The NCCI resolves to get going…

The XXIX General Assembly of National Council of Churches in India concluded accentuating ‘The Hour’ with the objective to prioritise inclusion, accessibility, peace and justice.

The time spent at Henry Martyn Institute, Hyderabad, has kindled fellowship as the delegated representatives of Protestant and Orthodox denominational traditions of the Member Churches, Regional Christian Councils, All India Christian Organisations, and Related Agencies of NCCI, representing all diversities came together to participate in singing and praying through inclusive worships led by women, children and youth and reflecting theologically on the Word and issues of the Hour.

The engagement of all delegates was striking as they participated actively in the six parallel workshops educating and enabling churches to comprehend the need of the Hour. Simultaneously, the printed resources, handmade crafts and informative accessories were exhibited. The blend of music and culture projected during two ecumenical evenings including the celebration of Eid Milap which was glorious and blissful.

To Journey forward, H.G. Dr. Geevarghese Mar Yulious (Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church), has been elected as the new President. Rev. Dr. Packiam T. Samuel (Church of South India), Mrs. Basanti Biswas (Methodist Church in India), Ms. Sharon Misha Mayuri Dass (Mennonite Church in India) are the Vice Presidents and Rev. A. Joshuva Peter (United Evangelical Lutheran Church in India) is elected as the Treasurer.

Please pray for the leadership and the ministries of the Council.

Glimpse of thematic workshops



Asir Ebenezer
General Secretary, NCCI


NCCI XXIX General Assembly 2023 – Program Shedule

National Council of Churches in India


21th – 24th April 2023, Henry Martyn Institute, Hyderabad

Program Schedule

21th April 2023 (Friday)

07:00-08:00 Breakfast (Served in place of stay)
09:00-12:00 Registration
12:00-13:00 Inaugural Worship


13:00-14:30 Lunch
14:30-15:00 Welcome (NCCI and Hosts)

Introduction to the XXIX General Assembly

Felicitation of Guests

15:00-16:00 Biblical Theological Reflection I:

Discerning the ecclesial Mandate:

An inter-scriptural reading

16:00-16:30 Tea

01.  Roll Call

02.  Constituting the Assembly

03.  Appointment of Recording Secretaries

04.  Adoption of the Agenda

05.  Felicitation and Obituaries

06.  Release of Souvenir

07.  Appointment of

(a)   Credentials Committee

(b)  Resolutions Committee

(c)   Message Committee

(d)  Nomination Committee

08.  Receiving

(a)   Proceedings of the Last Assembly

(b)  Minutes of the Office Bearers’ Meetings

(c)   Minutes of the Working Committee

(d)  Minutes of the Finance Committee

(e)   Minutes of the Executive Committee

(f)   Minutes of the General Body

(g)  Reports of the Programs


17:30-18:30 Reports of the Pre-Assemblies (one page each)

i.               Youth

ii.              Women

iii.            Children

iv.            IDEA

v.              NEFGSD/ ESHA


18:30-19:30 Inauguration of Exhibition Stalls


19:30-20:30 Dinner (Served in the place of stay)

22nd April 2023 (Saturday)

07.30-08:15 Breakfast (Served in place of Stay)
09:30-10:15 Worship led by Women
10:15-11:00 Keynote address:                                           Rev. Prof. Dr. Jerry Pillay

General Secretary, World Council of Churches

11:00-11:30 Tea

09.  Presidential Address

10.  General Secretary’s Report

11.  Treasurer’s report

13.00-14:00 Lunch



12.  Greetings from Fraternal and Overseas Guests

13.  Membership Concerns

16:00-16:30 Tea
16:30-17:30 Regional Ecumenical Expressions
18:00-20:00 Ecumenical Evening
20:00-21:00 Dinner


23rd April 2023 (Sunday)

07.30- 8.15 Breakfast (Served in places of stay)
09.30-10.30 Ecumenical Worship led by Children
10:30-11:00 Tea
11:00 -11:45 Biblical Theological Reflection II:

