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Disability Advocacy Sunday 2018

 

Theme: “God of the Disabled:

Walking Together, Serving Justice, Peace and Inclusion”

NCCI –IDEA (Indian Disability Ecumenical Accompaniment) is an Ecumenical Initiative of the National Council of Churches in India, accompanied by Unity and Mission. NCCI – IDEA theologically motivates ministerial interventions of its constituencies by 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 the theme ‘Towards Just and Inclusive Communities”  for this Quadrennial. Thus, the Members of NCCI are being  encouraged to ensure that their ministerial interventions result in inclusivity.

NCCI-IDEA has been a facilitator of conversations with communities in the Church and Society with regard to advocacy for disability rights. Considering the importance of observing this day, the NCCI Executive Committee in 2011 officially approved of designating the Sunday before the Advent as Disability Advocacy Sunday (DAS), since 3rd December is the International Day of People with Disability.

Since 2009, DAS is being organized by NCCI–IDEA along with ecumenical organizations, local congregations and institutions both locally and globally.

From its inception, DAS is focused on promoting and inculcating the value of  ‘An Inclusive Church’, urging the Church to serve as an ‘accompanier’ of PWDs, seeking justice ‘for’, ‘by’ and ‘with’ persons with disabilities.  Surveying the past celebrations / observations and the positive responses from the Churches and the local congregations regarding the observance of DAS, NCCI-IDEA expects that the congregations  are becoming  more open to PWDs and are more Disabled-Friendly.

DAS works on a theme every year. This year’s theme is “God of the Disabled: Walking together, Serving Justice, Peace and Inclusion”.  This theme was selected to join the World Council of Churches’ 70th year ecumenical pilgrimage of Justice and Peace.

Every year, NCCI – IDEA assists the Churches and the Congregations by preparing an Order of Worship for DAS observances. Since, this year, 25th November 2018 is the Sunday prior to the Advent season, IDEA recommends and encourages churches to observe it as DAS.  In case, if anyone is not able to observe DAS on 25th November, please feel free to observe any Sunday that is convenient to you and your congregations.

As indicated earlier, NCCI – IDEA’s DAS has inspired several global communities, congregations and organisations through global partnerships to advocate the rights and dignity of  persons with disabilities. The World Council of Churches – Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network (WCC – EDAN), the Christian Conference of Asia’s – Asian Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network (CCA – AEDA), Church of Scotland (Board of Overseas Ministries) and ASIA CMS, are joining in the campaign.  Therefore, we encourage each and everyone to be part of the campaign and observe this year’s Disability Advocacy Sunday.

Christmas of the Disabled:

We are also  glad to inform you that  NCCI-IDEA organises  ‘Christmas of the Disabled’ every year. This is a unique Christmas programme organised and conducted by Children and Youth with disabilities for others. This is organised on the eve of Advent Sunday every year. We are planning to organize this day on 2nd December 2018. Therefore, we encourage you to organize this day, and celebrate along with us in your respective Churches and Congregations.

Kindly share with us inspirational stories and experiences of  divine interventions through DAS 2018 in your Church or Congregation.

Download the worship order DAS – 2018 Worship Order

Download the DAS 2018 Poster

With Prayer and Good Wishes,

Rt. Rev. Dr. P. C. Singh

President, NCCI

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad

NCCI General Secretary

 

Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar

Executive Secretary -Unity and Mission, NCCI

Director, NCCI-IDEA

NCCI – IDEA Seminar on World Mental Health Day 2018

National Council of Churches in India – Indian Disability Ecumenical Accompaniment (NCCI – IDEA)

‘Acceptance is a Gospel Demand and Inclusion is a Gospel Affirmation’ says Mrs. Rachna Singh, Executive Committee member of NCCI, in a commemoration seminar on World Mental Health DayThe United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organisation called the global communities to commemorate and observe the World Mental Health Day on the 10th October every year with the overall objective of raising awareness about mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health care. This commemoration provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.

