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NUCF Press Statement

National United Christian Forum
( CBCI, NCCI and EFI )
Yusuf Sadan, 1 Ashok Place, New Delhi – 110001
+91 11 23343457/ 23362058    Fax: +91 11 23746575

Catholic Bishops Conference of India National Council Of Churches in India Evangelical Fellowship of India
His Eminence Baselios Cardinal Cleemis Bishop Dr. Taranath S. Sagar Rev. Hali Likha
President, CBCI, President NUCF, President NCCI, Co-President NUCF Chairman EFI, Co-President NUCF
Father Joseph Chinnayyan Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad Rev. Dr. Richard Howell
Deputy Secretary General CBCI,
Co Secretary NUCF
General Secretary NCCI,
Co Secretary NUCF
General Secretary EFI,
Secretary NUCF

PRESS STATEMENT

National United Christian Forum Raises serious concerns
New Delhi: 20/12/2014We, the members of the National United Christian Forum (NUCF) comprising the three leading Churches of India, i.e. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) and the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI), together express our serious concern about the current situation of the minorities, particularly the Christians in India.

The recent happenings in Bastar forcing the school to put the statue of Sarsawati Maa in a Catholic school and forbidding the children to address the principle with the honorific ‘Father’; the burning of a church in Delhi; the declaration of ‘Good Governance Day’ on 25th December to undermine the importance of Christmas; the provocative call by some fundamentalists to convert 4000 Christians to Hinduism in Agra on Christmas Day and the regular targeting of the Christian community, calling them even anti-national is a cause of great concern for us.
The Christian Community being a small minority of just 2.33 percent of the Indian population doing its day to day work in a peaceful manner and setting a good example of how dutiful citizens must abide by law, is highly distressed with the types of announcements and statements made by certain groups belonging to a right wing ideology.
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Letter to the Indian Prime Minister expressing concern over the “good-days” and “good-governance”

To

Shri Narendra Modi,

Prime Minister of India

Honorable Prime Minister,

This letter is a continuation of the concerns expressed in the letter of 2ndDecember 2014 sent from the NCCI Secretariat. The NCCI is a council representing about 14 million Christians in India belonging to the Protestant and Orthodox Traditions in India. We are committed to unity, witness, service and exemplary practice in the country. As a well-read person, you are certainly aware of the tremendous contribution made by Christians of all traditions (Including Catholics), in history and up to the present, towards nation building through education, health care, orphanages, old people’s homes, counseling ministries, relief services provided during natural calamities, and the ongoing work for rehabilitation and development. The Church in India continues to be committed to the cause of dalits, tribal/adivasis, women, youth, children, the disabled, PLWA, mother earth – indeed all creation, particularly those who have been marginalized. We are committed to an India developed on the principles of justice and peace.

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Message from NCCI General Secretary for Christmas and New Year 2015

God with us: Gospel in a Groaning World

Our Groaning World

We live in a world marked by several sufferings: “Many continue to reel from the impact of wars; ethnic and religious animosity, discrimination based on race and caste mar the façade of nations and leave ugly scars. Thousands are dead, displaced, homeless, refugees within their own homeland. Women and children often bear the brunt of conflicts: many women are abused, trafficked, killed; children are separated from their parents, orphaned, recruited as soldiers, abused. Citizens in some countries face violence by occupation, paramilitaries, guerrillas, criminal cartels or government forces. Citizens of many nations suffer governments obsessed with national security and armed might; yet these fail to bring real security, year after year. Thousands of children die each day from inadequate nutrition while those in power continue to make economic and political decisions that favor a relative few.”
(An Ecumenical Call to Justice and Peace, Resource Material for International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in Kingston, Jamaica, in May 2011, under the theme “Glory to God and Peace on Earth”)

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Fire destroys St. Sebastian Church in Delhi. NCCI Letter to Prime Minister

Below is the text of a letter written to Indian Prime Minister by Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary of National Council of Churches in India.


December 2, 2014
Honorable Prime Minister,
288700-delhi-church-burntOn behalf of the NCCI, I strongly urge you to take immediate measures to ensure that minority communities are not subject to attacks by fundamentalist communal groups. The Christian church in the country wants to see that democratic secularism in spirit and practice is strengthened by your government.
Instances of atrocities against Christian communities are on the rise in the country. Earlier in November, Catholic priests in the Bastar region in Chhattisgarh were told that all their schools were to install statues of Goddess Saraswati and they would not be allowed to be called “Father”, the usual honorific, by the students, but would be called “Pracharya” and so on. In other districts of Chhattisgarh, village panchayats under political influence have passed regulations banning non-Hindu religious persons from organising prayers or opening places of worship in their territory. On 16th November 2014 a Mar Thoma Prayer House was attacked during Holy Communion Service at Kongalnagaram, Udumalpet, Tiruppur District, Tamil Nadu. On Sunday, 30th November 2014, two house churches in Annupur district of Madhya Pradesh were attacked. We are aghast that St. Sebastian Church in Dilshad Garden, East Delhi has been gutted by a fire set off by miscreants on 1st December 2014.

