From the Worldwide Faith News archives

India Protestants Want To Build Bridges To

Date 08 Apr 2000 02:11:13


April 8, 2000
Adventist Press Service (APD)
Christian B. Schaeffler, Editor-in-chief
Fax +41-61-261 61 18
CH-4003 Basel, Switzerland

India Protestants Want To Build Bridges To Non-

Ranchi, India    The Assembly of the National 
Council of Churches of India (NCCI) ended with a 
call to build bridges with other religious groups, 
a call to fight Hindu fanaticism and the 
strengthening of the caste system, and an 
important amendment to change the look of the 
governing body of the NCCI.

The assembly met from March 2-6, 2000, in Ranchi. 
The NCCI constitution was amended during the 
assembly, which is usually meets every four years. 
The new provision called for the election of three 
new vice presidents, one of which will represent 
women and one of which will represent youth and 
people under 30 years old. The positions have been 
called "a millennium gift to women and youth." The 
secretary of the youth commission of the NCCI, 
Dinesh Suna. said that "we are happy that, 
finally, we are assured of representation."

The assembly took steps both to strengthen ties 
with other religious communities and to fight the 
forces of Hindu fanaticism. During the official 
message of the assembly, the delegates were 
"called upon to continually strive for greater 
mutual understanding with people of other faiths." 
In order to strengthen ecumenical co-operation in 
the region, the NCCI wants to seek closer links 
with the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India 

Different religious communities should undertake 
dialogue with other faiths "to understand and find 
out the commonalties on which we can adhere and 
become friends."

When the religious communities are working 
together, Christians feel that they can better 
fight the Hindu fundamentalism that often attacks 
them. The NCCI considers this time "the finest 
hour for the church to witness the faith." The 
NCCI's message urged participants "to show greater 
dedication and commitment to oppose Hindu 
fundamentalism moves to restore the [upper] caste 

Finally, the delegates unanimously adopted a 
resolution that urged churches "to join hands" 
with both "human rights groups and secular parties 
to meet the challenge posed by Hindu 
fundamentalists." Also, to encourage relations 
with the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India 
(CBCI), the assembly decided to move its offices 
from Nagpur to New Delhi, where the CBCI has its 

The NCCI founded in 1953, representing most of the 
protestant churches and organisations in India, is 
an associate council of the World Council of 
Churches (WCC) and member of the Christian 
Conference of Asia (CCA).

In India about 83% of the population belong to the 
Hindu religion. 12% are Muslim (the second largest 
Muslim population in the world), 2,6% Christians, 
and smaller percentages of Sikhs (2%) , Buddhists 
(0,71%) and Jains (0,48%).

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