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Monday, 24 August 2015

North Korea - South Korea tension. Pray for Peace

Picture from rappler.com
National Council of Churches in India  is concerned about, and solicits prayers for the situation between South Korea and North Korea in light of recent developments in cross-border tension.
Please read the mail received from CCA concerning this.


The Christian Conference of Asia is saddened to hear that tensions have escalated between South Korea and North Korea, following exchange of fire across their borders, prompting evacuation of residents nearby. It is reportedly the first major armed clash between the two countries, in five years.

In the beginning of the year 2015, leaders of both Koreas had “announced openly that they would open a new era for reconciliation and reunification as they were celebrating the 70th anniversary of liberation,” kindling hope and excitement among the people. Writing on behalf of the NCCK, Rev. Shin Seung Min, Director, Reconciliation and Unification Department said “in reality we are moving from the cold war to a hot war.”

The Reunification Committee of the NCCK called for an emergency meeting, and decided to demand that “both Koreas resolve the present crisis with peaceful means”.

Friday, 21 August 2015

NCCI - APCC Press Meet/ Press Note

The Metropolitan of Marthoma Church, the Most Rev.Joseph Marthoma from Kerala; Rev.Dr. Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary of the NCCI, Dr. J. A. Oliver, Secretary of APCC , Most Rev. Johan Dang and Rt. Rev. Dular Lakra  from Gossner Lutheran Traditions at a press meet in Hyderabad on 18th August 2015.See Press note below.


PRESS NOTE


18th August, 2015


•The NCCI is holding a Round Table on the concerns of Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration on 18th, 19th August 2015 at Hyderabad in which the Metropolitan of Marthoma Church, the Most Rev.Joseph Marthoma from Kerala; Rev.Dr.Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary of the NCCI, Nagpur; the Moderator, the Bishops and senior leaders of Gossner Lutheran Church from North and Eastern India are participating in conjunction with which this Press meet is convened.


• The Round Table reiterates the significance of conciliation efforts in the church and the society as a means to strengthen and speed up poverty alleviation and nation building process. 

Thursday, 20 August 2015

NO MORE KANDHAMAL

NCCI Commission on Unity, Mission and Evangelism

NO MORE KANDHAMAL

August 25, 2008 was an unforgettable day which marred the face of Indian Democracy with an ugly scar. This was the day, when a group of right wing fundamentalist people brutally attacked and tormented several hundred Dalits and Adivasis in Kandhamal (Odisha). This day should not have happened. It's occurrence is against the spirit of the Indian Constitution drafted by Dr. B R Ambedkar and against the spirit of Unity and Harmony in India.

This pre-planned and organised ‘communal attack’ against minorities is among the biggest in the history of India, after the Gujarat Godhra attacks. Over 350 Churches were demolished and around 6500 houses of Dalits were looted , 90 innocent lives were taken, 40 women were sexually assaulted and over 56000 people were displaced.

Eight full years have gone by but no justice is established favouring the victims of this communal violence. Rather the culprits have been legally freed. Several cases of forced ‘ghar wapsi to hindusim’ have been initiated by the hindutva elements.

Therefore, the Commission on Unity, Mission and Evangelism of the National Council of Churches in India, appeals to all the member churches and organisations to organize events for one week around August 25, 2015 to mark the memory of Kandhamal. 

We appeal to you to express solidarity with the struggle of the people of Kandhamal, in order to provide adequate pressure on the governmental institutions to provide justice for the victims and survivors. 

Let us encourage all the local congregations to pray for the communal riot victims in Kandhamal and other such places. 

Let us unite ourselves to pray for ‘NO MORE KANDHAMAL’.


With Prayers,

HG Rt. Rev. Dr. Isaac Mar Philoxenos
Chairperson

Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar
Executive Secretary

Youth for Social Justice- Commission on Youth




REPORT ON YOUTH FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE CAMP, BANGALORE
The NCCI-Commission on Youth successfully organized the Youth for Social Justice Camp at Visthar, Bangalore from 3rd – 7th August in partnership with NCCI-Commission on Justice, Peace and Creation, International Justice Mission and Visthar. The five days camp was allocated with different social problems – Trafficking, Sexual Minorities, Child Rights and Disability.

