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Press Release: NCCI Centenary Commemoration Postage Stamp released

PRESS RELEASE

 

Vice President of India releases the NCCI Centenary Commemoration Postage Stamp

New Delhi | April 25, 2014.

 

Honourable Shri M Hamid Ansari, Vice- President of India, on the occasion of centenary commemoration postage stamp release of the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), called the stamp a befitting tribute to NCCI, which is the common platform of the protestant and orthodox churches. He acknowledged NCCI’s immense contribution to the noble task of nation building. He pointed out that it is laudable that the NCCI, in true Christian tradition, serves the people on the basis of their work without any consideration of creed, race or political ideology. The function was organised at the Civil Service Officers’ Institute in New Delhi. It was attended by Shri P. J. Kurian (Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabha), Bishop Dr. Taranath S. Sagar (President of the NCCI), Mr. Suman Biswas (Vice President of NCCI), Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad (General Secretary of NCCI), Ms. Padmini Gopinath (Secretary, Posts, Ministry of Communication), and many prominent religious leaders.

NCCI started off the final stage of its centenary celebration in India on the 2nd February 2014 at Kolkata, where it was formed one hundred years ago. The celebrations, which will go on till November 2014, includes national and international seminars on the theme ‘Towards Integral Mission and Grass Root Ecumenism’ in places such as Aizawl, Hyderabad, Kerala and Mumbai. Study and training programmes, cultural events, National Ecumenical Youth Assembly (NEYA), Ecumenical Rally in Nagpur, Centenary souvenir, Regional programmes by regional councils, Bible study groups, International seminar on ‘No one can serve Christ and caste’, instituting a special biennial award for contribution to ecumenism in India and the Education for Empowerment project including the construction of Mathai Zachariah People’s Library and an Ecumenical resource Centre that will fund  the scholarship for Dalit and Adivasi students, are also part of the centenary programme.  

 

  Brief history of NCCI

The National Council of Churches in India stands as an ecumenical body which has journeyed alongside India, sharing its joy and distress. The world saw an era of mission work in the early 1900s and India was one great benefactor of the same. The World Missionary Conference held at Edinburgh in 1910 had a profound influence on Christendom. It gave a marked impetus for the cause of Christian cooperation and unity. To enable wider reach with more efficiency, the Statement of Comity was adopted by National Missionary Council in 1916. It emphasized on cooperative efforts for the common purpose, evangelisation of India. It laid down specific rules for arbitration and conciliation, territorial arrangements, transfer of mission workers and Church members etc. – a guide to basic inter-mission and inter-church relationship. The comity proved to be an excellent form of reaching what had not been reached, and fostering mutual respect and value for sister denominations. Till today, that is why we see certain areas of India, predominantly of one church family. We can see for example, the Baptist Church conventions in the North East India.

Bishop V.S. Azariah, the first Indian President of the National Council was of the view that if the church had to establish itself in its context, it needs to be indigenous. In January 1923 the Council met at Ranchi, for the last time as a ‘missionary council’.

The National Conference in 1925 reiterated the duty of the Church and the individual Christian to present the gospel to men, but emphasized that Christians, in doing evangelism, should recognize that ‘Evangelism in word’ should be substantiated by ‘evangelism in deed’, i.e. with social service. In a society burdened by great economic and social problems, and ridden by communalism, the NCC now saw that the duty of the Church was to contribute all it could to communal peace. The Henry Martyn School of Islamics was an offshoot of that vision. It opened in 1929, thus contributing to the renewal of Christian mission among Muslims in India.

In the beginning of the 1940s important changes took place in the NCC, and it became what it had never really been before – a ‘National’ Council. Up till then the executive secretaries had all been foreign missionaries; now the administrative leadership was taken over by Indians. The Presidential Order of August 1950, which included an article to the effect that, ‘no person who professes a religion different from Hinduism shall be deemed to be member of a Scheduled Caste’, in other words, not be eligible for educational help and other grants, was passed. However NCC had to fight for this right because radical Hindus regarded Independence as an opportunity to restrict or completely prohibit the missionary activity which they had resented for so long.

Some departments had attained selfhood and became Related Agencies. Hence the name of the society was changed to ‘National Council of Churches in India’.

The NCCI’s emblem symbolizes the Church with doors open and lit by an Indian lamp placed in the National flower, Lotus, inviting all people of God into the ecumenical fellowship. NCCI’s membership now stands at 30 Church families, 17 All-India Christian Organizations, 17 regional councils, 7 related agencies and 3 autonomous bodies.


 Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad,
General Secretary, National Council of Churches in India
 
Mr. Samuel Jayakumar
Executive Secretary, Commission on Policy, Governance and Public Witness, NCCI, New Delhi
 
Mr. Suman J Biswas    (Kolkata)                                                                              
Vice President, NCCI; Chairperson, Publicity and promotion committee,  NCCI Centenary Celebration
                                                            
Rev Sunil Raj Philip (Nagpur)
Executive Secretary, Commission on Dalits; Convener, Publicity and promotion committee, NCCI Centenary Celebration
 
 
 

 
From Press Information Bureau, Government of India
 
Vice President's Secretariat25-April, 2014 17:52 IST
Vice President Releases Commemorative Postage Stamp on Centenary of National Council of Churches in India 

 The Vice President of India Shri M. Hamid Ansari has said that National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) is a truly representative organization of Protestant and Orthodox churches in our country. It brings together the Churches and other Christian organizations for mutual consultation, assistance and action in all matters related to life and witness. Addressing after releasing a “Commemorative postage stamp on the Centenary of the National Council of Churches in India” at a function here today, he has said that since its inception a century ago, inspired by Jesus Christ’s eternal message of love, compassion, forgiveness and selfless service, the NCCI has made invaluable contributions towards the noble task of nation building. It has faithfully served our Christian compatriots and the society at large.

He said that over the years, the NCCI has undertaken concrete programmes and projects in critical areas, such as education, healthcare, natural disaster relief and rehabilitation and ecological degradation. It has focussed on adult and vocational education; providing productive employment for the youth, through setting up industrial cooperatives and implementing cottage industry projects such as tanneries, poultry farming, mat-weaving, brush-making. The Vice President opined that it would be appropriate to say that the NCCI has been an important vehicle for promoting the overall well-being of our society and country. It has set an example for others to follow by its spiritual and people-oriented work. The release of the Centenary Commemoration Postage Stamp today is a befitting tribute to the Organisation and its work. I am confident that today’s function would also provide an impetus for the NCCI and its members to continue their good work in the future.

 

Following is the text of Vice President’s address :

 “I am happy to be here today for the release of the commemorative postage stamp to mark the centenary of the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI). I extend my greetings and best wishes to all of you on this joyous occasion.The NCCI is a truly representative organization of Protestant and Orthodox churches in our country. It brings together the Churches and other Christian organizations for mutual consultation, assistance and action in all matters related to life and witness.

 Since its inception a century ago, inspired by Jesus Christ’s eternal message of love, compassion, forgiveness and selfless service, the NCCI has made invaluable contributions towards the noble task of nation building. It has faithfully served our Christian compatriots and the society at large.

 The NCCI provides a vibrant platform for various denominations of the Christian church and related organizations to exchange ideas and views on relevant social, economic and political issues of common interest and concern. It is laudable that the NCCI, in true Christian tradition, serves the people on the basis of their needs and without any consideration to their creed, race or political belief. Over the years, the NCCI has undertaken concrete programmes and projects in critical areas, such as education, healthcare, natural disaster relief and rehabilitation and ecological degradation. It has focussed on adult and vocational education; providing productive employment for the youth, through setting up industrial cooperatives and implementing cottage industry projects such as tanneries, poultry farming, mat-weaving, brush-making.

 As the National Council of Churches, it addresses concerns related to oppression and injustice in all its forms. Recognising the realities of our society, it is particularly engaged in the task of upliftment and empowerment of the deprived and marginalised sections of our society, such as the Dalits, Tribals, Women and the Physically Challenged.

 The NCCI has also acted against the rising trend of religious extremism and communalism by encouraging responsible evangelism and inter-faith dialogue and harmony. By nurturing better understanding among different Christian traditions in the country, it continues to be a facilitator of inter-church togetherness. It would be appropriate to say that the NCCI has been an important vehicle for promoting the overall well-being of our society and country. It has set an example for others to follow by its spiritual and people-oriented work.

 I once again congratulate the constituent members of NCCI for the 100 years of service to their faith and the nation. Your services towards promotion harmony in our society and progress of our people are admirable and deeply appreciated by all. The release of the Centenary Commemoration Postage Stamp today is a befitting tribute to the Organisation and its work. I am confident that today’s function would also provide an impetus for the NCCI and its members to continue their good work in the future.

 I thank you for having invited me and I wish you all the best for the future. Jai Hind.”

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Sanjay Kumar/VPI/25.04.2014

(Release ID :104924)