Peace on earth . . .

Christmas 2022 and SDGs 2030

“Peace on earth and Goodwill amidst all peoples” is the message announced at the birth of Jesus the Christ. Undoubtedly, Peace on earth is the crux of Christian faith, as also of all faith and ideological persuasions.

“To foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies which are free from fear and violence” is how the fourth pillar of the Sustainable Development Goals is defined. The Global Agenda 2030 captured PEACE as one of the five pillars of Sustainable Development, the others being People, Planet, Prosperity, and Participation.

Amidst war and strife, and the contexts of ‘undeclared emergencies’ in our country, and in some others world over, Christmas 2022 (coming as it were midway in the 2015 – 2030 SDG regime) reminds us of the calling to focus on the task at hand – that of building “peaceful, just and inclusive communities.”

In the context however, we are reminded that ending poverty and hunger, protecting planet from degradation, ensuring that all humans and beings enjoy prosperous and fulfilling lives, and calling all countries, stakeholders and people to participate in the process are prerequisites to fostering peaceful, just and inclusive communities.

While SDGs themselves maybe perceived as framed from within the existing market-driven development framework, the pillars and targets are notable signposts on which diaconal expressions of different Indian Churches and Christian Diaconal Agencies have mapped their ministries and activities in order to relate to the ongoing concerted mission of life affirmation of all interested parties including governments and civil society organisations.

May Christmas 2022 – the feast of incarnation – bring us back, as ecumenical communities, to focus on People (the poor and the hungry), Planet, Prosperity (life-flourishing vis-à-vis profit), PEACE, and Participation of all stakeholders (including in our own context the historically and structurally discriminated dalits, tribals, women, persons denoting richness of gender and sexual diversities, children at risk and gender non-conforming children, persons with disabilities, persons living with HIV/ AIDS, women and men in sex work, and such others who inhabit the kingdom of God first and much before those that profess to be righteous).

And may this renewal of focus enable us to envision and work toward constructing a new world in 2023 rooted in the ‘sovereignty of the least’

Wish you all a meaningful Christmastide and a blessed 2023!

Rev. Asir Ebenezer
General Secretary

16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence

The 16 Days of activism 2022 was again a time for showing the commitment and re committing for the cause of women. It was a time to affirm actions against Gender based violence and Violence against women.

“16 Days of Activism against Gender based violence”

 from the 25th of November (International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women) to the 10th of December (International Human Rights Day).

This period also includes observance of some other important days like – November 29 (International Women Human Rights Defenders Day), December 1 (World AIDS Day) and December 6 (Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre).

 The 16 Days Campaign this year helped organizing strategy for individuals, groups and churches around India to call for the elimination of all forms of gender-based violence against women and to:


  1.   Demonstrate the solidarity of women around the world organizing against gender-based violence against women
  2. Strengthen local work around gender-based violence against women
  3. Organise Rally, Lobby, Network and voice out for the issue.
  4. Provide a forum in which organizers can develop and share new and effective strategies
  5.   Raise awareness about gender-based violence against women as a human  rights issue at the local, national, regional and international levels
  6. Have a women/gender  safeguarding policy in your respective Churches.

The theme for this year “United”. We were encourage you to take this opportunity to talk about the “UNiTE” Campaign in 2022, under the global banner UNITE! Activism to End Violence against Women & Girls, the aim to mobilize all UNITE networks, civil society and women’s rights organizations, organizations working with men and boys, the UN system, the Action Coalition on Gender Based Violence, government partners, human rights defenders, schools, universities, private sector, sports clubs and associations and individuals to become activists for the prevention of violence against women, to stand in solidarity with women’s rights activists and to support feminist movements around the world to resist the rollback on women’s rights and calling for a world free from VAWG (violence against women and girls).

As National Council of Churches in India it is our responsibility to encourage each other – member churches/ councils/ organizations and agencies to join in the observation of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence and work on a just inclusive environment for a wholesome growth of all.

The outcome which was very visible in the observations this year was:

  1. Need for an inclusive Church, where everyone is welcome and safe irrespective of Caste, creed, ethnicity, ability & GENDER.
  2. Invest in Women for their development was a theme that came strongly from one of the member body.
  3. The need for Gender Policy in church and organisations is the need for the hour.
  4. Networking of men and women for the Eradication of Gender Based Violence.
  5. Faith Leaders to take the cause.

