Manger on the Streets: Nativity in 2018

National Council of Churches in India

Christmas Programme – 2018

Manger on the Streets

Venue: Srishti Lawn, NCCI Campus                            Date: 18/12/2018                 Time: 6:00 pm


“We need to fight for the sick child, the woman in sanctuary, the migrant family, the transgender teenager, the homeless veteran, the young black man at the traffic stop,; because when we do, we are perpetuating the heart of the Middle Eastern child, born under duress, amid the smell of damn straw and animal dung—the one who turned the world upside down in the name of a compassion that knew no borders and a love that had no walls.”

                                                                                                                                                -John Pavlovitz




Good Evening!! Christmas is on the verge. What is Christmas?Is it yet another festive of celebration? Certainly not. It is an emotion. It is a harvest of memory of God acknowledging God’s humanity and humans realizing their divinity. Christmas is when Christ – the Creativity of God – took flesh in Jesus. So come let us try to comprehend the incomprehensible mystery of Incarnation.


Skit: Christ – less Christmas

(A woman hears the voice of Jesus expressing his desire to dine in her home. The woman feels overwhelmed and starts cleaning her house. Meanwhile she makes calls to her friends and a photographer as well. Later she hears a knock at the door and opens it to find Jesus. She warmly welcomes him. Soon her friends also drop in and the woman introduces them to Jesus. Finally the photographer arrives and all of them get ready for a group photo with Jesus. The photographer says that the frame does not accommodate everyone and hence one should move. None of them agrees to move out of the frame and eventually Jesus himself leaves and stands at the fringe. Then the photo is clicked without Jesus.) 

Moral: Christmas seems to have lost its anamnesis. The paraphernalia commemorating its memories are at sale but too expensive for the commons. Market has usurped the manger. In the pomp and gaiety of the celebrations of Christmas we often push Christ to the periphery and thus our Christmas turns out to be a Christ – less Christmas.



Narrator:Who is this Christ Jesus secluded on the fringe? Shall we take a re-look at his birth.

One fine day, off-the-wall, trees blossomed, birds chirped like never before, wind blew bearing the aroma of flowers, the sky poured out his love through the clouds and the earth drenched in it, spread her fragrance all throughout. The entire cosmos stood in awe on seeing its Creator, Creativity and Animator. Jesus, him we call. The True Human.

We re-imagine the birth of Jesus on the Streets.

Mary: May Peace be upon all of you as we welcome you to celebrate the birth of our child Jesus the Christ. We are the children of the street, we bear the stench of exclusion, our clothes are tattered and stained, we have nothing to offer than our sweat and blood, yet God chose to incarnate on the streets among us. Today the streets are blessed.The womb of a woman has become the site of inception of the Salvation of the World.

Joseph: Come and witness you people how God has sanctified the profane, how the wise and wealthy have been put to shame, how the powerful and complacent are mocked and how the ethos of the margins are acknowledged and upheld. The Light of the world has been born in the darkness of the streets. We are overwhelmed and thank God for this subversive act. We shall pray;

The God who sees we thank you for looking at us with utmost mercy and compassion. We understand that we encounter you in places we least expect. In the face of infant Jesus we see your radiance that penetrates deep into our being. In his eyes we see your unconditional love towards creation. May we perceive all things through his eyes so that we explore the unexplored beauty of this world. Help us to grow along with your Son so that we renew ourselves. In Christ Jesus we find the embodiment of the impoverished, the excluded, the homeless, the refugee and the outcast. May our pilgrimage with Christ enlighten us to embrace all so as to flourish our intrinsic humanity. For Christ’s sake we pray. Amen

Mary: It’s time to celebrate. Come let’s sing and dance for the Savior is born today.

