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Rising from the Ashes . . .

NCCI Statement on Delhi violence

Humanity has been knocked down one more time. Our houses burnt. Our kindred killed. Our peace destroyed, and future betrayed. We have not learnt from our past. In what happened in parts of New Delhi, our national capital, we have been brought down to ashes once again.

Many sections of the Christian community observe Ash Wednesday today. To them it is a day of beginning a season to revisit the past, make amends where necessary, and resolve to move on …an opportunity to rise from the ashes.

On a day such as this we appeal to the members of the different Christian traditions to facilitate each other, and all others of different faith traditions and ideological persuasions in their neighbourhoods, to rise from the ashes. We will not be cowed down. We will rise.

We condemn the dastardly attack on the vulnerable and the weak in different locations of Delhi, the explicit or implicit complicity and tacit approval of those in power and authority, and the blame game to cover inaction and poor response to early warnings.

We appeal to the Churches and Christian Organisations in the vicinity of the affected areas to respond appropriately to those in need.

We urge our constituents everywhere to stand in solidarity with victim communities in their locales and foster an atmosphere of peace and human security across the country. We will not be overcome. WE SHALL OVERCOME. On Ash Wednesday, we resolve to rise from the Ashes

Our prayers remain with the bereaved, and also with the injured persons and their families. The NCCI stays committed and available to the amelioration of the sufferings of the individuals, families and communities affected in the violence of the last few days in Delhi.

In solidarity,
On behalf the NCCI Leadership,

Rev. Asir Ebenezer
General Secretary

The HOUR has come …

On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Republic of India the Christian community represented by the National Council of Churches in India wishes it’s fellow citizens a greeting of hope and a better future for the country.

The political turmoil has seized the attention of the people of the country for a couple of months now. The ever relevant issues relating to perpetual depravation of vast sections of the population continue to be less than a preoccupation of the people who are elected to serve the People of this country as representatives of ‘WE the people …’. They have become the bosses of the (S)subjects of the country.

Political and legal literacy including in human and constitutional rights emerge as a major focus of service to the nation. We need to commit ourselves to this.

Strengthening democratic processes and those that relate to holding the powers accountable, and that which will consequently hold the ideal of secularism high, is another area that we need to concentrate as a people.

It is time NOW to renew our commitment to serve the disprivileged and disenfranchised people of the country with greater vigour and urgency. While joining hands with all all those who hold the people in power to accountability, we press on in service with due diligence and hope fully convinced that as we empower ‘the least, the last and the lost’ amongst us through relevant and appropriate service, we will see a new India emerge, that which we have dreamt and continue to dream together.

Let us shake off the dust of disillusionment and renew our vows to empower the disprivileged through service, both in word and deed, knowing that our labour in the lord is not in vain.

The HOUR has come: Let us get going …

Rev. Asir Ebenezer
General Secretary NCCI

Sunday the 26th January 2020.

Let’s come out of Herod’s palace and follow the star . . .

Star has a central role in the story of Christmas as portrayed in the writing of Mathew. It is said to have guided magi to the manger. It is also portrayed as having waited patiently for the magi to come out of Herod’s palace in order to guide them to where they need to have gone.

Contemporary human knowledge attributes power with the ‘high and mighty’; revelation in God’s creation, as in the star, point the other way. It waits for the ‘wise’ men (sic!) to unlearn their folly and return back to an orientation that Power is and in the coming together of the vulnerable children, the nomads, the despised, single mothers, their allies, migrants, and all such of creation both in heaven and on earth.

Christmas, thus, poses a challenge both to the powerful that they are not invincible, and to those who need a deconstruction of their wisdom about Power – that it lies elsewhere and not where the world constructs it to be. The annual remembrance of the birth of Jesus (Christmas) calls us to take up the challenge to deconstruct our wisdom about power, and work on communities and all of creation – both in earth as also in the heavens – realise (their) Power.

It will be pertinent therefore for Christians to come out of the palaces of the powerful and follow the star; joining God’s movements of those alleged vulnerable, and also despised, whose joyful refrain echo the strains of everlasting songs of life-flourishing.

Merry Christmas! Come out, let’s follow the star! Let our year ahead be truly blessed!

Let’s have a Power Christmas . . . all year round.

 

Rev. Asir Ebenezer

General Secretary, NCCI

Christian communities hurt over being discredited by responsible authorities

The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) expresses deep anguish over the completely baseless and sweeping blanket opinions expressed by one of the judges of Honourable High Court, Chennai against Christian missionaries and Christian educational institutions in a verdict connected to Madras Christian College, Tambaram. It is painful that these comments were made ironically in a case where it was a Christian management which impartially took action against one of the staff, based on the complaint by some students.

These unfortunate comments deeply hurt the sentiments of Christian communities in India who have contributed a lot for the development of education in this country. Tens of millions of Indians belonging to different faiths have graduated from Christian institutions without facing any pressure to convert and remain in their respective religions. They are living testimony contradicting the utterly false conclusions drawn about the vast majority of Christian institutions in India today.

We do feel that expressing an opinion on the possibility of gender-specific laws being misused by women can lead to victimising the victim and turning them away from approaching law enforcement agencies or seek protection under law.

Narratives such as these can be misused by persons and organisations who are anti-minorities further victimising and shaming individuals and groups of minority communities.

The NCCI calls on all concerned including those in responsible positions to be sensitive to and respect the sentiments of minority communities who have and are serving the people of this country with great diligence and commitment. The NCCI expresses its gratitude to all those who stand in solidarity with the community.