International Youth Day Celebrations


COMMISSION ON YOUTH 

Panel Discussion

ALL INDIA RADIO PANEL PRESENTATION

The NCCI-Commission on Youth organized a 20 minutes radio programme with a panel discussion on the theme “Youth Civic Engagement” at All India Radio, Nagpur as an observance of International Youth Day on 12th August 2015. Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary, NCCI gave the keynote address on Youth. Various perspectives from educational institution, social activist and secular on Youth Civic Engagement in present society and its negligence were addressed in the panel which was moderated by Ms. Panita Sandela, Intern. ELC in MP Nagpur Youth presented a special number and greetings were given by Rev. Sweety Helen, Executive Secretary, Commission on Youth-NCCI.




International Youth Day - Debate Competition on Capital Punishment 



NCCI-Commission on Youth observed the International Youth Day on 12th August 2015. Mr. Swapnil Ray and Mr. Samuel from Youth for Christ, Nagpur led the morning devotion at the NCCI secretariat. In the afternoon the Inter-College debate competition on the topic “Capital Punishment should be abolished in India?” was organized in collaboration by Commission on Youth with India Peace Centre. About 6-7 colleges participated with about 15 speakers and other participants.
Bahujan Rang Boomi Street Theatre 
Street Theatre on Youth Civic Engagement


Commission on Youth- NCCI organized a street theatre in India Peace Centre on August 12, 2015 at 5:30 pm. The theme of the Street theatre was “Youth Civic Engagement”.  The Street theatre brought to focus the challenges young people face and about the deprivation about the rights of young people. The Street Theatre group was from Bahujan Rang Bhoomi, Nagpur.   


Friendly match on Independence Day

Independence Day friendly match
In observing the Independence Day, the NCCI-Commission on Youth organized a friendly sports meet for the North-East youth at the NCCI campus at 3:00 pm. Rev. Sweety Helen, Executive Secretary, Commission on Youth rendered the welcome address and Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary, NCCI offered the prayer to inaugurate the friendly sports meet. About 30 youth attended and participated the Sports meet. Volleyball and Badminton were played. Mr. Zuchon Ovung, Pastor, North East Christian Fellowship Nagpur offered the closing prayer and the sports meet was concluded.

Youth Sunady
Youth Sunday
NCCI-Commission on Youth observed Youth Sunday in association with North East Christian Fellowship conducted at India Peace Centre on 16th August 2015 following the liturgy prepared by the Commission on Youth. Rev. Sweety Helen, Executive Secretary, Commission on Youth delivered the Sermon on the theme on “Living together in the Household of God”.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

CCA YOUTH INTERNSHIPS - 2016

The Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) invites applications from young people between the age of 21-30 to serve as interns at CCA headquarters in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Three young ecumenists, who are committed to the ideals of the ecumenical movement, will be selected from among the applicants sponsored and recommended by their member church/ council. The interns are expected to bring positive energy, commitment and fresh vision to a specific work assignment in CCA during an internship starting from 1 January to 20 December 2016. The CCA youth internship program is expected to provide opportunities to search for a renewed vocation for young Christians, as well as to provide opportunities to share their valuable experiences during their internship with CCA. They will be assigned a task within one of the program areas within CCA The three interns who will be selected for 2016 internships are expected to work in the following areas: • International Affairs, Peace Building, Human Rights and Advocacy • Mission, Unity, Contextual Theology and Ecumenical Formation  Communications, Ecumenical Relations, Membership The selected interns will carry out their tasks in co-operation with a program staff, and each intern will be supervised by a senior staff. 
For More information about General Qualifications, specific requirements and closing date of receiving application etc, please click here

Saturday, 15 August 2015

YOUTH CIVIC ENGAGEMENT

NATIONAL COUNCIL OF CHURCHES IN INDIA- COMMISSION ON YOUTH
Short Film Contest

August 12 is observed as International Youth day all over the world every year. Commission on Youth also has been observing International Youth Day through organizing various programmes through its constituent members who are around 14 million people. Among the 14 million, approximately 4 million are young people. Commission on Youth has been catering to these young people on International Youth day by enabling them to realize their skills and by acknowledging the contributions youth make to the Church and society.
  