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Inter Faith Marriages: A Ministerial Need

National Council of Churches in India – Unity and Mission

A Study on Interfaith Marriage

In this post-modern era the organized ‘Faith Based Organizations’ (FBOs) and Society are experiencing lots of challenges to retain their dogmas and traditions due to the changing value systems and by the influence of modern life related orientations. India is not even exempted from these challenges. India is an ‘icon’ of unity in diversity. It is a cradle of most of the major faiths in the world including several folk traditions including the ideologies like Dravidian-ism. For centuries we have examples of Indian spirituality such as cohesive living, where all live in harmony as faith communities along with all creation. Indian spirituality upholds the essence of inclusivity and affirms that God is  creator; every atom in creation is  God’s handiwork, including human communities.  There is diversity in God’s creation but certainly not any discriminatory elements in them. Therefore, recognizing the value of human life and love, and also respecting the relationship, marriage is a bridge to unite humans with all their diversities to live as an inclusive communities.

The traditional, social, cultural systems of societies generally dissuade persons to move out far from their native places. In some cases, moving away from one’s native region and settling elsewhere is considered to be an insult to the society of one’s native region. But today, the processes of globalization and liberalization, and the economic and development polices of the States are forcing such migrations. Youngsters move out of their societies to metro cities where they find their employment hubs. Such movements expose them to different cultures, languages, food and heritages and other societal systems. Such a situation brings together men and women of various differences, backgrounds, ethics, faiths, traditions, practices and orientations for studies and employment.  This facilitates relationships of mutual understanding, appreciation and love which leads them to inter-faith marriages. For example, when a ‘modern woman’ marries a ‘patriarchal’ man, the understanding of gender-roles, through faith expressions, broadens to create a new flavor of coexistence.

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Orissa Christian Theological College celebrates 25th Anniversary

On 23rd November 2018, Orissa Christian Theological College (OCTC) reached an important milestone: completion of 25 years of its ministry.  30 of its alumni and  around  50 guests from different Churches of   Berhampur and Chhatarpur  gathered  in the College Chapel  for a thanks giving service, thanking God  for His faithfulness for the past 25 years. The celebration was conducted by Heads of member churches of   Utkal Christian Council (a regional council of the NCCI),  the management of OCTC , Faculty and students of OCTC. 
The presence of  Ms.   Constanze  Annen  ( Secretary EMW )  and Dr. Michael Biel  ( Head of the EMW Department of Theological  Studies)  added   joy to the festive mood of  the people . On their arrival they were welcomed warmly, and led by the students dancing to tribal music along with the national guests, in procession to the Administrative block  for unveiling the memorabilia plaque of Silver Jubilee . 
At the Thanksgiving Service, Dr. Jagat Ranjan Santra, the Principal of the college,  welcomed every body present, making  special mention of the presence of  alumnae of the College and their commitment to the College being engaged in the service of God’s people for which they  were prepared by the College .  Rt.Rev. Surendra Kumar Nanda,  Vice-Chairman of OCTC, presided over the meeting. The  Most Rev. Dhirendra  Kumar Mohanty ( CNI) was present to speak on the theme of Silver Jubilee ” You are epistles of Christ – written with the Spirit of living God. ” 2 Cor 3:3. Students and guests alike were  blessed  by  his message who said,   “We, and specially  OCTC students, are the epistle of Christ for  our  area. We should  strive to show  people   God’s  love for them.”

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The National Council of Churches in India – Indian Disability Ecumenical Accompaniment organized “Christmas of  People with Disabilities” on  1st December 2018 at the NCCI Campus, Civil Lines, Nagpur. This is an annual celebration of the Children with Disabilities celebrating Christmas for others. This celebration is organized on the eve of the Advent (Christmas) Season every year, thereby setting off Christmas Celebrations in the city.

This celebration is to remember a child (Jesus) who was born during the cold winter in the wilderness of Judea as a migrant child.  His birth heralded glad tidings of great Joy to all creation; the joy of inclusion and social justice – the justice of bringing the wise men and shepherds together. Thus, began the Christmas celebration, in the NCCI campus, with a gathering of over 350 people including over 200 Children and People with Disabilities; it was  indeed a grand event. The children with disabilities and the persons with disabilities, who gave expression to the good news of the season, ornamented this celebration. The Children with Disabilities (CWD)  in particular, enthralled the audience with their dances, songs and enactments, through which they declared the Gospel of inclusion to the people present at the celebration.

