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Prominent Belgian Liberation Theologist Francois Houtart Dies

Dubbed the “Pope of anti-globalization,” Houtart left a mark on discussions of religion and revolutionary social change in developing nations.

Belgian liberation theologist and sociologist Francois Houtart died Tuesday at the age of 92, leaving a powerful legacy through his decades of work theorizing globaliztion, alternatives to capitalism and religion from a Marxist perspective.

Houtart died in Quito, Ecuador, where he lived and worked at the Pueblo Indio Foundation and with several universities. Houtart was born in Brussels in 1925, became a Catholic priest in 1949 completed a doctorate in sociology at the University of Louvain.

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Rt. Rev. S. Jeyapaul David, Former President of NCCI passes away

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The Rt. Rev. S Jeyapaul David Bishop in Tirunelveli, Church of South India from 1999 to 2009 and President of National Council of Churches in India in the quadrennial 2004 – 2008, passed away in Tirunelveli today February 8, 2017.

After his B. D. from Serampore College he continued further studies in Theology at St. John’s college in Nottingham. He was ordained as Presbyter on March 30, 1969 at St. Patrick’s Church in Tuticorin. In his long and blessed ministry he has notably served as Organizing Secretary of National Missionary Society (1982 – 1985), General Secretary of Indian Missionary Society (1990 – 1992), and Professor at Yavatmal College for Leadership Training  (1994 – 1997). Rt. Rev. S. Jeyapaul David was consecrated Bishop in Tirunelveli on November 21, 1999 at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Palayamkottai.

We thank God for his devoted life, exemplary leadership and faithful ministry that has proved to be a blessing to the Church and the ecumenical movement. We mourn this great loss and pray for God’s Peace and Comfort with the bereaved family. May his life and work continue to inspire us to faithful ministry in service of God and people.

The funeral service will take place at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Palayamkottai at 1 p.m tomorrow the 9th February 2017.

– NCCI Communications

Rev. Yesuadian David passes away

Rev. Y. David: A Pioneer of Protestant Christian Social Activism in India passes away

(27 June 1940 – 21 November 2016)

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The National Council of Churches in India is deeply saddened by the passing away of the veteran ecumenist and Christian social activist, Rev. Yesuadian David, an ordained minister of the Church of South India, Kanyakumari Diocese. A graduate of United Theological College, Bangalore, who served as a Programme Secretary of Student Christian Movement of India, Rev. Y. David became a pioneering model of Christian social activism with his simple and challenging lifestyle, identifying with people’s pain and sufferings, and mobilizing them to affirm and fight for their rights.

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National Council of Churches in India mourns the demise of Prof. Dr. Jegadish Gandhi

Prof. P Jonathan Jegadish Gandhi

28 September 1941 – 7 October 2016

National Council of Churches in India mourns the demise of Prof. Dr. Jegadish Gandhi, a committed Church Person, Ecumenist, Development Economist and Columnist.  Prof. Gandhi, who was hospitalised at CMC Vellore because of a massive cardiac arrest on 4th October, passed away on 7th Oct 2016.

Prof. Gandhi hailed from a rural place, Kamudhi in Ramnad District in Tamilnadu. He had his education at CSI Swartz School in Ramnad. In fact he and Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, the late former President of India, were school contemporaries in Ramnad. Prof. Gandhi pursued his Graduation and Post Graduation from the prestigious Thiyagaraja College of Art and Science, Tepakkulam, Madurai and moved to Vellore to teach at Voorhese College. He joined as a lecturer in the Economics Department, became a Senior Professor and eventually HOD. His expertise was in ‘Developmental Economy’. He authored numerous books and articles on Economics, Development, and social issues, and later on ecology and theology. He even wrote regularly in news papers as a columnist.  Prof. Gandhi served as a member of the Planning Committee of the Government of Tamilnadu and held several honorary positions at State and Central Levels. He was also the President of the Association of Economists. Dr. Gandhi travelled widely as an Indian ‘alternate’ economist. He also organised several national and international conferences in India and in abroad.

The Vellore Institute of Developmental Study was his post retirement initiative; he served as its founder Director till his last breath. He made this institution global by relating, affiliating and accrediting with several international organisations and movements. He received several awards including the lifetime achievement award from Association of Economists.

