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“Celebrating Our Journey Together” : NCCI Youth Leaders’ Meeting

 

The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) caters approximately 4 million youths through its member churches throughout the country. The subversive energy of this network needs to be harnessed to bring about an uprising in the country. This possibility should not be trampled especially at such a time as this when India stands at the verge of being the youngest country in the world.  With these encouraging thoughts in mind NCCI – Youth Concerns organized a Youth Leaders’ Meeting on the theme “Celebrating Our Journey Together” from 29th April to 1st May 2019 at the NCCI Secretariat Nagpur.

 The NCCI Youth Leaders’ Meet focused on bringing the youth leaders to share the ideas and visions of exertion that are involve and build a common ecumenical platform and accordance across the country especially among the youths. The three day gathering also focused on the capacity building for youth leaders and creates opportunity to address various social concerns and issues such as Human Rights, Migration, Human Trafficking, Peace and Reconciliation across the country.

Rev. Asir Ebenezer, General Secretary, NCCI shared the visions and dreams concerning youths and youthood in which he accentuated to realize the potential of the existing network offered by the NCCI and to use it wisely to counter the elements of fascism, disenfranchisement and communal violence being sown by the political bigots of our country. Mr. Jianthaolung Gonmei, Executive Secretary, Youth Concerns, NCCI in the welcome address shared the purpose and prospects of the meeting urging the respective youth secretaries gathered to mobilize the youths of their churches and dioceses through various workshops, rallies, campaigns and other creative initiatives and solidify the ecumenical commitment, mutually learn from each other and plan and dream together programmes on a larger scale.

Rev. K. Noah David, Youth Secretary, South Andhra Lutheran Church (SALC) gave a presentation on the topic “Youth in Socioeconomic and Political Context” wherein he spoke about the importance of inspiring the youths especially in churches to be politically literate so as to safeguard the secular fabric of the country. Thereafter, a Panel Presentation on the theme “Youth Capacity Building in Practice” with four panellists viz. Rev. Asir Ebenezer, Ms. Cheryl, Councillors, Sharansthan Charitable Society Nagpur, Mr. Kasta Dip, Director, India Peace Centre and Mr. Jianthaolung Gonmei who spoke on “Freedom of Religion and Beliefs”, “Human Rights and Human Trafficking”, “Peace and Reconciliation” and “Migration” respectively. The session was moderated by Mr. Ashish Yusuf, Youth Secretary, Mennonite Church in India.

The youth leaders had an interactive session of sharing the various areas of engagements among the youths in their respective churches or regions which ruminate as an opportunity to learn from the other.  The youth leaders also had an opportunity to visit the socio-religious important places in Indian history such as Deekshabhoomi, India Peace Centre and Zero Mile Stone of India. The delegates also participated in Shradhanjali Programme, a condolence meeting convened at the Press Club of Nagpur to pay homage in solidarity to the victims of the genocide of Sri Lanka.

Deliberation on the Youth

 Matters: Youth Policy Drafting Guidelines, a guideline drafted by NCCI, Youth Concerns for the youth in church was made. Suggestions, additions, omissions etc. were solicited from the participants so as to update the same for better. Time was also devoted to develop common and individual programmes and to see to it how to nurture the ecumenical fellowship and solidarity more proactively. There was space for the delegates to share their feedback and recommendations. In short the three days program was focused and purpose oriented and the delegates bid adieu with a strong determination to engage more productively with the youths of their respective churches. The three-day programmes was initiated with a daily devotion led by Dn. Basil Paul, an intern at NCCI-Youth Concerns.

The meeting bore witness to the Youth Leaders from 13 churches.

A brief report on Ecumenical Youth Music Concert

As part of the Unity Octave, the National Council of Churches in India-Youth Concerns organized an Ecumenical Youth Music Concert on (24th January Thursday) at Sristhi Lawn, NCCI Campus, Nagpur, on the theme “Justice and only justice you shall pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:18-20). The main focus of the concert was to extent the ecumenical rapport and unity among the Christians, especially the Youth spreading the message of peace and unity through music in the midst of turmoil and intolerance in our society.

The programme began with an opening prayer by Mr. Pradip Bansrior, Executive Secretary, NCCI-Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns and Mr. Jianthaolung Gonmei, Executive Secretary, NCCI-Youth Concerns welcomed the invitees and the participants as well as gave a brief introduction of the Unity Octave.

