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Sound the Bamboo
[CCA Hymnal]





1 December 2012
World AIDS Day (2011-15) 

Getting to zero:
Zero new HIV infections.
Zero discrimination.
Zero AIDS related deaths

Worship Service for World AIDS Day 2012: Towards the “three zeros” in faith, commitment and love


There has been a lot of progress in the response to HIV since AIDS was identified some three decades ago. Global infection rates have begun to decline, fewer babies are being born with HIV and 8 million people in low- and middle-income countries are now on life-saving anti-retroviral medicines.

However, much more remains to be done. The number of people newly infected is still higher than the number of people starting on treatment. And there remain 7 million people who need treatment but who do not have access to it, including2 million children.[1]

In addition, people living with or vulnerable to HIV continue to face stigma, discrimination and violations of their human rights and dignity, which thwart prevention and treatment efforts and deny them access to comprehensive care and support.

We are at a critical moment in the response to HIV. Progress has been made but it is not enough. Indeed, the only acceptable statistics here are “Zero AIDS-related deaths, Zero new HIV infections and Zero discrimination”. Therefore, this World AIDS Day, we not only come together to give thanks for what has been achieved but to commit ourselves anew to doing all we can to make the UNAIDS vision of the “three zeros” a reality.[2]

Worship Service for World AIDS Day 2012: Towards the “three zeros” in faith, commitment and love

Preparatory Music

Words of Welcome

Welcome to our World AIDS Day service.

Much has been achieved in the past 30 years of the AIDS pandemic but if we are to see a day of “Zero AIDS-related deaths, Zero new HIV infections and Zero discrimination”, we must work together to ensure that political will and financial commitments continue.

What’s more, we, as faith communities, must strengthen and expand our work and partnerships to ensure that we too are playing a leading role in the HIV response.

Call to Worship

Leader:            Therefore, we gather before our God of promises with faith, commitment and hope. Hear the promise of the one seated on the throne:
All:                  “See, I am making all things new.”
Leader:            Hear the promise of the resurrected one:
All:                  “I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Leader:            Hear the promise borne on the wind:
All:                  “The Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God; and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.”
Leader:            We come to worship a faithful God, who keeps these promises of love. In the name of the Blessed Trinity, one God, now and forever, Amen.

Song               CantaiaoSenhor/Oh sing to the Lord (The International Ecumenical Hymnbook,Thuma Mina#3)

Other suggestions include; Joyful, joyful we adore thee (Text: Henry Van Dyke; Tune: Hymn to Joy); Laudateomnesgentes (Taizé, Thuma Mina #134);

Reading: Jeremiah 31: 10-14

Hear the word of the Lord, O nations,
and declare it in the coastlands far away;
say, ‘He who scattered Israel will gather him,
and will keep him as a shepherd a flock.’
For the Lord has ransomed Jacob,
and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him.

They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion,
and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the Lord,
over the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and over the young of the flock and the herd;
their life shall become like a watered garden,
and they shall never languish again.

Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance,
and the young men and the old shall be merry.
I will turn their mourning into joy,
I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.
I will give the priests their fill of fatness,
and my people shall be satisfied with my bounty,
says the Lord.

Congregational Response

All: What will it take, O God…
Left:  for us to see a day of no more AIDS-related deaths, no more new HIV infections and no more discrimination in the land of the living?

All: What will it take, O God…
Right:  for change to come in our community, in our lives?

All: What will it take, O God…
Left:  for the scattered to be gathered that all may praise and dance together?

All: What will it take, O God…
Right:  for us to see the end of AIDS?

All: What will it take, O God…  
Left:  for us, your church, to be free from ignorance and fear?

All: What will it take, O God…
Right:  for us to recognize your Word become flesh and living among us with HIV?

All:  What will it take, O God, for the dance to begin and the deaths to end?

This video provides reflections from people of faith who attended the International AIDS Conference held in Washington DC in July this year. In particular it challenges us as faith communities to do more to address HIV and points to key contributions that we can make as part of the global movement working to achieve the “three zeros”.

Reading: Revelation 21: 1-7

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying:

‘See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.’

And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ Then he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children.’

