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

Beating swords into plowshares …

(Isaiah 2:4, Joel 3:10, Micah 4:3)

Indian Republic day 2021

Never before has the recollection of this iconic phrase been more relevant than on this Indian Republic day 26th January 2021 when representatives of the agricultural community are calling the attention of the nation to address the sovereignty of food for securing the sovereignty of the nation and her peoples.

The phrase, used in referencing to the biblical text or otherwise, has been used by Statesmen in their swearing in, while signing peace accords or while addressing the United Nations. It is also used by musicians in different parts of the world calling for peace amidst peoples.

For close to three millennia, the biblical texts have called for an end to war, “… they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4). Yet, we have not learnt from our experiences and continue to strife one with another. A large percentage of the budget of almost every nation including the poorer ones has been allocated for improving ‘security’ of the respective countries. Industries of war have been the only beneficiaries while the poor of every nation continue to be at the receiving end.

The tractors of the food producing communities in India run a commentary today on the above biblical texts that point to the fact that the sovereignty of the nations rest not in their weapons of war but in affirming food sovereignties. This will in turn reduce illnesses, eradicate malnutrition, prosper mutual cooperation, ensure fair trade and just commerce, and further fraternal relations.

On this anniversary of the Republic day, the 26th of January 2021, may ‘we the people’ of the Sovereign Socialist Democratic Republic of India challenge ourselves to build for us and for all creatures in our shared home – this planet – secure and sovereign neighbourhoods and states that say NO to sovereignties affirmed through war and bloodshed and YES to affirming sovereignties of food communities of health and healing.

Indians here and everywhere, and those of Indian origin, lead the way everywhere. In considering the call of the farmers we must show the world we have a different socio-political perspective to the healing of the nations, where every individual’s, groups’ and communities’ freedom of expression and conscience, as well as that of religion and belief is respected. We will invite all to join in the familiar anti-war agro-based song:

“And everyone ‘neath their vine and fig tree
Shall live in peace and unafraid
And everyone ‘neath their vine and fig tree
Shall live in peace and unafraid

And into plowshares turn their swords
Nations shall learn war no more
And into plowshares turn their swords
Nations shall learn war no more”


Jai Hind !

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

Astounding wisdom of Christmas, growing weak through every passing year . . .

At a time when the Roman power was at its peak, the Greek philosophy was flourishing and the Jewish religion looked upon itself as the only revelation of the one pure God, the birth of Jesus comes crashing in as an alternative to the status quo of a disempowering power, disorienting wisdom, and distancing religious experiences.

In the birth of Jesus the nomadic sheep-farming community finds something worthwhile to proclaim to the world. The wisdom of the east identifies in the birth of a baby, and comes seeking, the deliverance of the world. At a time when philosophic, religious and government nexus wielded power to the extent where an alternate could not even be dreamt off, deliverance was identified in Jesus by the belittled, poor, despised nomads, and the citizens of the east.

 When hope seemed hopeless the voice in the wilderness identified Jesus as the Messiah of the times. The woman who supposedly lived with many men ran into the city with the message of hope that she had found the Messiah. A visually challenged person Bartimaeus discerned the Messiah in Jesus. The roman soldier who was put on guard until Jesus died cried out that Jesus is truly the chosen one of God. Through the ages and in every generation peoples of no noble birth and nondescript persons have identified redemption and redeemers from among them that can redeem the world. Such astounding wisdom which comes alive in every age and time has the potential to transform peoples into flourishing communities of hope. This we need to celebrate lest it wane into oblivion.

At the close of a stressful year that no one wants to remember and at the threshold of what was expected to be a better year, we are met with a strain – a new strain of the virus that has dashed hopes of respite in the New Year. Wisdom and scientific temper, human understanding and intellect, are all stretched to the limit. The virus mutates and still evades us. Depressed and disappointed the world is aghast with desperation.

Christmas reminds us that agrarian and farming communities and the wisdom from eastern traditions have much to offer for renewal and recouping. Their wisdom in identifying Jesus as the Christ has stood the test of times – for more than 2000 years of Christian witness through successive generations. There is immense wisdom in the farming community, the poor, the worker, the young, children, women, people with disabilities, persons of different gender identities and sexual orientations, and all such despised persons and communities.

Christmas beckons us to get back to the drawing board, evaluate structures and systems that have betrayed us and, on the terms of and along with victim and vulnerable communities, work on building sustaining and life flourishing communities. It is a call to be prophetic and pragmatic. Let us therefore bow before the manger of this astounding wisdom; the wisdom that exemplified at the first Christmas, was relevant through the ages, and that which stands out as the hope of any possible future.

May we be blessed at Christmas and all through the New Year.


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

Churches challenged to commit to uphold Gender Rights of Dalit Women

The churches and its institutions should work towards ensuring the dignity and safety of Dalit women working in healthcare and care-giving sectors. There is also a need to open other available professions and ventures in order to encourage Dalit women their participation and representation. Ms. Hannah Dhanaraj, a dalit feminist professional, one of the panelists spoke thus in the webinar conducted by the NCCI Dalit and Tribal/ Adivasi Concerns and the NCCI Women’s concerns program clusters to commemorate the International Human Rights day on Thursday the 10th December 2020. She also said that the church should be aware that the Dalit women are made to work only on certain sectors of labor as in life-sustaining work and as caregivers. She also said that strategically the choice for dalit women professionals is limited and also are underpaid.