Different forms of music such as bhajan, devotional, choir, solo, and western were presented in various languages – English, Hindi, Marathi and Mizo. Churches, seminaries and organizations from different Christian faith community from in and around Nagpur participated in the event. The participants were from Mizo Fellowship, St. Charles Seminary, Hindi Methodist Church, St. Thomas Orthodox Theological Seminary (STOTS), Nagpur Christian Art Ministry, CNI St. Thomas Church, Marathi Methodist Church, Good Samaritan Church and North East Christian Fellowship.

Reading of the scripture was read by Ms. Sweta Nanda, Intern, from Matthew 15: 22-28 and proposed the vote of thanks. The program concluded with prayer for unity and benediction by Rev. Christopher Rajkumar, Executive Secretary, NCCI-Unity and Mission. The event was led by Ms. Megha Naik, Intern, NCCI-Women Concerns as its host.

Above all, Ecumenical Youth Music Concert was filled with delightful experiences where both the participants and the spectators were inspired through the presentations that paved the way for an opportunity to widen the space of learning and reasoning and welcome all humanity in one’s life that will lead towards love and unity of all in the pilgrimage of pursuing justice and only justice.

Manger on the Streets: Nativity in 2018

National Council of Churches in India

Christmas Programme – 2018

Manger on the Streets

Venue: Srishti Lawn, NCCI Campus                            Date: 18/12/2018                 Time: 6:00 pm

 

“We need to fight for the sick child, the woman in sanctuary, the migrant family, the transgender teenager, the homeless veteran, the young black man at the traffic stop,; because when we do, we are perpetuating the heart of the Middle Eastern child, born under duress, amid the smell of damn straw and animal dung—the one who turned the world upside down in the name of a compassion that knew no borders and a love that had no walls.”

                                                                                                                                                -John Pavlovitz

 

Introduction

Narrator:

Good Evening!! Christmas is on the verge. What is Christmas?Is it yet another festive of celebration? Certainly not. It is an emotion. It is a harvest of memory of God acknowledging God’s humanity and humans realizing their divinity. Christmas is when Christ – the Creativity of God – took flesh in Jesus. So come let us try to comprehend the incomprehensible mystery of Incarnation.

SCENE 1

Skit: Christ – less Christmas

(A woman hears the voice of Jesus expressing his desire to dine in her home. The woman feels overwhelmed and starts cleaning her house. Meanwhile she makes calls to her friends and a photographer as well. Later she hears a knock at the door and opens it to find Jesus. She warmly welcomes him. Soon her friends also drop in and the woman introduces them to Jesus. Finally the photographer arrives and all of them get ready for a group photo with Jesus. The photographer says that the frame does not accommodate everyone and hence one should move. None of them agrees to move out of the frame and eventually Jesus himself leaves and stands at the fringe. Then the photo is clicked without Jesus.) 

Moral: Christmas seems to have lost its anamnesis. The paraphernalia commemorating its memories are at sale but too expensive for the commons. Market has usurped the manger. In the pomp and gaiety of the celebrations of Christmas we often push Christ to the periphery and thus our Christmas turns out to be a Christ – less Christmas.

SCENE 2

Flashback

Narrator:Who is this Christ Jesus secluded on the fringe? Shall we take a re-look at his birth.

One fine day, off-the-wall, trees blossomed, birds chirped like never before, wind blew bearing the aroma of flowers, the sky poured out his love through the clouds and the earth drenched in it, spread her fragrance all throughout. The entire cosmos stood in awe on seeing its Creator, Creativity and Animator. Jesus, him we call. The True Human.

We re-imagine the birth of Jesus on the Streets.

Mary: May Peace be upon all of you as we welcome you to celebrate the birth of our child Jesus the Christ. We are the children of the street, we bear the stench of exclusion, our clothes are tattered and stained, we have nothing to offer than our sweat and blood, yet God chose to incarnate on the streets among us. Today the streets are blessed.The womb of a woman has become the site of inception of the Salvation of the World.