Silent Reflection
Sit in silent meditation, consider the following questions, and write any words or phrases of promise that come to mind on strips of paper given to you as you arrived:

§  What comes to mind as you contemplate the new heaven and new earth?
§  What promise does God have for you?
§  What is God’s promise for your neighbour?
§  What is God’s promise for the world?
§  What is God’s promise in relation to HIV and AIDS?
§  What is being made new?
§  What peace do you notice within you?
§  As you breathe, allow your breath to reach this place of peace.
§  Breathe out the old, breathe in the new.
§  Give thanks to God for this time of reflection.

Declaration of Commitment

Leader:  Church, we are the Body of Christ
All:  The Body of Christ, living with HIV

Leader:  If we choose, we can make a difference
All:  If we choose, we can help bring newness, hope and peace

Leader:  In our homes, in our church, in our community, in our nation, in our world
All:  In our bodies, in our minds, in our spirits

Leader:  Our sisters and brothers, our parents and children are infected with HIV
All:  We are living and dying with AIDS

Leader:  If we choose, the blockages to healing can be removed
All:  We choose compassion. We choose to respond

Leader:  Will you respond with your money, with your time, with your love?
All:  We are the Body of Christ. We choose to respond until the day of the “last one”:
-the day of the last new HIV infection and the last child born with HIV;
-the day of the last time that someone is stigmatized or bullied because of HIV and AIDS;
-the day of the last time that someone dies from this disease.
We pray and act for the day of the last one!


God of Hope
All of us are affected by HIV and AIDS.
At this time of Advent Hope,
As we prepare for the coming of your Son into this world
We give thanks for signs of hope.
For growing understanding
For medical advances
For changing attitudes and behaviour
For greater awareness and concern in your church.

All: Lord hear us, Lord Graciously hear us

God of Unity
Bind us together with strong ties of love
That all churches will be places whereeveryone can find acceptance,
May our churches provide a welcome for all affected byHIV and AIDS.
May they be places where care is given and received,
Especiallyfor affected children and youth,
Where stories are told and heard,
Where fear is overcome by love,
Where you are to be found.

All: Lord hear us, Lord Graciously hear us

God of Promise
The end of AIDS is in sight!
Give us courage to run the race set before us.
We look to you in prayer and in action
For a day when all will have access to education and information
For a day when all who need it can get affordable and good quality treatment
For a day when all are accepted, included and given care and support
Let us shedour cynicism,denial, selfishness and laziness.
May we surprise you, as you surprise us!

All: Lord hear us, Lord Graciously hear us

Song   Yarabbassalami (Agape Songs of Hope and Reconciliation #110);

Other song suggestions include:O God, who gives us life (Text: Carl Daw); God of our life (Text: Hugh Kerr); Word of justice (Agape #107); ThumaMina (Agape # 91); Enviado soy de Dios/Sent by the Lord am I (Iona Community, “Sent by the Lord”, p.18); Senzenina (Iona Community, “Sent by the Lord”, p.46)

Sending Forth
All congregants stand and hold aloft the strips of paper used in the silent reflection.

Leader: In Genesis 9, God said to Noah …*11I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth… 13I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.’

All: We claim the promise of our God for all, in our hearts, minds and actions.
Leader: Then go forth, confident in the trustworthiness of the One who placed the rainbow in the heavens - that we may see, remember and do.

All: We claim the promise of our God for all, in our hearts, minds and actions.
Leader:  Go forth, strengthened by hope from the One who sent Jesus the Christ, knowing that this hope will not disappoint us.

All: We claim the promise of our God for all, in our hearts, minds and actions.
Leader:  Go forth by faith. The One who placed the rainbow and sent the Christ has sent the Spirit, so we know that God is with us always.

Recessional Music

(Please see more on HIV and AIDS on EGY and CCA NEWS pages)

Credits: This liturgy was written and compiled by Ruth Foley, with input from Andrew Donaldson, Karen Plater and Sara Speicher, unless otherwise indicated.Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA and are used by permission. All rights reserved.The Call to Worship is based on a prayer developed for the Interfaith Pre-Conference to AIDS 2006 by the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance.The texts for the Congregational Response, the Declaration of Commitment and the Sending Forth are all adapted from resources produced by the Balm in Gilead for the National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS:
The final response in the Declaration of Commitment draws from the Prayer of Commitment written for an Interfaith Service of Hope and Commitment held at the time of the NAMES Project AIDS Quilt Memorial display in Washington National Cathedral in July 2012.
The intercessions are adapted from prayers prepared by The Diakonia Council of Churches in South Africa.

Annex: Video- Reflections from people of faith attending the International AIDS Conference held in Washington DC in July 2012.
If you are unable to show a video in your place of worship, you could read some of the main points made by people in the video that have been transcribed below.