Prof. Gandhi was committed to his Christian calling to promote Justice, Love and Peace. He contributed a significant contribution to the local CSI congregation as well as to Vellore diocese. As an ecumenist, he actively participated in the work of Ecumenical Christian Centre and Association of Christian Institutions of Social Concern in Asia (ACISCA), of which he was serving as General Secretary. In April 2016, he represented the ACISCA at the XXVIII Quadrennial Assembly of the NCCI. He served as a resource person at, and cosponsor of several NCCI’s programmes and also contributed articles to the NCC Review.

The funeral is scheduled for 9th Oct 2016 (Monday) in Vellore. Through this homage the Council offers its consolation to and prayers for Mrs. Sugirtham Gandhi, their three daughters and families. His family could be contacted at +91 9894051256.

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad,

General Secretary,

On behalf of the National Council of Churches in India

Dr. Hunter P. Mabry passes away

Hunter Mabry-July2016Dr. Hunter P. Mabry, 82, of Roanoke passed away on Saturday, July 9, 2016 after a long struggle with chronic radiation damage to his intestinal tract many years ago. Born in Timber Ridge in Rockbridge County, he was a native of the Shenandoah Valley. During his youth he lived in the Waynesboro area and graduated with the Wilson Memorial High School class of 1951. Later, he completed his B.Sc. in Rural Sociology at the then Virginia Polytechnical Institute (Virginia Tech), his B.Div. at the Candler School of Theology (Emory University) and served as a missionary to the Philippines, 1959 to 1963 under the Board of Missions of The United Methodist Church.
Desiring to help train persons to become pastors, he completed his Ph.D. in Sociology of Religion and Social Ethics at the Boston University School of Theology in 1969 and over the next 25 years served on the faculty of the United Theological College, Bangalore under the sponsorship of The United Methodist Board of Global Ministries (GBOGM) where he helped to train students at the B.D., M.Th. and D.Th levels.
His published writings include Christian Ethics, An Introductory Reader, The Christian Clergy in India, Vol. 1, Social Structure and Social Roles, and Manual for Researchers and Writers. His book Manual for Researchers and Writers is well received by students in India.

Rev. Dr. K. C. Abraham passes away

kcaRev. Dr. K. C. Abraham (Kuruvilla Cherukara Abraham), well-known leader, globally acclaimed as a brilliant theologian and educator, ecumenist and scholar, passed away on June 12, 2016 at around 8 p.m. in Bangalore.
Rev. Dr. K. C. Abraham served well in many institutions. He served as Presbyter of St. Mark’s Cathedral (Bangalore), and later as Director of Ecumenical Christian Centre (ECC) before making his mark as a Theological Educator. He joined United Theological College Bangalore as Professor. Around this time he also served as Director of South Asia Theological Research Institute (SATHRI), Secretary of Board of Theological Education of Senate of Serampore College (BTESSC), and as President of Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians (EATWOT). Among his many ministry contributions, he also served at various times as: Visiting Professor, Emmanuel College of Toronto School of Theology, Toronto; Visiting Professor, San Francisco Theological Seminary, D.Min. Program; John A Mackay Chair in World Christianity, Princeton Theological Seminary; Editor, Asia Journal of Theology; Editor, Voices from the Third World; Editor, Bangalore Theological Forum; President, Christian Peace Conference, India Region; Member, Board of Directors of YMCA, Bangalore; Member, Congress of Asian Theologians; and Member, Interfaith Interaction – online discussion group. In 1996, he and his wife Molly Abraham started Liza’s Home, a home for girls with mental and physical disabilities, that continues to serve a number of poor children.
As editor and author of several publications he contributed to theological scholarship immensely. Among his publications are – Liberative Solidarity: Contemporary perspectives on mission; Globalization: A Gospel and Culture Perspective (article in International Review of Mission); Third World Theologies: Commonalities and Divergences (editor); Closed Doors and the Risen Christ: Sermons and Reflections On Being A Christian; The Cost of Discipleship; Spirituality of the Third World: A Cry for Life: Papers and Reflections from the Third General Assembly of the Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians (editor); and many others.
We are grateful to God for his life, ministry, leadership and many contributions to the Churches and Institutions he served. He will be missed. He leaves behind his wife Dr. Molly Abraham and two children, Ajit and Lizy. Please pray for God’s peace and comfort as the bereaved family mourns this great loss. The funeral will be on June 14, 2016 with service in St. Mark’s Cathedral, Bangalore at around 10:30 a.m.
– NCCI Communications

