Looking up with pride even as challenges abound . . .

On the occasion of the 75th Republic Day we look up with pride at the huge strides that ‘we the people’ have taken to reach where we are today. Many empowering legislations have been negotiated and passed, democratic patterns of governance and election processes have still been affirmed, many autocratic and despotic governments were replaced, the legislative, judicial and administrative branches of polity have time again been held accountable, systems of local governance have been put in place with planning and monitoring powers in the hands of the voter; huge strides in science and technology, communication and media, economics, banking and commerce, as well as in education and health care; all these and more in the last 74 years of governing ourselves as a republic.

Despite the many strides that make one proud citizen of this great country, some gaps are still evident. The renewed and aggressive attempts to equate Ram rajya with hindu rashtra is rather worrisome. In recent times this has created a sense of despondency in the minds of the minority ethnic and religious communities. This, coupled with the eluding peace in Manipur and the untold continuing hardship experienced by the people of the Christian Community there over nine months and even to this day, leaves much to be desired.

On the occasion of the 75th Republic day the National Council of Churches in India requests the 14 million faithful belonging to the protestant and orthodox churches in it’s membership, to join the entire Christian Community and well meaning citizens of all religious and ideological persuasions in reiterating and affirming the pluriform multicultural credentials of the country. The NCCI urges this in the strong conviction that an India that continues on its strong secular credentials is fundamental to development of all peoples (use of ‘s’ intentional) irrespective of religious and ethnic identities so that no one is left behind.

The 75th year is an opportune moment to rediscover us together, the us who we were in days past. We urge all Christians to join people of similar intentions in birthing this India once again – the India that we know – the India where the Constitution will be protected, concerns of all communities addressed, spiritualities of all respected, secular credentials of the State affirmed, and there is no one left behind.

Let us together build this India we know of, and leave it as a cherished legacy for generations to come.

Jai Hind !

Rev. Asir Ebenezer
General Secretary

My kingdom is not of this world. . . Christmas 2023

The Gospel according to Mathew starts with the question about the birth of the King of the Jews, “Where is he that is born King of the Jews?” (Mathew 2:2). Legend holds that the fourth Magi’s search for the Messiah ended when he ultimately reached Golgotha much after the Messiah was crucified – “And sitting down they watched him there; and set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS….. (Mathew 27: 36, 37) .

While being questioned whether he was the king of the Jews, Jesus responds “My kingdom is not of this world…” (John 18: 36). This resonates with what the writer of the fourth gospel records earlier that Jesus’ followers are ‘in’ the world but not ‘of’ the world (John 17: 13,14, 15).

While Mathew presents Jesus as ‘king of the jews’ amidst the shining star and Magi, Luke portrays Jesus’ birth with the angels and the shepherds as a matter of great Joy to the world. The writer of the Gospel according to Mark, however, starts with Jesus’ wilful enrolment into the call of John the Baptist. With no reference to Joseph (except Joseph of Arimathea) and without any reference to Mary as his mother, Mark presents Jesus as saying, ” …. whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother” (Mark 3: 31 – 35) indicating working the will of God as the primary purpose of mission in the world.

While migrants and the marginalised find a place in the Christmas story of Mathew and Luke, Mark and John sharpen the focus to challenge us to remind ourselves of working the will of God.

This year the birth of Jesus is observed amidst war and conflict, contexts that are sub-human to say the least. Left unchecked, these contexts lead to a depravity of human mind that is self-annihilating.

Through all the din that surrounds Christmas, let us recognise the still small voice that calls us to an introspection of where we are vis-a-vis working the will of God – a call to fall in line with the mission of Jesus, that call to which we have responded in faith through baptism. May the observances of Christmas propel us to witness to a barrier- free, non-hegemonic, casteless world that affirms diversity in pluriforms – in the world but with an ‘out of the world’ experience of joy and peace – a ‘kingdom’ that is not of this world.

