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

Swami Agnivesh: Tribute to a Great person

The National Council of Churches in India expresses its deepest condolences on the demise of Swami Agnivesh. He was an ardent sojourner of ecumenical movements including the World Council of Churches, Christian Conference of Asia and National Council of Churches in India.

India has lost a prophetic voice who spoke out against injustice, exclusivism and marginalisation. As a friend of the common people and a courageous leader, he showed his selflessness in fighting for the least and the lost.

A champion of human rights and interreligious amity, his stand against fundamentalism and conservativism acted as a check for all kinds of extremism within religions. His determination to stand for these causes, despite the physical assaults he encountered, made him distinct.

As India mourns his passing, NCCI fondly remembers his contributions to humanity. We realize that a seer who fought several battles for the cause of the masses is no longer with us, but we believe that his works will speak of his generosity of spirit for years to come.


 Rev Asir Ebenezer,
General Secretary

12th September 2020

Youths of The National Council of Churches in India commemorates International Youth Day

“There is need for a new language and new landscape. We require a New Pentecost experience that involves, not of speaking in many times but listening with many ears.” Rev. Dr. Peniel Rajkumar, WCC.

International Youth Day (IYD) Celebration

The NCCI proffers room to maneuver the youth of Indian Churches on occasion of International Youth Day (IYD) on 12th August 2020. The NCCI’s theme of IYD 2020, “We Count…Youth Engagement for Global Action” based on the UN’s IYD theme “Youth Engagement for Global Action” seeks to highlight the ways in which the engagement of young people at the local, national and global levels is enriching national and multilateral institutions and processes, as well as draw lessons on how their representation and engagement in formal institutional politics can be significantly enhanced.

Rev. Asir Ebenezer, General Secretary, NCCI in his introductory greetings asserted the importance of Sustainable development goals targeted to achieve by 2030 and the need of its critical engagement. “We count” as the theme in our culturally oriented context that we always have a leadership role who are older and youth activity and representation are restricted on terms of experience. He emboldened the youth with contention that youth are well equipped to clear the disorder the older people have brought this world to.

Mr. Liju Kuriakose, the youth Vice President of NCCI invigorated the youth and youth leaders of various churches mentioning it is the “youth that has the duty to be protectors of the nation, be the prophet of the nation, be the guiding lamp of change in each age in each period of its own we have to be responsible and not remain in our own Comforts in our own cocoons which is a luxury but we have to be torch bearers of change and the new age wisdom.”

Rev. Dr. Peniel Rajkumar, Programme Executive, Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation, World Council of Churches (WCC) in his keynote address notably highlighted the theme “We count” and questions, do we really think you count in a world that could be sadly described as caught in a spiral of addictive hierarchy? He elucidated this from the challenging times when ‘What would Jesus do’ movement channeled the work of youth. “In the present times there has to be a new slogan “where would Jesus be?” What would be Jesus’ place in church and institutions as a young man in his 30’s given the occlusion and discrimination against youth in our systems and structures, would Jesus be within our churches or outside? How do we move ahead? By being cognizant of my own privileges and recognizing that I am very much part of the problem and remain so useless I see my repentance and redemption by being part of the solution.”

Various international ecumenical youth bodies and churches also joined the celebration and shared greetings to the youth. “Being young today is rewarding as well as challenging. Today young people find many challenges, integrating in the adult-led society, often the challenge are over looked, undervalued,” says Pranita Biswasi, a Program Executive for Youth, Lutheran World Federation (LWF).

“As young people we are not just the church tomorrow but already part of God’s people today. We may lack experience but we are also limited by power struggle to simply speak the truth like the prophet” says Rev. Cindy Huang, Presbyterian Church in Taiwan, a Youth Executive Committee member of Christian Conference of Asia (CCA).

“As youth, particularly in South Asia, commonly ask the socio-political problems and the endemic problem of corruption in their countries, youth engagement and increased representation across institutions is important for us to have a hope for better tomorrow.” Ms. Prasansa Subba, Coordinator, Nepal, South Asian Christian Youth Network (SACYN).

Role of Youth in Political Engagement

Rev. Fr. Vineeth Koshy keenly clarified, distaste in politics emerges at a very early age among the youth. There have been many connotations to Indian politics over the last decade, primarily the negative ones. Rev. Koshy further pressed upon that today’s young generation is more powerful than the previous one. He urged the youth to actively involved in the political movement as it has a direct widespread impacted upon social, economic, environmental and religious welfare of the country.

The NCCI International Youth Day celebration also witnessed cultural activities such as classical, devotional, traditional dances and songs from the youth bodies of the member churches of NCCI showcasing and representing the rich culture and practices throughout the country.

International Youth Day Webinar Series

As part of the IYD commemoration, the NCCI also conducted a weekly month-long series of webinars from 29th July to 18th August 2020 addressing various issues and concerns facing by the youth and the society at large to bring awareness, educate, and build their capacity for further active engagement at the grassroots, regional, national and international level. The IYD webinar series addressed the issues such as, Affirmation Human Rights: Intercepting Human Trafficking; Youth Mental Health; and Youth Engagement for Peacebuilding.

