NCCI’s Women Concerns Ministry

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Saath – Saath: An Interfaith Dialogue For Gender Equity from the lens of scriptures of different traditions

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The beautiful narrative of creation of human being is that we are tailor made by God, who is our creator and sustainer and even though has given us free will to choose but expects that we are more responsible for the choices we make. Often the choices we as humans make are for seeking the power and pleasure for ourselves. Later accounts portray such a self-seeking approach to distort the image of God in every human person and deform creation. One such distortion and deformation which plagues our society is gender inequality. The domination by the “mighty” who subjugates the “weak” is a challenge to balance of God endowed creation equality.

Religion is knowing God and following the faith we believe in. Religion plays a vital role in shaping cultural, social, economic, and political norms in many parts of the world. Thus, gender stereotypes and the status of women and men in society are deeply tied to the manner in which religious texts have been interpreted for centuries by those in positions of power—positions held predominantly by men.The relationship between religion and gender equality is a complex one. Yet, in sharp contrast to marked absence of all gender at the highest levels of decision-making in religious communities, women and all genders play a pivotal role in religious life. Within the family and the community, they implement and embody religious teachings and traditions, and pass these on to future generations. The role of faith-based organizations, institutions and actors in the gender equality agenda is multifaceted: while often rooted in patriarchal traditions, they are also among the powerful agents of social change. The language of faith reaches to the deepest roots of human motivation, mobilizing individuals and communities to sacrifice comfort and material wealth in pursuit of higher goals. In addition, faith-based organizations and institutions are among the largest, most stable, and well-resourced social networks.

Various faith Scriptures can play a vital role in re-establishing the balance in today’s world where Gender based inequality is rampant. We need to ask these vital questions:  Is religion a barrier to gender equality? Distinction between (Institutionalised) Religion and what various Scriptures actually promote!

Saath – Saath looks forward to be a collaboration which is rooted in the understanding that in today’s world, where 8 out of 10 people identify as members of a religious or spiritual community, where religion exerts tremendous influence on people’s both women and men, identities, behaviours, and beliefs. As the oldest providers of social and humanitarian assistance, Faith-based organizations with their networks and resources reaching every corner of the globe are uniquely poised to impact the world in a more profound manner and set a more positive tone. Much more needs to be done for challenging the patriarchal structures, beliefs, and practices that have perpetuated inequality and discrimination against women and girls. While they have been instrumental in promoting spiritual, social, and physical wellbeing, faith-based organization still can be more proactive in engaging in the work of structural transformation required for secure equity and justice for all.

In “Saath – Saath’ we desire come together to look into our faith heritage captured in our scriptures. The desire is to reclaim the divinity of all human beings. Let us listen to what various scriptures say, with a purpose that faith leaders can be co-partners and collaborators in promoting and protecting Gender equity. Let us get inspired from our faith Scriptures and explore how Scriptures of various faith traditions preserve and promote Gender-parity.

Let’s Listen to what they have to say:

Dr A K Merchant is the national trustee Cum Secretary, Lotus Temple. A Doctor by Profession and very much active with social concern, he is a champion on topics like culture, religion and environment.

Tashi Choedup is a Queer Buddhist, monastic Buddhist philosopher and volunteering in Bodhgaya, Bihar. He is an activist and has been active in writing as well.

Rev M Jyothi Sunder is a ordained minister in Medak Diocese, CSI for 20 years. She had done her MTh in OT and MA in women Studies. She is also the President for Association of Theological Trained Women in India (ATTWI),

Ms Sribala Mylavarapu is a teacher of Sanskrit. She is staff at HMI, Hyderabad. She is programme officer for Academic Extension Programme. Her research topic is “Role of women in reconciliation in Faith Engagements”.

Ms Uzma Naheed is a member of Indian Muslim Personal Law Board and is a champion on Gender Justice. She has worked tirelessly for justice for women right from the Islamic context.

Ms Ashmeet Kaur Bilkhu is a young dynamic worker who has done her MPhil in “ Women and Gender Studies”. She is involved in developing curriculum at ISST for “ women And Work”. She writes on issues of gender politics and culture.

Dr Vihutoli Kinny is a lecturer at Nito Theological College, Nagaland. She is serving at department of Religion. Her research on doctoral studies was on : Social relevance of the religious thought of Swami Vivekananda today wit special reference to practical Vedanta.”

Ms D Reshma is working as an Assistant Professor at SSS, Shasun Jain College. She is a champion for the gender cause and has been dealing with many other issues as well. She has a special way on interacting with people of all age.

Mr Ankit Bhupati is a Human Right Activist and founder of Queer Hindu Alliance. He is a devout Hindu who finds his soul in Bhakti.