Let us Rejoice in hope, Review life-mission, Re-orient foci, Relocate amidst people…

Merry Christmas

Rev. Asir Ebenezer
General Secretary, NCCI

No one is complete without the Other – Reflection on Marriage Equality Case

We note with concern the sentiments and emotions of persons with varied gender identities and sexual orientations with regard to the judgement of the Honourable Supreme Court in the ‘marriage equality’ case. We also note with respect the optimism in the community to take the ‘setback in expectation’ as a means to a way forward.

The National Ecumenical Forum for Gender and Sexual Diversities is a space in the National Council of Churches in India NCCI-NEFGSD mandated by its constituents, to explore and understand gender identities and sexual orientations, in order to advise the Church to grow into an inclusive communion of all people. The NCCI- NEFGSD will study the judgement together and accompany the community in the pursuit of equal rights, as well as of the dignity of the LGBTQIA+ Communities.

The NCCI – NEFGSD will also seek to initiate conversations within faith communities on traditional beliefs, faith affirmations and teachings of the church on the institution of marriage and constructs surrounding the same in order that no one is left behind, ‘kept outside,’ or ‘shut out’ from the ambit of God’s embrace of All.

The Ecumenical Document on Human Sexuality (2010) of the NCCI states:
1. Love in all its forms, ‘agape’, ‘philea’ and ‘eros’, is central to the Christian understanding of the divine and the consequent ordering of human communities.
2. Sexuality is characteristic of our being created in the image of God and has the potential to facilitate our becoming in God.
3. Sexuality is essentially relational and has pluriform expressions.
4. Sexuality can however be distorted.
5. We need to Re-read Sexuality in Scripture, Tradition and Liturgy
6. The dichotomy between spirituality and physicality is blurred when sexuality is embraced within a horizon of human flourishing and covenantal love.
7. The Church has to be an inclusive just community

The Constituents of the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), a forum of historical and traditional churches of the Protestant and Orthodox denominations and the related Councils, Organisations and Agencies, have been accompanying and have been accompanied by persons of all gender identities and sexual orientations for over two decades trying to understand their respective and all identities and orientations.

We pray for all those who feel left out and/ or let down, and pledge support in our common pursuit of Life-flourishing. No one is complete without the other.

Blessings and Peace

Rev. Asir Ebenezer
General Secretary, NCCI

Pray for Peace in Palestine and Israel

The situation in Palestine and Israel is deplorable. Unabated violence has made several homeless, many injured and dead.

We pledge our prayers for the Peace in Palestine and Israel, and plead with all concerned – Governments and Agencies alike – to do all that is in their power to stop violence, save lives and de-escalate further damage to the people of Palestine and Israel, and in the region.

As the National Council of Churches in India, we unambiguously condemn violence in all its guises and the loss of innocent lives on both sides especially the attack and killing of more than 2,500 civilian lives from 6th of October, 2023. We decry violence as it perpetuates suffering and pain, and we remember that every life is a precious creation of God. We mourn for every lost life. We speak comfort to all bereaved.

We cannot turn a blind eye to the long and painful history of oppression and the forceful occupation of Palestinian land. Over many decades Palestinians have borne the weight of dispossession, displacement, and the denial of their fundamental human rights, injuring over 152,560 Palestinians and over 6307 Israelis since 1948. In our hearts, we know that “Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:20).

We invite all constituents and their units to earnestly lift this concern to God in Prayer. Pray for the immediate cessation of the conflict.

While we pray for the immediate cessation of conflict and healing, we also pray for the long-awaited Justice for the people of Palestine.

May God bring healing in the land.

The Call: A Lament of the Suffering 

Psalm 23 Inspired by the Kairos document


Rev. Asir Ebenezer
General Secretary, NCCI


God bless India …

The celebration of the Independence Day every year is an occasion to remember the people who have stood up to the bullet of the occupier. It is also an occasion to recall the path we had set for ourselves and have trod, as also the achievements we have made during the times of breathing the air of independence.