Several faith-based and secular organizations that promote, propagate and inculcate the culture of inclusivity in the societies at large, participated in this celebration, namely Ashirwad Kanti, Jeevoday Special School, Prerana Social Development Welfare Soci

ety, Untkhana – Home for the Aged and Disabled, SAKSHAM, CNI – Social Service Institute, Shramdeep, St. Thomas Orthodox Theological Seminary and Talking Hands Restaurant.

The Story of Christmas and the message on inclusions were articulated in a manner in which the Children with Disabilities understood it. They showcased an Autistic Joseph, a Down-Syndrome Mary, a Commodified Baby Jesus, and Santa on a Wheel-Chair. This radical yet conventional Christmas message intrigued the hearts of the ‘abled-audience’ who attended the Christmas Extravaganza. At the end of the program the CWDs and PWDs received gifts from the hands of the Santa on wheel-chair.

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“Walking Together with People with Disabilities: Serving Justice, Peace and Inclusion

Institute on Disability

19 – 22 November 2018, Nagpur

The Indian Disability Ecumenical Accompaniment of the National Council of Churches in India in partnership with the World Council of Churches – Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network, Church of Scotland- World Mission Council, Asia CMS and Christian Service Agency organised an Institute on Disability at the Mission India Theological Seminary Campus, Nagpur on 19 – 22 November 2018.

Sixty seven participants from different walks of life including Rights Defenders, Activists, Care-givers, Clerics, Academicians, Researchers, Development Practitioners and Community Leaders representing 37 organisations, including 18 persons with disabilities, participated in this institute.

The institute focused on the theme “Walking Together with People with Disabilities: Serving Justice, Peace and Inclusion.” This theme was highlighted from different viewpoints, such as Scanning the Disability Contexts from the societal, legal and medical perspectives as well as  from different faith perspectives, pondering on  questions such as: “How do religious scriptures address disability? How do the religions look at PWDs ? Are religious worshiping places accessible and inclusive? The Disability concerns  were also looked at from the struggles of the marginalized sections of society, through reflections on Caste and Disability, Gender and Disability and Indigenous views on disability. Another session  dealt with  bio-ethics and socio-spiritual ethics and disability. Further, the institute discussed about the educational, employment and social protection schemes related to PWDs and modern approaches to disability. There were times of sharing of faith stories by the PWDs and their siblings along with a session facilitating the participants to read the scriptures from the eyes and experiences of the PWDs.

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Christmas of the People with Disabilities


National Council of Churches in India

Indian Disability Ecumenical Accompaniment (NCCI -IDEA)

The NCCI – Indian Disability Ecumenical Accompaniment is annually organizing the Christmas Celebration of the People with Disabilities on the eve of  Advent Sunday. This year it falls on the 1st December 2018 (Saturday). We would encourage all our constituent members and related stake holders and partners to organise similar programmes. If you are around Nagpur, please join us on  1st December evening.

We would happy to have you with family and friends  to this celebration and encourage the Children with Disabilities and their parents.

Looking forward to meeting you,

 Yours Sincerely,

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad

President, NCCI – IDEA

General Secretary – NCCI

Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar,

Director, NCCI -IDEA

Executive Secretary, NCCI – Unity & Mission

NCCI endorses16 days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign

From 25 November (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) to 10 December (Human Rights Day), the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign is a time to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world. The international campaign originated from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute coordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991.

For far too long, impunity, silence and stigma have allowed violence against women to escalate to pandemic proportions—one in three women worldwide experience gender-based violence.

The time for change is here and now.

In recent years, the voices of survivors and activists, through campaigns such as #MeToo, #TimesUp, #Niunamenos, #NotOneMore, #BalanceTonPorc and others, have reached a crescendo that cannot be silenced any more. Advocates understand that while the names and contexts may differ across geographic locations, women and girls everywhere are experiencing extensive abuse and their stories need to be brought to light.

This is why the UNiTE Campaign’s global advocacy theme this year is: Orange the World: #HearMeToo

Under the theme Orange the World: #HearMeToo, the UNiTE partners are encouraged to host events with local, national, regional and global women’s movements, survivor advocates and women human rights defenders and create opportunities for dialogue between activists, policy-makers and the public. As in previous years, the colour orange will be a key theme unifying all activities, with buildings and landmarks lit and decorated in orange to bring global attention to the initiative.