Let us join our panellist to be the voices of justice and equality. Let us ask questions not to others only, but to and for ourselves.

Let’s revisit and reclaim what is right.

Join in : Registration Form

Rev. Jyoti Singh Pillai                                                                                                            

Executive Secretary, NCCI Women’s’ Concerns

For any Queries Please Contact: jyoti@ncci1914.com Or ncci@ncci1914.com

A Call for genuine ‘Beti Bachao’ and true ‘Mahila Shashaktikaran’- Ending and Preventing Sexual Gender Based Violence

Thursdays in Black says no to all kinds of violence.

India has been a country where a number of violence is subsisting openly. Human Trafficking in India although illegal under Indian law, remains a remarkable problem. People are frequently illegally trafficked through India for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced/bonded labour. Women and girls are trafficked within the country for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced marriage, especially in those areas where the sex ratio is highly skewed in favour of men. Men and boys are trafficked for the purposes of labour and may be sexually exploited by traffickers to serve as gigolos, massage experts, escorts, etc a significant portion of children are subjected to forced labour as factory workers, domestic servants, beggars, and agriculture workers, and have been used as armed combatants by some terrorist and insurgent groups. Thursdays in Black focuses on ways that individuals can challenge attitudes that cause violence, on a personal and public level. Human Trafficking affects families, Society and people also suffers individually.  This year 7th February is observed as World International Harmony Day and to maintain peace among people, Thursdays in black Campaign is one of the way through which peace and unity can be conquer as this campaign says no to all kinds of violence.

THURSDAYS IN BLACK

 

National Girl Child day- 24th January, 2019

Girl children are considered a “burden” on their natal families, attributed to the idea that they will be married off at a certain age (and hopefully at a competitive price), while sons will study, become breadwinners of the households, bring home a wife who will take on households responsibilities, and thus support his parents in old age.  It is time for us to ponder upon a question are girls less capable or is it our attitude? Because , not only have we been socialised into believing in differential rights and abilities of boys and girls, but we have behaved in ways to ensure this is true by not providing equal access to both boys and girls, equal access to support and encouragement, and consequently, equal opportunity to perform. And this is one kind of silent struggles and violence a girl child has to go through since her childhood and after marriage she goes through violence. The worst victims of such violence are girls, women, and children. We know India is the 4th dangerous country for women to live in and for the girl child to survive. 53 percent children get sexually abused in India that means one out of two children.

Thursday in Black campaign is against gender based violence and it encourages men and women to support girl child and treat them equally to build inclusive church and society.

THURSDAY IN BLACK

National Council of Churches in India urges all churches and social organizations to take concrete actions against gender based violence and also encourage people to speak out against violence to ensure that women and men, boys and girls are safe from violence in all places.

India is rapidly growing more towards violence which has no end and a huge threat for the younger generation to live peacefully.  Children who grow up in families where there is violence may suffer a range of behavioral and emotional disturbances therefore NCCI invites all of us to join in Thursdays in Black Campaign to fight against violence and make country a better place to live in.

For more information read

NCCI endorses16 days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign

From 25 November (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) to 10 December (Human Rights Day), the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign is a time to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world. The international campaign originated from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute coordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991.

For far too long, impunity, silence and stigma have allowed violence against women to escalate to pandemic proportions—one in three women worldwide experience gender-based violence.

The time for change is here and now.

In recent years, the voices of survivors and activists, through campaigns such as #MeToo, #TimesUp, #Niunamenos, #NotOneMore, #BalanceTonPorc and others, have reached a crescendo that cannot be silenced any more. Advocates understand that while the names and contexts may differ across geographic locations, women and girls everywhere are experiencing extensive abuse and their stories need to be brought to light.

This is why the UNiTE Campaign’s global advocacy theme this year is: Orange the World: #HearMeToo

Under the theme Orange the World: #HearMeToo, the UNiTE partners are encouraged to host events with local, national, regional and global women’s movements, survivor advocates and women human rights defenders and create opportunities for dialogue between activists, policy-makers and the public. As in previous years, the colour orange will be a key theme unifying all activities, with buildings and landmarks lit and decorated in orange to bring global attention to the initiative.

The NCCI urges Churches, Women Fellowships, Christian Organizations, Related Agencies, and Regional Councils,  to get involved in this campaign. This Campaign may be observed in different ways, such as articulating contextual themes/slogans for the 16 days, organizing Prayer meetings, Bible Studies, processions, poster campaigns, street theatres, and  other Advocacy Programmes.