Mr. Jianthaolung Gonmei
Executive Secretary –  NCCI Youth Concerns

Independence Day Press Release: Rising to the occasion . . .

with a commitment to read and espouse the Constitution of India

Press release

73rd anniversary of Indian Independence, August 15th 2020

Saturday the 15th of August 2020 marks the completion of a journey of 73 years; a journey as a people who left no stone unturned to earn a freedom that we yearned for. The journey is wrought with imaginations and indignation. The journey that was dotted with advancement in different fields, struggles in some, stagnation in some others, but a determined movement toward self-rule, self-determination and self-sufficiency.

We salute the martyrs of the freedom movement and those who subsequently and to this day have laid down their lives in the service of their fellow-citizens – for their determination to secure for us, the people of this nation, a vibrant and living Secular, Socialist, Democratic, Republic.

We salute the astute mind of the architects of the Constitution of this country who have strived diligently to capture and construct the angst and aspirations of the different and varied peoples of this land

We salute the spirit of comradeship and that of secularism which prevails amidst a vast majority of peoples of different faiths and beliefs coexisting in this country

We salute the resoluteness of the citizens of the country, who have strived continually to preserve the values, practices and institutions of democracy so intrinsic to the preservation of its independence

Recollection of these rich traditions is an invaluable strength and inimitable force in facing and dealing with the contemporary challenges to the richness of secularism, to equity that comes with socialism, and to the participation of the people in governance.

Rising levels of absolute and real poverty, alarming trends of communalisation of not only politics but also institutional governance, disrespect and sordid insult to the voice and presence of the ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities, and gross violations of Human Rights at all levels everywhere, stare the nation in its eye.

It is time now, more than ever before, to recognise the writing on the wall and heed the call to rise to the occasion – as conscientious citizens and alongside all secular, socialist and democratically minded peoples in all faith tradition, non-communal ideological persuasions and political affiliations.

At the threshold of the 74th year of Indian Independence, and in commemorating the 70th year of the sacred document of the Constitution of India, the National Council of Churches in India, an expression of 30 National Churches present in all districts of the Country and 45 other networked nation-wide Christian and Ecumenical Councils, Organisations, and specialised Agencies, along with related social movements and inter-faith networks, commits to a reading and espousal of the Constitution of the country. This is done with a responsibility to preserve the edifice from any possible corruption, and with the desire and aspiration to build a nation of people that is aware of their constitutional rights and who will hold those in public office and civil service accountable to their statutory obligations.

Let us rise to the occasion, and build courage to envision and define a nation; a nation that perpetually holds itself accountable to securing and assuring Justice to the least in its fold, and thus to All.

Jai Hind!

God bless India . . .

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

NCCI Webinar on COVID, LGBTIQ Communities and the Church

Wednesday June 10th 2020, 5.00 pm to 7.00 pm


The COVID – 19 lockdown continues in the country, despite measures to relax it in phases. Various marginalized communities are undergoing struggles detrimental to their survival. Among such groups of people the LGBTIQ communities have been facing different types of struggles during this time, adding to their ongoing struggles with stigma and discrimination on various fronts. This needs attention from various stakeholders and duty bearers.

The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), has in the past facilitated faith communities engage with the LGBTIQ communities. This it did through its ESHA Project and its National forum called the National Ecumenical Forum for Gender and Sexual Diversities (NEFGSD).  Even during the lockdown the NCCI has been engaged in addressing the concerns relating to LGBTIQ communities. These experiences push one to think that the Church at large should start working on the concerns of these peoples.

On behalf of the NCCI, and as part of its ‘Rebooting as Ekklesia’ series of webinars, the ESHA Program and the NCCI National Ecumenical Forum for Gender and Sexual Diversities (NEFGSD) is offering a platform for Churches to engage with the community and discern a mission agenda and priority for engagement. It is hoped that this offering will open different avenues of engagement between the Church and the people belonging to one or all of the LGBTIQ communities.

What we want to do

To understand the difficulties of the LGBTIQ communities that became compounded during the situation as COVID and the lockdown.

To discern a call of the times in the contexts of peoples with different sexual orientations and gender identities.

To list specific areas of relevant and appropriate engagements of churches in such contexts.

How we propose to do that . . .

Listen to the lived experiences during the lockdown from representatives of LGBTIQ people (Ms Santa Khurai, Mr Rohan Regi Mathews, Dr Anand Chandrani, Mx Gopi Shankar, Ms Sonal Giani)

Consolidate the voices, acknowledge responses and suggest more possibilities for collaboration (Dr L. Ramakrishna , Ms Rachana Mudraboyina).

Discern a way forward  (Fr Dr Reji Mathew, Rev Dr Sunil Caleb, Rev. Solomon Paul, Rev Priscilla Rawade)

Click here for registration.

Webinar date: Wednesday June 10th 2020 (5.00 pm to 7.00 pm).
You will receive a zoom link when your registration is accepted.