The National Council of Churches in India – Indian Disability Ecumenical Accompaniment and the Church of Scotland (World Mission Council), Student Christian Movement of India (Mid-India Region), Asia CMS, Church of North India – All Saints Cathedral Youth Fellowship and Christian Service Agency organized a Commemoration seminar on Mental Well-being of students in Nagpur at All Saints Cathedral’s  Chatterton Hall on October 10, 2018.

There were 60 participants from 30 different schools, colleges, institutions, organisations and Churches.

This seminar was inaugurated by Mrs. Rachna Singh, the Executive and Finance Committee Member of the National Council of Churches in India. She is also Principal of St. Ursula Girls High School and Junior College, and President of the Young Women Christian  Association, Nagpur. Mrs. Rachna Singh challenged and inspired participants to action as she said: Acceptance is a Gospel Demand and Inclusion is a Gospel Affirmation. We, as teachers should have more patience in working with Children who are in need of healthy mental status and environment. There are areas where Children find themselves isolated. In such contexts we need to play the role of a catalyst by way of making the student communities to be inclusive student communities by creating awareness among the students. Also, she invited all school and institutional campuses to become inclusive communities ‘OF’ all and ‘FOR’ all students.

This session opened with a word of prayer by Rev. John George, Presbyter of the CNI – All Saints Cathedral, Nagpur. He moderated the seminar. Rev. Christopher Rajkumar, Executive Secretary of NCCI – Unity and Mission, and Director of the NCCI – Indian Disability Ecumenical Accompaniment (NCCI – IDEA)  introduced the theme and the context. Ms. Pranita P. Sandela of the CNI – All Saints Cathedral and Mr. Jeswin Rajan, Programme Secretary, Student Christian Movement of India Mid-India Region, jointly welcomed the gathering and honored the speakers and guests of honors.

The Seminar had four speakers to speak on four perspectives of the theme: Academic, Clinical, Media and Medical perspectives.

Prof. Dr. Dipti Christian, Principal of Hislop College, Nagpur, spoke from the academic perspectives.  Dr. Christian invited the attention of the participants by sharing her life and academic interventions of creating mental well-being environment in the institutions she is associated with. She presented tips to identify the students who are under a great stress due to their autism, slow learning, hyper-activity, and colour / vision deficiency, other issues related to vision and the such. She emphasized the need to create space for children to express themselves as they are. She said “We teachers and community workers need to appreciate students who express themselves rather discourage them”. She also invited the teachers to not be judgmental, but rather accept the students as they are, and encourage the other students also to understand each other though encouragement, support and accompaniment. She also proposed a paradigm shift in the present educational system and curriculum  in the direction of giving importance to the mental well-being of students rather than importing data alone.

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International Prayer Day for Peace and Peace Sunday

International Prayer Day for Peace (21st September 2018)

Peace Sunday  (23rd September 2018)

Theme: The Right to Peace

(An invitation to Celebrate Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70)

 Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The General Assembly of the United Nations has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals to inculcate the culture of Peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.

António Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nation’s Organisations states: “It is time all nations and all people live up to the words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognizes the inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human race. This year marks the 70th anniversary of that landmark document.” As we all know, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)  is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. Therefore the UNO calls the globe to celebrate the UDHR on the 21st September 2018. This observation affirms the Sustainable Development Goal No 16.

INTERNATIONAL PRAYER DAY for Peace (21 September):

Along with the UN, the World Council of Churches invites Churches and all the faith and peace loving communities to observe the International Day of Prayer for Peace. Observances of the peace prayer day began in 2004 during a meeting between the then WCC General Secretary Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

For the past nine years, the erstwhile Commission on Justice, Peace and Creation, and the present Unity and Mission ministry of the National Council of Churches in India have been facilitating and working with the Indian Churches to ensure that this day addresses the issues related to peace and societal harmony.