NCCI urges Responsible Journalism

Nagpur | November 21, 2014

STATEMENT | NCCI URGES RESPONSIBLE JOURNALISM

The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), the apex body of the Protestant and Orthodox Churches which represents 14 million people around the country registers its protest against the irresponsible use of press freedom. The Times of India and Dainik Bhaskar (Nagpur | 11-11-2014) printed some speculative claim made by a scholar about Jesus and Mary that has caused immense grief to the Christian community at large.
In a pluralistic context of India where not only freedom, but also respect for all religions and religious sentiments is both taught and practiced, such insensitivity on the part of the publishers is intolerable. While we respect and support the freedom of press, surely it must be used responsibly. It may be seen as an irresponsible act purported to incite the feelings of the Christian community. Such provocation must cease in the interest of upholding the cherished secular fabric and principles of love and unity that our Country proudly professes to have had since ages and indeed does.

WCC – Theological Consultation on ‘Economy of Life’

World Council of Churches

Theological Consultation on ‘Economy of Life’

27 – 30 October 2014, CSI Guest House, Chennai, India

0The Commission on Justice, Peace and Creation of the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), joining the Board of Diaconal Ministries of the Church of South India (CSI) Synod hosted the World Council of Churches’ (WCC) Theological Consultation on ‘Economy of Life’ from 27 – 30 October 2014 at CSI Guest House in Chennai, India.

40 participants representing different geo-political landscapes and peoples’ groups, global and contextual theological and ecumenical fraternities, civil society  movements, christian churches and local congregations, interfaith communities and ecumenical movements from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe and North America actively participated in the consultation.

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Open letter to Palestinian prisoners. In Solidarity and with prayers

palestAs we celebrate the World Week of Prayer for Palestine and Israel, with its focus this year on all those Palestinians who are unjustly imprisoned by Israel, and the theme being “Let My People Go!”, Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary of NCCI has written an open  letter expressing solidarity with them and assuring them of our prayers.

In Solidarity

Dear Unjustly Imprisoned Palestinian Brothers and Sisters,

As you undergo the brutalities of injustice and suffering meted out to you by the Israeli authorities, we express our deepest solidarity with you in your present condition.
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Requesting all to observe August 16, 2014 as KANDHAMAL PRAYER DAY

Dear friends,

Greetings from National Council of Churches in India.

kandhamalprayerposterHuman rights activists are campaigning to have nation-wide observation of “Kandhamal Day” to ensure justice to the victims of the sectarian violence that took place six years ago. The communal violence that started on Aug. 25, 2008 lasted for almost three months and killed hundreds of people, mostly Christians. There have been more than 3,300 complaints, but only 820 odd FIRs were registered. The rest of the complaints were not even registered. Of these complaints, only 518 cases were charge sheeted. The remaining cases were treated as false reports. And out of these 518 cases, 247 cases were disposed off.
The rest of the cases are pending before the sessions and magistrate’s courts.(source: ucanindia.in/news)

The Utkal Christian Council of the National Council of Churches in India, has proposed observing August 16, 2014 as prayer day related to the Kandhamal persecution of Christians. The Council has been closely accompanying the victims of Kandhamal in their struggle for justice. On August 16, 2014 the Utkal Christian Council is inviting all leaders of Churches and organizations to a mega prayer summit at Happy Valley Home, Badenaju, Gudayagiri – 762100 to be held from  9:00 AM  to 3:00 PM along with believers in the Kandhamal area.

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NCCI letter to Minister of External Affairs, Government of India

To

Smt. Sushma Swaraj

Cabinet Minister of External Affairs, Government of India

Dear Madam,

Greetings to you from the National Council of Churches in India!

The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) is concerned about thepresent conflict between Israel and Palestine in West Asia. It has beenreported that around 184 Palestinians died and more than 1,330 peopleare wounded. The majority of the victims are Civilians, Children and Elderlypeople. The Hamas has also fired rockets inside Israel. The violence of bothsides is condemnable.

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Agonize in prayer, Express solidarity, Campaign for justice

The situation in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel, and Palestine, as we all are aware, is of global concern. The conflict in Syria appears on the surface to be a battle between those loyal to President Bashar Al-Assadand those who oppose him. The uprising against him began in March 2011 in Deraa, when several demonstrators were killed by security forces while protesting against the arrest of some teenagers who had painted revolutionary slogans on a school wall. This spread to nationwide protests in May, demanding the President’s resignation.

The death toll in Syria’s three-year conflict has climbed past 160,000, as per the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a harrowing figure that reflects the relentless bloodletting in a civil war that appears no closer to being resolved. The crisis has also uprooted some 6.5 million people from their homes, forced 2.7 million to flee the country, laid waste to cities and towns alike, and unleashed sectarian hatreds that have rippled across the region. (cf. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/syria-death-toll/)

The ongoing conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan have taken a tremendous toll on the people of those countries. As of April 2014, at the very least, 174,000 civilians have been determined to have died violent deaths because of the wars. The actual number of deaths, direct and indirect, as a result of the wars is many times higher than this figure.

The decade long war in Afghanistan has continued to take lives with each passing year. As of February 2014, at least 21,000 civilians are estimated to have died violent deaths due to  the war. The total number of civilians killed in Pakistan may be as high as or higher than the toll in Afghanistan, with NGO estimates ranging widely between 20,000 and 50,000 recorded deaths. In Iraq, over 70 percent of those who died of direct war violence have been civilians. Iraq Body Count conservatively estimates that at least 1,33,000 civilians have been killed in direct violence due to war between the invasion and early May 2014. In addition to the direct consequences of violence represented by these numbers, thousands more Iraqis, Afghans and Pakistanis are falling victim to the dangers of a battered infrastructure and poor health conditions arising from wars. In the case of Iraq, excess deaths indirectly resulting from the war add several times the 1,33,000 civilians killed directly by violence.

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