Please go to or click on "Website" in the menu above. Thank you.

Monday, 28 December 2015

NCCI thanks God for the life and witness of Rt. Rev. Dr. Zacharias Mar Theophilus

Rt. Rev. Dr. Zacharias Mar Theophilus, Suffragan Metropolitan of the Kerala-based Mar Thoma Syrian Church, passed away on 27th December 2015 after suffering a brain haemorrhage.

Born on August 29, 1938, as Oommen Koruthu, he was ordained as deacon on May 7, 1966; as a priest on July 9 that year, and consecrated as Bishop in May 1980. He was installed as Suffragan Metropolitan on July 3, 2004.

As Bishop, his contribution to the strengthening of the Mission work in all the dioceses and also responding to the spiritual and social needs of each region is evident in the various Projects and Missions started in different Dioceses. Some of the important projects are Asha Bhavan – Pathanapuram, Mochana De-addiction Centre – Kottayam, Thrikkunapuzha Mission, Haripad Centre, Pathanamthitta - Working Women’s Hostel, Santhigiri Ashram – Alwaye, Sinai Centre – New York, Karuthal – Cancer Care and Counselling Centre, Higher Education Loan Project, Navadharshan De-addiction Centre – Kidangannur, Mar Thoma Mission School and Mission Hostel Narasapuram, Ministry for Widow, Widowers and Aged, Sadhu Sadanam – Venmony, Bodhana Project, Bodhadhara Project, VISA-Vivaha Sahayam Project, and Dalit Development Project. His excellent leadership was seen in the success of the Metropolitan’s Navathy Project that collected more than Rs. 16 Crores and provided more than 2050 houses for the homeless in India. It has been recognized as one of the most unique contributions of the Christian Community in India.

Before being installed as Suffragan Metropolitan, he had served as president of the Mar Thoma Yuvajana Sakhyam, Mar Thoma Sunday School Samajam, Mar Thoma Voluntary Evangelistic Association, Mar Thoma Suvishesha Sevika Sanghom, Mar Thoma Dayara and Sanyasini Samooham, Vaideeka Selection Committee and the Backward People’s Development Committee.

While serving as the Suffragan Metropolitan of the Church, he also held the post of President of the Mar Thoma Evangelistic Association, Theological Commission of the Mar Thoma Church and Planning Commission of the Church. He had also served as president of the National Missionary Society of India, Bible Society of India, Ecumenical Christian Centre (ECC) and the Theological Literature Society of Kerala. In addition to these, he served as secretary of the Nilackal Ecumenical Trust of all Episcopal Churches in Kerala; executive committee member of the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) and executive/central committee Member of the World Council of Churches (WCC). 

NCCI thanks God for his exemplary life, witness, leadership and contribution to the Church and the Ecumenical movement. May his work continue to inspire in us great commitment and passion for God's Glory and service.


Thursday, 24 December 2015

Rev. Dr. Bastiaan Wielenga, a renowned Indian Liberation theologian and Biblical scholar moves on… (1936 – 2015)

Rev. Dr. Bastiaan Wielenga (1936 - 2015)
Rev. Dr. Bastiaan Wielenga,  a German missionary who opted for Indian citizenship, and a globally renowned Indian Liberation theologian of our times passed away on 23rd Dec 2015.  Among several commitments, he served the Ecumenical Christian Centre,  the Christian Institute for the Study of Religion and Society, and Tamilnadu Theological Seminary, where he played a major role in founding the’ Centre for Social Analysis’, and from where he retired as a Professor of Biblical Studies.

Dr. Bastiaan Wielenga's contributions towards articulation of contextual theologies, particularly Theology of the Poor and Indian Liberation Theology, through the Centre for Social Analysis and  Tamilnadu Theological Seminary in particular and the Senate of Serampore College at large, are indeed remarkable.

Dr. Bas authored several books including Towards an Eco-just Society (1999), Understanding Indian Society , co-authored with his wife Dr. Gabrielle Dietrich (1998), It is a long Road to Freedom: Perspectives of Biblical Theology (1996), A Commentary to Revelation (1995), Social Movements: Towards a Perspective, co-authored with John Desrochers (1991), and  Introduction to Marxism (1984). He was part of the editorial team that worked on Encyclopaedia of Marxism appointed by the Russian Marxian Council.  

His has contributed a lot towards Indian Ecumenical Movement also. His Bible Studies were instrumental in motivating the NCCI – Urban Rural Mission to position prophetically.  He was a great teacher who lived by what he taught.

He is survived by his wife Dr. Gabrielle Dietrich a renowned scholar and social activist, daughter Karuna and son Prashad.