On the same note Ms. Deepthi Sukumar co-convener of the Safai Karmachari Andolan mentioned that a major effort is required to address the safety and protection to women working as sanitation and health care workers. She also mentioned that Churches should take note and involve in rebuilding, restarting and reworking strategies on eradicating and challenging caste atrocities and forcing dalit women and men to dangerous works such as manual scavenging. She also said that churches can involve in advocacy, lobbying, researching new forms of untouchability practices that have emerged during the pandemic and post-pandemic situations.

Speaking from the Human rights angle Ms. Cynthia Stephen, social activist and human rights defender spoke of the need to devote resources to uplift the dalit women in order to make them economically and socially empowered. She said that the task of the church is to bring out special provisions in the way of giving leadership to the women priests and clergy. She also said that the challenge is for the churches, its institutions and clergy particularly male clergy is to distribute and encourage the sharing of resources to the Dalit women. She also mentioned that there is a desperate need to become a part of the system that upholds the rights and dignity of Dalit women.

It is to be noted that caste system is the most heinous social structure world has ever seen. Caste-based discrimination involves massive violations of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. Dalit women are one of the largest socially segregated groups in our country. The dominant caste groups (oppressors) use sexual abuse and other forms of violence and humiliation against Dalit women as tools to inflict “lessons” and crush dissent of labor and other movements within Dalit communities. Hathras case is one of the recent examples of such violence.

Although both Dalit men and women suffer under the same traditional taboos, Dalit women are confronted with these more often and are frequent victims of sexual abuse. They are discriminated not only by people of dominant castes, but also within their own communities, where men are dominant. In such perilous times the significance of Human Rights in the context of Caste based Gender violence constraining to the women in the margin becomes a dire need of the hour. Human Rights is the fundamental right of every human being to live, sustain and thrive on earth and betrayal of a person’s human right is a serious attempt to shatter the person’s dignity and right to life.

The theme for the international Human Rights Day 2020 suggested by the United Nations say “Recover Better – Stand Up for Human Rights.”  The theme speaks volumes towards a praxis-oriented step to rebuild, rethink, restructure and rework from the past to form a brand new present which sojourns by taking everyone together without any form of discrimination or differentiation.

The National Council of Churches in India – Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns and Women’s Concerns organized the webinar to mark the Human Rights Day and also conclude the 16 days of global activism against gender based violence. The webinar was yet another opportunity to reflect and emphasize effective and praxis-oriented activism. The Churches in the membership of the NCCI must stand with the Dalit women who are fighting for rights, fighting for justice, and together push for eradicating caste and caste based gender discrimination.


Pradip Bansrior
Executive Secretary
Dalit and Tribal/ Adivasi Concerns
National Council of Churches in India


The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” John 1.14 NIV

Dear Beloved members of the large family of NCCI,

There cannot be a more relevant Bible verse for Christmas this year than John 1.14, where our great yearning is met by the assurance of the Word of God. The reason is obvious. We live in a world torn apart by the attack of the great pandemic. COVID- 19 is not just a serious health hazard only. It is a plague which has affected our courage, mental peace, family life, economy, spiritual life, educational system, job security and future planning in all areas of life. We are suffering for almost 10 months now because of the devastating pandemic taking away the lives of many and leaving many disabled. The whole world is running around looking for the discovery of vaccine as well as for other ways of escaping from the pandemic. If someone who has the power and courage can come and live with us to heal us, comfort us and restore us, that is what we require urgently. The word of God says, that in the birth of Jesus, that is accomplished fully. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. He is very much present among us as Immanuel, “God with us.”

I am happy to note that the NCCI secretariat took up the challenges of COVID-19 and organized many programmes and activities through Webinars, Zoom meetings and other virtual techniques. Churches accompanying Distressed Migrants to Life, Church and Women during COVID-19, Six Webinars of “We the people:”, deliberation on our Constitution, Pastoral Care During COVID-19, Sustainable Environment, Affirming Human Rights and intercepting Human

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Tribute to an Ecumenical Stalwart: His Grace Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma


The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) joins the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church in thanking God for the life and witness of the Metropolitan His Grace Dr Joseph Mar Thoma, who received his home call in the early hours of 18 October, 2020 months after his 90th birthday.

The Metropolitan has been a great ecumenist, visionary and a committed church leader. Churches in India will remember his astute and graceful leadership for years to come. His passing away is at a time when Christian communities in India desperately need strong and proficient leadership.

The 63 long years of his ministry through the church benefited not only the Mar Thoma Church but also other churches in India and Asia. Besides giving leadership to the NCCI as its President, the Metropolitan also provided leadership to the Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA), Christian Conference of Asia and World Council of Churches in various capacities.

A man of courage, His Grace helped NCCI face critical moments in its history with determination especially during organizational crises. The Metropolitan was an influential and effective mediator of conflicts that emerged within and between member churches. His initiatives in peace talks in Nagaland, Manipur, East Timor, Cambodia and Sri Lanka are remarkable and witness to his gift and talent as a peace-builder.

HG Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma willingly acknowledged people who worked in ecumenical organizations, and many in ecumenical circles will testify to his hospitality and care with a personal touch. He took daring decisions once he was convinced of a cause and executed the same without fear or favour.

NCCI joins the Mar Thoma Church in praying God that the Church will find comfort and peace in the certain hope of resurrection to eternal life. With ardent hope in the Triune God we continue to pray for the meaningful journey of the Church.

Most Rev. Dr. P. C.Singh

Rev. Dr. D. Ratnakara Sadananda
Ms. Aleyamma Thomas
Mr. Liju Kuriakose
Vice Presidents

Rev. Joshua Peter

Rev. Asir Ebenezer
General Secretary