Compassionate Engagement and Discipleship


11:45-13:00 Thematic Plenary II

Exclusion and prejudices:

Challenges for a Transforming Church (Panel)

13.00-14.00 Lunch
14:15-16.00 Thematic Workshops

  1. Church Growing in Inclusion – Disability
  2. Church Growing in Inclusion – Gender and Sexual Diversity
  3. Living out Faiths and Beliefs Together with all
  4. Gender and Social Inclusion
  5. Climate Change and Sustainable Living
16.00-16.30 Tea
16.30-17.30 Reporting from Thematic Workshops
18:00-20:30 Ecumenical Evening with leaders of different faiths





24th April 2023 (Monday)

07:30-08:15 Breakfast (Served at places of stay)
09:30-10:15 Worship led by Youth
10:15-11:00 Biblical Theological Reflection III:

Learning to Hope

11:00-11:30 Tea

12.  Report of the Resolutions Committee

13.  Report of the Message Committee

14.  Report from the Nomination Committee


12:15 – 13:00 Business Session VI

Setting Priorities for the next Quadrennium (2023 -2027)


13:00-14:00 Lunch
14:30-15.30 BUSINESS SESSION VI (Continued):

Setting Priorities for the next Quadrennium (2023 – 2027)


15.30 – 16.30 Installation of the New Office Bearers

Vote of Thanks

Closing Worship

16.30-17.00 Tea
1800 – 19.00 First Meeting of the New Executive Committee Members
19.30-20.30 Dinner (Served at the places of stay)


There could be some departures on 25th morning also . . .



NCCI XXIX General Assembly 2023 – Biblical Nuances of the Hour

Biblical nuances of the hour

The hour has come; … let us be going.  Mark 14:41-42

The Context

After Passover celebrations, Jesus and his disciples headed over to Gethsemane to pray. Passover was an occasion to remember how God delivered and freed Israel from foreign oppression. It was a time of great patriotic and messianic anticipation. Jerusalem was overcrowded with multitudes imbued with messianic expectation and it was significant during the period of Roman colonialism. The presence of Jesus in Jerusalem augmented the expectation of people, while the colonial authorities and the religious leaders were disturbed. Their disturbance took the form of a conspiratorial nexus  with the sole aim of annihilating Jesus. The Pharisees, Sadducees, chief priests, and elders, along with Judas, one of the disciples of Jesus, and Roman soldiers joined together as part of this nexus. Their main obstacle was the crowd (Mark 14:1–2). Jesus’s withdrawal for prayer can be seen in this background. Jesus was aware of the consequences of the consolidation of the powerful against him. While he was going through the agony, in prayer, he turned to the disciples whom he instructed to remain there and keep awake (v.34) but they were sleeping. This was a highly terrifying situation; Jesus was praying so as to avoid a direct confrontation and Mark described it saying “if it were possible, the hour might pass from him” (v.35). But ‘the hour has come’ and with that realisation Jesus awakens the disciples, who couldn’t read the signs of the time, and said ‘enough’ ‘let us be going..’ (v. 42). Although the word ‘enough’ denotes sorrowful expostulation, the rest of his words show the determination of Jesus to face the situation courageously, whatever the consequences may be.  It shows Jesus’s firm decision to proclaim God’s glory by being part of the struggles and pathos of the common people struggling under the yoke of Roman imperialism and its manifestation of power in different ways.

  1. The hour exposes the intensity of prevailing evil

The hour is an occasion to realise how repressive and coercive powers craft their trickeries to cover up the realities of the world by annihilating truth and justice. Power seeks to coercively ‘discipline’ the world and those who do not come into its brand of discipline face the consequences. Jesus was not under the discipline of the power structures of the system during that period. Therefore, Jesus was considered to be an avoidable nuisance by many elites who transacted power during that time. Judas Iscariot was a simple instrument used to extinguish Jesus. Therefore, Jesus boldly exposed the conspiracy by saying, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me” (Mark 14:18). Power never values relationships. One among his disciples who walked with him, ate with him and was with him till that night became a deceiver. A powerful sign of love – the kiss – was made a sign of betrayal. Mark asserts this moment as significant saying, “the hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.” (Mark 14:41).  The Markan expression ‘Son of man’ is a representation of the entirety of humanhood that has become victim to the fraudulence of the powerful and to their nexus in the world. The hour here exposes how the strategies of the powermongers can easily take over truth and its manifestation of justice.

