Dalit Liberation Sunday-2016 was observed jointly by the UELCI and the Gurukul Lutheran Theological College and Research Institute, Chennai on 13th November 2016 under the guidance of Rev. Dr. A. G. Augustine Jeyakumar- Executive Secretary of UELCI & LWF National Committee (I) and the Treasurer of the NCCI. Dalits are the opressed and marginalized people in India whom the churches should acknowledge and express solidarity with in their liberation process. The observance of Dalit liberation Sunday paves the way for churches to be more sensitive to the plights and concerns of Dalits.
On the eve of 13th November, the Gurukul Lutheran Theological College premise was customized to the frame of Dalit worship with the fire post and the Parai (the Dalit Drum) at the centre. The worship order was created incorporating Dalit lives and their thirst for liberation. Before commencing the worship, Mr. K. Immanuel Paul Vivekanandh, the Coordinator of Dalits and Adivasi Concerns Desk of UELCI welcomed the gathering and gave an introduction for the need of the Dalit Liberation Sunday and observing it in the present day context. The worship was on the theme “Administer Justice Daily, Deliver the Oppressed”. The Students walked in procession with the Parai singing Dalit songs. The Parai drum was beaten to invoke the presence of the God, as is customary in the worship of the Dalit communities. The worship was led by Mr. K. Immanuel Paul Vivekanandh, and the worship elements were led by the Guru-Sishya fellowship of the Gurukul Lutheran Theological College, and Dr.Walo Temjen – Professor of Dept. of History of Christianity.
The enactment depicting oppression of and violence on Dalit woman made an impact, paving the way for the reflection by Dr. Walo Temjen. In his powerful and challenging sermon, Dr. Walo asserted that administering justice to the oppressed is the mission mandate for every Christian. So to be Christians, we need to follow Jesus as he said in the Nazareth manifesto as well as in his action. The worship ended with the symbolic act of the congregation throwing their caste in the pyre and taking part in the Dalit meal “Kanji.”
Rev. Dr. David Udayakumar – Principal of Gurukul Lutheran Theological College and Research Institute congratulated the worship team and highlighted the significant thrust of Gurukul on Dalit concerns. Finally one of the Student Representatives Mr. Praveen Kuriakose from BD final year proposed the vote of thanks.
- Immanuel Paul Vivekanandh, Coordinator, Dalit & Adivasi Concerns Desk, UELCI
- Joshua Nimalan, BD III, GLTC & RI
Commission on Dalits and Tribals/Adivasis
National Council of Churches in India