NCCI condemns the attack on Palestinian territories; urges Government of India to urge Israel to stop the attacks

The Kairos India Partnership of the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), consisting of the Christian Institute for Study of Religion and Society (CISRS), the Student Christian Movement of India (SCMI) and the National Dalit Christian Watch (NDCW) condemn the continued evictions of Palestinians and forced military presence in holy sites of the Palestinian communities leading to acts of aggression and inappropriate use of force by Israel causing untold suffering and loss of human lives.

We realize that the conflicts have a history and geopolitical interests of dominant communities. Debate on who incited and who provoked will continue unabated. Yet we call for restraint on both sides to the conflict so that loss of lives and property will be avoided.

We extend our solidarity to the families of the victims and we stand with the people of Gaza who are largely affected by the trauma of the attack of the Israeli armed forces. Let God enable all the affected ones to experience eternal peace and concord in this time of grief and chaos. As the world goes through the struggles in controlling the pandemic the challenges such as these put a dire question towards demeaning the idea of humanity and coexistence of diverse communities in different places.

The Kairos India Partnership believes in dialogue and peaceful coexistence of peoples of both Palestine and Israel. We stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine who are at the receiving end and support expressions of solidarity to Palestine that are coming in from different parts of the world.

We recognize the intervention of India’s Permanent Representative to the UN in affirming the rights of the people of Palestine,  and call upon the Government of India to use its good offices, and through its diplomatic channels, urge Israel to restrain from such use of brutal force over the Palestinian territories, particularly at this time over Gaza. This will help avoid instability, and avert a war-like situation that looms over the region.

May God grant, to all parties to the conflict, the moral and ethical conscience – that we are meant to live justly, with all people and ethnicity, in peace and with reconciliation.


Rev. Asir Ebenezer
General Secretary, NCCI

Rev. Dr. Santanu Kumar Patro – a tribute

The untimely demise of Rev Dr Santanu Kumar Patro, the Registrar of the Senate of Serampore College has cast a gloom over the minds of several of his associates and friends in the country and in the world. As an administrator and an ecumenical leader, Dr Patro has been a close friend of the NCCI and its network churches and their theological colleges for so many years, walking together on many contemporary issues that the NCCI network has involved, particularly during the last decade.

Born on October 20, 1960 in Berhampur, Odisha, he was ordained as a Presbyter of CNI Cuttack Diocese. Besides the Church of North India, his services included the World Vision India, as a Faculty at Eastern Theological College, Jorhat and Gurukul Lutheran Theological College and Research Institute, Chennai and as Registrar of the Senate of Serampore College from 2013-2021. His area of specialization was in the field of Religion and was a renowned scholar in religious studies, writing many articles and guiding many students. His scholarly articles on various subjects related to mission, ministry, theological education, religious studies, interfaith relations, ecumenism, etc were published in many reputed journals.

He was a visionary who always aimed for achieving great things for God. He worked tirelessly to take theological education to the higher levels which will in turn be a lasting contribution to churches in India and the Global South. His dream to provide quality theological education was seen during his service at the Senate of Serampore College. He had a special concern for the marginalized, through his teaching and service, whereby he was a true friend of the marginalized sections of our society. He envisioned an effective theological education that takes seriously the sufferings of the people as the basis of theologizing. As the Registrar of the Senate, we have seen some path breaking initiatives being taken, along with the NCCI in the areas of HIV and AIDS and thereafter in the area of gender and sexuality. A new syllabus in these sensitive areas of HIV and AIDS and then Human Sexuality was implemented at the Senate through his initiatives.

Being an ecumenist, Dr. Patro upheld the spirit of ecumenism in his writings and was one of his qualities which stood out during his ministry, particularly during his services at the Senate of Serampore College, which is a conglomeration of different colleges belonging to churches of various denominations. He understood the need for ecumenism in theological education and took serious efforts to develop it by embracing leaders of different churches with the utmost respect. In our long standing relationship with Dr Patro, the NCCI member churches and its affiliated theological colleges had a close relationship with him, promoting ecumenical values and challenging them towards key issues. As NCCI, we have indeed lost a true friend in Dr Patro, which we recognize as an irreparable loss for the ecumenical fraternity in India.