The NCCI deeply mourns his demise and prays for the family to be filled with God’s Peace and Grace.

"The question of liberation is more urgent than ever, in Asia as elsewhere. Whether Christians will be able to address the question will depend on their readiness to go against the tide of Mammon, to turn to the Galilees of those who are excluded today and enter into a common search to find how struggles for survival can become struggles for life in its fullness."
-       Bastiaan Wielenga

On behalf of the Council

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad,
General Secretary – NCCI  

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

NCCI delegation meets Vice President of India

A delegation of National Council of Churches in India met Shri. M. Hamid Ansari, the Vice President of India and greeted him with Christmas wishes on 22nd December, 2015 at his residence.

He received the leaders warmly and conveyed his wishes to the Christian Community. The Vice President said that 'more than tolerance, what is important in our country is accepting each other as they are'. He also shared the concerns about the Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims situation in the community. He appreciated the work of the Church towards the poor and marginalized.

The delegation consisted of Bishop Subodh C. Mondal, Methodist Bishop, President, NWICC, Bishop Collin. C. Theodore, Secretary, NWICC, Bishop Issac Osthatheos, Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church, Mr. Alwan Masih, Church of North India Synod, Dr. Sushant Agarwal, CASA, Mr. R.P. Mani Kumar, YMCAs, Fr. Savarimuthu, Catholic Archdiocese of Delhi and Mr. Samuel Jayakumar, NCCI. 

Samuel Jayakumar,
Executive Secretary,
Commission on Policy, Governance and Public Witness


NCCI Christmas celebration in Delhi

The celebration of ‘Christmas joy through carols’ was arranged by National Council of Churches in India and North West India Council of Churches (NWICC) on 5th December 2015 at Free Church (CNI), Sansad Marg . Mr. Justice Vikramajit Sen, Supreme Court of India, was the Chief Guest of the event. He emphasized that as a Christian Community we should contribute to Nation Building. 

The service started with a prayer by Rev. Suresh Kumar, Presbyter-in–Charge, Free Church, followed by the welcome address by Bishop Collin C. Theodore, Secretary NWICC. The felicitation was done by Bishop Subodh C. Mondal, the President of NWICC. The gathering was delighted by carols and scripture reading. Around 10 choirs from different churches (Protestant, Catholic, orthodox and Northeast) sang carols in different languages.

The vote of thanks was given by Mr. Samuel Jayakumar, Executive Secretary, NCCI. The programme ended with the blessing pronounced by Rt. Rev. Warris K. Masih. 

The Church leaders present in the celebration were H.G Dr. Youhanan Mar Demetrious, Rt. Rev. Warris K Masih (Moderator’s Commissary, CNI Delhi Diocese), Fr. Joseph Chinnayan (Catholic Bishops Conference of India) Ms. Mary George ( President, Lott Carey Baptist Mission in India), representatives from The Salvation Army, Indian Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, Bible Society of India, National Council of YMCAs and YWCA- Delhi, Bishop Simon John, Believers Church and Mr. Oscar Fernandez, Member of Parliament who also participated the programme.

Samuel Jayakumar
Executive Secretary, CoP, NCCI
Bishop Collin C. Theodore
Secretary, NWICC

Friday, 18 December 2015

Christmas Message from Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary of NCCI


What significance does the celebration of Christmas have for us in India this year?
In a country where 25th December is being promoted by the Government as Good Governance Day, when in reality the large body of citizens is being adversely affected by the political manipulation of governance, the message of Christmas comes to us in Isaiah 9:6-7

For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

In a country where fundamentalism and communalism are breeding hatred, intolerance and violence, Ephesians 2:14-19 reminds us about the importance of Jesus:

For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it . . .  for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God,

When in our country many (the poor, women, children, dalits, tribals/adivasis, the disabled, the discriminated, the stigmatized . . .) are becoming victims of the policies and strategies of development, Mary brings a message of transformative hope for the oppressed and the downtrodden in Luke 1:46- 53

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,  and sent the rich away empty. 

In times of natural calamities, be it floods or drought, the Christmas message is that God is Emmanuel “God with us”.

Indeed the Word has become flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). Here is God pitching a tent in our midst and travelling with us through all the “wilderness” calamitous experiences of life. This Jesus assures us, “I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Matt.28:20) 

In a world where humans are struggling with suffering and sin, the Christmas message as recorded in Hebrews 2:17-18 and Hebrews 4:15-16 is

Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. 

Joy to the world, the Lord has come; let us receive him in our hearts, families, communities and all creation!

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad
General Secretary
National Council of Churches in India.