Jesus Stills a Storm

The MOST Rev Dr P.C. Singh
Bishop of the CNI Diocese of Jabalpur, Moderator Church of North India & President NCCI

(27th March 2020)

Mark 4:35-41

On that day, when evening had come, he (Jesus) said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side.’ And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great gale arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’ And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

These are challenging times.
But we have been through challenging times before.
Indian Christians have been through challenging times, as have Christians from the time of Jesus until now.

As we all struggle to adapt our lives to this new reality of churches and schools being closed, quarantine, medical and economic difficulties, we are all finding ways not only to survive but to thrive.

One of the ways we will thrive is through caring for one another. We know that Scripture tells us “They will know we are Christians by our love.” (John 13:35) Indeed, this is not a time to turn inward but to look outward—even from our own homes—considering how we can care for one another. Calling our friends and family, praying for one another, sharing resources as we are able: this is what we are called to do as followers of Jesus, who shared His love with us all the way to the cross.

Another way we will thrive during this crisis is by looking to Jesus, our defender and our comforter. We have read how, when the disciples were weathering a terrible storm in Tiberias, Jesus was with them in the boat, though He was sleeping. The disciples worried that Jesus wasn’t doing anything about the situation, and therefore everything was on their shoulders.

But soon, Jesus woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’

Yes, these are hard times. But we have lived through hard times before. This storm, too, shall pass. We will not give up faith in God, and we will not give up on one another. Do not be afraid—God is with us.

I pray for each of you. I pray for your strength, for your health, for your faith, and for the church of Jesus Christ in our country and throughout the world.

May the peace of God keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Remembering Prof. Dr. Saramma Varghese…


We receive the news of the demise of Prof. Dr Saramma Varghese with sadness. We join fellow believers, friends and family in thanking God for her valiant fight against a long and debilitating illness. We pray for eternal rest to her and affirm the blessing of partaking in the everlasting life of God as promised to all who profess the name of Christ.

We thank God for her ministry as an educationist, an accomplished scholar, and an upright Principal of the Catholicate college. She represented the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in many National and International fora including the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) and the World Council of Churches (WCC).

She served on the Executive committee of the NCCI and as the President of one of its autonomous bodies the All India Council for Christian Women (AICCW). She is remembered fondly for her contribution to the cause of women and her passionate orthodox spirituality.

She is described as a beautiful lady at heart and a strong one in her determination. Elegance, soft spoken and upright nature, gentleness and kindness that gave her grace and beauty, are some of the characteristics and virtues for which she will be remembered and celebrated.

We offer our sympathies and prayers to her husband and the family. May the virtues and values that lighted her path of following Jesus bless and guide them all to the end.

Rev. Asir Ebenezer
General Secretary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Rev. Asir Ebenezer

General Secretary, NCCI

NCCI Youth Concerns invites young people for Ecumenical Internship

Ecumenical formation is a unique program of National Council of Churches in India – Youth Concerns, which offers young people an excellent opportunity to work in and experience in a setting of ecumenical praxis. The Internship Programme is only the beginning of a long process, it encourages young people to start the journey of ecumenism and become ecumenical ambassadors in the future. The internship programme mainly focuses on the ministry priority areas (Five Foci) for the 2016-2020 quadrennium: Ecumenism and Mission; Human Rights; Peace Building Migration and Trafficking.

Scope of Internship

  1. Learning national and global ecumenical history, heritage and practice
  2. Assistance to the work in NCCI General Secretariat & Commissions
  3. Ecumenical Sunday Worships-Visits to Different Denominations
  4. Weekend-Visits to Ecumenical/Social Organizations
  5. Strengthening Ecumenical & Church Relations with NCCI Member Constituents
  6. Book Reviews & Ecumenical articles writing from ecumenical perspective
  7. Documentation & Report Writing
  8. Internship will be for a period of six months starting from 7th January 2020
  9. Interfaith interactions and exposures
  10. Project work in respective region before the completion of internship


  1. Candidates should belong and be recommended from one of the Constituent Member Churches/ Regional Councils/ Christian Organizations or Related Agency of the NCCI.
  2. Should be a Graduate and be in the age group of 20-30 years.
  3. Should have a working knowledge of English.
  4. Willingness to learn Hindi and other local languages.
  5. Basic knowledge of computer is desirable.
  6. Should be committed and willing to utilize their ecumenical experience and expertise in their respective church/organization.

Application Procedure

  1. Last date of submission: 20th December 2019.
  2. Candidates can apply with bio-data along with endorsements from their Church/ Organization to NCCI at
  • The applicants who are selected will be informed after a due process of selection.
  1. Basic living accommodation with food will be provided and a nominal monthly allowance of Rs. 5,000/-
  2. Internships are open for young people from other countries also, provided adequate reference is available. Internships of foreign nationals or NRI’s can also apply who are sponsored by the sending Church/Organization.

Jianthaolung Gonmei

Executive Secretary –Youth Concerns

Ph.  +91 84591 18640