2.The hour exposes God who is active in history.  

Jesus makes it plain from the very outset that his life and work is ordered by the Father’s chronology, not his own. Thus, he cautions his mother at the wedding feast in Cana that “my hour has not yet come” (Jn 2:4). The phrase ‘the hour’ in this context can be seen as that which points towards the suffering and death of Jesus on the cross. The eschatological element in the fourth gospel is not accidental rather it is fundamental and denotes the glorification of Christ over all the forces of death. It is an assurance that God is active in history and for John it is a faith assurance that he wants to communicate to his readers. In John’s gospel we see an explicit connection between the glory of Jesus and the hour of his suffering and death. This specifically encourages all believers that our life is in the chronological order of God and hence we should not be discouraged even in the midst of the terrifying incidents in our life.

  1. The hour is a call to act and continue to keep perseverance.

“Get up, let us be going. Look, my betrayer is at hand” (Mark 14: 42) is an inspiring utterance of Jesus. Although he has clarity about what is going to happen in the next hour, he takes the courage to face it because for him his suffering, which underlines his humanity and vulnerability, stands in contrast to his vindication through the resurrection. Therefore, ‘the hour’ becomes an opportunity to act. Mordecai’s reminder to Esther in the book of Esther 4: 14 is relevant to this context; “For if you keep silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father’s family will perish. Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.”  “The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each one to his home, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!” (John 16:32–33). Recognising the call of the hour is important. “The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber” (Rom 13:11).

4.The hour is a call for resistance and struggle:

it is also an hour of urgency, for God’s clock ticks on toward the end of all things “ Children, it is the last hour! As you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. From this we know that it is the last hour”(1 Jn 2:18).  As he reflects from his exile on the island of Patmos, John sees another hour on its way. This is “the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world…”(Rev 3:10). This hour has been highlighted as the hour of resilience. Resilience reminds us of the innate capacity of affected communities to recover on their own from the catastrophes of the time. It characterises the ability to endure, resist, adapt to, and timely recover from disturbances. Revelation 3: 10 says; “Because you have kept my word of endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.” It gives the power to navigate through adverse situations. Therefore, the hour is an invitation to move ahead with clear understanding that it is a struggle and that despite this one should not lose the spirit of endurance even amidst devastating contexts.

  1. The hour is a call to participate in resurrection

John 12: 23,24 “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit”. This is a call for authentic discipleship, which is nothing but following in the footsteps of Jesus. The cost for the discipleship is life itself.  It is a call for dying for a cause and therefore it is an invitation to risk life to have life in abundance. The blooming of life can be envisaged amidst death and that is the eschatological dimension highlighted through resurrection. However, without being an authentic disciple, nobody can be part of resurrection. Earthly hours are important although experiences of cross are embedded in it. But an authentic disciple of Jesus visualises a blooming cross because on the cross life germinates from death and the resurrection is celebrated.

NCCI XXIX General Assembly 2023 – Concept Note

The XXIX General Assembly 2023 of the National Council of Churches in India

Theme: ‘The HOUR has come: Let us get Going…’

Place:  HMI, Hyderabad                                                         Date: 21-24th April 2023

Concept Note

The XXIX General Assembly 2023 of the National Council of Churches in India invites its member churches and organisations to discern the ‘hour’ and respond to the call: ‘The HOUR has come: Let us get Going…’ (Mark 14:41-42). The General Assembly is the time when the member churches and its allied bodies within NCCI come together to reflect upon its missional agenda, its goals, purposes, priorities and to determine new strategies in the light of God’s call to be a witnessing church. This is also a time for the churches, councils, organization and agencies to come together, and celebrate in fellowship the spirit of ecumenism.