The Indian Churches are committed to Peace wherever there are conflicts such as Iraq, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Palestine and other places including India where unjust and inhuman policies and politics are waging war against the innocent public. The NCCI joins the global communities who seek peace and demand suitable mechanisms for ‘truth and reconciliation’.  On 3rd February 2014, at the NCCI’s Centenary Symposium, the South Asian National Councils have decided to work on a common theme ‘Peace and Human Security in South Asia’.

This year the World Council of Churches is calling the world-wide Church to observe a week of prayer for the Peace in Palestine. With this inspiration the National Council of Churches in India calls churches to pray for Peace in India and other parts of the world, including Palestine.

PEACE SUNDAY (23 September 2018):

The Unity and Mission ministry of the National Council of Churches in India, invites all NCCI Constituent Members, Interfaith and Peace Loving Individuals and Communities to creatively observe the Prayer Day for Peace in India as a pledge-taking event at their respective congregations, communities and institutions.

 This observance would offer opportunities for all of us to support the peace campaign widely and to reaffirm the words of Jesus ‘ … blessed are the peace makers (Mathew 5: 20)‘ by ministering towards the Right of Peoples to Peace in order to recognize the call of God in promoting peace in our region.

As we are aware there are several issues of religious, racial and caste disparities which destroy peace among the people.  Women and girl children are not safe in societies, people and communities are forced to migrate, and women and girl children are being trafficked – everywhere we witness violation of human right violations. Therefore we earnestly encourage our members and other faith communities to observe this week sincerely to work towards the Gospel Call of ‘Peace on Earth’ as members of the Jesus’ Community.

Therefore, the NCCI is providing this WORSHIP RESOURCE and encouraging every peace-loving person and congregation to engage with their members, friends and neighbours, community organizations and governments: together let us pray for and claim the right of peoples to peace.

Let us dedicate this day or the Sunday (26th September 2018) to praying and sowing seeds of local possibilities for a harvest of global peace.

An Invitation:

The Prayer Day for Peace, invites all to stand for cessation of hostilities and to commemorate the day by organizing events and programmes such as  ‘lighting a candle’ and encouraging the people to ‘pledge for peace’, offering special prayers for victims and martyrs in conflicts and for peace, through education and creating public awareness on issues related to peace,  and  by affirming the declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace, with its central message that humanity’s sustainable progress and the realization of fundamental rights and freedom depend on peace and security. It is central to the Rights upfront approach, which calls upon the national and international communities to act early and more concertedly in the face of human rights violations, which are often the precursors of worse things to come.

This Day also unites all of us as an earth family to work for the cause of peace by encouraging fighters to lay down and give-up their arms.  Let this Day make us stand in solidarity with the civilians killed by terrorism and war, the traumatized families whose homes and futures lie in ruins, the countries whose development has been set back by decades.

History has shown that, no matter how fierce the conflict, it will come to an end, peace can prevail and reconciliation can be achieved.  On 21 September, at concerts and special events around the world — in major cities and small towns, in conflict zones and peaceful communities – people will broadcast this essential message.  They will celebrate the value of human diversity and the strength of our unity.

Herewith, we encourage all ecclesial traditions to use our holy shrines and pulpits for prayer and ministering the Word on Peace. Let us observe Peace Sunday on the 23rd September 2018 with the Worship Resource made available for you.

Blessed are the Peace Makers (Matt 5: 9). Come let us follow Jesus and his Words as PEACE MAKERS.

Sincerely yours,

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad

General Secretary

Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar

Executive Secretary

 Please CLICK HERE for the 2018  Peace Sunday Worship Resource

Please CLICK THE LINK to know more about WCC’s Observation <https://www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/events/world-week-of-peace-in-palestine-and-israel>

Please CLICK THE LINK to know more about UNO’s Observation <https://internationaldayofpeace.org/>

An Epistle on Radical Inclusivity

“Philosophy of Radical Inclusion is to be inculcated among the Churches and in the Society” 

says  Mr. Liju Jacob Kuriakose, Vice President of the National Council of Churches in India

The NCCI – National Ecumenical Forum of Gender and Sexual Diversities joined the Student Christian Movement of India and Aneka, with the support of the United Church of Canada, in organizing a National Workshop on ‘Philosophy of Radical Inclusion from Faith and Human Sexuality Perspectives at SCM House, Bengaluru from 22 -24 August 2018. Sixty students of Theology and Philosophy from 20 Theological Seminaries,  secular colleges  and other academic institutions,  mostly from the northern part of India, participated in this workshop.

