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Gender Equity Enabling Timetable (GEET) of Church of South India Removing Bottlenecks to Build Just Inclusive Communities

Mission Paradigm Shift from Equality to Equity to Promote Gender Justice & Build Just Inclusive Communities

Women’s empowerment programs have been at the core of the ‘Diaconal Ministry’ of the Church of South India. According to Revd Asir Ebenezer- Director of Diaconal  Concerns- CSI Synod “these programs have taken many forms in different contexts. Education, empowerment, and economic livelihood options were some of the areas that took root in most places. Education of girls was the flagship of church’s education ministry. Many hostels for girls as well as nursing and teacher training schools for young women were started and flourish to this day.”  CSI also initiated the ‘Girl Child Campaign’. Ebenezer further states “However despite a radically sound theology and a reformist mind with regard to gender sensitivity, there are many bottlenecks. The aim of the discourse on gender equity is to reach beyond the domain of women and their associations. There is a vital need for gender mainstreaming to end gender based violence.  So GEET  brings the discourse to the mainstream life and witness of  Church Women and Men. The present visible leadership of males in the church sphere is to be challenged to bring significant changes.”

Gender Equity Enabling Timetable (CSI-GEET) –   Has three foci:

 1) Workplace- To ensure a safe working space, institutions of the CSI are oriented on  awareness , prevention, and redressal of sexual harassment of women at workplace  promoting ‘Prevention, Prohibition & Redressal Act, 2013’ . Ebenezer states that many christian  institutions have constituted an Internal Complaints Committee  in compliance with the Act. After the constitution of ‘Internal Complaints Committees’ in our institutions, male staff have become more sensible in their interactions with their female colleagues. Women are aware that they can be treated with dignity and do not have to ‘adjust’ or put up with inappropriate behaviour from the opposite sex.”

2) Homes including Christian Homes –  CSI is also engaging in various endeavours of spiritual formation  to  create safe home free from abuse and empowering both men and women to work towards ending domestic violence and other gender based violence within home .

 3) Mind of the Man for Nurturing Gender Equity– Developing contextualised study material based on ‘Created in God’s image: from Hegemony to Partnership’ (a church’s manual on men as partners promoting positive masculinities was published by WCRC in collaboration with the WCC and the United Methodist Church) to be studied by men in five locations in each of the 24 CSI Dioceses.

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NCCI mourns for the sad demise of Bishop B. P. Sugandhar, the former Moderator of the Church of South India

Rt. Rev. Dr. B. P. Sugandhar, the former Moderator of the Church of South India, passed away on 05 December 2017. He was residing at Hyderabad after his retirement as the sixth Bishop of the Medak Diocese of the CSI.

Bishop Sugandhar was the Deputy Moderator of the CSI for two terms (2000- 2004) and the Moderator for another two terms (2004- 2008). He was very well known as a people’s bishop, and his memory power to remember people and their names was highly appreciated. He was an office-bearer of the Andhra Pradesh Federation of Churches, (APFC) a society that incorporates bishops of the Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Indigenous Church traditions and whose members strive for ecumenism

He served as the Vice-President of the Andhra Pradesh Auxiliary of the Bible Society of India. He was also on the governing board of the United Theological College, Bangalore, and the Andhra Christian Theological College, Hyderabad.

He started his student life at Wesley Boys’ School in Secunderabad. He had done his Bachelor of Divinity at United Theological College in Bangalore and later earned a Doctorate in Theology.

Bishop Sugandhar is survived by his wife Mrs. Nalini Sugandhar, Sons Mr. John Priya Babu and Dr. Vimal Sukumar (Treasurer of the Medaka Diocese of the CSI), Daughter Ms. Glory and five grandchildren. His demise was on the evening today (05.12.2017).

Most Rev. Thomas K. Oommen, the Moderator of the Church of South India, Rt. Rev. Dr. Vadapalli Prasada Rao, the Deputy Moderator, Rev. Dr. Daniel Rathnakara Sadananda, the General Secretary, and Adv. Robert Bruce, the Hon. Treasurer expressed their deep condolences to the bereaved family of late Bishop Sugandhar.

NCCI mourns for the loss of a good leader.

news courtesy-

Rev. Sunil Raj Philip, CSI Communications.

 

‘Because I am Precious in God’s Eyes – I will Not Keep Silent about Gender Based Violence – Shyreeti Daveena Shares her Story

Shyreeti Daveena

The colour of my skin is black and I love my body. My mother says my eyes are dark and bright as the doe and I am lovely. But yet I faced discrimination in school because of my body and colour of my skin by my teachers and peers. Though majority of Indians have brown, dark brown and dark skin yet women and girls with lighter skin are regarded beautiful.

Whenever there was school function, plays or dance drama the fairer and thinner girls were given chance to be main characters in the play or dance drama. Talent was not the criteria of selection. Girls like me with darker skin were discriminated and not given opportunities. However boys with darker skin did not share the same plight as girls.  Dark skinned boys were regarded as handsome. I always felt rejected. I lost self confidence, had low self esteem and I became an introvert person. This affected my academic performance in school. Teachers ridiculed me and called me ‘dumb’. My teachers failed to realize psychological abuse and discrimination is also a form of gender based violence.

