Posts

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’.

Read more

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.

Read more

A Call for a Global Day of Prayer to End Famine

WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES
Geneva, April 21, 2017

A Call for a Global Day of Prayer to End Famine

Christ has Risen!

This period between Easter and the Ascension is one of the most significant times in the church calendar. It is a period of 40 days after his resurrection, when Jesus lived among the people, continuing his ministry, restoring and nourishing hope and giving life with dignity. It is also a period, when, as people of faith, we are obliged to turn our attention, prayerfully and with dedication, to the most crying needs in our society.

Currently, more people face famine today than any time in modern history. Famine has been declared in South Sudan. Somalia, Nigeria, and Yemen are on the brink of famine. Globally, more than 20 million people are at risk of starvation, while millions more suffer from drought and food  shortages.  In this desperate situation children suffer most and become increasingly vulnerable. The UN is calling this the largest humanitarian crisis since 1945.

Read more

Churches’ Commitments to Children | Letter from WCC General Secretary

Note to all member churches and partners interested in joining “Churches’ Commitments to Children”

The letter by Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, WCC general secretary offers the “Churches’ Commitments to Children” as a common basis for churches and partners engaged in improving child well-being. It is an invitation to move forward in our pilgrimage of justice and peace with children – recognizing that they face diverse challenges, yet are equipped with unique resources.

Some churches may want to implement one of the Commitments, others may implement several or all of the Commitments – depending on challenges faced by children and the churches’ capacity.

Some churches may want to share their expertise in promoting child well-being with other churches; others may request support to reach some of their objectives.

Please share and discuss the “Churches’ Commitments to Children” document with all relevant groups in your church. If you would like to post it on your website you may download the online version which is available at http://www.oikoumene.org/children.

Read more

Events

Nothing Found

Sorry, no posts matched your criteria