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Together We Can End Gender Based Violence in Education! 16 Days of Activism 25th November- 10th December

“As a mother, every morning I take the biggest leap of faith when I wave to my child as they leave for school. The fear that lurks in my heart is : Will anyone touch the body of   my child? Will anyone bully her in school? Will  she face corporal punishment for not being able to answer ? Our roads are not even safe to send our daughters and children walking to school.” shared a concerned mother  from one of the Women’s Fellowship of Member Churches of National Council of Churches  during World Day of Prayer  event  in Delhi while reflecting on the WDP theme “Receive Children , Receive Me.”

Such fear looms large in the heart of many mothers and parents in India.  Violence in educational institutions in India and  school-related gender-based violence is a recurring phenomenon in India. Such violence  refers to acts of sexual, physical or psychological violence in and around schools because of stereotypes and roles or norms attributed to or expected because of sex or gender identity. GBV in education is perpetuated by teachers, school administrators, other school employees, fellow students, and community members.

Women’s Concerns Ministry of National Council of Churches in India invites member churches, church managed and run organizations/institutions to promote 16 Days of Activism Campaign against Gender -Based Violence. The theme of the  16 Days Activism Campaign 2017 is “Together We Can End Gender Based Violence in Education!”

16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence is an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls. The campaign runs every year from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day. The aim of this Campaign is to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world.

The right to education and gender equality is central to human rights and development objectives. Nobel Prize winner renowned  economist Amartya Sen  rightly points out  that there are two main inequalities: educational inequality and health inequality  These are the indicators of a woman’s status of welfare. In India irrespective of the caste, creed, religion and social status, the overall status of a woman is lower than that of a man. Therefore a male child is preferred over a female child; a girl child is considered as a burden.

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‘Water for life’ – Joint program of VCLC-NCCI and the EWN-WCC

‘Water for life’ –

Joint program of VCLC- National Council of Churches in India and the EWN-World Council of Churches

3rd November 2017 | NCCI Campus, Nagpur.

A one-day consultation on ‘Water for life’ was organized in the NCCI Campus on the 3rd of November 2017. It was a joint program of the Vidarbha Centre for Labour Concerns – National Council of Churches in India VCLC – NCCI) and Ecumenical Water Network – World Council of Churches (EWN – WCC). The 50 participants in the consultation were from the Church of North India, Mar Thoma Church, and the Orthodox Seminary, from faith-based organizations and also people (people of different faith traditions) from Butibori – MIDC and Totladoh who have been affected by developmental activities in the region. NCCI Secretaries and Interns also participated in this consultation.

The major focus of the program was on the International, National and Local issues of the Water Crisis as water is being commoditized and therefore this natural resource is made available unequally.

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Joint Ecumenical Statement by ACT, WCC, LWF to the 62nd Commission on the Status of Women

Joint Ecumenical Statement by Action by Churches Together – ACT Alliance (ACT), Commission of the Churches in International Affairs of the World Council of Churches (WCC), and Lutheran World Federation (LWF) to the 62nd Commission on the Status of Women

 

As networks of Churches and Christian faith based organizations working for decades in humanitarian response and human rights-based development in over 130 countries, we call for an end to gender inequality and injustice. Our faith inspires us work to address the needs not only of the body but also of the mind and spirit, honoring the fullness of humanity. We also extend into the most rural areas that are often out of the institutional reach of national governments. We welcome the Commission’s acknowledgment that the specific challenges of women and girls living in rural communities must be addressed in order obtain gender justice for all. These challenges must be particularly addressed in line with the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030 to ensure that those most marginalized, such as rural women and girls, are not ‘left behind’.

Working with Faith Actors to End Harmful Practices

 United Nations mechanisms such as the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), and the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), show that a number of customary laws and the misuse of religious practices beliefs threaten progress, particularly concerning rural women and girls’ rights, even within countries that have ratified treaties and committed to implementing human rights standards. For example, in Sierra Leone, up to 85 percent of the population uses customary law as part of the formal and informal legal system. Moreover, civil unrest in a country can weaken formal justice systems; in such situations, the population might resort to traditional dispute settlement mechanisms, which complicates and may preclude the assurance of the rights of women and girls, particularly in rural communities.

Acknowledging that these customary and traditional practices are rooted in convictions, values and beliefs, the importance of deliberately involving religious leaders of different faiths cannot be overemphasized. Such leaders play critical and influential roles within society and people of all age groups in communities rely on them for guidance on many matters. As such, working with faith based actors has the potential to bring lasting and sustainable change to end harmful traditional practices including female genital mutilation/cutting and child, early and forced marriage.

