Posts

Meeting with Shri George Kurian, Vice-Chairperson, and National Commission for Minorities (NCM)

The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) organized a meeting with Shri George Kurian , the new Vice Chairperson of the  National Commission for Minorities (NCM), on 20th June, 2017 at CNI Delhi Diocesan Office, New Delhi. Around 20 leaders from the Churches representing Orthodox and Protestant Traditions participated in this meeting. While welcoming him, the church leaders also raised concerns of the minority communities, particularly of Christians, such as religious discrimination, FCRA renewal, Dalit Christian issues, Education policy, etc. Shri George Kurian assured the leaders that NCM will protect the Constitutional and legal rights of the minorities. The meeting was moderated by Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary, NCCI and hosted by Rt. Rev.  Warris K. Masih, Bishop, CNI Delhi Diocese.


Samuel Jayakumar
Executive Secretary,
Policy, Governance and Public Witness,
National Council of Churches in India.

Appeal to observe AUGUST 10th as “Black Day”

June 08, 2017

Greetings from NCCI- Dalit and Tribal/ Adivasi Concerns!

National Council of Churches in India-Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns appeals to the Churches and Christian organisations to proactively participate in observing ‘Black Day’ on 10th August 2017 to raise our protest regarding the continual negligence of the government to the cry for the rights of Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims in the country.

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LWSIT observes “Day of Prayer to End Famine”

In response to the call given by World Council of Churches – Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (WCC – EAA) and All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) to observe May 21, 2017 as a Global Day of Prayer to End Famine, the Lutheran World Service India Trust, which is a member of the National Council of Churches in India, observed the same at its National Office in Kolkata.

Download the letter from LWSIT

MAY DAY CELEBRATION WITH THE MIGRANTS

Migrants form the largest part of India’s vast unorganised work sector. Their entry into the labour markets is marked with several endemic disadvantages. Devoid of critical skills, information and bargaining power, migrant workers often get caught in exploitative labour arrangements that force them to work in low-end, low-value, hazardous work. Lack of identity and legal protection accentuates this problem. The hardships of migrant workers are especially magnified when state boundaries are crossed and the distance between the “source” and “destination” increases. In India, thousands of people including men, women and children mostly Dalits and Adivasis, are forced to migrate from their homes to other places because of poverty, unemployment, limited economic activities, landlessness, global warming, environmental calamities, failure in agriculture due to uncertain monsoon and floods, deforestation, political persecution, poor medical care facilities in their native place, forced displacement due to so-called developmental work, and so on. Keeping these things in mind NCCI-Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns in partnership with Vidarbha Centre for Labour Concerns and Bahujan Rangbhoomi (street theatre group) celebrated May Day with more than 200 various labour migrants as well as locals from the Butibori and Hingna (Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation) MIDC area at Samvidhan Chowk (Constitution Square), Near Kasturchand Park, Nagpur on 1st May from 4:30 to 6:30 pm. This celebration was done through sharing of Experiences, Street Theatre performances, singing songs of Liberation and Expressions of social-workers.

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National Council of Churches Condemns Human Rights Violation of Dalit Women

 

National Council of Churches in India condemns the heinous crimes which are being committed against Dalits and especially Dalit women in India. Instances of such violence on dalit women are   increasing as fascist ideologies  are spreading like plague in India

Another heinous crime happened recently when two Dalit women were beaten up, their clothes were stripped off and then they were forced to walk naked in their village. High caste women were used to commit such violence on these two women while   the insensitive crowed amused themselves by taking pictures and filming them naked. The “crime” the two Dalit women committed did was to take water from a tap that was in the area of the upper class Hindus. These sisters belonged to the MSA (Mission Sisters of Ajmer) congregation, who run the Karuna Hospital in Borivli. This is the how Dalit women are treated in India, irrespective of their services to the community. ( Source :www. thecjpost.com)

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Birth Centenary Celebrations – His Grace The Most Rev. Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar Thoma Valiya Metropolitan.

Mar Thoma Church is eagerly waiting for April 27th 2017 which is a historical day for the Church. Our Mar Thoma Valiya Metropolitan is entering into the 100th year. Thirumeni is an exceptional personality in the demographics of Church by serving as an Evangelist, Semsano, Kasseesa, Ramban, Episcopa, Suffragan Metropolitan, Officiating Metropolitan, 20th Metropolitan and Valiya Metropolitan.

