“Healing is an experiencing the creational relationship and the restoration of damaged relationship”: Rev. Dr. Daniel Rathnakara Sadananda in CWM-MMF-2019
Wednesday, Jun 12, 2019

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Church of South India (CSI) has participated in South Asia Region Members’ Mission Forum (MMF-2019) organized by Council for World Mission (CWM) on 27th to 31st May 2019 at Hotel Poinisuk, Shillong, India. The Forum was based on the theme “Healing the Future: Hope for Tomorrow”.

“Healing is an experiencing the creational relationship and the restoration of damaged relationship,” said Rev. Dr. Daniel Rathnakara Sadananda in MMF-2019 during the keynote address. Further, he added that the church must be the sign and sacrament of healing. The dignity of all should be ensured. The wholeness of life is the right relationship towards Godhead and the manhood and rest of the creation as well. Future is not unknown. It is already in our midst. In Children and Youth, we have a bundle of hope. They have inner potentials. Children and Youth help us to touch and experience the future. They are the mission partners and contributors.

“Are we attending today to form tomorrow or allowing the children and the youth to form a better tomorrow?”, Rev. Dr. D. R. Sadananda raised a thought-provoking question. Children and youth have untapped energy and they are the inheritance of God. Moreover, they are our teachers, and an instrument of transformation like the young girl in Naaman’s house (2 Kings 5) and the Child in a manger (Luke 2). They are teaching to make love to everybody. In them, we have imagination, dreams, and future. They are the leaders of a new world order (Isaiah 11:6).

Furthermore, he added that hope is not merely a positive mental attitude or just an optimism, rather, hope is the resources and working dreams. Practising love will help us to understand hope. Hope is tomorrow and future, but it is transforming yesterday and today. It is the driving force towards Shalom- an eternal promise about healing the future as new heaven and earth.

More enthusiastically, Rev. Dr. D.R. Sadananda emphasized that to create future, we have to re-evaluate our engagement models. “We are in a search of models”, he reminded the delegates. We should learn ‘from and with’ the children and the Youth as well. Children are the owners of the kingdom of God. Therefore, we should think differently for the future and transform our churches as ‘child- friendly church’. Moreover, the church should transform the youth as the agents of transformation as well as prophetic engagements. 

In conclusion, emphatically, he pointed out that ‘mutual indwelling’ should practice for the healing of the future. We should retreat ourselves for the alternative models and for the transformative engagements. So, release the burden of yesterdays and liberate the bondage of today so that we could able to experience the healing of the future. Ultimately, the church should be the venue for new harmony and a new language of inclusivity.

The Member’s Mission Forum-2019 (MMF) of South Asia Region started with an opening worship on the first day which was led by Presbyterian Church in India (PCI) and the reflection was made by Rev. Lalramliana Pachuau, PCI Moderator followed by the keynote address by Rev. Dr. Daniel Rathanakara Sadananda on “Healing the future Hope for Tomorrow”. Following it, there was another session regarding “CWM 2020-2029 Strategic Planning Survey” led by Rev. Asir Ebenezer, (NCCI General Secretary). After which, the evening prayer was conducted by the Church of North India (CNI).

On the second day, the forum was beginning with Morning worship led by Church of Bangladesh (COB) and the reflection was given by Rev. Martin H. Mondal followed by a bible study lead by Rev. Dr. k. Lalrinkima (PCI) based on “Healing the Future Hope for Tomorrow”. After the Bible study, Miss. Debonmita Biswas (CNI) conducted a session based on “The Global Epidemic of Human Trafficking and the Role of the Church in Addressing this Life- Denying Justices Issue”, after which there was a plenary session on the same. Thereafter, a session on “Human Rights of the Children and the Youth in Kyriarchal context: Churches Role in Awareness and Advocacy” was led by Ms. Jessica Prakash-Richard (CSI), subsequently, a plenary session was conducted on the same. The second day of MMF was concluded with an Evening prayer conducted by PCI.

The third day of MMF was started with opening worship led by CSI and the reflection was made by Miss. Thuvya Sherin Sams (CSI). Rev. Dr. K, Lalrinkima (PCI) conducted a Bible Study followed by group discussion and adoption of communique. The MMF-2019 was concluded with closing worship led by COB.

The main Focus of MMF was on Human Trafficking and the Children and Young People in the light of Healing the Future: Hope for Tomorrow. CSI, PCI, COB and CNI have attended in the MMF. The following contextual realities were identified, and the forum made certain specific affirmations to overcome such kind of pity situations. 