Video Transcription

Peter Prove, Executive Director, Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance
There is a lot of excitement here at the International AIDS Conference 2012 about new science and new developments that might hold out promise for a vaccine or a cure. But, as much as we must celebrate and pursue these opportunities, we must not lose sight of the ‘software’ of the HIV response -  the crucial enablers, the community based programming - that enablescommunities to engage in the response and deal with issues like stigma and discrimination that are obstacles to any delivery of that sort of scientific advance. We will not win this struggle against HIV with pharmaceuticals alone. It has to be dealt with at the community level, at the level of attitudes and at the level of empowermentof those communities most affected. And in that regard the faith-based community has a key responsibility and a key potential.

Rev Michael Schuenemeyer, Executive Director, United Church of Christ HIV and AIDS Network
One of the things that the faith-community has learned is that we work better when we work together; that the networking of relationships across all sectors of the response is really critical to being effective in responding to this disease.

ErlindaSenturias, Former Consultant, Christian Conference of Asia
If we want to turn the tide, everybody must be invited to the table, everyone must be included. We cannot exclude anyone.

Faghmeda Miller, Positive Muslims, South Africa
Although some of us are working together, not all of us are working together. This is the biggest problem. Some communities still have this notion that ‘it’s not affecting us’. It’s always “out there”. It’s in your religion, not in my religion. We really must work hard to change this and work together 100%.

Canon Gideon Byamugisha, Goodwill Ambassador on HIV & AIDS, Christian Aid UK
Communities still need to learn that having the right language is the first step. This means having the right language to reduce stigma and shame, to multiply safe practises and access to testing, treatment and empowerment.

PernessaSeele, CEO and Founder, The Balm in Gilead
Today, the AIDS epidemic is teaching us about the commonalities between the African Americans and Africans. Todayin Raleigh Durham, North Carolina, the rate of HIV among black women is now higher than the rate of HIV among women in the Republic of the Congo. So, we are learning about the commonalitiesamongblack women, men who have sex with men – and the phobias around that - and youth. We have so many commonalities. One commonality that is central is the role of faith. For black people worldwide, faith is central to how they address everything in their lives.

Asavari Herwadkar, Coordinator for the Asian Interfaith Network on HIV/AIDS(AINA) and the International Network of Religious Leaders living with or Personally Affected by HIV and AIDS (INERELA+) in Asia Pacific
Communities have realised that they have to help much more that they have been up to now; that when it comes to health issues that include elements of stigma anddiscrimination; it cannot be left solely to a few people, to the health professionals or politicians. The impact that they could have as faith communities means that they have to play a bigger role if we really want to properly address these issues.

Rev Michael Schuenemeyer, Executive Director, United Church of Christ HIV and AIDS Network
So often we are quick to jump to judgemental positions about how HIV is transmitted, and we forget that we really need to ground ourselves in the value that as a child of God every person is endowed with worth and dignity that human judgement cannot set aside. And we always need to be engaging in our response to HIV or any other issue from the values of worth and dignity.

[1] These statistics are taken from the UNAIDS report ‘Together we will end AIDS’ published in July 2012:
[2]UNAIDS is the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS. Its ‘three zeros’ vision is part of its 2012-2016 strategy:
[3] The video is available at See Annex for a direct link, a transcription and more details.
[4]Alternatively, you could ask someone, perhaps someone living with HIV, to prepare a spoken reflection on these questions, and then invite people to write their own thoughts and ideas on their strips of paper in response.

posted by communications on Saturday, December 01, 2012  


Dalit Liberation Sunday

Dalit Liberation Sunday
9th December 2012

Letter from the General Secretary/National Council of Churches India (NCCI)