At this time of grief and loss, we extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife and children and share in solidarity in bidding a tearful adieu to Rev Dr Santanu Kumar Patro. May our resurrected Lord give strength to the family and may his life be an inspiration to all of us in the times ahead.


Rev. Asir Ebenezer
General Secretary, NCCI


Rev. Prof. Dr. Thathapudi Matthews Emmanuel – a Tribute

The National Council of Churches in India mourns the untimely death of Rev. Prof. Dr. Thathapudi Matthews Emmanuel, Secretary, Board of Theological Education of the Senate of Serampore College (BTESSC), who was called to glory on Saturday, the 24th April 2021 in Bangalore.

Rev. Dr. Thathapudi, was an ordained minister of the Canadian Baptist Mission (CBM) Church in Andhra Pradesh belonging to the Convention of Baptist Churches in Northern Circars (CBCNC). He was a distinguished Professor of Old Testament at Andhra Christian Theological College in Hyderabad, where he also served as its Principal for three years from 2014 to 2017. After completing his schooling in Kakinada, Dr. Thathapudi earned his degree of Bachelor in Theology from Andhra Christian Theological College, Hyderabad and Bachelor of Divinity from Union Biblical Seminary, Pune. He earned his Master in Theology degree from Federated Faculty for Research in Religion and Culture, Kottayam and a Doctorate through the South Asia Theological Research Institute, Bangalore.

He was committed to theological education and motivated several young scholars to excel in the field. His stint as the Secretary of the Board of Theological Education of the Senate of Serampore College saw an active interaction between the church and the theological fraternity. Dr. Thathapudi made meaningful contribution as the member of the General Body of NCCI. He was always keen to facilitate healing among different factions in churches and ecumenical councils. His untimely demise leaves a vacuum within the theological fraternity and in the ecumenical movement in India.

While we mourn with the bereaved and pray for comfort and peace to the family, we also celebrate his prophetic witness and passion for the rights and dignity of the dalit community in India and the most backward among them.

Rev. Asir Ebenezer
General Secretary

Rev. Yesunath Kalekar – A humble and committed servant of God

The National Council for Churches in India was shocked to hear of the news of the sudden and untimely demise of Rev Yesunath D. Kalekar, the Vice Moderator of Hindustani Covenant Church. He represented the HCC faithfully in the Executive committee of  the NCCI. The leadership and the secretariat along with all those in the NCCI who were closely associated with him expresses its deepest condolences to the family, Hindustani Covenant Church and to all those who are in bereavement.

Rev Y Kalekar left for his eternal abode on 18th March, 2021 at the age of 62 years.  He was a respected person among all those he interacted with, especially due to his humility and openness. He had a compassionate heart which showed through his work in the Covenant Social Service, a community development wing of the Hindustani Covenant Church.

His ecumenical spirit had been vivid through his participation in the affairs of the NCCI. His 35 years of service in the church brought drastic changes in the church and the society at large, especially in the lives of common masses. He will always be remembered for his efforts in instilling the messianic values into young minds.

The vision of Paul as he expressed in 1 Corinthians 15: 42-44, “So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable.  It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body; it is raised a spiritual body”, is a source of comfort and hope.

May God’s blessings of peace and comfort be upon his wife Sulochana and sons, Augustine and Arnold. May God strengthen them and grant them peace.

Rev. Asir Ebenezer
General Secretary, NCCI

Most Rev. Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom – a legend in our times

The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) expresses its deepest condolences at the passing away of Most Rev Dr Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar Thoma Valiya Metropolitan, the Emeritus Metropolitan of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church, on 5th May 2021 at the age of 104.

“As the senior most Bishop of the Christian community in India and a Bishop who inspired many through his thought-provoking theological insights coated with humour, he will ever be remembered by the church in India”; said the Most Rev Dr P. C. Singh, the President of NCCI and the Moderator of Church of North India.  Metropolitan will be remembered as a courageous prophetic ecumenist who envisioned ecumenism in relationships – relationship with peoples of different faiths and ideologies.