NCCI Women Concerns has been advocating the campaign:

365 Days of Zero Tolerance to Gender Based Violence : Make it Happen Now!!!

16th General Assembly of the Asian Church Women’s Conference

Asian Church Women’s Conference organized the 16th Quadrennial General Assembly and 60th anniversary of ACWC at The Church of Christ in Thailand (CCT), Bangkok on October 3 – 8, 2018. The theme for the Assembly was “Now Choose Life, Change our Ways and Actions”. ACWC voting Delegates and Observers of ACWC and  members of the International Committee of the Fellowship of the Least Coin (ICFLC) participated in the Assembly. We, Mrs. Wellorich Sohkhlet, Presbyterian Church of India, Mrs. Sushma  Tirkey, Gossener Evangelical Lutheran Church, Jharkhand and Jenifa Rani, Intern, National Council of Churches in India represented NCCI in the ACWC General Assembly at Bangkok.

The Assembly started with the procession of the Representatives with the country banners followed by the opening worship on 4th October on the theme “Now Choose Life”. ACWC President Dr. Saisuree Chutikul given the key note address, in which she inspired the participants saying that life as ‘being alive’ and ‘living’ is guided by having a twin citizenship: one as being Christians in God’s Kingdom and the other is as being a citizen of a country. She stated that changing of ways and actions within the framework of life, living and being alive, including the ‘purposes’ of life need to produce outputs, which would be compliant with the purposes and the kind of life that we choose.

ACWC Vice President led a 7 minutes show “Her Story” remembering the 60 years of ACWC.  In the panel session moderated by ACWC Treasurer Mrs. Roshini Mendis, Ms. Janejinda Pawade, Aftercare Liasion Manager and Social Worker of NVADER challenged the participants talking on the theme “Human Trafficking: A Challenge to Asian Church Women”. She put forward the challenge for the Asian Church Women to choose life, to be the Voice of the Voiceless, who are vulnerable to any forms of exploitation and change our ways and actions, to challenge ourselves to do more advocacy work rather than humanitarian work. Sr. Siphim Xavier, O.S.U., Directress and Chaplain for Catholic Commission for Women, Catholic Bishops Conference of Thailand talked on the theme of choosing life. Ms. Wandee Cheunchooprai, Clinical Social Worker at New Life Center Foundation in Chiang Mai, expressed the need of the enhancement of the life choices of the tribal girl children and women, who suffer disadvantage, vulnerability and all forms of exploitations.

Two business sessions chaired by the President of ACWC included Officers Report, Executive Secretary’s Report, National Reports by National Representatives, Formation of Committees, Nominations and Assembly Statement. Mrs. Wellorich Sohkhlet read the report of Women Concerns of NCCI. Representatives from WSCF-AP, AACC, EFFCW, and MECC shared their greetings. Thereafter, as prayer partners met, India along with our prayer partners Mongolia and Malaysia gathered and discussed about the prayer issues of partners and prepared for the Cultural Night to celebrate ACWC’s 60th anniversary.

Next day, 5th October, started with a Bible study by Rev. Dr. Chuleepran Srisoontorn, chaired by Supaorn Yarnasarn. The theme for the day was “Change Your Ways”. Dr. Chuleepran focused on John 14:6 and John 6: 48 – 51 and led the group in discussion on the steps toward changing our ways and actions. In the Business Session 3, the Assembly Secretary read the Minutes of the previous day, after which  the Treasurer’s Report and Budget was presented  by Mrs. Roshini Mendis, Treasurer, ACWC. The national representatives presented their National Reports. We then formed small Groups to discuss the Assembly Theme and each group reported their discussions and suggestions, especially Young Women’s Forum of ACWC actively participated in it. The day ended with the cultural night in which the nine pairs of prayer partners and ICFLC members participated.

The third day, focused on the theme “Change Your Actions,” started with a Bible study by Rev. Dr. Chuleepran Srisoontorn.  Sirirat Pusurinkham chaired it. The Business Session 4 comprised of the Minutes of the Previous Day and the National reports by NRs. Representatives from CLAI, CCC, WICCC, CW_USA, PCC, and WCC shared their greetings. In Business Session 5 there were elections of General Committee members and Executive Committee members and Orientation of General Committee members.  With the consecration of the newly elected members and Rev. Moon Sook’s message in the closing worship, on 2 Kings 4: 8 – 37 (the story of the Shunemmite Woman and Elisha, in which the shared what she had) by which Rev. Moon Sook exhorted women to choose life, and responsibly and persistently bring about changes in the society,  the Assembly ended.

 

Fellowship of Least coin (FLC) ecumenical prayer movement 2018 for justice peace and reconciliation

Mission and Vision of Fellowship of Least Coin Movement

The Fellowship of the Least Coin has flourished as a global ecumenical women’s prayer movement. Each time a woman prays, she sets aside the least coin of her local currency as a symbol of the prayer. Women’s national groups collect the coins and send them to the central FLC Fund c/o World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland. The prayers offered and the least coins collected support projects for women and the children around the world.