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Disability Advocacy Sunday 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With Prayer and Wishes,

Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar

Director, NCCI – IDEA

Mrs. Glory Cynthia Shinde

Coordinator, NCCI – IDEA

Most Rev. Dr. P. C. Singh

President, NCCI

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad

General Secretary, NCCI

 

Downloads:

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

A Round Table Discussion on 1st October 2017

A round table discussion on “Religious Minorities in India: Challenges and Responses” was held on 1st October 2017, at New Delhi YMCA. 44 members attended the meeting representing NCCI member churches, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), Evangelical Organisations and Civil Society Organisations. It was moderated by Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary of National Council of Churches in India (NCCI). Three presentations were made by Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary of World Council of Churches (WCC); Prof. T.K. Oommen, Emeritus Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and Adv. Irfan Engineer, Director of Institute for Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution. Mrs. Aleyamma Thomas, Vice-President, NCCI felicitated the Chief Guest and the two panelists. Rev. Dr. Peniel Jesudason Rufus Rajkumar, a WCC Executive Secretary, delivered the vote of thanks.

 

Mr. Samuel Jayakumar
Executive Secretary
Policy, Governance and Public Witness
National Council of Churches in India

Churches’ Week of Action on Food – 2017

(October  11 – 17, 2017)

The Churches Week of Action on Food is a Global Campaign for Food Justice initiated by the World Council of Churches – Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance and the National Council of Churches in India is part of this campaign for years. This week (11 -17 October), highlights the UN days of Gild Child (11), Disaster Reduction (13), Rural Women (15) World Food day (16) and Eradication of Poverty 17).

The theme for World Food Day, this year (2017) is “Change the Future of Migration: Invest in Food Security and Rural Development”. It has been chosen to highlight the role of civil societies and faith communities in improving food security and contributing to the eradication of hunger by addressing climate change with the Gospel Values of Justice, Love and Peace.

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Unite Together… Act Early… Do Peace…

International Prayer Day for Peace – 21st September 2017

A Call to ‘Missioning’ and ‘Ministering’ Peace

Unite Together… Act Early… Do Peace…

Since 1981, the United Nations (UN) has declared 21st September as the International Day of Peace. The UN invites the global states to observe the day meaningfully to strengthen peace ties between earth communities including human communities.  Since, 2004, the World Council of Churches joined the UN and declared this day as the International Prayer Day for Peace. The International Day of Prayer for Peace offers an opportunity for church communities in all places to pray and act together to nurture lasting peace in the hearts of people, their families, communities and societies.   From 2009, the National Council of Churches in India – Unity and Mission (Diaconia), has been facilitating and working with the Indian Churches to make certain that this day addresses issues related to peace and social harmony.   NCCI – Unity and Mission joins the global ecumenical movements in voicing concerns for peace among nations, people, market places and earth communities.   NCCI – Unity and Mission, has been standing in solidarity with the peace initiatives and campaigns for peace in Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and other countries who are in need of  peace and reconciliation, and also been voicing its concern  for peace within our  Indian contexts.

Today’s world can never be freed from conflicts. Rise of fundamentalism, Hate Campaigns by the majorities against minorities, the atrocities of unjust and inhuman policies and politics of the rulers and empires, cause  conflicts. Systems like caste, ethnicity, race, gender injustice, and patriarchy,  are a few of the factors that destroy peace among communities. We witness that the ecological catastrophes and climate change also take away peace from among people and make them vulnerable. On the other hand, there are efforts being made in the form of promotion of a few religious concepts that promise individual and personal peace by the practice of exercises like yoga and meditation. While the use of such tools can perhaps be seen as being important in conflict transformation, the natural trajectory issuing from the inherent implication of individual peace over societal values is inclined more towards individual satisfaction. However, God-intended peace is of communitarian and societal character rather than being individualistic.

In this context, another International Peace Day has come and is challenging the global communities again to observe and commemorate this day creatively and meaningfully on the theme “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All.”  These are a few points that may sharpen the focus of our peace-engagements.

