oversee aspects of Roman Catholic life in the areas President Abbas controls. Israel has however expressed disappointment with the treaty, which uses the term “Palestinian state”.

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MPs protest held at Gandhi statue in the Parliament premises : Joint Statement by Parliamentarians

Regarding the communal situation in the country and the fear among Religious Minorities in wake of Hashimpura Judgment, some MPs organiized a signature campaign followed by a protest. Many MPs participated in the protest at Gandhi Statue in the Parliament premises on 7th May, at 10 am.  The successive state Government’s negligence and failure in producing evidence before the court of law denied justice to the victims. Whereas promulgation of executive order in 1950, 10th August by President without the approval of Parliament amounted to denial of equal opportunity and choice of Religious Freedom not only to Dalits of the country but also to the Religious Minorities.  This was to voice their concern to ensure the citizenry in upholding Constitutional mandate of Social Justice beyond Religion.

The Demands were:

  1. A thorough investigation under the supervision of sitting Supreme Court judge to ensure confidence among Citizenry on the governance and the justice delivery system beyond delivering Justice to the victims. The Union Government and the State Government should take every possible effort in bringing the culprits to the book.
  2. We demand the Union of India to Extend the Scheduled Caste Status to Christians and Muslims of Scheduled Caste origin.

Fr. Devasagayaraj

Secretary, CBCI Office for SC/BC

 Mr. Samuel Jayakumar

  Executive Secretary, CoP, NCCI

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Bishop Desmond Tutu writes an open letter to the Deutscher Evangelischer Kirchentag

Concern for justice and solidarity with the suffering:
Letter of Bishop Tutu to the German Churches

Please see below  a copy of the letter written by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu to the German Churches. especially to the people who are attending the forthcoming Kirchentag.  His letter challenges our churches also as we take a stand for justice and pray for meaningful peace. 

Open Letter to Deutscher Evangelischer Kirchentage

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ

I send very warm greetings from Cape Town to you all.

Deutscher Evangelischer Kirchentag is a special organization that occupies a special place in this old man’s heart.

It has played an exemplary and prophetic role in gently nudging modern Germany, with its powerful economy, towards using its power actively and compassionately for justice.

I remember how, in the 1980s, you struggled with your consciences over taking “a clear stand” against apartheid – and ultimately acted on your impulse to do the right thing, closing your accounts at Deutsche Bank over its dealings with South Africa. Thank you.

CASA’s Response to the Earthquake in Nepal

AppealThe killer earthquake that hit Nepal on the noon of April 25th, 2015 has devastated human lives and property. It is believed to have killed over 7,000 people and left more than 12,000 injured, and several thousand houses flattened. The apprehension is that the death toll may rise to 10,000. Further, it is estimated that about eight million people are severely affected in the Himalayan region by this devastating earthquake. Read more

“End Scandal of Discrimination!” Message from NCCI- AICCW pertaining to World Labour Day

blogWorld Labour Day is commemorated every year on 1st May. With reference to this important celebration, the All India Council of Christian Women, the Women’s Wing of National Council of Churches in India sent messages to churches, church based organizations, institutions, church leaders and communities that there should be no discrimination between men and women in the work place in terms of wages and facilities for same job.
The scripture endorses there should be no discrimination of women. According to Galatians 3:28 there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. However many times our theology gets tainted by patriarchal interpretations that portrays women as the ‘second sex’ weaker than men. Such interpretations often and legitimizes and sanctions discrimination of women not only in society but even work place. Jesus never discriminated women and was compassionate and had full understanding of the challenges women face in society.

NCCI Stands with the Grieving and Suffering Bomb attack Victims in Pakistan

pakistan-articleLargeNagpur, March 16, 2015: The National Council of Churches in India expresses its deep shock and painful concern over the continuous attack on innocent public, including Christians, in Pakistan.
As reported by the Media at least 70 people were injured and 15 lost their lives to these inhuman assassinations yesterday ( 15 March 2015) in a Catholic Church and the Christ Church in Youhanabad near Lahore City, where Christians have lived together for years in amity and peace.
The NCCI considers these assaults not merely as attacks on public and innocent citizens of Pakistan, but rather as intentional attacks on ‘Pakistan’ itself’.

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.

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Contact:

The Executive Secretary,

Commission on Justice, Peace and Creation,

National Council of Churches in India,

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