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Thursday, 25 June 2015

AICCW - NCCI Condemn the Heinous Crime of Rape of Salesian Nun in Chhattisgarh

STOP THE PANDEMIC OF RAPE USED AS WEAPON OF ANTI-CHRISTIAN HATE CAMPAIGN

An Indian Nun in her mid forties from Salesian Missionaries of Mary Immaculate, was brutally attacked, molested and raped in Raipur capital of Chattisgarth state in India on Saturday 22nd June 2015. She was found semi clad, unconscious and hands tied in a medical center run by Christian Missionaries near Pandri locality in the state of Chattisgarh.

chief minister Raman Singh and governor Balram Das Tondon demanding immediate arrest of culprits and asking police to act sensitive in the casechief minister Raman Singh and governor Balram Das Tondon demanding immediate arrest of culprits and asking police to act sensitive in the case. chief minister Raman Singh and governor Balram Das Tondon demanding immediate arrest of culprits and asking police to act sensitive in the case. Chhattisgarh Police is handling the case of sexual assault on a nun at a medicare centre in the state capital.Sister Annie John, the nun’s superior revealed that the victim was wakened by the sound of cupboards being opened and the victim asked if they were looking for money. Sister Annie further reports that the victims mentioned the culprits said “We need money, but something else also,” The attackers forced the victim to swallow tablet before they raped her. The victim is in acute trauma and pain. (Source : ucanews.com reporters, Delhi, 22nd June 2015)

Raman Singh and governor Balram Das Tondon demanding immediate arrest of culprits and asking police to act sensitive in the case.chief minister Raman Singh and governor Balram Das Tondon demanding immediate arrestTwo months earlier, in March 2015, a 74 -year old nun was raped by six men at a local convent school in Ranaghat, West Bengal after they entered the premises to rob the building. The rape came after a series of incidents, including thefts, at Delhi churches that put church leaders in India on alert about religious violence.

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad, the General Secretary of National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) states “Rape, sexual assault,  abuse and attack on women, children from minority communities is increasing in alarming rate in India. Such attacks are heinous crimes. We request the  Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi to consider this phenomenon  seriously and intervene to ensure the safety of citizens, particularly minority communities. We urge our Prime Minister to protect religious freedom and ensure safety of women in our country.”

According to Ms. Moumita Biswas, the Executive Secretary of All India Council of Christian Women (AICCW), “Rape is being   used as a  weapon of  expressing hatred and religious intolerance. Recurring phenomenon of targeting nuns and Christian missionaries is nothing but a deliberate attempt to inflict humiliation on minority community. ”

Monday, 22 June 2015

Bishop George Ninan rests in glory




Bishop George Ninan, renowned ecumenical leader, described by many as campaigner for justpeace for the urban poor and slum development in India and in Asia, passed away in New York on June 21, 2015. 
He was born in Kaviyoor in Kerala and started his ministry as the Secretary of the Church of South India (CSI) Christian Institute in Alleppey. He served the CSI Madhya Kerala Diocese as the Secretary of the Diocesan Youth Movement. He was sent to Japan as a youth worker while he was actively involved in the Student Christian Movement of India (SCMI). He was ordained minister in the Anglican Communion in the year 1964. In 1970 he joined the Philips University in Oklahoma for his doctoral studies.


Thursday, 18 June 2015

Interfaith Dialogue on Child Labour and Child Rights

NATIONAL COUNCIL OF CHURCHES IN INDIA: PRESS RELEASE

PROGRAMME ON ‘Child Labour and Child Rights’ held

A programme on Interfaith Dialogue on Child Labour and Child Rights was jointly organised by United Evangelical Lutheran Churches in India (UELC) Conflict Transformation and Peace-building Programme and the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) Commission on Justice, Peace and Creation recently at the NCCI Campus, Nagpur, on the occasion of International Day against Child labour.