In 2012, Commission on youth organized Bible quiz, Elocution and painting competitions for young people on the theme “Arise and shine lets build the earth”. In 2013, a musical concert with young musicians was organized and also a seminar on “Youth and Migration” was conducted. In 2014, we organized an essay writing competition on our modified centenary theme “youth towards integral mission and grassroots ecumenism”. This year the UN theme is “Youth Civic Engagement”.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Dalit Christians Reiterate the Demand for Equal Rights





Beck Began, Kolkata, August 10th 2015: Church leaders, priests and members of various churches such as Church of North India, Church of South India, Salvation Army, Mar Thoma, Presbyterian and Baptist observed a candle light vigil in front of the Bishop's College in Kolkata as part of the observance of the ‘Black Day’ demanding equal rights of Dalit Christians. This protest was jointly organised by the Commission on Dalits of NCCI, Bishop's College and various member churches of NCCI.


The Christians of Dalit origin were denied Scheduled caste status by a Presidential order in 1950, which was signed on 10th August. Rev Sunil Raj Philip, the Executive Secretary of the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) informed that the Dalit Christians across India observe this day as the Black day under the auspices of the NCCI. Rev Dr Sunil M Caleb (principal, Bishop's College, Kolkata), Rev Philip Philip (Mar Thoma Church), Lieut Colonel Daniel Raju Dasari (National Secretary, Salvation Army), Major Babu Samraj (Executive Committee member, NCCI), Rev. Papiya Durairaj and J. Goldwin (Student leader) addressed the gathering. 

The student community of Bishop's College in Kolkata, Priests from various denominations and the leaders of the National Secretariat of the Salvation Army participated in the protest meet. Those who were in protest sang songs, raised slogans and held candles in demand of 'de-linking religion from caste- based reservation'. The protesters pointed out that though the order initially suggested, "No person who professes a religion other than Hinduism shall be deemed to be a member of the Scheduled Caste”, by a later amendment Sikhs (1956) and Buddhists (1990) were included in the Scheduled Caste net. Hence keeping the Dalit Christians from the fold of Scheduled caste list is seen as an injustice.

An oath taken by the participants of the participants it was affirmed that as the Christian community they will stand united to continue the demand for equal justice for the Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims. The protesters demanded the immediate intervention of the Central government to repeal the infamous Presidential Order and extend the Scheduled Caste status to the Christians and Muslims of Dalit origin.
They also demanded that the government should end the procrastination of replying the queries of the Supreme Court on this issue and give an answer favourable to the Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims respecting the fact that twelve state governments, the National Minority Commission and National Commission for Scheduled Caste (NCSC) have already given written support for the inclusion of these vulnerable communities in the SC list. 


The print media supported the observance of Black day in Kolkata by carrying the news item.




Black Day observance at the NCCI Secretariat in Nagpur 





The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) office in Nagpur observed ‘Black Day’ on the 10th of August 2015, in silent protest against the Presidential Order 1950 which does not include Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims in Schedule Caste List. To mark this occasion, a black flag was hoisted outside the main office building and a black ribbon was worn by everyone.

Rev. Sunil Raj Philip,
Executive Secretary, Commission on Dalits,
Executive Secretary- in- charge, Commission on Tribals & Adivasis,
National Council of Churches in India.

Legal Literacy and Training Programme for Mission Leaders and Grass-roots Mission Staff

Commission on Unity, Mission and Evangelism

Legal Literacy and Training Programme for Mission Leaders and Grass-roots Mission Staff

5 -7 August 2015, NCCI Campus, Nagpur



NCCI - Commission on Unity, Mission and Evangelism on the request from Indian Missions Association (IMA) organized 3 days 'Legal Literacy and Training Programme for the Mission Leaders and Mission Workers. There were 35 Mission Leaders and Mission Staff including 3 women from 18 Mission Organization from all over India representing 7 language groups. It was a first time experience for the participants in working with NCCI. 

This Legal Literacy Training aimed at:
  • opening up a thought process to systematically and critically scan the context from socio-political and religious perspectives. 
  • enhancing knowledge about Indian Constitution and Rights of the (Christian) Minorities. 
  • imparting basic legal knowledge to handle the crises at the grass-roots contexts.
  • introducing modern technologies to build net-works and 
  • sensitizing the participants with a code of conduct for grass-roots mission workers in a multi-faith context. 