Break Barriers! Build the World of Equality! 
Dalit Liberation Sunday is celebrated during the Advent season every year. This observance makes us look at the significance of the birth of Jesus Christ afresh. The incarnation of Christ is not some charitable act of condescendence, but a decisive expression of the divine in breaking the divide between God and humanity so that God could identify with humanity, and humanity could experience togetherness with God. Paul says that Christ Jesus, “though he was in the form of God did not equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.” (Phil.2: 6-7) Not only is the divine-human divide obliterated, but even the human-human divide is eradicated as Paul affirms, “For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, which is the hostility between us.”(Eph.2:14) In other words, the incarnation has theological-sociological significance.
A spirituality which operates out of theological justification of the sociological status quo can only think of doing charity as an act of condescension. The divisions and barriers remain. They are transcended only temporarily, similar to acts of giving gifts to orphanages and old people’s homes or war truces at Christmas time. Once the Christmas season is over, we are back to our structures, divisions, and barriers. This is an expression of love without justice. However the celebration of Dalit Liberation Sunday calls for a spirituality which operates out of a theological questioning of the sociological status quo. Jesus declares it powerfully in the Nazareth manifesto: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” (Lk.4:18-19)Here is a spirituality that questions the status quo, that seeks to break all unjust divisions and barriers, and commits itself to bring in a world of love with justice.
May our celebration of Dalit Liberation Sunday lead us to a celebration of love with justice!
Roger Gaikwad
General Secretary, NCCI

“Break the barriers: build the world of equality”

Dalit Liberation Sunday
9th December 2012
‘Are you not like the Ethiopians to me, O people of Israel? says the Lord. Did I not bring Israel up from the land of Egypt, and the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir?’ (Amos 9:7)
‘He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’ (Luke 17- 19)
‘So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there for two days.’ (John 4:40) 
The voice said to him again, a second time, ‘What God has made clean, you must not call profane.’ (Acts 10: 15)
Barriers that unjustly divide
Heinous discrimination based on casteism, the most complicated social system in the world, has erected barriers between humans instead of creating common places. Discriminating and socially ostracising the Dalits, who are also the equal creations of the Creator God, on the basis of birth could be seen as a real challenge to the entire humanity. Those who are from the ‘dominant caste’, benefit out of this system in India. They want to see the continuity of the system. Even though Dalits are transformed into a people who are aware of the gravity of the marginalisation they face and much more able to resist the marginalisation and atrocities, the situation is not changed to the degree it should be. The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) along with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), want to uphold the Christian spirituality and ethics of equality and equal opportunity for all humankind against the marginalisation and oppression of Dalits.
Liberation from Limitations
Dalit Liberation Sunday, an initiative of the National Council of Churches in India, was later on taken up in a larger form by the National Coordination Committee for Dalit Christian Rights (NCCDC), a joint programme of NCCI and CBCI, aiming at the empowerment of the local congregations for Dalit liberation. Dalit Liberation Sunday is celebrated by the member churches of NCCI and the churches under CBCI in their local congregations across India on the Sunday nearest to the International Human Rights Day (IHRD December 10th) commemorating the importance of it in Indian Dalit struggles. In order to create widespread awareness and muster solidarity campaigns against casteist discrimination, this Sunday is celebrated with a special order of worship, rallies, folk art forms, solidarity fellowship and campaigns.  
Some Ideas for Worship
1. Invocation
Use drum beating for the invocation. The traditional Dalit percussion instruments can be used for this invocation. In front of the church a pot and a broom could be kept eighteen feet away from the front door to denote the heinous untouchability suffered by Dalits. A red carpet or red cloth can be kept between this pot and the front door. Worshippers can start the procession from around fifty or more feet away from the front door and step over the boom and pot and tread over the carpet to enter the church as an act of protest against casteism.
In the forefront of the procession a Dalit girl may carry an open bible. Worshippers can feel free to dance according to the drum beats. A cross, surrounded by a broken chain, which symbolises our God’s solidarity with the struggling people, could be carried by a Dalit boy.

2. Lighting of the lamp
After entering the worship, place the elders of the church may join in lighting an earthen lamp as a symbol of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Call to Worship
Their inhuman atrocities have carved caves
In the rock of my heart,
I must tread this forest with wary steps
Eyes fixed on the changing times
The tables have turned now
Protests spark
Now here
Now there
I have been silent all these days
Listening to the voice of right and wrong
But now I will fan the flames
For human rights.[3]

Come let us praise the God who appoints us over nations to pluck and pull down evil and oppressive structures.
Come let us worship the God who empowers us to destroy and overthrow dehumanizing and subjugating systems.
Come let us rejoice in glorifying the God who builds and plants a society of equal and Just[4], Amen.

Opening Prayer

God of justice and dignity, who broke the yoke of oppression and slavery in the midnight for Israelites, help us to turn our dreams of equality into reality. God of grace who stood with Ruth and Naomi who roamed with empty bellies, grievous and anxious hearts strengthen us in our helplessness to work for those who are pushed to the margins. God of Love, who engaged the Samaritan woman in your ministry, liberates us from oppressive structures and dominant forces that enslave us. In Jesus name we pray Amen.