A.    Contextual Realities

  • Human Rights Violations have been seriously taking place in the living context of South Asia Region
  • Human trafficking, HIV AIDS Pandemic, Abuses of Drugs and Alcohol, Unemployment, Marginalization and Negation of the Rights of Children and Youth are visible in this context.
  • The living atmosphere of the Region is in danger because of the fascism, fundamentalism, terrorism, eco-economic crisis and injustices.
  • Hierarchical structures, systems and practices are dominating the social life of south Asia.
  • Intolerant attitudes are increasing in relation to the gender discriminations, caste and religion.
  • Human Trafficking became the social trauma, bitter experience and human right issue as well.
  • Poverty, unemployment, lack of social safety, low risk and high profit for the traffickers are the causes of human trafficking.
  • There are trafficking for sexual exploitation, labour, child abuse, and organ of children.
  • Women and children are at risk even within Christian homes, in the workspace and even in churches and Christian societies.
  • Growing fundamentalism and environmental challenges are becoming a threat to the health and future of Children and Youth.
  • ‘Kyriarchy’ - a system of ruling and oppression or ‘power over’ also a threat to the children and Youth.
  • Human rights issues faced by children are child marriage, victims of sexual, physical and verbal violence, health issues due to pollution and ecological changes, marginalization of children with disabilities, substance abuse among children, children and HIV, deprivation of gender non confirming children etc.

B.    Affirmations

  • Children and youth are inheriting caste stigma, religious intolerance or disrespect for pluralism from parents and adults. So, we need transformational engagement with youngsters as well as adults.
  • Though Hope and Healing seem to be a distant reality, there is hope and faith in God who is working for the deliverance of all the creation.
  • We could trust the transforming Presence of God among us.
  • The Future is the present now. It is not at all about the distant future, but the future is dependent on our present situation and past history. The church must act now because the future is here and now.
  • Future is not unknown. It is already in our midst. Children and youth are our future. We could identify possibilities in them, and they have remarkable inner potentials. Future is in the form of children and the youth. Children are the embodiment of the future. Youth and children help us to touch and experience the future.
  • Children are the mission field, mission partners, and contributors. Children and youth are our teachers and an instrument of transformation. In them, we will have imaginations dreams and future. We have to journey with them.
  • The church should be an agent to transform the unjust living context towards the ‘kin-dom’ of God.
  • The church should be a child- friendly church. Children and Youth are not mere beneficiaries but contributors to God’s Mission. Identify the future means to identify the children and the youth.
  • The church should be a venue of care and healing to its members and others those who are living in the given community. The church should be a healing community.
  • The church should heal the future of the country from the sickness of religious fundamentalism- a ‘religious empire’.
  • We must encourage our local churches to transform themselves to create inclusive communities.
  • As a church, we should become the sign and sacrament of healing, in the phase of suffering and death.
  • Wholeness of life is the right relationship towards God, Human Beings and the rest of creation.
  • Human trafficking is modern day slavery. It is a group of crimes and exploitation. The dignity of all should be ensured.
  • Practising love will help us to understand the whole. Hope is the driving force towards shalom-eternal promise about new heaven and earth.
  • The MMF also made the following recommendations to tackle the issues of human trafficking and the problem against the Children and the Youth.

C.    Suggestions and Recommendations

  • Need more capacity development programs
  • The programme must be the people’s programme. People should have the right to do and it should be participatory. The languages must use as the inclusive language to address everybody.
  • Awareness Programs, Advocacy, Campaigns and the articulation of creative engagement models are needed to tackle the Human Traffic issues as well as issues towards Children and Youth. The church must become a strong public voice, and raise awareness among congregations.
  • Generate alternatives for sustainable rehabilitation and livelihood for the victims of human trafficking
  • Initiate network and collaborations with a like-minded organizations, NGOs, and available government facilities to fight against human trafficking issues and issues related to the Children and Youth.
  • The church must understand about the inalienable rights that youth and children have, such as survival, developmental, protection, and participation rights. The Church must be an exponent of those rights.
  • Prevention, protection and the prosecution should be the three-fold approaches to stand against human trafficking.
  • Resource mobilization is needed to tackle the issues.
  • Reframe the theology and missional engagement in the context of empire-blend of politics, religion and the market.
  • The church must try to transform structures and policies in order to give more space and participation to the children and youth.
  • We need the Church which ensures equal access and participation to everybody.
  • CWM could be a catalyst for the church to act today. Constant and mutual communication must be promoted among the member churches to stand together against the emerging vital issues.

Thus, MMF was a venue for learning and listening together as well as an opportunity to solidly reaffirm the ethical duties of the Church. It is highlighted that the Church is called to be an exponent of God’s love which is inclusive and to embrace all. Unceasingly, Church stands against the life-negating situations and work together for the life-affirming activities. Thus, the Church could able to be participating in the mission of God for healing the future by upholding hope for the better tomorrow.

The MMF was well organized by Rev. Julie Sim, Dr. Sudipta Sing, Stephen Chia and Faris Ariffin (CWM Staffs). The hospitality rendered by the PCI was well appreciated.

Rev.Maxcin John
Mission and Evangelism Department,
CSI Synod.


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