Mr. Liju Jacob Kuriakose, the Vice President of the National Council of Churches in India inaugurated the workshop. In the inaugural address Liju applauded the various ministerial and programmatic interventions of the NCCI in order to realize its quadrennial theme ‘Towards Just and Inclusive Communities’.  Further he said, inclusion is a Christian attitude and it should not be symbolic. If we read the life and work of Jesus during his earthly ministries, he expressed the real nature of God including every one especially the so-called discriminated and marginalized. So, it is the duty of  Christians to express the attitude of inclusion in all our day to day life. He suggested  a paradigm shift in our faith journeys by accepting every one as they are, not discriminating anyone on the basis of their birth and orientations.

Prof. Dr. Meera Baindur delivered the  key note on Radical Inclusion. She started addressing Jesus as the Radical inclusivist  who crossed the borders of  the traditional  religious interpretations of the scriptures and teachings in including everyone  to be part of the reign of God.    When we say we follow Jesus, we need to follow such ministerial expressions rather than simply paying lip-service to it. It is a mandate for all Christians and Churches  to be ‘Radical’ in nature in terms of inculcating, promoting and practicing the culture of inclusivity in all  walks of life. This will emancipate and challenge the rest of the society to practice  inclusion. She challenged and invited all to be inclusive.

Prof. Dr. George Zachariah introduced “Rainbow Theology” to the participants. He elucidated the love of God in ‘conventional’ and ‘non-conventional’ ways. So we need to have a shift in our theological perceptions and articulations of moving from conventional to non-conventional.

Dr. Gladson Jathanna introduced  ‘Theology of Body’, in which he emphasized the need to consider the body as the bottom line or source to articulate our theologies rather than working on and around abstract concepts . He also suggested that we should celebrate bodies since bodies carry the image  and attributes of the creator God who is Just and Inclusive. So, no theology is full without dealing with bodies and its emotions.

Rev. Dr. Allan Samuel Palanna introduced ‘Moral Theology’. He explained how morality influences our theological and faith expressions. He identified several socio-psychological components and codes and how they influence our lives. He asserted that  moral codes or commandments are not  meant to impose punishment, discrimination, marginalization or isolation of any person,  rather they are meant to facilitate  smooth and harmonious social living.  So, he suggested that moral codes should be used as tools to include all, not to discriminate or exclude.

There was an interface of the gender and sexually diverse communities. This interface helped the participants to minsterially and theologically understand the status of the Gender and Sexually Diverse Communities (GSDC) and their pathos, expectations and celebrations.  The important question is “Who includes whom?”  Indeed the GSDC  say that it is the diverse communities who include the rest, and  not the rest who include GSDC. When the so-called ‘straight’, ‘normal’ and the ‘hetero-normative  sexual oriented’ use the term homophobia with regard to relating with homosexuals, it is they who have a phobia about homosexuals, and not homosexuals who are nurturing a phobia about hetero-sexuals; therefore should not the fear which the straight or normal people have be called their own phobia, i.e. is it not supposed to be heteronormative-phobia? This discussion has helped the students to realize who is phobic towards the homosexuals and they have come to an understanding that it is supposed to be ‘hetero-normative phobia’ and not homophobia.

In a session on ‘Homophobic Society’, Vikkram Subbrraman alias Delfina challenged the participants who the society is phobic towards the gender and sexually diverse communities. Further invited the participants to be more ‘humane’ rather mere religious. There was an emphasis to affirm our of love for all rather hate others.