The Birth Centenary Celebrations of the Valiya Thirumeni is scheduled to be conducted on Thursday, the 27th April 2017 at Sabha Head Quarters at Thiruvalla. This Birthday Celebration is also the culmination of all the Birth Centenary Celebrations conducted by the different Dioceses of the Mar Thoma Church.

The Birth Centenary celebration will begin by the Holy Communion and Thanksgiving service at 8:30 AM at St. Thomas Mar Thoma Church Thiruvalla. His Grace the Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan will celebrate the Holy Communion service.

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NEICC Statement on Church unity, Social concerns and Religious harmony

STATEMENT OF THE FINDINGS OF
THE ONE DAY SEMINAR ORGANIZED BY
THE NORTH EAST INDIA CHRISTIAN COUNCIL
ON
 “CHURCH UNITY, SOCIAL CONCERNS AND RELIGIOUS HARMONY”

AT THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF INDIA,  KHATLA, AIZAWL, MIZORAM SYNOD, APRIL 19, 2017.

We, the ninety two participants, representing various Churches and Christian Organisations under the umbrella of NEICC, in the one day seminar organized by the NEICC on April 19, 2017, deliberated on the theme of the seminar through five paper presentations, viz,

  • “Problems and prospects of Church Unity”, presented by Rev. Dr. R. Zolawma
  • The Role of Theological Education in Church Unity”, presented by Rev. Dr. Kethozelhou Keyho
  • “Gender Inclusive participation in the Church’s Ministry”, presented by Mrs. Gloria Patricia Pohsna
  • “Church’s Role in Social Concern”, presented by Mr L. Meru
  • “Religious Harmony”, presented by Rev. Dr. B.J. Syiemlieh

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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

Church Leaders Consultation on “Healing Ministry and the Role of the Churches and Hospitals”.

Christian Medical Association of India as the official health arm of the National Council of Churches in India has the mandate to equip the churches in responding to the healing ministry. The National Consultation will bring Church leaders from various denominations and the leaders of hospitals governed by the church together for a time of introspection and review on the contribution of Christian health services to the health challenges. Moreover, it will also be a time to dig deeper into the issues preventing or stopping us from fulfilling our role in the healing ministry.

We as the network of Christian healthcare professionals, institutions and churches are facing real challenges with regard to persisting with our vision and mission. In today’s context, we find most Christian mission hospitals – and some of its educational institutions –in a state of disarray, with out-dated infrastructure, poorly financed, equipped and staffed, struggling to eke out a living for those dependent on them. Our mission hospitals are closing down at a rapid pace. From the 900-odd thriving mission hospitals in the country at the time of independence, we are barely numbering 200 or so, most of which are struggling to keep afloat. And it is NOT for the lack of relevance of these institutions, as many are still situated in areas of tremendous need – it is simply that there is no one willing to man them, with courage and conviction that they are still tremendously useful tools in the Hands of the Master1.

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Events

Consultation on “Prophetic Role of Church Leaders in the midst of Injustices”

 National Council of Churches in India – Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns
in partnership with
EMW Germany, Christian Service Agency and Diocese of Durgapur-CNI
Consultation on “Prophetic Role of Church Leaders in the midst of Injustice”
Date:  4th – 6th July 2017,
Venue: Diocesan Bhavan, Aldrin Path, Bidhan Nagar, Durgapur (W/B)

 

Concept Note

Today, the condition of Christian Dalits, Tribals and Adivasis is very precarious. It is important to remind ourselves that most of these people embraced the Christian faith at a critical time while facing serious caste atrocities and oppression in their places. Their motives for converting to Christianity were spiritually social, and they joined the church seeking solace and liberation. The Church received them with enthusiasm and initially did quite well both in terms of Christian nurture and caring for their overall progress. However, today these communities are experiencing a deep religious crisis. One of the most crucial areas is related to the problem of ineffective pastoral care, particularly when it comes to standing for socio- economic and political justice. As a people coming from a background of acute suppression, understandably these Christian communities generally tend to see the Church as their refuge, and their pastor as a leader and protector of their socio-spiritual life. Therefore, the somewhat non-existent pastoral visitation and care in their places/villages has created deep disappointment among them, so much so that they feel that the church/pastor is not interested in them and their life.