If you cannot see the video, click here:
(Info. - Length: 1m:12s; Format: Video with sound)

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Chennai situation: Updates from Arcot Lutheran Church

This is an e-mail received by the office of the General Secretary of National Council of Churches in India from Arcot Lutheran Church (ALC) updating us of the situation in Chennai and the continuing need for support in relief and rehabilitation efforts undertaken by NCCI's constitutional members.

Greetings to you from the Arcot Lutheran church.

Thanks for your kind mail dated Dec 8, 2015 and we are very happily noted the contents with a deep sense of thankfulness.

We take this opportunity to express our deep sense of gratitude for taking time to inform all the NCCI member churches about the devastation happened in Tamilnadu especially in the Arcot Lutheran Church areas of three districts namely Cuddalore, Villupuram and Tiruvannamalai.

As soon as this sorrow and painful incident occurred in our area, the CASA, Chennai came forward and arranged for feeding programmes in five centers. Likewise the UELCI also sent 940 sets of relief materials to the flood affected people in our church. Many of our Mission Partners have also promised to send their help for this flood relief programme.   The Dioceses of Church of South India in Madurai and Coimbatore instantly brought many lorry loads of relief materials to the affected people.   Today we received one container full of relief materials from two churches in the Karnataka Central Diocese.  Till date we were able to reach out nearly 3000 families with relief materials; but the damage by the rain and flood are heavy and the need is immensely great.  There are 7000 to 8000 families are still in need of such help and support from our church and every day we receive requests from many of our Pastors in the rural areas.

As such  we the ALC take this opportunity once again  to thank you for your kind support and solidarity in this mission and for making an appeal to all the member churches to kindly consider  extending their helping hand in this relief mission. For any help and every help that we could get will help us to reach out to the affected victims and help them in their time of great sorrow, suffering, pain and need.

Your kind circular to all the member churches in this crucial time shows your solidarity with us in doing this relief operation. And we are thankful to you in all sincerity.

With prayers and kind regards,

Yours sincerely,
Rt. Rev. Raja Socrates. G
Bishop-President, ALC

All India Council of Christian Women - Women's Wing of NCC India invites Churches during this Advent Season to Welcome Baby Jesus by Taking a Stand Against Child Abuse

* In India 65% of school children reported facing corporal punishment - beatings by teachers mostly in government schools.
* Of children physically abused in families, in 88.6% of the cases, it was the parents who were the perpetrators.
* India is the 4th most dangerous country in the world for girl child to be born in and for a girl woman to live in. (Indian Government Commissioned Survey Report, source: assessed on 2nd Dec 2015)
* Over 53% children in India face sexual abuse (That means out of every two children one child faces sexual abuse in India)

*In its 2013 report India's Hell Holes: Child Sexual Assault in Juvenile Justice Homes, the Asian Centre for Human Rights said that sexual offences against children in India have reached epidemic proportion. The report stated that more than 48,000 child rape cases were recorded from 2001 to 2011 and that India saw an increase of 336% of child rape cases from 2001 (2,113 cases) to 2011 (7,112 cases). (International Business Times, assessed on 30th November 2015)


Children Participating in Worship During the Forum 

It is in this context that the All India Council of  Christian Women the Women's wing of National Council of Churches in India as part of 365 Days Zero Tolerance to Gender Based Violence: Make it Happen Now !!! Campaign   have prioritized its mission  to engage in   advocacy  to empower communities, congregations, women's fellowships and church leaders, parents, teachers to work together  to end child abuse and promote Child Rights to Life and Dignity.

The campaign of AICCW gained momentum during 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence which is commemorated throughout form November 25th (UN Declared Day of Elimination of Violence on Women) to 10th December (Human Rights Day). AICCW have been engaging in galvanizing women's fellowship or member Churches to engage in different forms of advocacy to end gender based violence and child abuse. On 4th December AICCW organized a forum / gathering for men and women church leaders from Nagpur to enhance and promote the need to form  Child Abuse Prevention Network. Since the gathering was during the Advent Season the theme chosen was “Welcoming Baby Jesus among Us’.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Over 500 School Children walked for Inclusion saying We do not need your ‘Wheel Chair’ but a ‘Space’.