Joseph: Come and witness you people how God has sanctified the profane, how the wise and wealthy have been put to shame, how the powerful and complacent are mocked and how the ethos of the margins are acknowledged and upheld. The Light of the world has been born in the darkness of the streets. We are overwhelmed and thank God for this subversive act. We shall pray;

The God who sees we thank you for looking at us with utmost mercy and compassion. We understand that we encounter you in places we least expect. In the face of infant Jesus we see your radiance that penetrates deep into our being. In his eyes we see your unconditional love towards creation. May we perceive all things through his eyes so that we explore the unexplored beauty of this world. Help us to grow along with your Son so that we renew ourselves. In Christ Jesus we find the embodiment of the impoverished, the excluded, the homeless, the refugee and the outcast. May our pilgrimage with Christ enlighten us to embrace all so as to flourish our intrinsic humanity. For Christ’s sake we pray. Amen

Mary: It’s time to celebrate. Come let’s sing and dance for the Savior is born today.

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Report of National Ecumenical Youth Assembly (NEYA) – 2018 and Youth Manifesto

Date: 7th  – 9th November, 2018

Venue: Mar Thoma Youth Center, Adoor, Kerala

India stands on the verge of being the youngest nation in the world in a few years. In such a time as this, it becomes imperative that we demand civic, ecclesial and ecumenical space(s) for the youth to connect, create and change. National Council of India (NCCI) – Youth Concerns serves as a space for young people of all sections of life in society to express, experience and explore the multi-dimensional features of Ecumenism and Ecumenical Movement and to analyse the role of youth in strengthening the Ecumenical Movement. Giving a young face to the Ecumenical Movement is the prerequisite in the formation of the Youth Concerns.One of the prominent endeavors of NCCI – Youth Concerns in its attempt to augment the sense of accountability among the youths, is its quadrennial youth assembly entitled National Ecumenical Youth Assembly widely known through the acronym NEYA.

NEYA – 2018, organized by NCCI – Youth Concerns from 7 – 9 November 2018 was hosted by the Mar Thoma Youth Center, Adoor, Kerala. The theme of NEYA – 2018 was Fostering Responsible Citizenry”. The quadrennial assembly bore witness to around 140 delegates from different church traditions. The programme commenced with a beautiful worship led by Mar ThomaYuvajana Sakhyam (Youth wing of Mar Thoma Church) with the Reflection being shared by Rev. Merin Mathew, a Priest of the Mar Thoma Church. The inaugural programme comprised of the Welcome by the Local host, Rev. John Matthew C – General Secretary of Mar ThomaYuvajana Sakhyam; Welcome address by Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad – General Secretary NCCI; Introduction to the theme of NEYA by Mr. Jianthaolung Gonmei – Executive Secretary, NCCI – Youth Concerns; Greetings from Mr. Inbaraj Jeyakumar, General Secretary, SCMI and Rev. K. G. Joseph, Sabha Secretary, Mar Thoma Sabha.

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Report on School of Ecumenical Leadership Formation for Indian Youth (SELFIY) 15 Days Seminar

 

As her commitment towards building ecumenism, the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) through Youth Concerns has produced various young ecumenical leaders in both national and international levels over few decades. In continuing the vision of witnessing in forming young ecumenical leaders, the School of Ecumenical Leadership Formation for Indian Youth (SELFIY) was organized by the Youth Concerns of NCCI from 11th – 25th October 2018 at the NCCI Campus, Nagpur. The programme aimed at enhancing the prophetic Indian young minds so that the Indian Church and society at large may bear witness to ecumenism in a much more organic and tangible way. This year we focused on youth members from North and Central India. The proceeding SELFIY will emphasis on the young people from South and North East India.

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A Report on Three Months Computer Application Training Program at NCCI Campus

National Council of Churches in India

NCCI Communications | NCCI Youth

Computer Application Training Program

28th January 2018 – 30th April 2018

Venue- NCCI Campus, Nagpur

The biggest challenge that young people living below poverty line (BPL) face in their day to day life is the difficulty of accessing employment opportunities.

Though some of them are educated, they fail to get  jobs due to lack of many necessary skills. One  such necessary skill  is  digital skills, which are needed in this era of computer assisted applications. To address this concern,  Rev. Caesar David, Executive Secretary – National Council of Churches in India Communications (NCCI-Com) and Mr. Jianthaolung Gonmei, Executive Secretary- Youth Concerns (NCCI-YC) started a Digital Literacy Modular Course of three months for Capacity Enhancement of disadvantaged youth. The aim of this project was to provide the benefits of computer based education and skills training to  students from socially and economically backward areas of Nagpur city, and to equip them for work with computers thereby being able to do better in their life.

