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Monday, 15 February 2016

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