The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) caters approximately 4 million youths through its member churches throughout the country. The subversive energy of this network needs to be harnessed to bring about an uprising in the country. This possibility should not be trampled especially at such a time as this when India stands at the verge of being the youngest country in the world. With these encouraging thoughts in mind NCCI – Youth Concerns organized a Youth Leaders’ Meeting on the theme “Celebrating Our Journey Together” from 29th April to 1st May 2019 at the NCCI Secretariat Nagpur.
The NCCI Youth Leaders’ Meet focused on bringing the youth leaders to share the ideas and visions of exertion that are involve and build a common ecumenical platform and accordance across the country especially among the youths. The three day gathering also focused on the capacity building for youth leaders and creates opportunity to address various social concerns and issues such as Human Rights, Migration, Human Trafficking, Peace and Reconciliation across the country.
Rev. Asir Ebenezer, General Secretary, NCCI shared the visions and dreams concerning youths and youthood in which he accentuated to realize the potential of the existing network offered by the NCCI and to use it wisely to counter the elements of fascism, disenfranchisement and communal violence being sown by the political bigots of our country. Mr. Jianthaolung Gonmei, Executive Secretary, Youth Concerns, NCCI in the welcome address shared the purpose and prospects of the meeting urging the respective youth secretaries gathered to mobilize the youths of their churches and dioceses through various workshops, rallies, campaigns and other creative initiatives and solidify the ecumenical commitment, mutually learn from each other and plan and dream together programmes on a larger scale.
Rev. K. Noah David, Youth Secretary, South Andhra Lutheran Church (SALC) gave a presentation on the topic “Youth in Socioeconomic and Political Context” wherein he spoke about the importance of inspiring the youths especially in churches to be politically literate so as to safeguard the secular fabric of the country. Thereafter, a Panel Presentation on the theme “Youth Capacity Building in Practice” with four panellists viz. Rev. Asir Ebenezer, Ms. Cheryl, Councillors, Sharansthan Charitable Society Nagpur, Mr. Kasta Dip, Director, India Peace Centre and Mr. Jianthaolung Gonmei who spoke on “Freedom of Religion and Beliefs”, “Human Rights and Human Trafficking”, “Peace and Reconciliation” and “Migration” respectively. The session was moderated by Mr. Ashish Yusuf, Youth Secretary, Mennonite Church in India.
The youth leaders had an interactive session of sharing the various areas of engagements among the youths in their respective churches or regions which ruminate as an opportunity to learn from the other. The youth leaders also had an opportunity to visit the socio-religious important places in Indian history such as Deekshabhoomi, India Peace Centre and Zero Mile Stone of India. The delegates also participated in Shradhanjali Programme, a condolence meeting convened at the Press Club of Nagpur to pay homage in solidarity to the victims of the genocide of Sri Lanka.
Deliberation on the Youth
Matters: Youth Policy Drafting Guidelines, a guideline drafted by NCCI, Youth Concerns for the youth in church was made. Suggestions, additions, omissions etc. were solicited from the participants so as to update the same for better. Time was also devoted to develop common and individual programmes and to see to it how to nurture the ecumenical fellowship and solidarity more proactively. There was space for the delegates to share their feedback and recommendations. In short the three days program was focused and purpose oriented and the delegates bid adieu with a strong determination to engage more productively with the youths of their respective churches. The three-day programmes was initiated with a daily devotion led by Dn. Basil Paul, an intern at NCCI-Youth Concerns.
The meeting bore witness to the Youth Leaders from 13 churches.