In the session on homophobic law,  Adv. Deepta Rao explained the legal struggle of the gender and sexually diverse communities. She also suggested let religious institutions be silent rather affirming hatred over these communities. At this silence will help them to have a better life in the society.

There were two interfaith panels that explained how the other faiths including Classical Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Sikhism and also Christianity affirm homophobia by using their moral codes of law. As the representatives and advocates of the gender and sexually diverse communities Ankit Bhuptani, Romal Singh, Sukhdeep Singh, Muhammad Afeef and Tashi Choedup served as panellists.

Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar, Director, NCCI – National Ecumenical Forum of Gender and Sexual Diversities (NCCI – NEFGSD) facilitated a workshop on ‘Radical Inclusivity’. Mr. Inbaraj Jeyakumar, General Secretary, Student Christian Movement of India and Mrs. Anshi Zachariah, Executive Director of Aneka, also facilitated workshops on the theme and both were part of the organizing team.

At the conclusion of the workshop, the  participants stated that their perceptions were changed.  All of them pledged to be inclusive and promote inclusion though their future ministries. The participants also have decided to send an EPISTLE to the Indian Christians and the Churches to invite them also to be inclusive. The participants request and invite all to be part of the campaign by sharing this (Click to Download) Epistle on Radical Inclusivity to realize the ‘Just and inclusive societies.

Reported by:

Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar

Director, NCCI – NEFGSD and
Executive Secretary, NCCI – Unity and Mission

PRAYER EPISTLE – CONCERN FOR KERALA AND FLOOD VICTIMS

Prayer for Kerala and other Flood Victims

The southern State of Kerala is known as ‘God’s Own Country’. It attracts  numerous global tourists because of  its  beaches, mountains, rivers, back-waters, valleys and forests. The land is thus regarded as  a  miniature expression of the Garden of Eden and God’s wonderful creation.

It is unfortunate that Kerala is reeling under one of its worst flooding disasters in its history.  There are 39 dams in this State; shutters of 35 dams have been opened.

There are 44 rivers in this State, and in 41, water levels have risen above the danger mark; river banks are washed away. Since, it is a land of forests, several land-slides have damaged houses and habitats of the people. The hilly districts of Wayanad and Idukki have received excess rain of 70% and they have got cut-off from the rest of the State due to land-slides and floods.

The Cochin International Airport has been waterlogged; the run way is under 3 to 4 feet of water. Therefore the airport is closed.  Even the road and river transport has come to a stand still in several parts and routes.

As per media reports, the death toll has risen over 60 (as on 15th August) and several are missing. In fact, a Red Alert has been issued in 14 districts. So far the loss estimated is 12,000/- crores. Several have lost their homes, lives, livelihoods, and agricultural fields.Not only have many people lost their dear ones and property, they are also under severe mental stress and anxiety.

While people may discuss the reasons for this calamity, it is a time for the entire Nation and the Global Communities to stretch both hands to embrace our sisters and brothers with our prayers and extend whatever support possible.

The National Council of Churches in India mourns with the people of Kerala. We assures them of our prayers and accompaniment at this time of trial and experience of  crossing the valley of darkness. We hope and pray that the rains will subside and the flood waters recede.

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Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis (Reflection at Ecumenical Prayer, Geneva, Ecumenical Centre | 21 June 2018)

Theme: Ecumenical Pilgrimage – Walking, Praying and Working Together.
June 21, 2018. His Holiness Pope Francis on the ecumenical pilgrimage to mark the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the World Council of Churches (WCC) with an address to a prayer service at the WCC Ecumenical Center. The following is the text of his homily. 

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We have heard the words addressed by the Apostle Paul to the Galatians, who were experiencing conflict and division. Groups were fighting and hurling accusations at one another. It is in this context that the Apostle, twice in the space of a few verses, invites us to “walk in the Spirit” (cf. Gal 5:16.25).

Walking. We human beings are constantly on the move. Throughout our lives, we are called to set out and keep walking: from our mother’s womb and at every stage of life, from when we first leave home to the day we depart from this earthly existence. The metaphor of walking reveals the real meaning of our life, a life that is not self-sufficient but always in search of something greater. Our hearts spur us to keep walking, to pursue a goal.