NCCI celebrates the life of Rev. D.S. Jeevan Babu

uIn Christ today, we shall proceed

to bring Peace and Joy

with arms of faith, and dreams of hope

Go forward sharing Love…

–          Jeevan Babu

 

Rev. D. S. Jeevan Babu, God’s faithful servant who day in and day out fulfilled his ministry in quiet fidelity and love, was called ‘home’ this morning.
Rev. Jeevan Babu gave an inspiring witness of his love for God and self-sacrificing service in his priestly ministry.  We thank God for his exemplary life and witness.  He faithfully fulfilled his ministry up until the last few months of his life, when ill-health finally overcame him.

‘Jeevan’, as he was popularly called, served the National Council of Churches in India from February 1994 to October 1998 as the Secretary of the Unit on Mission & Evangelism.  As an Ecumenist, he was involved with the study of Gospel & Cultures and took various initiatives to strengthen the faith of the recently converted Christians of various tribal people groups in India, especially of the Lambadi tribe living in Andhra Pradesh and in the borders of Maharashtra.

He subsequently served as the Communication Director of the Karnataka Central Diocese, Church of South India.  Through his writings he sensitized people about the love of life and God’s plans through our lives.  He published around 3 dozen books on creation, life and God’s love for us, humans.

The funeral will take place on 2nd June 2016 at the St. Mark’s Cathedral, Bangalore.  Mr. Kiran Jeevan his son can be contacted on 09739057989 for more information
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The NCCI family expresses its solidarity with his wife Kasthuri, son Kiran and daughter Keerthi and all the dear ones.

Roger Gaikwad

General Secretary, NCCI

Rev. Dr. Luther Paul passes away

bishopRev. Dr. Luther Paul  passed away at around 8.30 P.M. on Friday, the 15th April, 2016 at Apollo Hospital, Hyderabad.  Rev. Dr. Paul, 59, an ordained minister of the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church served for about 20 years in various parishes of the AELC prior to being seconded to serve the ACTC as a member of the faculty and later as Principal of the Andhra Christian Theological College, prior to joining the A. P. Council of Churches as its Executive Secretary in April 2014.  Within the 4 years tenure as Principal of ACTC, he was instrumental in building a huge chapel with a cellar for programme facilities; a women centre, workers housing, hostels and library renovations etc. and thus created revenue generating assets for the college.  As Executive Secretary of the APCC, he was also responsible for Hudhud disaster mitigation, renovating 139 Households in Eduruvaripalem near Vishakapatnam in cooperation with the CASA.

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NCCI thanks God for the life and witness of Rt. Rev. Dr. Zacharias Mar Theophilus

Bp Zacharias Mar TheophilusRt. Rev. Dr. Zacharias Mar Theophilus, Suffragan Metropolitan of the Kerala-based Mar Thoma Syrian Church, passed away on 27th December 2015 after suffering a brain haemorrhage.
Born on August 29, 1938, as Oommen Koruthu, he was ordained as deacon on May 7, 1966; as a priest on July 9 that year, and consecrated as Bishop in May 1980. He was installed as Suffragan Metropolitan on July 3, 2004.

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Rev. Dr. Bastiaan Wielenga, a renowned Indian Liberation theologian and Biblical scholar moves on… (1936 – 2015)

Bas WielengaRev. Dr. Bastiaan Wielenga,  a German missionary who opted for Indian citizenship, and a globally renowned Indian Liberation theologian of our times passed away on 23rd Dec 2015.  Among several commitments, he served the Ecumenical Christian Centre,  the Christian Institute for the Study of Religion and Society, and Tamilnadu Theological Seminary, where he played a major role in founding the’ Centre for Social Analysis’, and from where he retired as a Professor of Biblical Studies.

Dr. Bastiaan Wielenga’s contributions towards articulation of contextual theologies, particularly Theology of the Poor and Indian Liberation Theology, through the Centre for Social Analysis and  Tamilnadu Theological Seminary in particular and the Senate of Serampore College at large, are indeed remarkable.

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