Rev. Asir Ebenezer
General Secretary
National Council of Churches in India

One Nation, nuanced differentially . . .

We have travelled a long way, as people(s) of one nation. Over the last 72 years we have planned together; we have implemented them together, we have evaluated ourselves together, we have voted governments to power, and we have changed them at will. It has always been as one nation but, more importantly, as one nation nuanced differentially – and that is the key to our existence as a secular, socialist, democratic, republic.

We have held ourselves together through the critical complementarities of the different faiths that we profess and the many beliefs that we hold. Despite provocations and accusations to the contrary, we have never dared to force individual convictions on the other. As a large and vibrant democracy we have always made space for all especially the least amidst us. As a large and vibrant democracy we have ensured to ourselves, and proved to the world, that the strength of any democracy lies in how its minorities are treated.

As we move on and mature, we recognise the need to exercise discretion and discernment. We recognise that the uni-polar world and its proponents the free and unbridled market, along with the accompanying individualistic ideologies and fascist tendencies, has the potential to be apathetic to the needs of the least amidst us; power in terms of sheer arithmetic has the potency to count the least out – be it ethnic, religious, economic, or the social in terms of the people with disability and those with different sexual orientations and gender identities.

As we mark the anniversary of our independence this year, the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) representing the Christians of the protestant and orthodox faith traditions, and serving the nation through its 75 institutional national constituents including 30 mainline protestant and orthodox nation-wide churches, pledges its commitment to all fellow citizens who uphold the values of pluralistic society in continuing to nurture the spirit of secularism and participative democracy as core values of our being and growing together. In pledging thus the NCCI commits to and calls on fellow citizens to such a collaborative search and concerted exercise of discretion and discernment – that which will bless the country as an abode and haven of all.

God bless India.

Rev. Asir Ebenezer
General Secretary
National Council of Churches in India

NCCI Responds to New Education Policy 2019

Rev. Asir Ebenezer NCCI General Secretary responses to new Education Policy 2019.

To download the statement kindly click here

 

National Council of Churches in India condemns bombings in Sri Lanka

The leadership and the members of the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) send their prayers and solidarity to the people of Sri Lanka during the time of deep crisis.

The NCCI strongly condemns the inhuman bombing that occurred this morning. NCCI joins the international community in expressing solidarity with the people and government of Sri Lanka, the Church in Sri Lanka and all the faithful.

The situation arising out of this dastardly attack pose serious challenge to the idea and value of humanity, peace, mutual cooperation, fraternity and love. It is our prayer that all people of Sri Lanka will once again rise to the occasion and defeat the forces that seek to push the clock back.

We pray for justice to be affirmed and peace ensured for all peoples. May God’s peace rule the hearts and minds of the bereaved.

Rev. Asir Ebenezer
General Secretary,
National Council of Churches in India.

Let’s start all over again . . .

Death, Decay, Disenchantment, Disfranchise, Disease, Destruction are all that fills the air.  The print media is no exception. These are dimensions of a world that seems to be falling apart. At least in one of the synoptic gospels the writers remind the women who sought Jesus at the tomb, that they were searching the risen among the dead. A reminder to us today to once again renew our faith that death shall not hold sway over the forces of life, and life will prevail. This is a message that we need to preach to us especially this Easter and repeatedly thereafter – that the forces of death will not cow us down.

More importantly this Easter should remind us that ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee’. The Greek rendering shows the urgency and the eagerness to start it all over again – that which in the first place led him to the cross. It is time now for the Christian community in India and the world over to return to ‘Galilee’ and start it all over again – to remember again our commitment to make the fringes, the ends of the earth, the redefined centre(s); a redefined centres that ring down hegemonic power expressions be it religious represented in Jesus time by the Jewish temple or the political power that patronised such divisive religious hegemony that had puritan overtones and their economic accompanists.

May this be our prayer this Easter that as Christian faith communities everywhere, together with peoples of all faith expressions and ideological persuasions, we will renew our commitment to go again in the path of embracing the cross, affirming the rights and dignity of the victims of religious, economic, ethnic, political expressions of hegemony; and together speak the truth to ‘power’.

Rev. Asir Ebenezer

General Secretary – NCCI

National Council of Churches in India condemns killings in New Zealand; affirms solidarity with Muslims

National Council of Churches (NCCI) in India is saddened by the hate-filled terror attack at Christchurch in New Zealand. We extend our solidarity to the families of the victims and we stand with friends of the Islamic faith who are affected largely by the trauma of the attack. Let God enable all the affected ones to experience the eternal peace.

The shooting at Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch and the Masjid in Linwood is a visible expression of growing intolerance worldwide towards migrants and Muslims. The right-wing fanaticism related to economy, ethnicity and nationalism complicates the situation. Hostility towards ‘others’, precipitated in violence has led to the annihilation of ‘others.’ These kinds of massacres which involve singling out a group of people and labelling them as ‘people to be
hated’ are against the human race. It is time to for those who believe in justice and peace to come out and condemn any such actions wherever it may be in the world.

This is an eye opener to everyone that the seeds of hate can grow to any extent, shedding the blood of many innocents. It is time now to take a pledge together, to have zero tolerance towards hate mongering of any form, be it through news channels, social media or hate speeches.

National Council of Churches in India believe in dialogue and peaceful coexistence of all. We support the efforts of New Zealand Government to maintain peace and harmony among the communities. May God grant us the understanding that we are meant to live with all peoples in peace.

Rev. Asir Ebenezer
General Secretary, NCCI