Statement of the Consultation on Ecumenical Formation and Capacity Building for
Young Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Theologians
1 – 3 February 2018 | Leonard Theological College, Jabalpur (MP)
We, 30 young theologians from 12 theological colleges across Northern, Eastern and Central India representing different social and cultural identities as well as churches from different parts of India, gathered at Leonard Theological College, Jabalpur from 1st to 3rd of February 2018 for a Consultation on Ecumenical Formation and Capacity Building for Young Dalit, Tribal/Adivasi Theologians organized by NCCI’s Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns. During our discussions and deliberations we dealt with many concerns such as trends and development of ecumenical movement from various contextual issues including struggles for Dalits Rights; Rights of indigenous people; Rights of women and children; Youth in the Cyber Age; Human Trafficking, Human Sexuality and Gender Diversities; Prophetic communication; Ecumenical formation; Inter-Religious harmony and Ecological justice.
We affirm that:
- God has created humankind in God’s own image. In the household of God, there is no discrimination on the basis of caste, gender, race, creed, or religion.
- Unity is the essence of Christianity and the Christian community can transcend differences and divisions by coming together to address social concerns and campaign against evil forces that undermine or violate people’s rights and dignity on the basis of their gender, generation, caste, tribe, ability or sexual orientation.
- Our God is the God of love, compassion and justice who always takes the side of the oppressed in their struggle for justice and liberates them from oppressive and unjust systems.
- The ecumenical spirit transcends ecclesial realms and facilitates visible unity and symbiotic living with all of God’s creation, peace and reconciliation with people of all faiths, and commitment to social causes.
- The Church has to take serious cognisance of the changing socio-political, cultural and technological context, and should engage with the same meaningfully, relevantly and effectively.
- The Church is called to remain committed particularly to the cause of Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi communities in her prophetic ministry.
We reject and condemn any discrimination and social injustice within and outside the church, denying the rights to the fullness of life of women, youth, children, Dalits, Tribals/Adivasis, sexual minorities and of nature.
We, therefore, make the following recommendations to the churches and theological institutions for effective ecumenism and social justice:
- To declare and accept social diversities in gender, caste, race or creed as designs of God.
- To widen the ecumenical movement beyond ecclesial relationships within and among the churches, and even beyond inter-religious relationships to inter-human relationships and integrity of all creation.
- To be more inclusive, and to be more sensitive towards sexual minorities and marginalised sections of the society.
- To incorporate teachings of peace and reconciliation not only in curricula, but also to practice the same in day to day lives.
- To understand and interpret the Scripture in a holistic manner of inclusivity and ensure justice and equity for all creation.
- To strengthen prophetic communication with regard to issues of women, children, Dalits and Tribals/Adivasis, sexual minorities and nature.
- To publicly affirm the identity of Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi communities and promote their spirituality.
- To make use of Dalit/Tribal/Adivasi cultures and traditions in strengthening grassroots ecumenism.