The list of students is given below-

 Priyanka Arun Nanhe

 Nandini Umesh Wasnik

 Priyanka Umesh Wasnik

 Somiksha Dilip Gawande

 Sumesh S. Rawte

The pilot project which started with 5 students on January 28, 2018  and which concluded on  April 30, 2018 was conducted  in the  NCCI premises at Nagpur. All the students were from economically weak backgrounds, living in slum localities.

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PROMOTING GOOD CITIZENRY: BUILDING SECULARISM – A Report

The National Council of India (NCCI) – Youth Concerns in collaboration with the Church of South India (CSI) organised a two-day programme on the theme “Promoting Good Citizenry: Building Secularism” on 4-5 May 2018 at the CSI Synod Center, Chennai, focusing on the rise of intolerance,  promotion of individual responsibility, and building secularism in the country especially among the youth.

Mr. Liju Kuriokose, Youth Vice President, NCCI delivered the welcome address. In his address, he expressed disappointment that the world is getting conservative and exclusive; however youth have the capacity to rise above the situation and to challenge the world to strive for change. Youth need to be prophetic which is beyond foretelling; rather they should be engaged in forth-telling, reforming the situation and being responsible to the future generations to come.

Rev. Dr. D. Rathnakara Sadananda, General Secretary, CSI and the Vice President, NCCI, brought the keynote address on the main theme “Promoting Good Citizenry: Building Secularism”. Questioning the notion of India as a nation where minorities live under the threat of majority and where the country is under a monolithic majority, he asserted that India is a nation of minorities. Whereas people look at secularism as a threat to Christianity in the West, there is a  distinctive positive understanding of secularism in India. Referring to the concept of Sarva Dharma Sambhav (a Hindu concept  which asserts  that all Dharmas (truths) are equal to or harmonious with each other.), he observed that Hinduism – basically a caste-based religion, is now being promoted by right wing elements as an all-embracing religion. Therefore  Dr. Sadananda asserted that Christians have to be vigilant and should be ready  to become a community of hope for all. The theology of prayer is not a prayer to God alone but a prayer with commitment to action. He reaffirmed that the Christian community needs to rethink its being. The Church should never become the majority; it is called to be a minority, to be the salt of the earth. Church should join the choirs of life, a choir that empowers and enriches. He concluded with a challenge to the young people to become the choir that makes a choir of minority.

Rev. Asir Ebenezer, Director, CSI-SEVA, deliberated on the theme “Rise of Intolerance: A Threat to Indian Secularism – Socio-Political Perspectives.” He admitted that a citizen can be of any religion; however the state should be a-religious, being equidistant from all religions and instead focus on all its citizens. Secularism is fundamentally  proactive and progressive, encouraging people not only to tolerate one another but also to live in love and friendship. Rev. Ebenezer added that intolerance is non-juxtaposed to secularism, and it distorts the values and principles of the constitution. Concurrently, a minority community cannot practice selective secularism and secular sectarianism. Intolerance should be checked when churches are engaged in the proclamation of the gospel. Power to fight for secularism comes from our status as rightful citizens under the constitution, and not as having a minority status. Therefore he urged the young people to fight for secularism from the Indian citizenship platform.

Dr. Christopher S. Baskeran, Associate Director – Church Relations & Interfaith Engagement, World Vision India, reflected on the notion of justice and social transformation under the topic “Justice and Social Transformation – Marginalised Perspectives.” Drawing inspiration from Plato’s Republic (c. 380 BCE), he talked about  justice as the quality of being fair and reasonable; theory and practice of administering fairness; and justice as being drawn from law. Dr. Baskeran maintained that social transformation implies a fundamental change in society. In conclusion he asserted that the marginalised sections of the society should be acknowledged and should be given transformative justice (which is biblical), a justice of redemption and restoration, what would  bear witness to  social transformation.

Rev. Solomon Paul, Youth Director, CSI, led a  Bible Study from Matthew 25:14-30 (Parable of Talents) highlighting  the capitalistic approach,   the unequal distribution of wealth, and the exercise of power and authority over the poor.

The programme concluded with a vote of thanks and a prayer by Mr. Jianthaolung Gonmei, Executive Secretary, NCCI-Youth Concerns and Fr. John C Matthew respectively.

Unity Octave 2018 Ecumenical Youth Music Concert

As part of the Unity Octave, the National Council of Churches in India organized an Ecumenical Youth Music Concert on 18th January (Thursday) 2018, at Sristhi Lawn, NCCI Campus, Nagpur, on the theme “Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power (Ex. 15:6).” The main focus of the concert was to enlarge ecumenical rapport and togetherness among the Christians, especially Youth, spreading the message of peace and unity through music in the midst of the rising atmosphere of turmoil and intolerance in our society.

