Most Rev. Thomas K. Oommen, the Moderator of the Church of South India (CSI) and Rev. Dr. Daniel Rathnakara Sadananda, the General Secretary of CSI, attended a two-day conversation held on 5th and 6th April 2018 at the CNI Bhavan, New Delhi. The conversation, which was organized by Christian Institute for the Study of Religion and Society (CISRS) critically analyzed the emerging issues and tried to place the church in the present socio-political context and to discern the signs of time and take the prophetic stand.
In the history of Christianity, the nineteenth century is known as the century of missions and twentieth century as an era of cooperation and church union in India. As a result of pietism and evangelical revival, the Protestant churches in the west began to form missionary societies and send their missionaries to various parts of the world. In India, these missionaries from Europe and America who belongs to different denominations working in various parts of India, use to gather once in a year during summer, in the hill stations and had informal meetings to share and exchange their views about their work and experiences. These conferences resulted in the Church union movement in India and later to the formation of modern ecumenical movement.
These church union engagements in India are the second Pentecostal experience after the first event in Acts of Apostles. These negotiations which were very much vibrant in the early 1990s paved the way for unity of churches in India. This unity progression had enabled the churches not only to come together in the union but also be united in their Mission and Witness in India.
In the present-day socio-economic and political situation, our divided state of affairs in our churches does not provide a significant opportunity for our common Christian witness. These divisions in us also make the divisive forces in the country using our churches for their own selfish ends by using different denominational churches at different times. This establishes a deeper division and also, in turn, it prevents us to be united and also to raise a common voice in the oppressive structure of our society.
All the denominational heads of almost all the churches, numbering 47 participated in this event, felt the need of taking the stand for unity, justice and peace in the country.
The outcome of this preliminary conversation is:
To work out a working relationship with the Dalits women and Adivasi and Tribal movements irrespective of their religions and ideologies.
To start the call to vote campaign to reclaim our constitutional and democratic rights
To mobilize pastors and students from colleges towards this political education.
Try to use the social and wire media for his campaign.
Call to the churches to declare this moment as Kairos movement for our active participation in the nation-building process as the nation is facing the general election in 2019.
(With inputs from Rev. Dr. Vincent Rajkumar, Director, CISRS)