Walking is a discipline; it takes effort. It requires patience and exercise, day after day. We have to forego many other paths in order to choose the one that leads to the goal. We have to keep that goal constantly before us, lest we go astray. Remembering the goal. Walking also demands the humility to be prepared at times, when necessary, to retrace our steps. It also involves being concerned for our traveling companions, since only in company do we make good progress. Walking, in a word, demands constant conversion. That is why so many people refuse to do it. They prefer to remain in the quiet of their home, where it is easy to manage their affairs without facing the risks of travel. But that is to cling to a momentary security, incapable of bestowing the peace and joy for which our hearts yearn. That joy and peace can only be found by going out from ourselves.

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An Ecumenical Call for Global Day of Prayer to End Famine (10th June 2018)

An Ecumenical Call for Global Day of Prayer to End Famine (10th June 2018)

Did you feed me, when I was hungry? Though this was a question posed by Jesus several years hundred years ago, communities and nations who are starving for food and suffering from hunger put forward the same question to the world even today. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, 825 million people in the world are malnourished and therefore are deprived of a healthy life (2017)

Here are some alarming facts about hunger and famine in 2016:

  1. Ninety-eight percent of those who suffer from hunger live in developing countries. 553 million live in the Asian and Pacific regions, while 227 million live in Sub-Saharan Africa. Latin America and the Caribbean account for 47 million.
  2. India has the highest population of hunger. In 2014, over 190.7 million people were undernourished in India.
  3. Approximately nine million people die of hunger every year according to the World Hunger statistics; more than the combined death toll for malaria, AIDs and tuberculosis in 2012.
  4. Over 60 percent of the world’s hungry are women, who have limited access to resources in the patriarchal societies in which they live.
  5. Hunger in women of developing countries causes malnutrition and death of children. Approximately 3.1 million (8500 per day!) children die of hunger each year, and in 2011 poor nutrition accounted for 45 percent of deaths of children under five.
  6. The alarming tragedy is that such deaths take place when the world produces enough food to feed everyone. Food availability per capita has increased from approximately 2220 kcal per person per day in the 1960s to 2790 kcals per person per day in 2006.

In this context, the question of Jesus ‘Did you feed me, when I was hungry?’ in Matt 25: 35 – 40 is not only an indictment of Jesus, but also an experience of several people in the Horn of Africa and elsewhere in the world, who do not have accessibility to adequate food!

Many a time, faith communities( including churches) and even affluent States are comfortable in processing a few philanthropic services in addressing or combating poverty and hunger by providing food grains, rather than seriously looking at poverty and hunger as ‘Justice’ and ‘Human Rights’ issues.

Famine is mostly seen as non-availability of food due to various reasons including draught, war and ecological and natural catastrophes. Moreover, there prevails a view that it is also due to over population. However, the fact is that erroneous and unjust policies of the States and the unjust distribution of food grains cause famine conditions.

Therefore, the World Council of Churches – Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance facilitates this campaign, joining the World Evangelical Alliance and the All Africa Conference of Churches, inviting churches and faith communities around the globe to pray for God’s intervention in the healing of the lands, by sharing enough and healthy food (grains) among the people and also to facilitate the States to develop pro-people policies to ensure healthy food for all citizens.

This ‘Global Day of Prayer to End Famine’ motivates the participating organisations and individuals to affirm “food justice ‘FOR’ all – food-justice ‘OF’ all”.