  • ‘Together for peace’, urges us as members of earth communities to join hands with all of creation to not only ‘speak’ / ‘preach’ peace but also ‘do’ peace.
  • ‘Respect’, ‘Safety’ in this context emphasizes  the role of the society in building hope in humanity, that the purpose of living is in living in harmony “with.” This, in turn, establishes a society that is safe for migrants, children, women, animals, social and religious ‘outcastes’ and all other earth communities. ‘Dignity for all’ should under-gird our basic attitude of human beings towards one another.
  • This call is to the national and international communities to ‘act early’ and more intensively in the face of human and earth rights violations, which are often the precursors of worse things to come.
  • May this Day ‘unite us all’ as one family to deliver the right to peace by encouraging peace-champions to lay down and give-up their arms and related ideologies.
  • Let this Day make us ‘stand in solidarity’ with the innocent victims who are killed by terrorism, war and arm-raising ideologies, the traumatized families whose homes and futures lie in ruins, the countries whose development has been set back by decades.

Jesus in all his life on earth, ministry, death and resurrection, conversed about and advocated a ‘life of abundance’ (John 10:10) which ensures that through peace, life can become more meaningful. This life is contagious when hearts are moved to live life in harmony. A peace-loving God’s mission of peace is a mission mandate that every believer in Christ has to follow.

Hence, as responsible faith-based human communities, how are we going to observe or commemorate this day  meaningfully?

Is there a possibility for us as ‘Faith-Communities’  to join with the global communities (who are made vulnerable, have suffered and lost peace due to the  political actions of the dominant and powerful, climate change and ecological catastrophes, ideologies that stigmatize and discriminate our fellow human beings including women, children, gender minorities and so on), with the folded hands and on bended knees asking God’s interventions to grant ‘Peace on Earth’?

Therefore, we,  the  NCCI – Unity and Mission, invite all NCCI Constituent Members, Inter-faith and Peace Loving Communities to creatively and meaningfully  explore the implications of this day in our respective congregations, communities and institutions through appropriate peace-engagements and expressions.

This will give an opportunity to propagate peace and ensure social harmony in the country. Matthew 5:9 says “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God”. Thus, these efforts make us channels of peace, and entitle us as God’s children.

Let us also join the World Council of Churches in praying for Peace in Palestine and Middle-East and in Myanmar, for Hunger and Poverty eradication, for  relief and rehabilitation initiatives in the Caribbean and other lands that were devastated by natural catastrophes, and also for people and communities who have been under the attack of  right-wing fundamentalists groups in India, who destroy  peace ‘in’ us and ‘among’  us.

Come, Let us… UNITE TOGETHER…  ACT EARLY…  (to) DO PEACE…

Yours,

Rt. Rev. Dr. P C Singh,
President, NCCI.
Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad,
General Secretary, NCCI.
Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar,
Executive Secretary
Unity & Mission, NCCI.

Consultation cum Workshop on ‘Food and Migration’

World Council of Churches – Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance

National Council of Churches in India – Unity and Mission

Student Christian Movement of India (SCMI) and

Christian Service Agency

Consultation on “Food and Migration”

 and

Workshop to Develop Worship Resources for Churches’ Week of Action on Food

The week between 10 – 17 October is  an important week for the all the Global Ecumenical Movements, Community Based Organisations (CBOs) and Faith Based Organisations (FBOs) since they collectively involve and participate in a campaign for Food-Justice. The World Council of Churches – Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance has declared this week as “Churches’ Week of Action on Food”.  It is a global campaign tool to advocate Food-justice ‘OF’ all – Food Justice ‘FOR all. This is part of the WCC -EAA’s global Campaign on ‘Food for Life’.

This is an invitation to several thousand congregations around the globe to observe this week meaningfully. Hence, this week includes the ‘International Day for Disaster Reduction’ (13 October), ‘International Day for Rural Women (15 October), World Food Day (16 October) and International Day for Eradication of Poverty (17 October). In fact the UN’s FAO Committee on Food Security meets between 11 -16 October every year in its head quarters in Rome, Italy. The WCC – EAA invites churches to observe the Sunday falling during this week  as ‘Food for Life Sunday’.

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WCRC joins declaration to overcome Reformation divisions

The World Communion of Reformed Churches has formally joined an ecumenical statement with Roman Catholics, Lutherans and Methodists aiming to overcome divisions between Protestants and Roman Catholics from the time of the Protestant Reformation.

“Today is a historic day,” said Jerry Pillay, president of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC), at a ceremony on 5 July in the eastern German town of Wittenberg, where Martin Luther lived and worked. “The documents we are signing today are significant and symbolic of the road we are to travel.”

Pillay was speaking as the WCRC, which groups more than 225 Protestant churches worldwide, formally associated itself with the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, originally signed by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the Roman Catholic Church on 31 October 1999.