Opening Hymn: Jesu Jesu fill us with your love

Praise and Thanks giving (responsive reading)

L: My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.

All: for God has looked with favour on the lowliness of God’s people
L: for the mighty One has done great things for me and holy is God’s name

All: for the mercy of God is on all who are oppressed, marginalized and in various forms of bondage.

L: God’s mighty arm has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts

All: God has brought down the powerful from their thrones and lifted up the lowly

L: God has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty

All: God the merciful always remembers the misery of God’s people and rescues and saves Amen. (Song of Mary modified Luke 2:46-54)



Compassionate God you have created us in your image and likeness. You made us all equal but we have distorted the principle of equality on the basis of caste, gender, colour, region and creed. You made sun, moon, earth, water, trees and sky for everyone’s need. But we exploited and abused your creation for our greed and selfish gains. Like Peter we have believed in holy and profane creatures and segregated people and sinned against your creation. We have believed in baseless and illogical myths of Purusa of Rig Veda and practiced Caste system. We are not worthy to be called your children. Oh Lord, you are full of mercy and compassion; forgive us our foolish and unjust ways. You have called us to be partners of transformation, but we have failed to hear the cries of our brothers and sister in bondage of poverty and oppression. God of love and mercy forgive our short comings and transform us by renewing our minds to do your will and what is good and acceptable Amen.         (Roman 12: 2)

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; everything that is oppressive and hard hearted has passed away. May God our creator who turns darkness into light, who brings us from ignorance to knowledge and from death to life forgive us and make us new creation Amen. (2 Cor. 5: 17).

Intercessory Prayers

Let us pray for the victims of Lakshmipeta village in Srikakulam of Andhra Pradesh where 4 dalits were hanged to death and 30 men and women were severely injured. May God heal their seen and unseen wounds …… Silence

Let us pray for the Ministers, President, Governors, and Judiciary and for all the government officials who are involved in the public administration. May God grant them human heart and wisdom to do the right and just acts ….. Silence

Let us pray for the Church to be a channel to demonstrate God’s love in this world. To achieve equality, justice and dignity to all its members irrespective of their caste, colour, and gender, linguistic back grounds and regional background….. Silence

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayers

Closing Hymn: Help us to accept each other….

Lord’s Prayer in our Mother Tongue

Closing Prayer:
God of Gibeonites, who stood for the helpless, be with us and strengthen us. God of lowly Galileans and Samaritans who empowered the weak and marginalized for your ministry be with us and empower us. God of Dalits/ancestors we thank you for your son Jesus Christ who experienced pain, sufferings, betrayal, neglected and slaughtered like us and shared our pains and became a hope for us to resist violence and break barriers. Help us to be your channels of liberation in this world. In Jesus name we pray Amen.

May God bless you with discomfort
At easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships,
So that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger
At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,
So that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless you with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war,
So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain to joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness
To believe that you can make a difference in the world,
So that you can do what others claim cannot be done,
To bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.[5]

[3] (“caves” by Jyoti Lanjewar) Sathianathan Clark, Dalits and Christianity, (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1998), 179.
[4] Jer 1: 10 modified

[5] Franciscan Benediction 

posted by communications on Wednesday, November 28, 2012  


Basic Ecumenical Course

22 November 2012

Participating in God’s Holistic Mission of Reconciling the Whole World

“Ecumenism is not a subject to be studied but is a matter of life” says Rt. Rev. Dr. Zacharias Mar Theophilus, Suffragan Metropolitan of Mar Thoma Church and former member of WCC Central Committee. Delivering the key note address at the inauguration of the Basic Ecumenical Course in the Ecumenical Christian Centre (ECC), Bangalore, he said that Ecumenism is the affirmation of life and in the midst of the escalating realities of the destruction of life, like exploitation of children and nature, churches are urgently called to promote peace and justice for all – as reflected in the theme of the coming WCC Assembly in Busan in 2013 “God, lead us to Peace and Justice.”  In the midst of brokenness of our world today, he emphasized a critical need for a paradigm shift from being man-centered to a life-centered praxis. 
The two-week ecumenical course jointly organized by the CCA Program Unit on Faith Mission and Unity (FMU), National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) and Indian School of Ecumenical Theology (ISET) of the Ecumenical Christian Centre (ECC) was inaugurated on November 20, 2012. After, an eco-friendly worship service that was held in the garden of ECC, Rev. Dr. Cherian Thomas, Director of ECC and Rev. Dr. Reji Samuel, the Dean of ISET warmly welcomed the participants and the resource persons. Prayers and greetings were brought by Rt. Rev. Duleep de Chickera, retired Bishop of the Church of Ceylon, and Bible Study leader of the course. Rev. Dr. Henriette Hutabarat Lebang conveyed greetings from the CCA members and appreciated NCC India and ECC for their wonderful collaboration in organizing this program. 