The NCCI urges Churches, Women Fellowships, Christian Organizations, Related Agencies, and Regional Councils,  to get involved in this campaign. This Campaign may be observed in different ways, such as articulating contextual themes/slogans for the 16 days, organizing Prayer meetings, Bible Studies, processions, poster campaigns, street theatres, and  other Advocacy Programmes.

NCCI Women Concerns has been advocating the campaign:

365 Days of Zero Tolerance to Gender Based Violence : Make it Happen Now!!!

Telugu Baptist Women’s Convention (TBWC) Centenary Celebration

The Telugu Baptist Women’s Convention (TBWC) was established in 1918 in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh. All the Telugu Speaking Baptist Church women are the members of TBWC. Geographically the TBWC is divided into five Regions  (Southern Region,   Northern Region, Central Region,  Western Region and Deccan Region)  and 30 Fields. More than 1001 Baptist Churches are members of TBWC. There are more than 2,00,000 Telugu Baptist Women in the four States of India.

According to its Constitution, the TBWC  is an Autonomous Body. It has it’s own Executive committee, elected by the General body of TBWC. The TBWC is however ecumenically related to the churches in the 5 regions.

This year the TBWC Centenary Celebrations were held in Stantan Memorial Baptist Church, Kurnool, A.P from 17th to 19th October 2018. It was attended by 2070 delegates. The celebration was graced by ecumenical leaders including:

 1. Rev.Dr.Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary, National Council of Churches in India
2. Rev.Dr.Prof.Thathapudi Immanel, Secretary, Board of Theological Education of the Senate of  Serampore College
3. Rev.Dr.A.J.Prabhakar, Principal, Andhra Christian Theological College
4. Rev.Mrs.Pankaja Manilal, Vice President, Association of Theologically Trained Women in India
5. Mrs.Elizabeth Joseph,Treasurer, ATTWI
6. Bishop Pushpalalitha, Nandyal Diocese, Church of South India
7. Rev. Dr. R. R. D. Sajeevaraj, Board Chairman, ACTC

During the centenary celebration,  7 Women were ordained for full time ministry. Today there are 100 Ordained women in TBWC. This is a  major achievement for women among Telugu Baptist churches.
The Theme of the centenary convention was :

Celebrating the Legacy,

Visioning the Future.

Living the Jubilee

All the speakers are delivered wonderful messages. God was glorified through their Spirit filled preaching.
The Host Church provided wonderful and comfortable accommodation to all the 2070 delegates.

Reported by

Rev. Dr. P. SyamalaSukumar,

Executive Secretary TBWC,

President, ATTWI

Disability Advocacy Sunday 2018


Theme: “God of the Disabled:

Walking Together, Serving Justice, Peace and Inclusion”

NCCI –IDEA (Indian Disability Ecumenical Accompaniment) is an Ecumenical Initiative of the National Council of Churches in India, accompanied by Unity and Mission. NCCI – IDEA theologically motivates ministerial interventions of its constituencies by encouraging and facilitating the Indian Churches to be inclusive and disabled-friendly. Considering the importance of inclusivity, the XXVIII Quadrennial Assembly of NCCI has chosen the theme ‘Towards Just and Inclusive Communities”  for this Quadrennial. Thus, the Members of NCCI are being  encouraged to ensure that their ministerial interventions result in inclusivity.

NCCI-IDEA has been a facilitator of conversations with communities in the Church and Society with regard to advocacy for disability rights. Considering the importance of observing this day, the NCCI Executive Committee in 2011 officially approved of designating the Sunday before the Advent as Disability Advocacy Sunday (DAS), since 3rd December is the International Day of People with Disability.

Since 2009, DAS is being organized by NCCI–IDEA along with ecumenical organizations, local congregations and institutions both locally and globally.