The Programme was chaired by the National Secretary of All India Progressive Forum, Dr. Yugal J. Rayalu, while Dr. Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary NCCI, gave the keynote address. Mr. Samuel Logan from United Evangelical Lutheran Churches in India, was present on the dais.

At the beginning of the programme, Mr. Samuel Logan, welcomed all the speakers and the dignitaries present in the programme. He told the gathering that the main aim of this programme was to develop a platform where people of different faith can come together and work towards the rights of Children.

In his Key Note, Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad said that the welfare of children concerns all of us, including the NCCI. It’s focus on poverty, justice and liberation theology involved concern for children. Its engagement with Feminist theology also addressed the plight of girl child, Dalit Theology also included concerns about Dalit children, and so till date, for different Commissions and Ministries of NCCI, children are still an important part of NCCI. As challenges for children are increasing, it is important for us to learn from one another how religions address the issue of child rights and child labour.

International Day of Yoga

The UN General Assembly has declared 21st June as International  Day of Yoga. The Government of India is making preparations for a large scale observance of this day in India and in other parts of the world this year. Yoga is considered by many to be a healthy discipline and therefore has become popular worldwide. Many persons belonging to different religious traditions already practice yoga as a matter of personal choice and conviction.

Yoga is essentially a way of life that integrates the means of harmonizing the body, mind, and spirit. One should also keep in mind that, internationally, there are other disciplines similar in intent and content to Yoga. For example, T'ai chi is a meditative exercise that requires you to pay close attention to your breathing while completing a series of choreographed, slow, fluid, and continuous dance-like movements. Chi-gong is an exercise that focuses on breath work, while incorporating meditation and very gentle, slow physical movements. In Zen Buddhism, zazen (literally "seated meditation”) is a meditative discipline in which body, breath and mind come together as one reality. 

Therefore people should not be compelled to practice yoga as if it is the only method for bringing harmony between mind and body – such a philosophy runs through all religions and cultures. We are deeply concerned that in spite of the declarations made by the Centre, in many states, circulars have been sent to schools to have compulsory Yoga practices. We oppose such compulsions; and especially minority run institutions should be given the freedom to decide how and whether to introduce yoga in their schools. 

Surya Namaskar, with its religious overtones, should not be introduced in our schools and institutions. We regret that some responsible people in the government have interpreted yoga with religious motifs. The BJP legislator Yogi Adiyanth’s statement that those opposing yoga and surya namaskar should either leave India or drown themselves in the ocean is not acceptable and is strongly condemned by the churches. It is statements such as these that are making minority communities suspicious about the intentions of the government.

We urge the Government to be sensitive to the different cultural and religious practices in our country. We reiterate that Christianity has existed in India from the first century onwards and over the centuries Christianity has developed its own Indian Christian cultural traditions. We hope this government will respect the ethos and spirituality of the Christian community and not impose any particular practices on any citizens of the country.


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

Monday, 15 June 2015

Congratulations to Mr. Inbaraj Jeyakumar on being elected the 17th General Secretary of Student Christian Movement of India (SCMI)

Mr. Inbaraj Jeyakumar, General Secretary, SCMI
(Photo courtesy: SCMI website)

The 27th General Committee of the Student Christian Movement of India held at Goa from 28-30 May 2015, unanimously elected Mr. Inbaraj Jeyakumar as the 17th General Secretary of SCM India (SCMI) for a term of four years.

The SCMI Executive Committee proposed the name of Mr. Inbaraj Jeyakumar which was unanimously received by the General Committee. The chairperson of SCMI , Bishop Dr. Geevarghese Mor Coorilos stated that Mr. Inbaraj has been unanimously selected by the search committee members by considering his long term experiences with the SCM India and his commitment to make this movement a vibrant one.