(In commemoration of the International Day of the Persons with Disabilities - 3 December)
Engage Disability,
Indian Disability Ecumenical Accompaniment - IDEA
St. Ursula Girls High School and Junior College

Over 500 School Children walked for Inclusion saying
We do not need your ‘Wheel Chair’ but a ‘Space’

2015, 15, December, Nagpur. The St. Ursula Girls High School and Junior College is commemorating the International Day for the Persons with Disabilities on Dec 15 joining the Engage Disability a (National Network of the PWDs), Indian Disability Ecumenical Accompaniment (IDEA) a standing forum of National Council of Churches in India, World Vision India (Nagpur), Christian Service Agency and organized a Walkathon with 500 Children from 8 educational institutions including, Seventh Day Adventist Hr. Sec School, Bishop Cotton School in Dharapmpet, Orange City School,  St. Ursula Primary School, Gardener High School,  Bishop Cotton High School - Civil Lines, and St. Ursula Girls High School and St. Ursula Junior College.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Relief and Rehabilitation work in Chennai by Church of South India (CSI)

This is an email received from Rev. Dr. D. R. Sadananda, General Secretary of Church of South India (CSI) updating us about the calamitous situation in Chennai and the response of CSI, through its Diaconal Ministry CSI-SEVA that has been coordinating with the Dioceses in carrying out relief operations in flood affected areas. We solicit your prayers and support for the Chennai situation.

Relief work continues by the Church of South India Synod
with the help of the dioceses and facilitated by the CSI- SEVA and the Madras Diocese. 

Dear Dr. Roger Gaikwad,

Greetings from the CSI Synod Secretariat!

Thank you very much for your email expressing NCCI's solidarity with those affected by the Chennai floods. You aware that Chennai and different parts of Tamilnadu are still reeling under flooding caused by breached tanks and release of water from tanks and dams. This is considered to be due to effects of climate change and underlines our immediate and urgent commitment to climate justice.

The situation is unprecedented and has caught the population and administration unaware. But for a responsive neighbourhood that rose up to the occasion, the distress would have been many folds more. Social media was used as a great force multiplier in the process. The local churches have responded immediately. The Church and School/ Institution premises in many places have accommodated people. Local congregations in the affected and neighbouring areas have been distributing food packets, blankets and drinking water.

Thank you for your readiness to stand in solidarity with the people who have suffered a great loss because of the floods in Chennai. Thank you for the prayers, for the words of encouragement and comfort. The CSI-SEVA (Diaconal Ministry) has been co-ordinating with our Dioceses and is carrying out the need assessment in the flood affected areas.

You may kindly visit our web page, for daily updates. The CSI Face Book page, also contains details of our interventions. We will keep you informed on the developments and the details of the relief work through CSI SEVA. 

In the next phase of resettling the victims in their homes when the water goes down, dry ration, non-food items, clothing and hygiene kits will be required. An estimated minimum of one million people are affected. The need is enormous. The community has great expectations from the local church. The local church has already stretched beyond its limits in responding immediately.

We solicit your prayers and support in helping the worst affected poor families to weave back their lives together in dignity.

Warm regards

Yours sincerely

Rathnakara Sadananda

Rev. Dr. D. R. Sadananda
General Secretary-CSI & Hon. Secretary CSI TA

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Chennai situation: An Appeal to all Churches.

Dear Ecumenical Colleagues,

We all are aware of the natural calamity that has wrecked havoc in Tamilnadu. I am sure many of you must be praying for the people of the region.A few of you may also have sent your support in cash or kind to them.

case you would still like to send help, you may do it through CASA since CASA is the social service wing of the NCCI. You may contact Dr. Sushant Agrawal, Director of CASA ( or; Tel. 011-25730611, 25730612) or the South Zone office of CASA in Chennai (Dr. Mrs. Florina Immaculate Mary Benoit, Chief Zonal Officer, CASA South Zone, 4 Church Road, Vepery, Chennai 600 007, Tamil Nadu, India, Tel: +91-44-25321297, ).

In case it is more convenient for you to render help directly, you may also do so. You could even contact the offices of Tamil Nadu Christian Council, Arcot Lutheran Church, United Evangelical Churches in India, Church of South India, The Salvation Army or any other church/agency in Tamil Nadu.

Thanking you,


Roger Gaikwad
General Secretary, NCCI.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

NCCI Celebrating Dalit Liberation Sunday

Observance of the NCCI Dalit Liberation Sunday is an annual and significant feature in the NCCI Calendar and we are back to you to remind that as every year we will be observing the Dalit Liberation Sunday with the theme "Climate, Caste, and Care for the Earth" on the 13th November 2015. We have come up with a suggested worship order which could be used wholly or in parts to make the worship more meaningful. Kindly find it in attached file. As it is the season of Advent, if your church calendar is filled, this Sunday may be observed in any other Sunday as well.