The idea behind this ecumenical call for prayer is to:

  • Unite the ecumenical partners and faith communities around the globe together in spirit and in action to ministerially and theologically respond to the issues related to famine, poverty, hunger, and malnutrition.
  • Encourage and facilitate their congregations and constituencies to pray for, and reflect and act upon the situation of hunger with information and suggestions.
  • Facilitate the Ecumenical Bodies and Partners to prayerfully work with their respective States to develop pro-people policies to affirm just-distribution of food and health.
  • Bring about concerned awareness regarding impact of famines on the most vulnerable children, women and families and to help address its root causes.
  • Connect with church-related and other humanitarian organisations that are currently working to bring immediate relief and positive long-term change so that children and families can live out God’s aspiration for a dignified, peaceful and violence-free future.
  • Help communities and congregations to uphold each other in prayer and support, by sharing experiences, challenges and solutions.

Hence, the Unity and Mission of the National Council of Churches in India and the Ecumenical Council for Drought and Water Management (ECoDAWM) are  jointly inviting all Members of the NCCI and other faith communities, people’s movements and action groups to observe this day to spread awareness and commit ourselves to act towards eradicating poverty.

We hope all concerned Church and Community leaders will support this effort by organizing meaningful programmes within our churches and organisations.

PLEASE JOIN THIS GLOBAL PRAYER MOVEMENT ON THE 10TH JUNE 2018.

To Know more about the Prayer Day please visit

<https://www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/news/wcc-calls-for-global-day-of-prayer-to-end-famine> and  <https://www.wvi.org/learn-more-about-global-day-prayer-end-famine>

To Download Resources Please click:

<https://www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/events/global-day-of-prayer-to-end-famine-1>

To join the campaign Please click: (Register Your Church / Organisation)

<https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdbN309d0m_m_QxUFG_eRxi8_ymXBPAhqU-NXrmoC6-hS1WVA/viewform>

Yours in God’s Mission,

Dr. William Stanley

President – ECoDAWM

 

Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar

Executive Secretary, NCCI – Unity and Mission

 

Most. Rev. Dr. P C Singh

President – NCCI

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad

General Secretary – NCCI

Green Epistle

Green Epistle to the Indian Churches :

Curse devours the earth  and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt (Isaiah 24:6)

on 

World Environmental Day (June 5, 2018)

Dear Fellow Pilgrims in faith Journey,

Grace to you and Peace from God our Creator!

God created earth and heaven. In the process of creating the cosmos, God  created human beings along with  other earth communities. Unfortunately, due to human greed and irresponsibility, all of God’s earth is polluted with several toxic gases, degradable wastes including plastics. The deep seas are  filled with plastic wastes and consequently the species in the deep seas are adversely affected by plastics. Every year 8-10 million tons of plastic is dumped in the sea.

So also the species on land are afflicted by plastics. Daily we see so many plastic bags lying scattered here and there. Plastic is such a material which cannot be reused. Plastic is damaging our existence. It is estimated that one third of all plastic waste ends up in soils or fresh waters. Most of this plastic disintegrates into particles smaller than five millimetres, referred to as microplastics, and breaks down further into nanoparticles, which are less than 0.1 micrometre in size. In fact, terrestrial microplastic pollution is much higher than marine microplastic pollution – an estimate of four to 23 times more, depending on the environment.

PLASTIC IS A DANGEROUS INVENTION OF HUMANS AND IT NOT ONLY AFFECTS BUT ALSO KILLS THE EARTH COMMUNITIES INCLUDING HUMAN COMMUNITIES. We as faith communities need to be dedicatedly engaged in eliminating the very presence of plastics in our day to day life.  The use of plastic has to be stopped.

In this alarming context of the earth being filled with plastics, UN Environment is making its biggest global call and seeks to mobilize humans for action on 5th  June, World Environment Day (WED). The theme for this year is “Beat Plastic Pollution”. While WED  day has been observed every year since 1973,  from the last couple of decades it is being observed on a larger scale.

We have been experiencing tremendous climate changes since the last few years. These changes have brought  much suffering to living creatures in the various forms: global warming, drought, floods,  landslides, incurable diseases, irregular climate changes and so on . Today the question is ‘How do we as Christians deal with this concern?’

One of the reasons why God created humans is that they should take care of the earth. God has entrusted us with this responsibility. Therefore, whatever good or bad happens,  we are responsible. So far we have not done much in  nurturing, sustaining and protecting God’s creation.