Born in Kerala in 1918, Mar Chrysostom began with community-oriented work in Ankola, Karnataka from 1940 to 1942 prior to his theological studies in the United Theological College, Bangalore. He was ordained as Deacon on 1st January 1944 and as a Presbyter on 3rd June. He was consecrated a Bishop on 23 May, 1953 and became the Metropolitan of the Church on 23rd October 1999. The Metropolitan voluntarily retired from administrative responsibilities on 1st October 2007.

The life and witness of the Metropolitan is a text book for those who are involved in the ministry of the Church and for everyone in the ecumenical fraternity. By being with people in their varying circumstances, sharing in their experiences and struggles, the Metropolitan celebrated life – transcending all the boundaries set by society. Thus, many research papers, books and documentaries have been published on his life. He was known for his sense of humour in communication through which he sought to communicate the philosophical perspective to life in lucid and plain terns. In this endeavour he went beyond religion to break sectarian outlook. His humorous speeches and talks have also been a favourite topic among many authors for their books.

The Metropolitan was an ardent advocate of ecumenism and he served different ecumenical bodies. He served National Christian Council (former name of National Council of Churches in India) as its president. He also gave leadership to Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) and Churches Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA) and the Kerala Council of Churches.  He represented the Mar Thoma Church as its official delegate in many assemblies of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and those of the Christian Conference of Asia. He was also one of the observers in the second Vatican Council.

NCCI thanks God for the life of Metropolitan Chrysostom and for his relentless effort to make the Gospel of Christ a living reality in the life of people.  The continuation of his legacy in advocating for justice, human rights and freedom will be a great challenge, but is an imperative part of the ongoing mission of bringing healing, joy and wholesome laughter to a divided world.

Rev. Asir Ebenezer
General Secretary, NCCI

Bishop Emmanuel Panchoo – a Tribute

The National Council of Churches in India condones the death of Bishop Emmanuel Panchoo the Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Madhya Pradesh (ELCMP) who was called to glory on the 24th of April 2021. As the Bishop of one of the member churches located in Nagpur, Bishop Panchoo was close to the NCCI family. Whenever he was in Nagpur he will participate in all the programs that NCCI conducted.

Known to be a Bishop with a missionary zeal, Bishop Panchoo was a strong believer in the church being called to be evangelistic in outlook and mission. His simplicity as a leader created a huge impact in many who were inspired with his servant leadership.

That, the ELCMP in the time of Bishop Panchoo’s leadership started ordaining women as Pastors is worthy of note. Bishop encouraged many ministries for the poor and the needy. He consciously involved women and young people to participate actively in the ministries of the church.

Despite the different odds that he faced in his personal and ministerial life, Bishop stood firm in the faith of his calling to serve the church. He was a great support to the ecumenical initiatives in the region.

The NCCI family expresses its heartfelt condolence and deep sympathy to the members of the family, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in MP and the United Evangelical Lutheran Churches in India. May we cherish the memories of our beloved Bishop and walk in the ways of God as he had shown. Let the peace of God gird the Church and all the members of his family.

Asir Ebenezer
General Secretary

Mr. S. Raju – A Tribute

National Council of Churches in India

Christian Service Agency

The entire community of the National Council of Churches in India and the Christian Service Agency is deeply shocked and saddened to know of the untimely and sudden demise of our dear Mr. S. Raju, Administrative Officer, National Council of Churches in India, National Office, New Delhi, on Friday the 23rdApril 2021. The news came as a rude shock we are unable to reconcile to the fact that Mr. S. Raju is not with us anymore.

Mr. S. Raju endeared himself to everyone both young and old with an open heart and with a smile that conveys his genuine concern for everyone he met. He was a true gentleman. In him was no guile. His love was pure and straight from the heart.

As an employee of the National Council of Churches in India’s service wing the Christian Service Agency, he excelled in everything he did. He saw office work as his very own and represented the Christian Service Agency, and the National Council of Churches in India, with utmost sincerity and dedication of purpose.

