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Saturday, 27 February 2016

Prayer request from Northern Evangelical Lutheran Church

Here is a prayer request received from Mr. Saroj Jha (Secretary, NELC). Please uphold Moderator Most Rev. S. Soren in your prayers.

Dear Colleagues in Christ,

Greetings from the Northern Evangelical Lutheran Church.

With a great sorrow we would like to inform you that our Moderator Most Rev. S. Soren is ill health and admitted in Mohulpahari Christian Hospital. He is suffering from the hear problem. His condition is not much well and he would be referred to higher medical centre for specific necessary treatment within 2-3 days.

We therefore request you to kindly uphold him in your prayer.

Thanking you.


Saroj Ch. Jha
Northern Evangelical Lutheran Church 

NCC Review Subscription and Circulation management software inaugurated

Besides focusing on various communication-related issues in India, particularly those of communication rights and inclusive journalism, NCCI’s Commission on Communications and Relations has been promoting exploration of, and dynamic adaptation to, available Information and Communication Technology components along with emerging efficiency paradigms with a view to harnessing their potential for organizational and administrative effectiveness in Churches and institutions. One way to achieving greater efficiency is through the use of software solutions.

In a major update to NCC Review’s manual system of managing subscribers and circulation, a software was built from the ground up to not only manage subscriptions and circulation which automates several functions of the process such as searching, sorting, tracking, generating letters and printing mailing labels, but also to maintain a digital index of NCC review articles.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step it up for Gender Equality- International Women's Day 2016

March is a very special month for women around the world.  In the month of March, 'World Day of Prayer' is observed and 'International Women's Day' is commemorated.  During this period churches, women's fellowships and organizations in India like every year engage in various advocacy activities to promote Women's 'Human Rights', end gender-based violence, and celebrate the power of women as agents of transformation.  IWD helps us to recognize the role of women as salt and leaven and weavers justice and peace.

We invite your churches, women's fellowships, organizations and even your own families to commemorate 'Women's Day'.  Various prayers, liturgies are found in different websites.  We are also sharing with you an intecessory prayer and women's creed and some reflections.  

All India Council of Christian Women
Women's Wing of National Council of Churches in India

Posted by
Moumita Biswas
Executive Secretary, AICCW

Visit of Bishop Dr. Margot Käßmann, Special Envoy of the Reformation Anniversary 2017, Evangelical Church in German (EKD)


500 Years of the Reformation initiated by Martin Luther will be observed and celebrated in 2017 in Germany as well as all over the world.  The Special Envoy of the Celebration, Bishop Dr. Margot Käßmann visited India as part of the preparation for the celebration.  The NCCI organized an interaction with Church Leaders on 19th February, 2016 at YMCA’s National Council office. Around 30 Church leaders and ecumenical organisations participated in this meeting. The meeting was chaired by Bishop Collin C. Theodore, Secretary NWICC.  

In her introductory remarks, Dr. Margot Käßmann observed that when we celebrate Reformation not as a history of  division but as a common history of Churches, as ecumenical history, as history of learning, it is important for the Churches to reflect what the reformation means to them in this context. The Church leaders also shared various concerns of Churches in India and the Indian context.

In the evening, Dr. Margot Käßmann gave a public lecture at the German Embassy in Delhi on "Reformation and Education." She highlighted that one of the  aspects of the Reformation in middle Europe in the 16th century was education, and this helped people in being able to think, reflect, speculate, understand and ask questions.  Her lecture was well received by the audience.

Samuel Jayakumar
Executive Secretary, CoP, NCCI. 

Monday, 15 February 2016

Sing the Song of Love ....Rise! Strike! Dance! to Break the Silence and Puncture the Culture of Gender Based Violence

One Billion Rising Join the Revolution - Break the Silence 

1 in 3 women across the planet continue to face domestic  violence or raped during her lifetime. That’s ONE BILLION WOMEN AND GIRLS. Every February through March 8th, thousands of ‘Risings’ take place in hundreds of countries across the world and within local communities – to show the world what one billion looks like and shine a light on the rampant impunity and injustice that survivors of various forms of violence face. People around the world rise through dance to express rage against injustices, and the power of global solidarity and collective action. They dance to express joy and community and celebrate the fact that together, violence can be defeated. They rise to show a determination to create a new kind of consciousness – one where violence will be resisted until it is unthinkable

This Lenten season as we observed Valentine’s Day on 14 February 2016 and also International Women’s Day is on threshold ( March 8),  All India Council of Christian Women the Women’s Wing of National Council of Churches in India invites fellow pilgrims of justice and peace to engage in advocacy to end the culture of gender based violence.  Join the revolution “One Billion Rising” against violence on women, girls and children by ‘Breaking the Silence’ and engaging in advocacy activities during this period ( 14th February – 8th March.)