Were few of the goals that were set before us all for the year 2023.

We Hope that Year 2023 will see many steps taken for creating a just and egalitarian society.

We thank our Members like, Salvation Army in India, ISPCK, CSI, Mennonite Church , CNI, Kerala Christian Council, and many more for conducting various Activism programmes in Local area.

Submitted by

Women’s Concern

Seventy-five years in realising the ‘heaven of freedom’

The country is agog with completing 75 years of journeying as an independent country. We have truly excelled in many spheres despite several odds of evolving and struggling to grow out of a colonial mindset of ‘ruling over subjects’.

We as a people have demonstrated from time to time that the People prevail before power and that power devolves from People.

We celebrate the huge strides we have achieved in the field of science and technology, education and culture, infrastructural development, growing in self-sufficiency in food production and several other sectors.

We celebrate the resilience that we have shown in existing and living in a market driven world with the preeminence of capital and devaluing labour as a means of production.

We celebrate resistance that challenges us to learn from dissent and to carry on together as a People ‘leaving no one behind’.

We celebrate the richness of living with natureevidenced in every ethnic sociological group and tribe that live as human libraries even while moving to live in the ‘cloud’ which for now has become the space in which we live and have our being.

And, as we move on . . .

We need to celebrate living traditions amidst us, particularly in the distressed and suppressed dalit, tribal and adivasi communities, as a source of internal and abiding strength and spirituality for peace and security vis a vis valorizing weaponsand militarization based on perceived threats that stem from othering.

We need to celebrate and hold high the democratic-secular traditions as well as the ideals of participationwhich are now presupposed as people’s mandate in a continuing colonial and totalitarian mindset.

We need to, as conscientious peoples of all faiths, ideologies, ethnicities, varying physical and mental abilities, different generations, gender identities and sexual orientations, celebrate and continue singing the ‘songs of deliverance’- while seeking out and affirming the deliverance of every person, group and community who feel estranged in their own lands and contexts(a suggested deconstructed reading of a possible zionist presupposition of Psalm 137 in The Bible).

We continue to celebrate all thesedaily so that everyone and all of creation will in their ‘very own and this’ lifetime awaken into that ‘heaven of freedom’.

God bless India

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

(National Council of Churches in India is the ecumenical expression of 14 million Christians of the Protestant and Orthodox Church traditions. The council is a coming together of 76 nationally networked entities including historical Church traditions, Regional Christian Councils, All India Christian Organisations and specialized professional Agencies of Christian ministry in the world, having its presence in all districts of the country in every state)

Observance of August 10th Protest Day against infamous 1950 Presidential Order all over the country

Observance of August 10th by CSI- Diocese of Madras, Tamil Nadu

August10th Protest Day Protest was observed in Districts Headquarters under the Leadership of the Most Respected Bishops, Heads of Dalit Concerns Departments and Pastors.  Many Dalits Christians and public were participated in these protests. CSI Madras Diocese organised a conference on August 10th in Chennai, in the conference they appealed for support from Tamil Nadu Government for the long pending demand to include Dalit Christians in the Scheduled castes list.

Observance of August 10th by Arcot Lutheran Church

The Arcot Lutheran Church observed August 10th Protest Day in its Five Regions. The Bishop of Arcot Lutheran Church Rt.Rev.V. Samuel Kennady led the protest in its headquarters at CUDDALORE, the Deputy Mayor of Cuddalore Mr. Thamarai Selvan and former Member of Legislative Assembly Mr. Ila. Pugazenthi participated in the protest and extended their support for Dalit Christians. In other four regions at TIRUVANNAMALAI, VIRUDHACHALAM, ULUNDURPET, and in CHENNAI the Local Pastors conducted the Protest and explained about the protest day and shared the Dalit Christians issues to the public to get their support. In all the regions of Arcot Lutheran Church more than 100 people participated with enthusiasm in the protest.  Specially in Chennai Region they observed protest through prayer fellowship demanding the rights and privileges of Dalit Christians and Muslims, some students from the Gurukul Theological College, Chennai also participated in solidarity.