Download prayer and worship order 

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Peace Education Training for Youth

National Council of Churches in India – Commission on Youth
In Partnership with
India Peace Centre
Youth Empowerment for Peace
Peace Education Training
November 11-13, 2015, Panjim, Goa

A Peace Education Training for the youth under the theme “Youth Empowerment for Peace” was organized by NCCI-Commission on Youth, in partnership with India Peace Centre at Caritas Holiday Home, Panjim, Goa from 11th to 13th November 2015.  A group of 36 youth participated in the program from various parts of India.
The training program was commenced with an inaugural session by Mr. Kasta Dip, Director, India Peace Centre on ‘Perspectives of Peace and Understanding Context’ in which he explained the present scenario of peace in our country. He pointed out the different contexts of intolerance, contexts of bans, majority views versus minority views, plurality versus homogeneity, contexts where social discriminations are rampant all over, hatred, violence and rape, child labor, exclusion of some people in the society such as dalits, tribals etc.
 Rev. Solomon Paul, Youth Director, CSI Synod headed the session on ‘Youth Dealing with Conflicts’ in understanding and analyzing the conflicts and addressing the issue accordingly. He said how preventing violent conflict is imperative for development. Conflict is one of the most complex issues the global community is facing today and its impact is apparent in every part of the world. Preventive measures have become an essential component of efforts to ensure a brighter future. Enabling youth to make major positive contributions is one way to minimize or neutralize factors that contribute to violence, increase global security, and prevent further armed conflict. Rev. Paul explicitly urged the youth that the issue should be analytically addressed from different perspectives in any conflicts.
Mr. Kasta Dip addressed the session on ‘Knitting Neighborhood’ in understanding of concept of neighborhood as mentioned in Mark 12:30-31. Our love of ourselves is not a frigid love, but a sincere and ardent love. In like manner we should love our neighbor and desire for him all those good things both for the body and for the soul that we desire for ourselves. This is what our Lord himself teaches us in Mark 12:30-31. Mr. Dip elaborately identified various notions of neighbors that are to be considered in order to identify and highlight the real meaning of neighbor in a diverse contemporary society.
A session on Symbiotic Living was led by Mr. Michael Angelious, Youth Coordinator, JELC divulging the experience of living in harmony with the nature and its Eco-concerns for better society. He emphasized how nature sustains our life and therefore, there has to be a harmonious relationship between human beings, the animal world and also plants because we complement each other and depend on each other for our survival. He went on to say that as good stewards of the earth, we should take care of our nature and work towards its conservation. This symbiotic living is not just an ethical responsibility, but also a spiritual responsibility. Whether it is deliberate or out of ignorance, we are destroying the ecological balance of the earth landing ourselves and our future generations in serious danger. Human beings alone are responsible for global warming and the climate changes because we have not understood symbiotic living. Therefore empowering and educating the youth on the importance of nature conservation is very important. The prime focus of the session inculcating measures to help the youth understand and resolve to work towards establishing an ecologically sound society.
Various activity oriented sessions were steered in understanding the concept of peace and how initiating peace in a conflict-torn society would help. The program was concluded with an ‘Action Plan’ session led by Mr. Kasta Dip in which each church and organization representatives came up with different programs and action plan to be taken up in the near future on various issues and concerns.

"The Writing on the Wall" WRITERS WORKSHOP REPORT (UBS | November 26 - 28, 2015)

A Writers Workshop, “The Writing on the Wall”, jointly organized by The Commission on Communication and Relations (COCR) of the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), Board of Theological Text Book Program of South Asia (BTTBPSA) and Union Biblical Seminary (UBS), was held at UBS, Pune from November 26 – 28, 2015. Participants at the workshop included Pastors, theology students and theology professors from various denominations and colleges around India. The Program theme was conceived based on the fundamental premise that Prophetic writing is not only about being able to read the signs of times to come but to respond to it in boldness with a passion for truth and justice that itself becomes a force for transformation in society. The Program was purported to encourage a culture of writing to yield greater contribution to Theological text books in regional languages in India and also to produce the kind of writing that causes change and triumph of truth using not only traditional paradigms of writing but also effectively employing the tools available in emerging information and communication technology.

The Program started with words of welcome by Rev. Dr. Mohan Larbeer (Secretary, BTTBPSA). He expressed his wish for a greater impetus to the writing of theological material in regional languages to enable the message to truly reach the grassroots in our country. Rev. Dr. T. M. Emmanuel (President, BTTBPSA) led the devotion in which he spoke about the methodology, perspectives and challenges of writing. He explained the need for more writing that are reflections and responses to the various issues in Church and Society. Rev. Caesar J. David (Executive Secretary, NCCI – COCR) then introduced the scope and purpose of the program.