We invite you, your church and women’s fellowship, organization to accompany us and promote AICCW’s Campaign “365 Days Zero Tolerance to Gender Based Violence: Make it Happen Now” in your own churches, communities and families. 

Ecumenical Open-air Prayer for National Integrity and Societal Harmony

Commission on Unity, Mission and Evangelism
National Council of Churches in India

Ecumenical Open-air Prayer for National Integrity and Societal Harmony
Over 500 Unity Octave Observances all over India

More than 250 Christians including Bishops, Clergies and Believers from over 25 different denominations including Church of North India, Methodist, Lutherans, Marthoma, Jacobite, Catholic and Front Line, Independent and Pentecostal traditions, Mission Agencies and Christian Institutions gathered together at Samvidhan Square (Reserve Bank of India Square) in Nagpur with the Indian national flag to pray for National and Social Harmony as part of the global observance of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Participants of the prayer service were led in prayers for the nation and its well-being. The prayers affirmed the importance of unity in the midst of diversity and stressed that by being together as Indian, transcending differences and accepting others as they are, there are bountiful blessings to be received. Prayers were said for the National Leaders such as the President, Prime Minister, Chief Minister, Governor, Municipal Commissioner, Mayor and all other Government Officials.  The prayers also expressed impassioned pleas for God’s guidance and wisdom to Political Parties, Peoples Movements and also for ‘Goodwill, Unity and Cooperation’. The prayers also agonized about various issues challenging the Churches and Indian society at large, namely injustice and all sorts of discrimination, and sought God's help in the struggles for  social and economic justice, peace and harmony, and the blessing of a spirit of Love to pervade all creation.  In the course of praying with a collective consciousness, in fact ‘prayer became an advocacy tool’ to inform the congregations about social issues, and motivated them to be part of the spiritual journey of social liberation.

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad motivated the participants to identify the divisive and discriminative forces, and urged people to triumph over such in love and justice as Christians and good citizens. He also encouraged them to look beyond the differences and join together as Indians and Christians for the cause of our National integrity and Societal Harmony.

Rt. Rev. Paul Dupare, the Bishop, Church of North India – Nagpur Diocese appreciated the efforts of coming together to pray for Nation at large and wished this initiative should continue. Rev. Satish Nandha of Church of North India and Pastor Devashish Dubey of Full Gospel of Church coordinated the event.

This prayer event was part of the one week long prayer observances taking place all over Nagpur. More than 25 such prayer events were scheduled in different Churches, Christian Institutions, Ecumenical and Mission Organisations, and Theological Seminaries all over the city. Nagpur set an example by inviting all the denominations and institutions including NCCI, Catholic fraternities and Frontline, Independent and Pentecostal Traditions.

Similar such events were initiated all over India by Member Churches, Organisations and Regional Councils of NCCI in Delhi, Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Odisha, Mumbai (Maharashtra) North East India, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Chattishgarh, West Bengal and several other states. Over 500 observances took place all over India.  There were pulpit exchanges, carnivals, youth gatherings, discussions, panel discussions, concerts, fasting prayers and all-night prayers. 24th January 2016, NCCI Sunday, was observed by Members Churches on the theme 'Unity in Praxis: The Will of God'. An NCCI Sunday special offertory was collected for victims of natural disasters. In general,  Christian Communities in India came together to pray for Social Harmony, Peace, Social Justice, National and Political Leaders and for the socially, culturally and traditionally  excluded communities, and expressed the hope of seeing the evolution of an inclusive India.

HG Bishop Isaac Mar Philoxenos                                                   Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar

         Chairperson                                                                                   Executive Secretary

Sunday, 7 February 2016

"We Embrace You Mother Earth and Sister Tree". Celebrating Creator's Oikos: Young Women Artist Painting Murals of Inclusive and Just Communities.

The National Council of Churches Quadrennial Assembly is at the threshold. The theme of the Assembly is “Towards Just and Inclusive Communities”. NCCI is mobilizing and inviting churches and communities to participate in this pilgrimage and celebration. Various Pre Assemblies or Forums are being organized. “Our aim is to creatively engage communities, churches  and people to share their stories and contributions and join us in our pilgrimage  to  build just and inclusive communities. Building just and inclusive  communities also calls for just relationships with mother earth” states Rev Dr Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary of  NCCI.   Ten young women dalit and tribal artists were invited to share their notion of just and  inclusive communities through traditional Warli art form by painting  murals  embracing walls around  the trees in NCCI campus.  These young women are from indigenous and  dalit background and are trainees from adopted slum communities of  Church of North India – Social Service Institute (CNISSI) of  Nagpur Diocese. Church of North India is member Church of NCCI.
Dalit and Indigenous ( adivasi) artists with Rev Dr Roger Gaikwad, Ms. Aradhana Upadhya ( Director - CNISSI) & Moumita Biswas - Executive Secretary of All India Council of Christian Women   