Observance of August 10th by Tamil Evangelical Lutheran Church

Tamil Evangelical Lutheran Church organised public protest at Tirupur with the coordination of CSI and Roman Catholic Churches. Rev. G. Ashok Kumar (General Secretary Youth Department – TELC) conducted the public protest. The TELC western region Superintendent Minister Rev. Dr.A.Christopher Chellappa and Pastors from TELC, CSI and Roman Catholic Priest Fr. Hiyasinth and more than 75 Dalit Christians participated in the Protest. Tirupur Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi members also participated and extend their solidarity addressed and explained in detail in the protest about all kinds of social oppression faced by Dalit Christians as they were denied in the Scheduled caste List.

Observance of August 10th by Indian Evangelical Lutheran Church

Rev. Elizabeth Joseph from Indian Evangelical Lutheran Church, diocese of Ambur conducted Protest Day Programs in Ambur and delivered the protest day speech. The younger generation and elders participated in the protest. The members who participated in the protest affirmed their solidarity and support for the Scheduled Caste Status.

Observance of August 10th by NCCI at IPC, Nagpur

The National Council of Churches in India observed the National Protest Day on 10th August in Nagpur at India Peace Centre. Around 30 members from Nagpur came to deliberate on the matter on Scheduled caste status for Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims. Mr. Shibi Peter, (National Coordinator, NDCW)delivered the keynote address to the gathering on the current status of the Dalit Christian case and the role of Churches and individuals. Further discussion was led by Rev. Asir Ebenezer(General Secretary, NCCI) to follow up the movement in grassroots level and also suggested to organise an event on 25th August in Nagpur. The program challenged and provoked the Dalit Christian communities to take the batton forward. Mr. Asher Noah moderated the program and discussion.

The church leaders who participated in the protest in various places, emphasized the constitutional rights which have been denied to Dalit Christians for a very long time. They addressed about the several commissions appointed by the Government of India to study the problem, which recommends to include Dalit Christians in the scheduled caste list. Through these protests held at various places, the struggles of Dalit Christian to get the constitutional rights has been brought to the people’s forum. The public has seen the protest and, in some places, they voluntarily came and participated heard the protest day speeches and got to know about these problems and expressed their support. The Protests concluded with the determination that we should continue to fight hard in various ways until the inclusion of Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims in the Scheduled Caste list and ensure that we and the future generations to get the constitutional rights.

The morcha moves on …

the morcha moves on – and the cross is but a station

Please join me in ushering ‘easter hope’ into a world torn apart by war, strife and toil – a hope that stands beyond the cross. It is our prayer that each one in this country, and the whole world, with the entire created order break forth in everlasting joy and praise at the possibilities of a morcha moving on.

With the dawn of the first Easter day came the hope of a new beginning – the news that the disciples wanted to hear since that fateful Friday afternoon. This news was crucial to the very existence of the women and men who followed Jesus as his disciples; without this news they were lost, their lives in jeopardy.

Mutual distrust, fear of the Jews and the Romans, as well as the mis-happening all around were all dinning the ear to a state of deafness refusing to believe in a reality and a good news of hope coming their way beyond their situation and their existentialist contexts. COVID like contexts compound the situation in which a sense of impermanence set in leading to a situation of ‘eat, drink and be merry (any way) tomorrow you will die’ syndrome

Yet easter – the experience of life over death is crucial. It is seen to be expressed and experienced in recognising and acknowledging the familiar voices of the assuring contexts of the past as Mary experienced beside the tomb on easter morning. The disciples experienced this as well when they  assuredly or even hesitatingly (but consciously) sought to embrace the unknown and the stranger.

With these experiences of life, Mary and the two at Emmaus rush back to the community of the faithful and the easter community gets expression. This community and expression is both evident and confident even until today and thus, the morcha moves on – with the cross being just a station …

This process of recognising and acknowledging the familiar voices of the assuring contexts of the past as well as rest assuredly or even hesitatingly but consciously embracing the unknown, should be to us the mantra for moving on – forward unto Galilee. We should not be stuck at the cross to which the world ties us down.

Rev. Dr. Asir Ebenezer
General Secretary, NCCI

A Tribute to the man of God who walked the talk: Rev. Dr. P B M Basaiawmoit

We are saddened to know of the sudden demise of the Rev. Dr. P. B. M. Basaiawmoit, a senior leader of the Presbyterian Church in India, a fiery social activist and a committed ecumenist, who was called to glory in the early hours of Wednesday the 9th February 2022.

Rev. Dr. Basaiawmoit led from the front in the Churches’ involvement in the issues that affect the common people. He was the leader of the Church who gave leadership in many community groups and social action networks. He was a leader who spoke his heart and did not fear anyone in the hierarchy. Rev. Dr. Basaiawmoit was an eloquent speaker, a good preacher and a practical theologian. His sermons address practical Christian witness.