On the occasion of the 76th anniversary of the 15th August 1947, we join fellow citizens in relishing the legacy of standing up for self-determination and rededicating together for a better today and a new tomorrow.

Between today and this day last year we have reached out to the moons; we have upheld democratic traditions of electing our leaders in different states of the Indian Union; we have strived with resilience to keep the spirit of respecting dissent; and we have sought diligently to hold those in public service to accountability.

We recognise, and confess though, that we are not fully there. We have repeatedly failed each other in upholding our constitutional rights. Contexts of perpetuated discrimination including those relating to caste constructs, gender identities, varied abilities, and sexual orientations, contexts of compelling ethnic conflicts and communal discord, contexts of blaming and shaming religious minorities, contexts of market driven greed and avarice that structuralises poverty and impoverishment, have also contributed to where we are today. We acknowledge that but for these and such contexts We would have been a better People.

May this day wake us up to the fact that what we desire for ourselves must benefit the Least of us All. May the remembrances of the day bring us to greater determination and resolve to stand with those citizens who still yearn for the fruits of Independence, and together stand up as a nation that acknowledges and respects diversity as a means to realise Unity.

God bless India. Jai Hind  !

Rev  Asir Ebenezer
General Secretary, NCCI.

Prayer Day for PEACE in MANIPUR (July 30)

In the last few days we have witnessed the outrage of the People of India in different locations with regard to the unabated violence in Manipur. We stood united in condemning violence and sexual assault on women, and continue to voice out and intervene.

We also see unrest and semblances of violence spilling over to other parts of the North East India. This is quite dangerous and needs to be contained.

The secretariat of the National Council of Churches in India and it’s service wing the Christian Service Agency is seized of the matter in different fronts. We are in constant contact with our constituents in Manipur and churches in NE for finding out the ways to build peace in that region. Agencies related to the NCCI like the CASA and the LWSIT are also actively engaged in providing relief to the affected irrespective of ethnicities or religious affiliations.

We now appeal for concerted prayer – joining together in one accord – to advocate for PEACE in Manipur and the whole of North East India. We request all local churches/ congregations/ parishes/ corps in the episcopal overview and pastoral supervision of the NCCI Member Churches to observe the upcoming Sunday – Sunday the 30th July 2023 as a COMMON Day of PRAYER for PEACE in MANIPUR and across NORTH EAST INDIA.

We pray God Almighty to look favourably upon the situation in Manipur, and bless all efforts to bring Healing amidst the people of Manipur and Peace in the region.

We thank the Heads of Churches, all the Constituents of the NCCI, and all those who have actively involved in providing relief and advocating for Peace in Manipur. We further urge you to be continually involved and encourage all, over whom you have influence, to also involve in local initiatives to build peace and promote communal harmony among and amidst all people.

Let us be fervent in prayer.

Asir Ebenezer
General Secretary NCCI

NCCI demands restorative justice; appeals for lasting solution to the Manipur context

The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), a fellowship of Protestant and Orthodox churches, condemns the violence in Manipur and urges the State and Central Governments to take immediate steps to restore normalcy. Attack on life and property, and providing a communal colour to an otherwise non-religious issue is unacceptable.

We are deeply saddened by the sequence of events that have unfurled in the state, polarising people into hostile camps. We recognize that there are long-term grievances within the communities that need to be addressed through dialogue at different levels. In this strained situation we urge the Government and its administration to develop confidence between communities, taking strong and impartial action against those who indulge in violence and spreading of hate campaigns.

Reports reveal the tragic nature of the devastation caused, especially the heavy loss of innocent lives in the clashes. Worship places and houses were attacked and burned, and heavy damages inflicted on public and private properties. In this context, we urge the communities to refrain from any violent acts as violence is not the answer to such issues. We also urge the communities to support the authorities in bringing peace and normalcy to the region.