From its inception, DAS is focused on promoting and inculcating the value of  ‘An Inclusive Church’, urging the Church to serve as an ‘accompanier’ of PWDs, seeking justice ‘for’, ‘by’ and ‘with’ persons with disabilities.  Surveying the past celebrations / observations and the positive responses from the Churches and the local congregations regarding the observance of DAS, NCCI-IDEA expects that the congregations  are becoming  more open to PWDs and are more Disabled-Friendly.

DAS works on a theme every year. This year’s theme is “God of the Disabled: Walking together, Serving Justice, Peace and Inclusion”.  This theme was selected to join the World Council of Churches’ 70th year ecumenical pilgrimage of Justice and Peace.

Every year, NCCI – IDEA assists the Churches and the Congregations by preparing an Order of Worship for DAS observances. Since, this year, 25th November 2018 is the Sunday prior to the Advent season, IDEA recommends and encourages churches to observe it as DAS.  In case, if anyone is not able to observe DAS on 25th November, please feel free to observe any Sunday that is convenient to you and your congregations.

As indicated earlier, NCCI – IDEA’s DAS has inspired several global communities, congregations and organisations through global partnerships to advocate the rights and dignity of  persons with disabilities. The World Council of Churches – Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network (WCC – EDAN), the Christian Conference of Asia’s – Asian Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network (CCA – AEDA), Church of Scotland (Board of Overseas Ministries) and ASIA CMS, are joining in the campaign.  Therefore, we encourage each and everyone to be part of the campaign and observe this year’s Disability Advocacy Sunday.

Christmas of the Disabled:

We are also  glad to inform you that  NCCI-IDEA organises  ‘Christmas of the Disabled’ every year. This is a unique Christmas programme organised and conducted by Children and Youth with disabilities for others. This is organised on the eve of Advent Sunday every year. We are planning to organize this day on 2nd December 2018. Therefore, we encourage you to organize this day, and celebrate along with us in your respective Churches and Congregations.

Kindly share with us inspirational stories and experiences of  divine interventions through DAS 2018 in your Church or Congregation.

Download the worship order DAS – 2018 Worship Order

Download the DAS 2018 Poster

With Prayer and Good Wishes,

Rt. Rev. Dr. P. C. Singh

President, NCCI

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad

NCCI General Secretary


Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar

Executive Secretary -Unity and Mission, NCCI

Director, NCCI-IDEA



A brief report of the Ecumenical Peace Consultation and Workshop held at Guwahati during 29th – 31st October 2018.Jointly organized by NEI-Action Desk – NCCI (National Council of Churches in India, CBCNEI (Council of Baptist Churches in North East India), APBF (Asia Pacific Baptist Federation), JPMT (Joint Peace Mission Team) NEISF (North East India Social Forum)

A three day Ecumenical Peace Consultation and Workshop was organized at CBCNEI Conference Hall under the theme Cultivate and Create a Culture of Compassionate Christian Community in the North East India: the 6 C’s. Around 57 delegates from various North East States from various backgrounds and professions such as Church leaders, missionaries, principals, theological students, teachers, peace activists, social workers and students pursuing M.A in Peace Studies took part in the program. During the three day consultation and workshop the participants were inspired and taught how compassion within the community can play an important role in bringing peace in the Northeast states of India.

There were three key note speakers for each day on day 1 Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil gave the key note on the topic “Creating a Compassionate Community”. On Day 2 Rev. Steve Smith delivered the key note on the topic “Compassionate Communities”. On Day 3, Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad General Secretary of NCCI gave the key note on the topic “Institutionalizing Compassion”. Apart from the Key note addresses there were also panel presentations and discussions each day on various concerns of Peace. The group of panelists were: Elungkiebe Zeliang, Malthyus Sangma, Dr. Gangtei, Fr. Owen, Mukul Bora, Allen Brooks, Amrit Goldsmith and V. Shitovi Sema. Based on the three key note addresses and the sharing of all the panelists the participants took part in various brainstorming workshops which helped all the participants to articulate and bring out a declaration note on the final day as a sign of their commitment to work in creating compassionate communities, indeed to be channels of sharing compassion, thereby facilitating  a societies of Peace and Justice.




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