Even  now when I go  for my tuition classes  many boys tease me calling me names like  ‘Kalla Khatta’ ( Black and Sour), ‘Moti Kali’ ( Black fat woman ) and even use sexist language. Eve teasing is quite common phenomenon in India and culture of gender based violence exists in our country.

It took me a long time to gain back my confidence which was broken by my teachers in school. My parents helped me to gain my confidence as they reminded me ‘I am beautiful created in image of God’. My involvement in various Sunday School and youth group activities in our church helped me to discover my own leadership qualities and talents.  Galatians 3:38 inspired me “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”Today I am proud of who I am.

There are many like me in India who face discrimination because of stereotyped gender norms which moulds minds of people and culture. In India girls with darker skin becomes often burden for their parents. In an arranged marriage system which still prevails in India parents have to pay more dowry during marriage for their daughters with darker skin.

The media also portrays women with lighter skin and thin body as beautiful. Whitening creams have been promoted through racist advertising. For years, advertisers of skin-lightening creams and other products have shown people — mostly women — with dark skin as having problems when it comes to finding jobs, getting married and generally being accepted by society. The makers of these advertisement include behemoths like Unilever, Johnson & Johnson and Proctor & Gamble . The so-called ‘Fairness Cream’ industry in India is booming .There is even a fairness cream named ‘ Fair and Lovely’.  I strongly believe advertising should not communicate any discrimination as a result of skin colour.

As youth leader I feel church can play a crucial role in deconstructing stereotyped gender norms, ideologies and transform mindset of people. I often wonder why is colour white always associated with purity and black is regarded as dirty or evil. Even today we sing in the church ‘Jesus like lily pure and white’. All colours are created by God are beautiful. From childhood we are conditioned about an arche type image of Jesus as man with light skin  in white robe. We are hardly taught to imagine Jesus as an Asian man with sun tanned dusky brown skin. His clothes must have been soiled with mud and dirt as he traveled from place to place.  Just as white – Black is also beautiful.

25th November is the UN Declared International Day International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence begins on 25 November and end on 10 December, Human Rights Day.

16 Days of Activism Campaign provides me the opportunity to share my story. I have pledged ‘Because I Am Precious in God’s Eyes – I will not Keep Silent about Gender Based Violence and Sexual violence ’.  I invite all of you to join this campaign and  ‘Break the Silence’ and ‘Take Action’ to end any sorts of gender based violence whether in our home, school, church or society.

 (Shyreeti Daveena is a young adolescent girl an active youth church leader – residing in Nagpur and is studying class XI  )

 #16 Days of  Activism@ Shyreeti Daveena 

Women’s Concerns Ministry ,
National Council of Churches in India

Indian Constitution Day

Sunday, 26th November 2017 is turning out to be a  very special day. On this Sunday the Church of North India (CNI) in particular will be celebrating CNI Formation Day. Many churches will also be observing it as a day of prayer for the persecuted church. Still others will be observing it as Disability Advocacy Sunday (NCCI special observance). So also some would be celebrating it as India Constitution Day. The Indian Constitution was adopted on 26th November 1949.

Kindly find below the link to download an Order of Worship which has been drafted by Rev. Dr. Satish C. Gyan, a renowned Theologian, Former General Secretary, Student Christian Movement of India (SCMI); and Former Director/General Secretary, Raipur Churches Development & Relief Committee (RCDRC).

English: INDIAN CONSTITUTION DAY – Order of Worship – 26.11.2017

Hindi: संविधान दिवस – आराधना विधि २६.११.२०१७

An Ecumenical Commemoration of 500 Years of Reformation

“Reformation is a Process and we need to adopt and adapt to…”

said Fr. Peter, a Catholic Rector at the Ecumenical Commemoration of 500 Years of Reformation.

The Churches and the Christian Communities and Organisations in Nagpur gathered together at the All Saints Cathedral of the Church of North India in Nagpur, to participate in a commemorative Eucharist worship on 31st October 2017 at 6.30 pm. remembering Martin Luther and his colleagues, who advocated reformation in the Church 500 years ago on the same day.

Over hundred people, including persons with disabilities, clerics, theologates, mission and social workers, participated in this ecumenical worship representing different ecclesial confessions from Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Methodist, Lutheran, Church of North India,  and Free Church Traditions.

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Disability Advocacy Sunday 2017

NCCI –IDEA (Indian Disability Ecumenical Accompaniment) is an Ecumenical Initiative of National Council of Churches in India accompanied by Unity and Mission. NCCI – IDEA theologically motivates ministerial interventions of its constituencies  in encouraging and facilitating the Indian Churches to be inclusive and disabled-friendly. Considering the importance of inclusivity, the XXVIII Quadrennial Assembly of NCCI has chosen a theme ‘Towards… Just and Inclusive Communities for this Quadrannum thus, the Members of NCCI would be encouraged to ensure that their ministerial interventions result in inclusivity.