As part of introduction to the ecumenical movement in Asia, Dr. Henriette Hutabarat Lebang shared the CCA life and ministry and Dr. Kambodji, CCA consultant for HIV and AIDS, presented the Challenges of HIV/AIDS to the Ministry of Asian Churches today. In the sessions on Ecumenical Journey of Churches in India, Dr. D. Arthur Jeyakumar, a church historian presently teaching at the Gurukul Theological Seminary, presented a paper on the ‘Indian contribution to the Ecumenical Movement,’ and  Fr. Dr. Sebastian Payyappilly, CMI, lecturer at Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram a prestigious Catholic Institution in Bangalore presented the   Roman Catholic Church perspective.  Prof. Dr. Ninan Koshy, former Director of WCC Churches’ Commission on International Affairs presented the Ecumenical Movement in Asia.  In concluding this first phase of the course, the participants will discuss the emerging and challenging issues in churches’ mission today and identify the sign of hope for the reconciling mission of the churches in Asia today. 
Several lectures addressing some of the critical issues are scheduled as part of this course,  such as, ‘Understanding People of Other Faiths’ by Prof. Dr. P.S. Jacob, former Principal of Ahmednagar College; ‘Religion and Politics’ by Dr. Ninan Koshy; ‘Displaced People’ by Prof. Dr. Rini Ralte from United Theological College (UTC) ; ‘Ecological Problems: the Importance of Conservation’ by Rev. Dr. Allan Palanna from UTC; ‘Subaltern Issues: On Fragmentation of Society (Dalits/Tribals)’ by Rev. Bharath Patta, General Secretary of India SCM; ‘Children At Risk – on Child Trafficking’ by the Director of Don Bosco, ‘Gender Justice and Transgender Issues’ by Prof. Dr. Sr. Puspha Joseph from Madras University, ‘Vision of Unity in Plural and Diverse Context’ by Rev. Dr. K. C. Abraham, former Director of SATHRI the research wing of the Senate of Serampore University. 

As part of the efforts to familiarize participants with the life of communities in India, exposure programs to selected religious centers, worship with local congregations in Bangalore and a visit to Mysore city, a historic and important place in Karnataka, have been included as part of the course. The five Bible Studies during the course are led by Rt. Rev. Duleep de Chickera and Prof. Dr. Evangeline Rajkumar (Rev.) from UTC Bangalore. 
By the end of the second phase , the participants will have an idea of the Ecumenical movement in India through lectures on the following topics by eminent theologians and ecumenists:  ‘Ecumenical Journey of NCC India – Towards a Wider Perspective’ by Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary of NCC India; ‘Witness of Reconciling Mission in India’ by Rev. Dr. David Selvaraj, Director of Vishtar and Rev. Dr. Mohan Lalbeer, (Secretary of the Board of Theological Studies of Senate of Serampore College), Rev. Lee Hee Woon, a missionary of Presbyterian Church of Korea stationed in Bangalore, and Rev. Vincent Rajkumar, Director of Christian Institute for the Study of Religion and Society, CISRS.  Pastors, theological educators, missionaries, NGO activists in India are invited to attend this one day seminar that has its focus on a new vision as theological educators and pastors in overcoming division, adopting servant-ship as an agent of change and being channel of God’s grace.  This is considered as a critical role and responsibility of the churches today.     
 The Ecumenical course also known as the Institute on Ecumenism, is being held at ECC Bangalore from November 19 to December 1, 2012, and is attended by 31 participants representing member churches of CCA in India, NCC India and beyond, and networks of ECC.  In order to give a regional perspective to this national course, one participant from Korea and one from Bangladesh attend this course. As an integral part of the course, the participants are requested to write their reflection titled “My Ecumenical Response – Journey to the Future”and connect it with their personal experience, and commitment, which will reflect as their plan of action.

posted by communications on Friday, November 23, 2012  

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