He served as the Chairperson of the NCCI Commission on Life during the quadrennial (2004 – 2008) and as the Vice President of the National Council of Churches in India from 2008 to 2012; during the latter period he was also the Chairperson of the Personnel committee of the NCCI. During these times he played a major role in making the ministries of the NCCI relevant to the issues in North East India and to the contemporary socio-political challenges facing the country. He was a pillar of strength to the Secretariat and the leadership when the NCCI faced an organisational crises in the years 2009 and 2010.

We acknowledge the contribution of this man of God in the different local, national and global movements relating to environment, human rights, mining, migration, plight of the refugees, anti-conversion laws and such other issues.

We join the family and the church, especially all those who were mentored by him, in thanking God for the gift of Rev. Dr. PBM Basaiawmoit to the world and the ecumenical movement particularly in India. We offer our prayers and deep condolences to each member of the family. May God’s peace that surpasses all understanding remain with them today and always.

Rev. Asir Ebenezer
General Secretary NCCI
10th February 2022

Telling the stories of christs and christmases of our times ….

Sparked by the sheep-farmers’ vision of the birth of a new age, and affirmed by the wisdom from the ‘east’, the message of ‘christ-revolution’ comes to us in the birth of the Jesus movement for over 2020 years.

During these 2000 years and more we have also had many such stories – of events and people that have changed history. There have been significant stories in India and outside that have changed the course of debilitating histories and channelled to life.

The movement to abolish trading in human persons for slavery, the uprisings to free people of colour into the mainstream, the many movements to independence and self-governance, birth of the Dravidian movements and that of Neo-Buddhism against the practice of the perpetuation of caste, nationalisation of public assets and services of common good, the upper cloth movement, the abolition of sati, right down to the victory of the farmers over the farm laws, are only some of the many shining examples of christmases of our times that brought good news, new life and hope to many.

History abounds with stories of liberators who have to be celebrated. There are also many such people that are branded and banished – all because of their professed conviction and stand on the side of the excluded and against perpetuation of hegemonic oppressive structures for organised individual and corporate loot of public wealth and resources.

This Christmas, even as we celebrate Jesus the Christ, let us remember, acknowledge and celebrate the christs and christmases of our times in order that we and our posterity will have contemporaneous memories to cherish and the power to create moments of celebration of life  – the life that is made vulnerable and laid bare by the ongoing pandemic of our times.

Wish you a meaningful and memorable Christmastide. Let Hope prevail in us through every day of the New Year both through the pandemic and beyond.


Rev. Asir Ebenezer
General Secretary, NCCI

NCCI Tribute to Bishop Collin Theodore

It is with great sadness that National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) received the news of the demise of Rt. Revd. Collin Christopher Theodore, a working committee member of NCCI and the vice president of North West India Council of Churches. He was the former Bishop of the Diocese of Rajasthan of the Church of North India and served as the Moderator’s Episcopal Commissary to the Diocese of Lucknow. He was also a member of the Brotherhood of Ascended Christ, a religious order of CNI.

NCCI expresses its sincere condolences on his passing. In his condolence message The Most Revd Dr. P. C. Singh, the President of NCCI and the Moderator of CNI Synod said; “We are thankful to God for the life, witness and leadership of Bishop Collin Theodore.” He also said,  “We believe that the contributions that he made to the Church at large will always be cherished with gratitude”.

He was surely respected and beloved among the ecumenical fraternity in India especially in North India. Bishop Collin had a strong commitment to ecumenical formation of the clergy and he was ready to go to any extent to reach out to people from different churches and denominations. His passion for ecumenical endeavor was explicitly expressed through his commitment in organising different ecumenical events especially the World Day of Prayer in Delhi and around.

From his humble beginning as a person who worked at a petrol pump to feed his family members after losing his father at an early stage, Bishop Collin stood as an example of God’s miracle. His radical commitment to Christ and the gospel compelled him to lead a monastic life. He was informal in his dealings and approaches but was disciplined as far as the ecclesiastical, liturgical, canonical and other official matters are concerned.

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11: 25-26). We are sure that Bishop Collin will continue to live through us as we follow certain examples, he set for us, especially in celebrating life with those who belonged to all walks of the society.