The theme for the XXIX General Assembly 2023 of NCCI is ‘The HOUR has come: Let’s get Going…,’ The anguish that Jesus experienced in the garden of Gethsemane, with the spectre of death approaching him reflects the hour in which the churches in India find themselves. The sufferings of the people induced by political, economic, institutional power make it necessary for the churches to discern the hour in which we are living. This definitive moment is a paradoxical moment for it is a moment of death and also a moment of salvation. All around us we see growing challenges and threats, including acts of violence against minorities by vigilante groups. These are indicators of the hour of crisis.  It is a salvific moment because it also opens up to the church the opportunity to live out its mandate of being a community that is called to transform. This hour demands that we act now. The present reality accentuates the urgency with which the churches in India are to respond. Therefore, Jesus’ words to his disciples, “let us get going” is an imperative call for the churches, as its very own life and existence is enmeshed within these desperate times.

The HOUR in India and the world at large is characterized by a political and cultural configuration that renders certain lives as expendable. These include religious minorities, people with different sexual orientations and gender identities, the Adivasis, the Dalits, the tribals, migrants, borderland people, children, the environment, and others. Forest dwellers, migrants, and borderland people are consigned to “zones of abandonment,” and are often under disciplinary forms of surveillance where living amounts to mere surviving. The secular and pluralist character of the state and society is under unprecedented strain. The right to free speech can no longer be taken for granted as can be seen in the many instances of incarceration and detention of those who merely voiced dissent and critique.    Nevertheless, the fact that a good many voices of conscience, including those of women’s groups, students and the elderly are still being raised across the land offers hope that progress is possible. Constructive criticism is absolutely vital to the health and progress of democratic societies. There have also been quite a few laudable judgements by the judiciary, stepping up to protect democratic rights. These are rays of hope. The  human ability to resist the empire and to seek  fullness of life points us towards the resurrection event. It challenges us to move beyond the HOUR, and embrace the resurrection as much as we embrace the cross. For churches and Christian institutions the resurrection event gives us the grace and the determination to seek a new beginning in and through Jesus Christ. It points us towards a future of possibilities, unveiling the meaning of a human existence that is life affirming. It reveals the righteousness of God and the reign of justice. The righteousness of God and the reign of justice inaugurate a societal site in which the structural, institutional and corporate sins including unjust laws and practices that threatens the existence of the powerless are transformed. Through the resurrection event and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in us “our inner nature is being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16)

We are therefore urged to “be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord,” (1Corinthians 15:58) and seek right ways of living. This involves ‘going back to Galilee’ and not wallowing complacently in the resurrection event. It is about going to where the masses are and being one of them- in service, love and “compassionate solidarity.” This entails practicing our faith in and with the people in their struggles, confessing Christ in the street as the covenanted and resurrected church.

Jesus’ words to his disciples after his resurrection “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go and therefore make disciples, of all nations…” speaks of God’s power and reign and the actualization of eternal life here and in the age to come.   Therefore, this hour is the hour for the church to live out its faith and practice its ekklesial mandate of being a witnessing community, a community called out to live like Christ. This involves rethinking our missional agendas, making positional shifts and realigning our solidarity journey.  This hour is a salvific hour because it is the time to unleash the startling possibilities of living an “abundant life’ in the light of the hope that Jesus Christ enacted though his redemptive act. Jesus’ call “to get going” entails that the churches in India do not let the anguish and the turmoil of the hour overwhelm it but in wisdom, discern the will of God. The General Assembly 2023 looks towards reconfiguring a prophetic Indian church that moves ahead imaginatively with resilience marked by discipleship and hope. This is the HOUR to affirm life in the face of death   in and through the resurrected Christ and his transforming power.  The HOUR has come, let us get going…

The Assembly Team