Mr. Inbaraj Jeyakumar, a member of Church of South India Madurai Diocese, started his journey with SCMI when he was a student in the American College and then in the Tamilnadu Theological Seminary (TTS) Madurai. Soon after completing his theological studies from TTS, Inba joined SCMI as the Programme Secretary for South Tamilnadu region. He continued his tenure for four years. SCMI deputed him as an International Social Justice intern at Jan Hus Presbyterian Church in New York for two years, after which  he joined the National office of SCMI at Bangalore, thereby strengthening SCMI in movement building. As a person coming from the Dalit Community, he has been a source of great inspiration and strength to Dalit and Tribal Students, especially through the Fellowship Programme.

(Source: SCMI website/blog - https://communicationscmi.wordpress.com/2015/06/01/mr-inbaraj-jeyakumar-elected-the-17th-general-secretary-of-scm-india/)

National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) congratulates Mr. Inbaraj Jeyakumar and wishes him the very best in his new role as General Secretary of SCMI. As a constituent member of NCCI, the SCMI has been one of the most active members leading the student community spiritedly, and having in their ministry very practical expressions of ecumenical values. With Mr. Inbaraj Jeyakumar's dedication to the cause, under his leadership we look forward to many great accomplishments in the direction of edification and empowerment of communities, especially students.

- NCCI Communications.

Congratulations to Rev. Dr. Samuel W. Meshack on being elected as the new President of World Association for Christian Communication (WACC)

Prof. Rev. Dr. Samuel W. Meshack, President of WACC
(Photo courtesy: WACC Global website)
The Rev. Dr. Samuel W. Meshack was elected to serve a four-year term as the new President of WACC at its Meeting of Members, 29 May 2015.

Director of Higher Education at the Hindustan Bible Institute and College, Chennai, India, Dr Meshack was previously one of WACC's First Directors, President of WACC Asia, and Secretary of WACC Global. He recently served as Chairperson of the WACC Task force on Continuing Education and Training and co-ordinated leadership training for WACC's regional executive committee members.

Dr. Meshack earned his doctoral degree from the Centre for Mass Communication Research of the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom. He has published many articles in the field of communication and ethics with an emphasis on the rights and privileges of marginalized people and mission concerns. He is Professor of Communication in theological and secular universities in India and abroad, guiding researchers towards their doctoral degrees.

Addressing the Meeting of Members, Meshack, said "I am very grateful to those who had put forward my name as a candidate for the presidency, for the support I have received from the executive committee and members of WACC Asia and others worldwide. I pledge myself to strengthening WACC and to advancing its vision and mission of communication for all."

Dr Meshack is the first WACC President to come from the Asia Region.

The WACC Meeting of Members also elected a new Board of Directors consisting of four women and four men.

(Source: Website of WACC global - http://www.waccglobal.org/articles/new-wacc-president-and-board-of-directors-elected)

Rev. Dr. Meshack is an executive committee member of National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) representing the Indian Evangelical Lutheran Church, and also chairs NCCI's Programme Commission on Communications and Relations. His humble leadership, profound scholarship and genuine passion for communication concerns will prove to be extremely valuable to WACC.

NCCI congratulates Rev. Dr. Meshack and wishes him the best as he leads WACC into even greater areas of effectiveness in its mission to promote and ensure communication for all.

- NCCI Communications

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Congratulations to Bishop Dr. Taranath S. Sagar on being nominated to Executive Committee of CCA in its XVI Assembly in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The XVI General Assembly of Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) was held in Jakarta, Indonesia from May 20 - 27, 2015. The theme of the assembly was “Living Together in the Household of God".




Bishop Dr. Taranath S. Sagar, President of National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) was nominated to the Executive Committee of CCA.
Bishop Dr. Sagar is a prominent and dynamic leader with accomplishments and acclaim not only locally and all over India, but around the world. A Bishop of the Methodist Church in India (MCI), he is also member of the Central Committee of World Council of Churches (WCC) elected in its 10th assembly in Busan, South Korea. His gracious leadership in the Churches and to the ecumenical movements, both in India and abroad, credit the anticipation of exceptional accomplishment by CCA in the years to come. 