In this hour of grief and sorrow we pray to the Almighty to grant peace, courage, confidence and fortitude to bear the irreparable loss to all in bereavement including the family, the Church of North India, the Brotherhood community and those who had the privilege of knowing Bishop Collin and being blessed by his ministry.

May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

Rev Asir Ebenezer,
General Secretary.

NCCI celebrates the legacy of a Legend: Babasaheb Dr. B. R. Ambedkar

The National Council of Churches in India salutes the legacy of a legend Babasaheb Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar, a celebrated National leader and the architect of the ‘Constitution of India’, a legal luminary, icon and champion of the annihilation of caste, who worked unequivocally confronting the inequality, injustice and discrimination that prevailed in the country – and primarily caused by the caste system. Babasaheb believed in a religion that taught liberty, equality and fraternity. He measured the progress in a society by the degree of progress that women have achieved.

We recall his conviction that political clarity and administrative reforms alone cannot shape a country like India that is so distinct in culture and social reality. He believed that the annihilation of caste is the determining principle to achieve political and social liberation. He guided the Indian minds in liberation through spiritual development.

We recall that to achieve his central aspirations Ambedkar tried to endow the Dalits with a glorious history of sons and daughters of the soil to help them to acquire an alternative identity, not caste-based, in order to regain self-respect and overcome divisions. His perspective of the status quo was not just settling with being subjugated, rather wanting more life, equality, freedom, fellowship, love and justice. His ambitions to achieve this liberation never ended until his last breath. Dr. Ambedkar was a reformer whose legacy and persistence lasts. His intelligence of social equality continues to echo and vibrate with the prevailing time.

Despite challenge from a personality like Babasaheb, Dalits are still killed, beaten, abused, prohibited from entering religious places, administering religious organisations and institutions, and officiating over religious ceremonies and attending mass ceremonies, using common utilities and resources and working alongside the people of other castes.

It is fitting tribute to the legend today when the NCCI collective, its member churches, councils, institutions, agencies and related bodies, mutually challenge and encourage each other to collectively commit in all its ministries and conversations, including in the interpretation of the Bible, to the fulfilment of Babasaheb’s dream of a just and casteless India; an India in which patriarchy is denounced, privilege of caste, colour, creed and class nexus called out,  and power rest in the collective socio-political consciousness of the people.

Jai Bhim !

Asir Ebenezer
General Secretary
National Council of Churches in India

Tribute: Bishop Dr. Phillip Silas Masih – a committed Methodist-Ecumenist

The National Council of Churches in India mourns the demise of the Bishop Dr. Phillip Silas Masih (consecrated on 20th May 2012), Bishop of the Methodist Church in India Lucknow Regional Conference and Bengal Regional Conference, who entered glory on Tuesday the 13th April 2021. Bishop Dr. Phillip S Masih also served as the President of the Council of Methodist Bishops in India and the President of CASA Eastern Zone. For a term between 2016 and 2019, Bishop Dr. Masih gave leadership to the National Missionary Society of India. His contributions to the Global and Asian Methodist Councils are noteworthy.

Before his elevation as the Bishop of MCI, Bishop Dr. Masih also served as Secretary of Bible Society of India, Jabalpur, Professor in North India Theological College, Assistant General Secretary of MCI, Executive Secretary of North India Regional Conference and Secretary of the Program Council of MCI Council of Christian Education and Nurture.

Expressing deep shock at the passing away of the dear Bishop, the Most Rev. Dr. P C Singh, Moderator of the Church of North India and President of the National Council of Churches of India, said that Bishop was a long time friend and a great Episcopal and Ecumenical accompanier. While leading the tribute on behalf of the leadership of the NCCI he also conveyed deep condolence to the leadership of the Methodist Church in India and prayers to Mrs. Masih and the members of the bereaved family. Bishop is survived by his wife Mrs. Angela Z. Masih, two sons, daughter-in-law and a grandson.

In the passing away of the Bishop Dr. Phillip S Masih the Church in India has lost a Bishop with a fervent zeal for Missions and a passion for Church Ministries. Bishop Dr. Phillip Silas Masih will always be remembered in the Ecumenical Movement as a friend of the Churches of all traditions and Christian movements, an inter-faith sojourner, a keen listener, a encouraging fellow-worker, a visionary, and an action oriented person; a leader with a heart, and a warm human person. May his soul rest in peace.

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