Prophet Isaiah talks about the earth being polluted by its inhabitants. In Isaiah’s context he was talking of earth being polluted by the inhabitants through their disobedience of God’s commandments. This situation  continues even till today; in fact it has become worse. Humans are not only tempted to continue disobeying God but they are destructively tampering God’s creation. Chris Appleby,  in one of his sermons  states:

“The great temptation for Christians as well as for the Jews is the temptation to take God’s  grace for granted; even worse, to feel a sense of superiority, of smugness, because we’re part of  God’s chosen people. The way to overcome that temptation is to remember that with the privilege of being God’s people comes the responsibility to remain faithful; to allow God to be God in every part of our lives.”

Talk about issues faced because of pollution and what can be done about it, is often a topic of discussion in our family and friend circles, but we fail in taking appropriate actions.  Global warming is a curse not only for human kind but also for all  living beings.

 We are responsible for the phenomena of global warming, climate change, and the ever increasing pollution,  and we have to bear the consequences. We have to do something about it.  Today is the time to get into action!  Now the question arises ‘Where do we start?’ and ‘When do we start?’

Therefore to start with, the NCCI – Unity and Mission encourages all its members and the public  at large to give up the use of plastics in our day today life. We have to start  someday,  so why not today? The UN has a very practical slogan this year “If you cannot reuse it, refuse it.” There are few alternatives for plastic which we need to start using. Let us make our campuses and neighborhood ‘PLASTIC-FREE’.

Let us boldly and publicly declare “NO TO PLASTIC !”

Ecologically Yours,

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad

General Secretary

Rev. Christopher Rajkumar

Executive Secretary – Unity and Mission

 

NCCI gives thanks for the Life and Witness of James Hal Cone

Pic: Wikipedia | James Hal Cone (August 5, 1936 – April 28, 2018)

James Hal Cone (August 5, 1936 – April 28, 2018) was an American theologian, best known for his advocacy of black theology and black liberation theology. His 1969 book Black Theology and Black Power provided a new way to comprehensively define the distinctiveness of theology in the black church. Cone’s work was influential from the time of the book’s publication, and his work remains influential today. His work has been both utilized and critiqued inside and outside the African-American theological community. He was the Charles Augustus Briggs Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York until his death.

(Source: Wikipedia – James Hal Cone).

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Extremists who seek to victimize those of another faith are strongly condemned

Extremists who seek to victimize those of another faith are strongly condemned

 

 

Photo: Albin Hillert/WCC

05 April 2018

Extremists who prey upon believers of other faiths in the name of their religion or belief are to be called out and condemned for their “abhorrent incitement” in the strongest terms, says World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit.

“The freedom of religion and belief is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which this year celebrates its 70th anniversary and is also part of the constitutions of so many nations in the world. So, it is abhorrent and ungodly for any person from one faith to call for iniquitous acts against those belonging to another religion; merely because they follow that belief,” said Tveit.

His comments came after the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the largest Arab-American civil rights organization in the United States, said it is outraged by hateful and violent fliers encouraging people to take part in “Punish a Muslim Day”.

”Freedom of religion is as much about Christian minorities in Muslim countries as it is about followers of Islam in countries where Christians are a majority,” noted the general secretary.

The ADC made its call on 29 March in response to the vile campaign designed to stir up hatred between believers of different faiths, which originated in London, where flyers instigating violence against Muslims were left at the steps of several mosques.

It said the fliers have also alarmed communities across the United States in their singling out of American Arabs and Muslims.

ACT Alliance, the WCC’s partner organization, was quick to condemn the incitement to hate, tweeting #BanPunishAMuslimDay, saying “We believe that all persons are created in the image of God. Therefore, we act in ways that respect dignity, uniqueness, and the intrinsic worth and human rights of all people.”

Source: https://www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/news/extremists-who-seek-to-victimize-those-of-another-faith-are-strongly-condemned