Bishop Dr. Sagar contributed immensely to the proceedings of CCA's assembly through his insights and profound wisdom. He was member of the constitutional amendment committee, and moderated the constitutional amendment session during CCA Extraordinary General Assembly for constitutional amendments held on May 21, 2015 prior to the General assembly. He was also the main speaker for one of the Sarasehan – Ecumenical Dialogue on Emerging Asian Issues on May 23, 2015. Bishop Dr. Sagar shared and facilitated the ecumenical dialogue on Diakonia and Prophetic witness: Toward Coherent Asian Ecumenical Response.


We Congratulate Bishop Dr. Taranath S. Sagar in his ecumenical pilgrimage as the executive committee member of CCA. Wishing him God's richest blessings. We are proud of his contributions and accomplishments in his new roles of leadership in CCA and other bodies in the ecumenical fraternity.


Thursday, 11 June 2015

Ecumenical Conference on Christian response to growing attacks by fanatic groups on the Christian community in India

Under the banner of Christi Asmita Manch, Pune, a protestant ecumenical group, a one-day seminar was organised on 9th May 2015 at Christ Seva Prem Ashram, Pune. Christ Seva Prem Ashram is a historical ashram where Mahatma Gandhi stayed for 10 days in the year 1932.
About 150 delegates from various protestant churches attended the seminar. The main theme of the seminar was “Response to the attacks of religious fanatics on the Christian community and its ministries”. The conference began with a worship service led by the Rt. Rev. Naresh Ambala. In the devotion he encouraged the participants to be prudent and wise like serpents and innocent like doves. The seminar was inaugurated by Hon. Bhai Vaidhya, an eminent socialist and former Home Minister of Maharashtra. In his inaugural address, citing examples of Chakravarti Ashok Samrat, Badshah Akbar and Shivaji Maharaj, he established that this nation has been always secular, multi-religious and multi-cultural nation. He said, historically this country was never a Hindu Rashtra. He cautioned the participants citing the example of Godhra massacre in Gujarat during then chief minister and present Prime Minister of India, Hon. Narendra Modi,  and the growing influence of right-wing forces in the country

Monday, 8 June 2015

Us team visited NCCI Secretariat on 30th May 2015



Us [United Society, the new name of United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (USPG) founded in 1701] is an Anglican mission agency working in the partnership with churches around the world. Us work alongside local communities to improve health, put children in school, tackle discrimination, nurture leaders, give a voice to women, and much more.

Mr. Davidson Solanki, International Programmes Manager, Us visited the NCCI Secretariat on 30 May 2015 along with Ms. Anne Bonger, Programme Coordinator of Us. Rev. Samuel Mall and Rev. Meena Bhati, Programme Coordinators of CNI Programme Office, accompanied the visitors. Mr. Kasta Dip, Director of India Peace Centre. Mr. Jianthaolung Gonmei, NCCI Youth Commission Intern and Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary of NCCI had a time of sharing with them.

Round Table Discussion on Unity


On the initiative taken by the NCCI Board of Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (BOCOMA), Dr. Jetti T. Oliver, Chairman and Rev. Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary, along with the Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan, Mar Thoma Syrian Church, and Chairman, National Advisory Council (which has been constituted by the BOCOMA) a Round Table meeting was arranged at the Mar Thoma Centre, New Delhi in which leaders of the Gossner Evangelical Lutheran Church (GELC) and the North West Gossner Evamgelical Lutheran Church (NWGELC) participated. Focussing on the theme, “Seeking the Reconciling Power of Jesus” the leaders of the GELC (The Most Rev. Johan Dang – Moderator; The Rt. Rev. J. M. Topno – Dy. Moderator; Mr. Eliazer Topno – General Secretary; Mr. Atal Irad Khess – Treasurer cum Finance Secretary; and Rev. Dr. Manmasih Ekka – Ecclesiastical Secretary and Principal, G. T. C.) and of the NWGELC (The Rt. Rev. Dular Lakra – Bishop; Mr. Albel Lakra – Chief Secretary; Mr. Pawal Xalxo – Chairman, G.B.; Rev. Dr. Jhakmak Neeraj Ekka – NDTC; and Rev. Rajiw Satish Toppo – Principal, NDTC) held talks, with the support of the NCCI leaders, on the need for the two churches to come together and the possible structure which they could adopt to express their togetherness. A second meeting will be held in Ranchi during August 17-19,2015 to take the discussion further.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Religious Extremism and Our Response