Mr. S. Raju was the face of the Christian Service Agency in the government agencies in New Delhi. His public relation skills were par excellence and produced results even in very difficult situations. He served the institution with dedication for 26 years.

The Ecumenical community in New Delhi, and the country as a whole, has lost a leader and a friend. He will be missed in ecumenical gatherings for a long time to come. His kind and encouraging words will be missed forever. We offer our heartfelt condolence and sincere prayers to Mrs. Sampurnam, his wife, Merly and Merwin his daughter and son, and, Manoj son-in-law and Sharwin Sai, the grandson, at this time of their tragic loss. We beseech God Almighty to grant peace in their hearts and strength and healing in their bodies to be able to bear the big loss and cope with this deep misery. May the God of peace offer them God’s peace – a peace that transcends all understanding. In this hour grief, we offer  our prayers to all members of the extended family.

Asir Ebenezer
General Secretary NCCI &
Secretary, Christian Service Agency

NCCI Good Friday/ Easter Message 2021

Crucify him ! Crucify him !

We are living through a time when this high decibel campaign ’to crucify’ is alive and all around us like never before. The intimidation of the religious sisters of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart Society of the Catholic Church on the train to Odisha (and at Jhansi railway station) is the latest of such incidents in the insidious agenda to discredit centuries of unselfish service of the Christian community to the least, the last and the lost in the country who are victims of generations of dispossession. It is an attempt to finish off an entire community that stands by and serves the communities that are deprived, discriminated and systematically disprivileged. We condemn this incident and all such violent attacks on citizens of this country who practice faiths other than those related to dominant communities, particularly those that practice Christianity and Islam.

The dominant narrative around the issue of conversion coupled with anti-conversion ordinances and Acts that embolden fanatical people to take the law into their own hands are paving the way to a culture of mob rule. Although the current targets are minorities, no one will be safe eventually, especially women. If such mobs become more emboldened by the idea that they won’t be apprehended, we can expect more such attacks initiated by such vigilante mobs.

We welcome the Union Home Minister Shri. Amit Shah’s assurance of strict action against the culprits. But we should see  progress in  terms of concrete action in this case since such heinous acts disrupt the freedom of individual rights guaranteed by the Constitution including one’s right to convert to any religion through exercising one’s right to free choice in matters of faith. It is heartening to note the intervention of the National Human Rights Commission in this matter.

Easter faith reminds us of the resurrection of Jesus who was persecuted and killed by the Roman authorities under the pressure of rulers and religious leaders of that period. Resurrection event gives us a hope that intimidation or killing cannot hold sway over the movement(s) that affirms life of All. The liberative faith of over a two-thousand years can know no fetters, nor can be killed. Through faith, here and now, we partake in the resurrection of Jesus and in the eternal life that God shares with us.

Let us therefore challenge the intimidation to be crucified by continuing in the task of proclaiming the good news to the poor, standing together and with each other in calling the haughty to a life of repentance and rectitude.

Come, let us make a solemn renewal of our EASTER faith . . .

Asir Ebenezer
General Secretary
National Council of Churches in India

“Valuing Water in India” a webinar on Word Water Day

Respected Ecumenical Leaders and dear friends,

World Water Day is an international observance day and has been observed on 22 March every year, focuses on the importance of water and a core focus is to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG-6) to ensure water and sanitation for all by 2030. The National Council of Churches in India – Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns is organizing a webinar on the theme “Valuing Water in India” on 18 March 2021 at 04.00 PM (IST) on Zoom Platform. The Zoom link, ID and password are mentioned below. May I request you to kindly encourage your congregational members, colleagues and friends to join and participate in the webinar. Water scarcity, water pollution, inadequate water supply, lack of sanitation, and the impacts of climate change brings to light the inequality of access to water, sanitization and hygiene services and the need to assure the human right to water and sanitation.


Meeting ID: 997 6481 6764
Passcode: 616493

Let us join to observe World Water Day.

With regards,

Pradip Bansrior
Executive Secretary
Dalit and Tribal/ Adivasi Concerns, NCCI


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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