Friday, 5 February 2016

Report of the Pithora Consultation 24-26, JANUARY 2016

To commemorate the long historic legacy of organizing people on issues of life by Comrade Gardiaji, Programme for Social Action [PSA], Public Justice Concern [PJC], Delhi Forum, Urban Rural Mission [URM] and Jan Jagruti Munch [JJM ] and the local groups came together to reflect upon and to redirect the vision of peoples struggle in the era of Neo Liberalization. Peoples Movements including activists of various issue based movements assert the principle that a consultation needs to be "people-driven". Allowing delegates the time and space to tell their own stories contributes to that goal and plays a vital role in answering the real needs of the oppressed and the victims of the Neo Liberal System.

This principle was put into practice at this commemorative consultation in honour of Comrade Gardiaji on 24th-26th January 2016 in Pithora, Chattisgarh. Over 50 members representing  movements from all over India participated in this consultation. Stories of human rights being violated, of injustice, and of violence, as well as stories of liberation from bondage, dominated the agenda. 

Many of these stories as they were articulated and as they were reflected upon and discussed elicited shock, fear, hope and sadness. But at the end of the day, these emotions were transformed into a new resolve among the participants to re-affirm their commitment to working with the poorest of the poor and the most marginalized, and to protect and promote their interests. 

The participants also re-affirmed their commitment to work with the Peoples Movements, churches, and  people, irrespective of their religious beliefs; a final communiqué from the meeting called for efforts to prevent the commodification of human life that economic globalization seeks to perpetuate.

The introductory remarks made by Vijayan M. J.  of PSA were evocative of human suffering and injustice; his sociopolitical analysis of the current Indian scenario was an appropriate introduction to a consultation to strategies from the Perspectives of People in Struggle. 

Peoples Participation.

The opening input was from Mrs. Manju Gardia, wife of late Gardiaji. She called on activists to continue their prophetic role "as the conscience of society" and to champion the cause of the less privileged. Pointing to growing inequalities between the rich and poor, she challenged people to  be committed tot strive for equality, and along with it to address the growing tension of communalization. She also called on Indian governments to seriously address the huge gap between the rich and the poor that, she said, has been an underlying factor in conflicts on the continent. 

Deploring poverty levels in the less developed countries, the Joint General Secretary of the Confederation of Jan Van trade union Ashokda called for positive action from People.

J John of the Labours Collective living in the Delhi noted that although globalization is supposed to be an economic process, its "other face" is economic militarism, and that this is destroying human lives and values and accelerating the struggle for the survival of the fittest. " Reflecting on the understanding and practice of mission today, he also spoke of "a discernible shift in political perspectives towards a more holistic understanding of mission that emphasizes option for the poor, and thus a need for the people to be in solidarity with the poor."

There needs to be an understanding and practice of people’s movements that brings activism back to where we belong, to the poor and the outcast, that enables the marginalized to reclaim the church as their own. This can  be achieved only when mission is "done with the poor, when it can be an enterprise of the communities of the poor themselves, when it is the perspectives of the people in struggle that are shaping the agenda." 

Visit of Bishop Ralf Meister, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hanover, Germany

On the occasion of visit of Most Rev. Ralf Meister, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hanover with his delegation to India,  the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in India Dr. Martin Ney hosted breakfast on 28th January, 2016 at his residence. Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See to India Salvatore Pennacchio also joined for breakfast along with few Indian Church leaders. 

The Bishop Ralf Meister, delegation and Rev. Markus Lesinski, Pastor for the German speaking protestant Congregation of India, Nepal and Bangladesh visited NCCI Delhi office on 28th January, 2016 . Bishop Collin Theodore, Secretary, NWICC , Rev. Sailakant Bagh, Treasurer, NWICC and Mr. Samuel Jayakumar, NCCI Executive secretary had discussion with them on various concerns of Christians in India.

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

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

"#RohithVemulaFightsBack" : Peace March for Social Unity

"#RohithVemulaFightsBack" : Peace March for Social Unity    

On the 30th of January 2016, thousands of Nagpurians with black ribbons strapped around their mouths marched out on the street to protest against the death of Rohith Vemula, a Dalit research scholar from Hyderabad University. The ribbons were tied symbolically to indicate the voices of marginalised people like that of Rohit Vermula being suppressed and their rights being denied. In order to fight for Rohith’s case and such discrimination based on caste, thousands of people from around 50 different organizations gathered at Deekhshabhoomi, the place where the great Dalit leader Dr. Ambedkar embraced Budhhism to do away with the caste system.