Tribal and Adivasi Sunday Celebrated Across India


The member churches of the National Council of Churches in India celebrated  Tribal and Adivasi Sunday across India on the 9th of August (on the United Nations Indigenous Peoples’ Day) with the theme, “Tribals and Adivasis: Custodians of God- given Land and its Eco- systems”. 


This celebration was  a meaningful and timely one because the question of the rights of Tribals and Adivasis to their land is becoming more and more a pertinent and disturbing one in the present Indian scenario. The ancestral land of the indigenous people of India is being forcefully grabbed by the affluent as well as by the State under the  'development' rhetoric. On the other side, the rest of the world, which is experiencing the devastating effects of consumerism and ecological pollution, is  gradually starting  to realize that the closely- knit bond between nature and Tribals/Adivasis has to be imbibed to responsibly address the ecological concerns the world faces.



Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Black day protest in Delhi

Black Day Protest in Delhi on 10th August, 2015
For Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims

Jointly Organised by
CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ CONFERRENCE OF INDIA (CBCI), NATIONAL COUNCIL OF CHURCHES IN INDIA (NCCI) and NATIONAL COUNCIL OF DALIT CHRISTIANS (NCDC)



The Constitution (Scheduled Caste) Order 1950 was signed on 10th August 1950 by the then President of India which says that “No person who professes a religion other than Hinduism shall be deemed to be a member of the Scheduled Caste” which was later amended to include Sikhs (1956) and Buddhists (1990) in the Scheduled Caste net. This order is against the secular nature (Preamble of the Constitution) of the country, against Article 14(Equality before the law), article 15(Prohibition of discrimination of any citizen on ground of only religion), Article 25 (Freedom of Conscience and free to profess any religion), Article 26 (Equality before the law and equal protection of the law) and against the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which India is a party.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

ESHA Steering Committee Meeting Reviewing The Present, Envisioning The Future



The Steering Committee of ESHA (Ecumenical Solidarity for HIV and AIDS) met in Neemrana, Rajasthan for a two-day meeting on July 22-23, 2015.

The Present Phase

As the present phase of ESHA is drawing to a close, the committee took stock of the work achieved.

Work Place Policy: - Ms. Ella Sonawane, Secretary – Publishing and Programmes, ISPCK has been facilitating this work. It was noted that a few of the All India Christian Organizations had made good progress in drafting their work place policies while some others were at different stages of its formulation. Even the NCCI has prepared a draft of the Work Place Policy for approval by the NCCI Executive Committee

Policy on Education: - Six churches have joined hands with ESHA in implementing the Policy on Education in their schools. Schools have come up with Sexual Harassment & Anti Ragging Policies. To motivate Gender Equality and Zero discrimination in schools, pledges are being displayed in schools; the same are recited on a daily basis during the assembly. Mr. Andrew Victor from Andhra Evangelical Lutheran church has been facilitating this ministry. A similar work is being conducted among select colleges with the help of AIAICHE through Prof. Thiagukumar

Invitation for the Black Day Observance (August 10th)

Date : 10th August, 2015, Monday


Time : 4 to 5 pm

Venue : In front of the Sacred Heart Cathedral, Gole Dhakana, 
             Delhi. 

Dear Ecumenical colleagues, 

The Constitution (Scheduled Caste) order 1950 which says that “No person who professes a religion other than Hinduism shall be deemed to be a member of the Scheduled Caste” was signed on 10th August 1950 by Dr. Rajendra Prasad the then President of India. This order was later amended to include Sikhs (1956) and Buddhists (1990) in the Scheduled Caste net. This order denies Scheduled Caste status to Dalit Muslims and Dalit Christians thus denying the basic human right of religious freedom.

To express our dissatisfaction over the discriminatory Presidential Order and to demand SC status to Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims, throughout India we are observing August 10th as Black Day.

In Delhi the Black Day will be observed in front of the Sacred Heart Cathedral main gate from 4 pm to 5 pm. Most Rev. Anil Couto the Archbishop of Delhi, Rev.Dr. Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary, NCCI and Mr. Alwan Masih, General Secretary, CNI Synod will preside over the event. 

We request your valuable participation and solidarity


Thanking you,

Fr. Devasagayaraj Samuel Jayakumar 
Secretary, CBCI office for SC/BC Executive Secretary, CoP, NCCI

A program jointly organised by CBCI Office for SC/BC and NCCI