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Report of Regional Seminar on Transparency, Accountability and Responsibility (Dumka | Nov. 28 – 29, 2017)

Report of Church Leaders Seminar On Transparency, Accountability and Responsibility (TAR)

November 28-29, 2017 |Dumka, Santal Parganas, Jharkhand

Organised by: National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), Christian Service Agency (CSA) and Santalia Council of Churches (SCC)

DAY I, SESSION I

The TAR Conference was initiated by the Grace of the Lord, with a session of Devotion, led jointly by Revd Francis Hansdak’ and Revd Roshan Hansdak’.

The Keynote Address to the Conference was also delivered by Revd Roshan Hansdak’.

Then Revd Caesar David deliberated upon “the Historical Necessity of Strengthening Good Practices in Our Churches and Organisations”. He emphasised upon the necessity of stringent upkeep of Ethics and Values in these challenging times, when a focused invigilatory approach is being adopted by the Government, and the FCRA Compliant Bank A/cs. of many Organisations are being closed due to detection of irregularities. He explained, to upkeep Ethics and Values, our Churches and CBOs need to do no new things, as these are the same set of Christian Values of Honesty, Love, Kindness and Integrity, we are supposed to adhere in all of our Activities. This of course doesn’t mean that the Church and its affiliate CBOs have been lax in upkeep of Ethics and Values, but merely is indicative of the Grey Areas of Ethics, which is open to opportunistic interpretations to suit the situation at hand. As an example he cited the rampant but inappropriate use of pirated proprietary softwares in our Churches, instead of Freewares and Sharewares.

There is also a shyness on the part of us in acknowledging corruption in our Churches. But denying the existence of corruption is doing disservice to our Churches in actuality. Contrary to the popular perception that, corruption comprises solely of monetary malpractices, Revd Caesar explained, there are various types of corruption involving Power Abuses, Illegalities, Handling of Donations, Procurement Acceleration, Sexual Abuses and Favours, Manipulations and Collusions etc. which erodes the Values, stems the Church growth, perpetuates inefficiencies, and lessens the faith upon the Church. All these factors ultimately compounds towards a weak Church. In contrast, adherence to the Global indicators of Ethics, Freedom and Transparency leads to a Sustainable and Strengthened Church.

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CCA invites applications to serve as stewards at the Asia Mission Conference in Myanmar.

Stewards of the 14th General Assembly of the CCA in Jakarta, Indonesia — May 2015.

 

The Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) invites applications from young Christians belonging to CCA member churches and ecumenical councils in Asia to serve as stewards for the Asia Mission Conference (AMC) to be held in Yangon, Myanmar from 11 to 17 October 2017.

The stewards program will last for 10 days, including three days of ecumenical formation training and pre-AMC orientation; with arrival on 8 October and departure on 17 October 2017.

An opportunity to serve as a steward in a major Asian ecumenical event with historical significance is a unique experience. It will help to develop a sense of togetherness, working in a multicultural context, interacting with a wide range of participants of the AMC – church and ecumenical leaders from around the world, theologians, missiologists, social activists and interfaith scholars.

The deadline for receiving applications is 10 July 2017. Applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 30 years old.

The AMC will be a major ecumenical event with the participation of 400 representatives of churches, ecumenical councils and related organisations in Asia, Europe, North America and other continents. The theme of the AMC is ‘Journeying Together: Prophetic Witness to the Truth and Light, in Asia’. The Diamond Jubilee celebrations of the CCA also will be held during the AMC, on Sunday 15 October 2017.

Fifty stewards, 20 international and 30 local stewards will be selected to work together with the CCA staff and the local host committees to assume various responsibilities during the AMC, and in participating in the two historic events of the CCA – the AMC and CCA’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

The Diamond Jubilee of the CCA will be commemorated on Sunday, 15 October 2017 in a grand event in the presence of a gathering of 5000 selected invitees, including the 400 participants of the AMC and international guests.

To download the application form for the Stewards Programme, please visit the CCA website. Kindly send the form to CCA.

 

(Source: CCA News | http://cca.org.hk/home/news-and-events/cca-invites-applications-to-serve-as-stewards-at-the-asia-mission-conference-in-myanmar)

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