On this Blog’s post we are going to discuss on the Topic, the Ecumenical initiatives on disability perspectives with special reference to The National Council of Churches in India. The orthodox and protestant churches in India’s united expression is called National Council of Churches in India (NCCI). NCCI is a such common platform where it’s tries to bring together the churches and other Christian organizations in India; for mutual consultations, assistance and action in all matters related to life and witness.
Brief history of National Council of Churches in India.
The National Missionary Council established in 1914. This National Missionary Council was the early forms of National Council of Churches. Now the National Missionary Council is known as the National Council of Churches in India. The Council constituted was the National Christian Council of India, Burma and Ceylon in 1923. But in 1979 the council separated to Burma and Srilanka. After that, the council itself transformed into National Council of Churches in India.
Now, the National Council of Churches in India is the inter confessional autonomous council. It’s coordinates, promotes and embraces the various forms of the churches’ ministry; for the people including the churches and Christian organizations; which we know as YWCA of India; National council of YMCA; Inter faith relations and Reconciliations; Student Christian Movement of India (SCMI); Bible Society of India (BSI); Churches Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA).
The NCCI is made up of 14 All India organizations; 14 regional Christian councils; 29 member churches; and 7 related agencies.
Ecumenically, National Council of Churches in India is a member of the WCC. NCCI’s secretariat is located in Nagpur. Major commissions of NCCI are: The Commission of Evangelism; Mission and Ecumenism; The Commission on transforming of Society; The commission on Polity and National governance; The commission on Life, Justice, Peace and creation; and the Commission on Dalits, Adivasi and Tribals.
Primary objectives of National Council of Churches in India
a) Providing fellowship and common platform for dialogue.
b) Fostering common concern among the churches in India.
c) Promoting Church unity – Interpreting and communicating the mission of the church.
d) Engaging in and enhancing the educational, social welfare, relief and health service.
e) Representing the churches before public, Government and other national and international agencies.
f) To consult and coordinate with the WCC and other international and national ecumenical organizations.
g) Supporting and empowering poor and Marginalized.
National Council of Churches in India – Disability Perspectives:
The aim of National Council of Churches in India to disabilities is to start its work from the grass-root level. It strives to use inclusive words and attitudes to show concern; and as an act of being sensitive towards them. It does not tolerate people who use languages; that stigmatizes and discriminates the PWDs.
Since 2011, NCCI has been observing Disability Advocacy Sunday (DAS); on a Sunday before Advent Sunday in every year. The important aims of this observance is that:
• The Churches would open their doors; to persons with disabilities, to hospitality them and become inclusive and accessible; to fully participate in the very Life; for Mission and Ministers of the Churches.
1. The Churches would became awareness with attitude and physically, architecturally, communicational give them solutions; those who are persons with disabilities.
2. When ministering the Words of God Churches would gives opportunity to the persons with disabilities to participate and lead the worship and liturgies and read scriptures.
3. The Churches would to review their mission agenda and differently, creatively and relevantly address the Disability issues.
4. We would celebrate our lives and become witness with the Persons with Disability (PWDs); those who are amongst us.
Engage Disability Network (EDN)
The National Council of Churches in India’s (NCCI) and the Indian Disability Ecumenical Accompaniment (IDEA) joined with the Engage Disability Network (EDN) to organize a conference on ‘Towards Inclusive Society:
From Disability Perspective” at National Council of Churches in India Campus 21st July 2015, 30 people participated including the persons with disabilities. The present General Secretary of National Council of Churches in India; Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad, suggested that “the National Council of Churches in India has developed a work place policy; where there will be ‘zero discrimination’ on the basis of physical fitness, caste, creed, gender; and generation in working environment of NCCI and all the organizations; and churches and other religious institutions must have such policies that promotes inclusiveness.”
The NCCI-IDEA and World Vision India joined with Tamilnadu Theological Seminary, Tamilnadu Christian Council, Engage Disability, Christian Service Agency, CSI- Diocese of Madurai-Ramnad and the Madurai Interfaith organized an Interfaith.
The Round Table on Disability meeting occurred in 2016 on 25th August at Tamilnadu Theological Seminary, Madurai. The theme was on “Faith Journey Together Towards Inclusive Communities”.
The practitioners those who have different faith backgrounds like Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and also Secular Ideologies, secular studies, research scholars, theological and secular educators, social and development workers, clerics, lay leaders, students of theology and philosophers. The total practitioners were 70 from different faith backgrounds.
There is a growing consensus throughout the world that all the differently-abled persons have the right to be educated, equally participated and given the health care etc., with zero discrimination. So, that the inclusiveness can be prevailed in true sense.
On the basis of ecumenical initiatives of WCC, CCA and NCCI will definitely feasible the affirmation of inclusiveness; for differently-abled persons within a larger society.
On the other hand; the advocacy and awareness steps initiated for the congregation in general; will be an intimate relationship between differently-abled persons and abled persons practically. We discussed about the various initiatives taken by WCC, CCA and National Council of Churches in India; for the concern of persons with different abilities in their relationship with churches and society.
However, the steps taken by all the three councils are excellent. The awareness campaigns; courses; conferences; conducted by them were on their track and are much beneficiary.