We urge the National Human Rights Commission and the National Minorities Commission, as well as the State Human Rights and Minority Commissions, to take suo moto cognisance of the matter and address the situation. The Government of Manipur must take responsibility for restoration of life and rebuilding communities, churches and temples vandalised, and restarting destroyed establishments.

We fully understand the sentiments, emotions and grievances of people in thick of the violent context and encourage the faith communities in the region to take initiative towards dialogue for peace and communal harmony. To this end also we express our solidarity and stand by for any assistance or accompaniment required in building peace.

Acknowledging the steps that have been taken, we appeal that this crisis situation will be used as an opportunity to bring a lasting solution to the long-vexed context.


Rev. Asir Ebenezer
General Secretary

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


Committing toward an empowered citizenry enlightened by the Constitution . . .

On the occasion of the 74th Republic day, we join fellow citizens of this great country in greeting each other a year ahead with the virtues of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity available to every individual, household, social group, ethnic community and the whole society.

On this august occasion we acknowledge the wisdom of the drafters of the Constitution which came into force on this day seventy-three years ago as the governing document of the ever emerging vibrant Indian Republic, particularly Babasaheb Dr. B. R. Ambedkar.

Despite the challenges that it has faced over time we concur with all others who believe that the Indian Constitution remains a largely sufficient document that provides sovereignty and security to all people in the country while affirming space for every expression.

It is our dream that the principles that govern our country as a sovereign, socialist, secular, and democratic Republic be further strengthened and realised in all spheres of the legislature, judiciary and the administration of the country.

It is our desire that the rights and privileges endowed and guaranteed by the Constitution be affirmed to all the citizens of the country particularly to the distressed communities including the christians, muslims, women, dalits, tribals, adivasis, persons with ‘disabilities’, those with different gender identities and sexual orientations, and the children and youth in all these contexts.

It is toward the realisation of this dream and desire that we as the Churches of the Orthodox and Protestant traditions in the fellowship of the National Council of Churches in India, as well as Christian and Ecumenical Agencies, Organisations and Councils associated with the NCCI, through the power of Jesus our Lord who when singled out braved death on the cross and was raised to life on the third day in the community of the faithful, dedicate our every endeavour to uphold and protect the Constitution at all cost, and to ensure dissemination of the contents of the same for the empowerment of the fellow citizens of the country.

It is our ardent hope and fervent prayer that the priority accorded to the rule of law, based on the primacy of the Constitution that we have given to ourselves, will end prevailing targeted hostilities against Dalits, Adivasis, Christians, Muslims and such other marginalised and vulnerable communities in the country.

Indeed – an empowered citizenry, enlightened on its constitutional rights and responsibilities as well as on its privileges and prerogatives, will surely see the nation through to many more years to come.

Jai Hind!

Rev. Asir Ebenezer

General Secretary.

NCCI appeals Churches for austere New year celebrations in solidarity with Christians attacked for faith.

Over a thousand Christians from more than 20 villages in Narayanpur and Kondagaon districts of Chattisgarh state had to flee for their life as violent mobs attacked them for not willing to recant their Christian faith. This is latest in a series of attacks in the State as well as in different parts of the country.

The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) had earlier condemned the December incidents in Chattisgarh state, and called the State Government and National bodies to intervene. Many others have also made representations for action. The Chief Minister has gone on record stating that no one is above law and action will be taken.

In a letter to the heads of the churches in the fellowship of the National Council of Churches in India, the General Secretary of the NCCI has appealed for austerity in the New Year celebration in order to express solidarity with the sentiments of the Christians who have been attacked and with their expression of deep commitment to the faith of their choice.

The NCCI has also requested for special prayers for the victims of violence, and to intercede for the country as a whole so that citizens of all faiths, ethnicities, identities and orientations will inherit 2023 in peace and harmony.

NCCI Communiqué