Brief History of FLC Movement

This worldwide women’s prayer movement started in 1956 in the Philippines by an Indian woman called Shanti Solomon who was on a peace mission with an international team of Presbyterian women to overcome the wounds between countries caused by World War II. Her visa to Korea was refused, and she had to stay in the Philippines while the others moved on. In her vision that prayer surpasses national boundaries she got the idea that each woman – even the poorest – can contribute whenever she prays for peace and reconciliation by setting aside her ’least coin’.  She got her insights from the parable of the widow’s mite in the gospel. This ecumenical prayer movement spread quickly among the Asian countries and beyond. Today all continents are part of it. Women’s fellowships of different churches in the world promote FLC movement.   Participating Ecumenical Organizations are.

All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC)
Asian Church Women’s Conference (ACWC)
Christian Conference of Asia (CCA)
Caribbean Conference of Churches (CCC)
Ecumenical Forum of European Christian Women (EFECW)
Latin America Council of Churches (CLAI)
Middle East Council of Churches (MECC)
Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada (WICC)
Church Women United CWU-USA
Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC)
World Council of Churches Women’s Program
World Day of Prayer International Committee

Every year the International Committee meets to allocate grants to about forty projects and some scholarships for young female students. This grant is from the least coins collected by women during praying all over the global for justice and peace, healing and reconciliation.

 2018 FLC In-Gathering Liturgy

Certificate Course on Gender Justice | Theme: PROPHETIC ECCLESIA: CATALYST OF GENDER JUSTICE

Brief Report

Certificate Course on Gender Justice
Theme: PROPHETIC ECCLESIA: CATALYST OF GENDER JUSTICE

National Council of Churches in India | Women Concerns Ministry

13th-17th June 2018 | Vishranti nilayam, Bangalore |Organized in partnership with CSI Women’s Fellowship | Australian Church Women Inc.

Trainees with the General Secretary of CSI Women’s Fellowship, Rev. Synthia Chopra after Valedictory Service.

Context:

Gender based violence has become a pandemic in India. It is one of the major national problems; however it is not adequately addressed as a major problem either by the Government or by civil society. The worst victims of such violence are girls, women, and children. India is the 4th dangerous country for women to live in and for the girl child to survive. 53 percent children get sexually abused in India (that means one out of two children). Though girls are vulnerable, boys also face sexual abuse. Gender based violence violates human rights, and harms and impoverishes communities, reinforces other forms of violence throughout societies, restricts economic growth and undermines development. Violence on women in India often take on inhuman and intolerable dimensions in the form of domestic violence, eve teasing, sexual assaults, rape, psychological  abuse, dowry burning, honour killing, acid attack, harassment in work place, human trafficking etc. The culture of rape is a common phenomenon in India and marital rape is not recognized by society as rape. Gender based violence has its roots in spiritual poverty. It is in this context Women Concerns Ministry (earlier known as All India Council of Christian Women) of National Council of Churches in India as a part of its Ecumenical and Spiritual Formation Program has evolved ‘Training the Trainers Program – Certificate Course on Gender Justice’.

This three-year programme, which is supported by Australian Church Women Inc through Winifred Kiek Scholarship Trust especially for young women, and through local contributions from Women’s Fellowships and churches (to support scholarships for male candidates) will be conducted between June 2017 and June 2019.

Aim of the three-year programme: Ecumenical and Spiritual Formation in Gender Justice to intercept the culture of Gender based violence and build inclusive Just communities Read more

Open Letter to Prime Minister of India | End Culture of Rape & Sexual Violence on Girls, Children & Women in India!

Date: 16th April 2018

To

Sri Narendra Modi,
Honourable Prime Minister in India,
South Block, Raisina Hill,
New Delhi -110011

Open Letter to Prime Minister of India
End Culture of Rape & Sexual Violence on Girls, Children & Women in India !

 

Honourable Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi,

Greetings from the National Council of Churches in India.

National Council of Churches represents around 14 million Christians in India from Reformation and Syrian Christian Traditions.

We write this letter at the darkest hour of our country when our Government is failing to protect girls, women and children. We express our deep anguish and pain, regarding the barbaric and heinous act of gang rape and murder of the little eight year old girl in Kathua and the rape of young 20 year old girl from Unnao in Uttar Pradesh.

Read more

Events

Celebrating GIRLS for Life | A short file contest

NCCI joins different organisations in celebrating the Girl Child
Celebrating Girls for LIFE is a joint campaign to empower the girl child. One of the main highlights of the campaign is a Short Film Competition. The multi-pronged campaign will also include workshops and awareness programs in the lead up to the International Day of the Girl 2020. For more details, please visit GirlChildDay.in