The Most Rev. Dr. P. C. Singh President of National Council of Churches in India and Moderator of Church of North India gave the inaugural speech at “Greening the Globe for Sustainable Living” an international eco conference at CSI Synod Centre, Chennai from 1 – 4 August 2019.
Dignitaries on the dais, leaders of the Churches and Ecumenical organizations in India, friends representing the World Council of Churches and ecumenical partners from around the world, academicians and scientists, leaders of the host church – the Church of South India, fellow office bearers and colleagues from the National Council of Churches in India, friends:
I greet you on behalf of the leadership of the National Council of Churches in India – the ecumenical fraternity represented by the ecumenical witness of close to 14 million people confessing protestant and orthodox Christian faith in India. I also bring greetings to you from my own Church – the Church of North India which later this year will be celebrating 50 years of witness to humanity and thereby to God.
Let me at the outset congratulate the leaders of the Church of South India the key mover and host of this conference for pioneering ecological work for the last 25 years – showing the way in which faith communities can address issues relating to climate and global warming. Dr. Mathew Koshy the Honorary Director for the CSI Ecological concerns ministry has led from the front and won many a recognition for the ecological ministry of the CSI nationally and globally for this ministry.
On the same note let me also acknowledge the work of our colleagues from the World Council of Churches Dr. Manoj Kurien, Coordinator of the WCC Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance and the focal person for relationship with Asia and Mr. Dinesh Suna, Coordinator of the WCC Ecumenical Water Network who have been instrumental in the WCC partnering with the CSI in convening this conference.
We are living in a time when the world is engaging in conversations relating to global warming, climate change, rising temperatures, rising water levels submerging the islands and low lying coastal areas, unseasonal rains affecting crops and effecting drought and famine, and the unabated surge in consumption rates leading to compounding these problem.
The Global, Regional and National Ecumenical movements have been seized of this concern from long. The AGAPE Consultation on Poverty, Wealth and Ecology in Asia and the Pacific organized jointly by the World Council of Churches (WCC), Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) and the Pacific Council of Churches (PCC) in Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2-6 November 2009 and the “We Can Make a Difference” – Climate Justice Policy Guidelines for CCA presented and accepted at the 13th General Assembly of the CCA in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in May 2010 are landmarks that can be cited for early interventions by the global and regional ecumenical fraternity.
Today we begin another related journey; a journey to address the issue as representatives of communities of faiths and members of the scientific fraternities, communities and fraternities that are not mutually exclusive, to speak to one another and to guide each other on executing all that we have read in the documents of the decade-long consultations. To this end I see this International conference as a
continuation of the past and also that which will help us to locate in context the decade long discourse and conversations. It is our desire that the deliberations of this conference will help us walk the talk, to practice what we profess, and to reach forward and not just react.
I wish this conference well and inaugurate the deliberations – in the name of the God, the eternal principle of the past, the present and the future, Who is neither created nor can be destroyed, the Holy One in whom we trace our origin, our sustenance and our hope for the future. All glory and honour be to our God forever and ever. Amen.