We note with concern the sentiments and emotions of persons with varied gender identities and sexual orientations with regard to the judgement of the Honourable Supreme Court in the ‘marriage equality’ case. We also note with respect the optimism in the community to take the ‘setback in expectation’ as a means to a way forward.
The National Ecumenical Forum for Gender and Sexual Diversities is a space in the National Council of Churches in India NCCI-NEFGSD mandated by its constituents, to explore and understand gender identities and sexual orientations, in order to advise the Church to grow into an inclusive communion of all people. The NCCI- NEFGSD will study the judgement together and accompany the community in the pursuit of equal rights, as well as of the dignity of the LGBTQIA+ Communities.
The NCCI – NEFGSD will also seek to initiate conversations within faith communities on traditional beliefs, faith affirmations and teachings of the church on the institution of marriage and constructs surrounding the same in order that no one is left behind, ‘kept outside,’ or ‘shut out’ from the ambit of God’s embrace of All.
The Ecumenical Document on Human Sexuality (2010) of the NCCI states:
1. Love in all its forms, ‘agape’, ‘philea’ and ‘eros’, is central to the Christian understanding of the divine and the consequent ordering of human communities.
2. Sexuality is characteristic of our being created in the image of God and has the potential to facilitate our becoming in God.
3. Sexuality is essentially relational and has pluriform expressions.
4. Sexuality can however be distorted.
5. We need to Re-read Sexuality in Scripture, Tradition and Liturgy
6. The dichotomy between spirituality and physicality is blurred when sexuality is embraced within a horizon of human flourishing and covenantal love.
7. The Church has to be an inclusive just community
The Constituents of the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), a forum of historical and traditional churches of the Protestant and Orthodox denominations and the related Councils, Organisations and Agencies, have been accompanying and have been accompanied by persons of all gender identities and sexual orientations for over two decades trying to understand their respective and all identities and orientations.
We pray for all those who feel left out and/ or let down, and pledge support in our common pursuit of Life-flourishing. No one is complete without the other.
Blessings and Peace
Rev. Asir Ebenezer
General Secretary, NCCI