Fr. Cedric Prakash, SJ of Ahmedabad who runs Prashant has written an insightful and practical piece on the rise of religious extremism and the responses we need to make. We are grateful to Dr. John Dayal for sharing the same with us. This is important for all Christians, in particular church leaders, pastors and evangelists.
- General Secretary, NCCI

WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS...!!!”
-Fr. Cedric Prakash sj*

... Some “hot issues” in the context of the rise of religious extremism and what we are experiencing on the ground

This brief presentation is in two parts - their strategies and our possible responses:

THEIR STRATEGIES

Their strategies are multi-pronged, well thought of and with meticulous planning. They have been using some of these very effectively since their inception in the 1930s; these include: 
  • to have well oiled propaganda
-effective, simple, mass, vicious
-tell a lie a thousand times (Goebblesian)
-fuel myths / rumours (they can easily take you for a ride)
-indulge in half-truths / selectivity, manipulate facts and data
  • to mobilise as many as possible
-all sections of society (particularly poor and unemployed) / also adivasis and dalits
-get them to do their “dirty tricks” with money, liquor, meat and false promises
-rope in middle class who can be lured by “achche din”
  • to divide and rule
-a time-tested strategy by dictators and those who want to control others
-‘they’ are the problem
-not ‘you’ but ‘them’
-to provide lollipops (sponsor “pilgrimages” to the Holy Land)


Monday, 1 June 2015

Statement on the Middle East, Future Plans

An update from Chris Ferguson







29 May 2015

Greetings in the name of Christ,

I bring you greetings as we have recently completed the 2015 executive committee meeting of the World Communion of Reformed Churches in the cradle of Christianity, gathering at the Evangelical Conference Center in Dhour Choueir, Lebanon, run by the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon.

While gathered together we heard the stories of our sisters and brothers from many countries of the Middle East, including Egypt, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon itself. We were deeply moved by the testimonies of ministry in the face of great challenges. Our eyes were also opened as their reality was presented to us, instead of the one distorted through the mass media.

Our sisters and brothers in the Middle East need us to be closer to them than ever. Their very existence is threatened even as they are the key to peace and reconciliation in the region. To that end, the executive unanimously made a statement that fully commits us as a Communion to be deeply involved with them. 

Access the statement: English, French, German, Spanish [PDFs]

The executive also looked toward our 2017 General Council, where we will embrace the 500th anniversary of the Reformation as an opportunity to both continue to re-form ourselves and also to draw more closely together with our Lutheran friends. 

You should also know that we made two changes to the time and place of our 2017 General Council: It will now be held in Leipzig, Germany, 27 June to 7 July 2017 (with pre-council meetings for women and youth happening the first two days). More information will be forthcoming in the months ahead.

The gathering of our executive committee underlined, yet again, that we in the WCRC are called to communion and committed to justice—and that as sisters and brothers in Christ we can together follow the God of life on the path of justice, peace and reconciliation.


Blessings upon you, 

Chris Ferguson
General Secretary
World Communion of Reformed Churches

PS More information on our executive meeting can be found on our website: wcrc.ch.


President:
Rev. Dr. Jerry Pillay

General Secretary:
Rev. Chris Ferguson

Our mailing address is:
World Communion of Reformed Churches
Knochenhauerstr. 42
Hannover 30159
Germany