Dr Agnes Aboum – The Epitome of Faithfulness

National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) expresses its deep sorrow at the demise of Dr Agnes Aboum (73), the former moderator of the central committee of World Council of Churches (WCC). As the first woman and the first African to serve as moderator of WCC central committee, she proved her staunch leadership in handling the most difficult of issues with grace. Her role in enhancing women’s leadership, especially in the Church worldwide, is noteworthy.

Her passion for social justice led her down the path of activism, especially during her college days at the University of Nairobi. Her active involvement in politics forced her to leave Kenya for Sweden and she continued her studies over there. After returning to Kenya, she continued her involvement in politics and was imprisoned for opposing President Daniel Arap Moi, the longest serving president of Kenya.

She was part of the ecumenical movement worldwide for years and was honoured on multiple occasions for her faithful and committed leadership by numerous organisations, including church bodies. Her zeal for gender justice and peace-making will be remembered for ever.

On behalf of the leadership of National Council of Churches, I, pray for the repose of the soul of the deceased in the dwellings of the righteous, and comfort to those who mourn her loss.


Rev Asir Ebenezer
General Secretary

A Tribute to the man of God who walked the talk: Rev. Dr. P B M Basaiawmoit

We are saddened to know of the sudden demise of the Rev. Dr. P. B. M. Basaiawmoit, a senior leader of the Presbyterian Church in India, a fiery social activist and a committed ecumenist, who was called to glory in the early hours of Wednesday the 9th February 2022.

Rev. Dr. Basaiawmoit led from the front in the Churches’ involvement in the issues that affect the common people. He was the leader of the Church who gave leadership in many community groups and social action networks. He was a leader who spoke his heart and did not fear anyone in the hierarchy. Rev. Dr. Basaiawmoit was an eloquent speaker, a good preacher and a practical theologian. His sermons address practical Christian witness.

He served as the Chairperson of the NCCI Commission on Life during the quadrennial (2004 – 2008) and as the Vice President of the National Council of Churches in India from 2008 to 2012; during the latter period he was also the Chairperson of the Personnel committee of the NCCI. During these times he played a major role in making the ministries of the NCCI relevant to the issues in North East India and to the contemporary socio-political challenges facing the country. He was a pillar of strength to the Secretariat and the leadership when the NCCI faced an organisational crises in the years 2009 and 2010.

We acknowledge the contribution of this man of God in the different local, national and global movements relating to environment, human rights, mining, migration, plight of the refugees, anti-conversion laws and such other issues.

We join the family and the church, especially all those who were mentored by him, in thanking God for the gift of Rev. Dr. PBM Basaiawmoit to the world and the ecumenical movement particularly in India. We offer our prayers and deep condolences to each member of the family. May God’s peace that surpasses all understanding remain with them today and always.

Rev. Asir Ebenezer
General Secretary NCCI
10th February 2022

NCCI remembers His Holiness Basileos Marthoma Paulose II

The National Council of Churches in India is saddened to receive the news of the demise of H H Basileos Marthoma Paulose II, Catholicos of the East, Malankara Metropolitan, Supreme Head of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church who has entered eternal rest on Monday the 12th July 2021. May his memory be eternal and blessed.

We remember with gratitude to God the ministries of His Holiness within the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, in the global orthodox communion and in the Indian and global ecumenical settings. We thank God for the spiritual leadership that His Holiness has given to the Church and in particular to the Episcopal synod and the clergy of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.

The leadership of the National Council of Churches in India has fond memories of being warmly received by His Holiness during the many visits to the Catholicate Palace  in Kerala. His Holiness’ visits to the St. Thomas Orthodox Theological Seminary in Kalmeshwar, Nagpur, were always occasions for close interactions on issues relating to the Church and ecumenism. His Holiness’ visits to the NCCI headquarters have been joyous occasions of warmth and friendship.

The warmth and friendliness, and the smile on his face that puts one at ease, endeared His Holiness to one and all. Despite the important and venerable position he was bestowed with, His Holiness was accessible on all matters of ecumenical interests and was keen to dialogue on matters that were of concern.

The Most Reverend Dr.  P C Singh, President of the National Council of Churches in India has conveyed his deep sympathies and condolences at the death of His Holiness. He said, “The death of His Holiness Basileos Marthoma Paulose II, Catholicos of the East, Malankara Metropolitan, is a great loss to the Malankara Orhodox Syrian Church and to the NCCI family. We pray to God to give peace and solace to the members of the Episcopal synod, the clergy and the members of the church at this time of grief and mourning”.

We pray to God Almighty to bestow the Church with wisdom and guidance at this time of mourning to remember with gratitude the life of blessedness of His Holiness, and rededicate oneself individually and together as the Body of Christ, to a life of faithful obedience and relevant witness to our common Lord and Saviour Jesus the Christ.

Rev. Asir Ebenezer
General Secretary, NCCI
13th July 2021

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 Tribute to Bishop Collin Theodore

It is with great sadness that National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) received the news of the demise of Rt. Revd. Collin Christopher Theodore, a working committee member of NCCI and the vice president of North West India Council of Churches. He was the former Bishop of the Diocese of Rajasthan of the Church of North India and served as the Moderator’s Episcopal Commissary to the Diocese of Lucknow. He was also a member of the Brotherhood of Ascended Christ, a religious order of CNI.

NCCI expresses its sincere condolences on his passing. In his condolence message The Most Revd Dr. P. C. Singh, the President of NCCI and the Moderator of CNI Synod said; “We are thankful to God for the life, witness and leadership of Bishop Collin Theodore.” He also said,  “We believe that the contributions that he made to the Church at large will always be cherished with gratitude”.

He was surely respected and beloved among the ecumenical fraternity in India especially in North India. Bishop Collin had a strong commitment to ecumenical formation of the clergy and he was ready to go to any extent to reach out to people from different churches and denominations. His passion for ecumenical endeavor was explicitly expressed through his commitment in organising different ecumenical events especially the World Day of Prayer in Delhi and around.

From his humble beginning as a person who worked at a petrol pump to feed his family members after losing his father at an early stage, Bishop Collin stood as an example of God’s miracle. His radical commitment to Christ and the gospel compelled him to lead a monastic life. He was informal in his dealings and approaches but was disciplined as far as the ecclesiastical, liturgical, canonical and other official matters are concerned.

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11: 25-26). We are sure that Bishop Collin will continue to live through us as we follow certain examples, he set for us, especially in celebrating life with those who belonged to all walks of the society.

In this hour of grief and sorrow we pray to the Almighty to grant peace, courage, confidence and fortitude to bear the irreparable loss to all in bereavement including the family, the Church of North India, the Brotherhood community and those who had the privilege of knowing Bishop Collin and being blessed by his ministry.

May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

Rev Asir Ebenezer,
General Secretary.