Further, what is most unfortunate is that the Dalits, Tribals and Adivasis are a marginalized community within some of the church traditions, existing as a non-entity, with practically no say in the decision making process in the church. Thus they are not only denied upward mobility in the society at large but also ironically, within the church.

Because of their poor self-image, which is the result of centuries of oppression, Dalits and Tribals/Adivasis do not appreciate themselves enough and do not accept their identity as something to be proud of. They have, to a good extent, forgotten their history, culture and religion, and their awareness of being the original inhabitants of the country is not much alive. And today they face the twofold onslaught of globalization and communalism. Tribal culture is further eroded by the loss of their communitarian values and sense of nature, along with that of their lands and forests, which were both their livelihood resources and their ‘mother’, the matrix of their culture and identity. The Dalit culture was also a “culture of solidarity, togetherness, sharing and participation”. Their “national integration” is often wrongly understood and interpreted as assimilation into the majority community.

The development of a positive identity, self-image and culture, which is indissolubly linked with the regaining of their economic and political rights, is therefore essential for Dalit and Tribal empowerment. Under these circumstances, the Church should wake up from its complacency and do some honest soul-searching and be faithful to its calling. To play a relevant role in the Christian Dalits/Tribals/Adivasis struggle for liberation, the church in particular, and the urban Christians in general, should undergo a sincere change of heart. There is no doubt that the apathetic or indifferent attitude of these people is one of the serious obstacles in the task of empowering them. Our theology has to be updated and the understanding of the Gospel must be made more relevant. Though this is very important and necessary, it is not enough to change some socio-economic and political structures and foster a greater representation of Dalits, Tribals and Adivasis. Mentalities must be transformed. The Church has a great responsibility to defend the rights of these communities and promote their culture and identity, both within and outside the Church. She must also foster their internal unity and prevent a separation between Christians and other Dalits/Tribals.  As a Church we need to help to explore the meaning of true spirituality, to participate actively in the struggles of oppressed people and practice their faith in praxis.

 Christian concern for Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi liberation must be transformed into the mission of the Church. It would thus be one authentic expression of the Nazareth Manifesto of Jesus Christ.  This commitment to dalit and tribal/adivasi liberation is neither an extracurricular activity for a pleasant digression, nor is it a mere social service undertaken out of charity as other leaders may do. Since theology is not merely some ivory tower reflection but our commitment to the liberation of people, church leaders, pastors and all of us are called to express solidarity (a kind of incarnation) with struggling communities, and in so doing to reflect upon, interpret and articulate the gospel of salvation-liberation and fullness of life, thereby empowering the people in their struggles for justice, dignity and participatory space and holistic growth in society.

Hence it is urgent that a consultation is called on the prophetic role of Church Leaders in the midst of injustice suffered by vulnerable marginalized dalits and tribals/adivasis.

 

Objectives:

 Consultation Objectives:

  • To re-read the Bible from Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi perspectives.
  • To bring contextual awareness of Dalit and Tribal issues, and the imperative importance of Liberation, Equality, Justice and their Rights
  • To motivate the church/congregation to participate actively in the struggles of oppressed and marginalized people
  • To struggle for the participation of Dalits and Tribals in the decision making process of the Church and Society
  • To promote education for building Tribal/Adivasi and Dalit leaderships and developing their communication and managerial skills
  • To understand the problems of unemployment & education system among the indigenous people & Dalits.

Consultation Follow-up Objectives

  • To strengthen fellowship in the Church and to promote Unity
  • To sensitize local congregations to address the issue of atrocities inflicted upon Dalits, Tribals and Adivasis and the issues related to justice and peace.
  • To facilitate peace talks and agreements among conflicting communities in their respective regions.
  • To encourage churches to be prophetic in their advocacy for peace building
  • To strengthen the churches’ commitment for building peace by networking with other movements.

 

Pradip Bansrior
Executive Secretary
Dalit and Tribal/ Adivasi Concerns
National Council of Churches in India