“Catholics and Lutherans stated that a ‘consensus in basic truths exists between Lutherans and Catholics’ in regard to the theological controversy with was a major cause of the split in the Western church in the 16th century,” said Bishop Brian Farrell, secretary of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity during in the ceremony.

The declaration stated that mutual condemnations pronounced by the two sides during the Reformation do not apply to their current teaching on justification.

The congregation at Wittenberg’s Stadtkirche (Town Church), broke into spontaneous applause as WCRC General Secretary Chris Ferguson and Catholic, Lutheran and Methodist representatives signed a statement confirming the WCRC’s association with the joint declaration.

“Today we are not only signing a statement, we are building a church together,” said the Rev. Najla Kassab from Lebanon in her sermon at the service in the Stadtkirche, where Luther used to preach.

The ceremony took place in the year marking the 500th anniversary of Luther’s denunciation of church corruption in his 95 Theses, an event that helped set in motion the Reformation and centuries of division between Protestants and Catholics.

“The present achievement and commitment are viewed by Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists and Reformed as part of their pursuit of the full communion and common witness to the world which is the will of Christ for all Christians,” said WMC president Jong Chun Park.

Pope Francis, in a message read by Bishop Farrell, described the ceremony as “an eloquent sign of our commitment to walking together, as brothers and sisters in Christ, on a journey from conflict to communion, from division to reconciliation.”

During the service, the LWF and the WCRC also signed a “Wittenberg Witness” pledging to strengthen cooperation and joint action.

“We commit ourselves to redouble our common efforts to embody our unity, together resisting the forces of injustice and exclusion,” said Martin Junge, LWF general secretary.

At the service there were prayers of repentance and lamentation for past divisions and wrongs, and commitments to work for unity and justice.

“The Reformation taught us accountability,” said Kassab in her sermon.

“Wherever we are in the church we are held accountable,” said Kassab, who was ordained in March as the second female minister in the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon. “Today we are reminded of Luther’s words from his pulpit, ‘A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, and suffers nothing, is worth nothing.’”

All human beings are valuable in the eyes of God no matter what their colour or gender or race or passport, she said.

“Here I stand, a Middle Eastern women in the pulpit of Luther,” said Kassab, to spontaneous applause. “If only Luther had imagined this, this could have been his 96th question to the church. Not, ‘Why there is a women in this pulpit?’, but ‘Why did take so long?’”

The ceremony in Wittenberg took place during the WCRC General Council which has brought about 1000 participants to the eastern German city of Leipzig.

The WCRC groups more than 225 Protestant churches with a combined membership of about 80 million Christians in Congregational, Presbyterian, Reformed, United, Uniting and Waldensian churches in over 100 countries. Its offices are in Hannover, Germany.

(By Stephen Brown. Article and pictures source: WCRC Press Release July 5, 2017 | http://wcrc.ch/news/wcrc-joins-declaration-to-overcome-reformation-divisions)

Global Day of Prayer to End Famine on 21 May 2017

Dear Friends,

We are requesting you as participating organisations of WCC-EAA, that each of your organisation is able to sign up and endorse the Global ‘Day of Prayer to End Famine’ on 21 May 2017 to be launched tomorrow. We are grateful to you if you have already endorsed it and agreed to be one of the organisations launching the call.  The General Secretaries of WCC & AACC had send out a call last week. The letter is attached with this message- please see below for the link to  register as partners in the campaign.

All this work is possible because of your committed guidance and support. We would very much want you register and back this Day of Prayer and to promote it among your partners and networks.

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Events

Disability Advocacy Sunday 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With Prayer and Wishes,

Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar

Director, NCCI – IDEA

Mrs. Glory Cynthia Shinde

Coordinator, NCCI – IDEA

Most Rev. Dr. P. C. Singh

President, NCCI

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad

General Secretary, NCCI

Downloads:

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

16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, Theme : Together We Can End Gender Based Violence in Education

Women’s Concerns Ministry of National Council of Churches invites member Churches, Church managed organizations and institutions and Women’s Fellowship of Member Churches  to  promote  16 Days Activism Campaign to end Gender Based Violence. 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls. The campaign runs every year from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day.

The main aim of this campaign is galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world.The Theme for 2017 is “Together We Can End Gender Based Violence  in Education!”

Moumita Biswas
Executive Secretary
Women’s Concerns Ministry
National Council of Churches in India.