Since 2009 the Disability Advocacy Sunday (DAS) is being organized by NCCI – IDEA along with ecumenical organizations, local congregations and institutions. NCCI-IDEA has been a facilitator of conversations with communities in Church and Society in regard to advocacy for disability rights. The recently concluded interfaith roundtable on disability has propelled the work with significant stride towards just and inclusive communities. Considering the importance of observing this day, the NCCI Executive Committee in 2011 officially approved of designating the Sunday before the Advent as DAS, since 3rd December the International Day of People with Disability.

From its inception, DAS has focused on ‘An Inclusive Church’, through its sermons, urging the Church, to move from being charitable, to becoming an accompanier seeking justice ‘for’, ‘by’ and ‘with’ persons with disabilities . Surveying the past celebrations and the positive responses from the Churches and the local congregations to the observance of DAS, NCCI-IDEA expects that the congregations have become more open to PWDs and more Disabled-friendly.

This year Churches and the Congregations are encouraged to contemplate on the theme: ‘Creator of the disabled, reform your creation’. Persons with disabilities reflect God’s image and likeness. Hence, we are praying to this Creator God to reform creation through the persons with disabilities, with the 500th year of reformation as the background.

Every year, NCCI – IDEA assists the Churches and the Congregations with the Order of Worship for DAS observances. Since 26th November 2017 is the Sunday prior to the Advent season, IDEA recommends to churches to observe it as DAS.  In case you are not able to observe the DAS on 26th November, please feel free to observe any Sunday that is convenient to you and your congregations.

We are glad to inform you that the NCCI-IDEA have already planned to celebrate ‘Christmas of the Disabled’ on 3rd December 2017. Therefore, we encourage you to organize and celebrate along with us in your respective Churches and Congregations.

Kindly,  share with us the inspirational stories and the divine interventions through the DAS 2017 in your Church or Congregation.

With Prayer and Wishes,

Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar

Director, NCCI – IDEA

Mrs. Glory Cynthia Shinde

Coordinator, NCCI – IDEA

Most Rev. Dr. P. C. Singh

President, NCCI

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad

General Secretary, NCCI

 

Downloads:

  1. Disability Advocacy Sunday 2017 Order of Worship – English
  2. Poster to print (in .pdf)

Ecumenical Dhorom Sabha 2017

Santalia Council of Churches organised its yearly event ‘Ecumenical Dhorom Sabha’ from October 26 – 29, 2017 at CNI Mission, Taljhari, Dist Sahibganj, Santal Parganas, Jharkhand. More than 5000 delegates from Santal Churches of Assam, Bihar, Bengal & Jharkhand participated in this event. Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary, NCCI was the Chief Guest and the Main Speaker for the event. The Keynote address was delivered by Moderator Emeritus The Most Rev. Dr. Philip P. Marandi, CNI. The theme for this year was taken from Mathew 5:41. The Most Rev. B. Murmu, Moderator, NELC, Rt. Rev. B.B. Baskey, Diocese of Chotanagpur, CNI, Rt. Rev. Sushil Tudu of NELC and Rev. Emmanuel Chitrakar, Pakur District Superintendent of the Bengal Regional Conference of Methodist Church in India, were among other dignitaries present during the Dhorom Sabha. Rev. Francis Hansdak and Rev. Pradip Hansdak shared responsibility in smooth functioning of the entire programme.

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NCCI Dalit Liberation Sunday 2017 – Religious Freedom of Dalits.

Respected Ecumenical Leaders,

Warm greetings from National Council of Churches in India!

Dalit Liberation Sunday has become an important feature in the calendar of Indian Churches and Ecumenical movements. Over the years, there has been a positive response in sensitizing the local congregations towards concerns of Dalits, for no longer caste issue is visualized as a sociological issue or an issue outside the purview of church but more seen as an issue challenging the core of our faith and gospel.

Dalit Liberation Sunday is a joint programme of National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) and Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India (CBCI), aiming at the empowerment of the local congregations for Dalit liberation. Dalit Liberation Sunday is observed by the member churches of NCCI and the churches under CBCI in their local congregations across India.

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Congratulations to Office Bearers of Church of North India (CNI) Synod.

The Synod of the Church of North India (CNI) met during September 30 to October 3, 2017. One of the major decisions taken on 3rd October  was to elect a new Moderator, Deputy Moderator and Hony. Treasurer. After successful elections, the names of the team of Office Bearers of CNI Synod are as below:

  1. The Most Rev. Dr. P. C. Singh, Moderator.
  2. The Rt. Revd. Dr. Probal Kanto Dutta, Deputy Moderator.
  3. Mr. Alwan Masih, General Secretary.
  4. Mr. Jayant Agarwal, Hony. Treasurer.

(Source: Mr. Alwan Masih, General Secretary of CNI).

The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) congratulates the team of Office Bearers of CNI and joins the Church in praying for the team’s leadership and wishing them every blessing for a fruitful ministry.

With the wider ministry of NCCI’s  President, the Most Rev. Dr. P. C. Singh, as Moderator of CNI, we look forward with joy and anticipation to the benefits of his ecumenical vision and his leadership in the church and society. May God continue to bless him and the other members of this team to accomplish much for the reign of God on earth!

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