Monday, 16 August 2010

Church of North India (CNI) - Delhi Diocese

Our visit to the Church of North India (CNI) has been an amazing experience visiting three Diocese over three weeks. We began in the Delhi Diocese staying at the Headquarters in Delhi where we were met by the Moderator of CNI Rev Purely Lyndoh, General Secretary Rev Enos Das Pradhan and the Deputy Moderator Rev Dr P Marandhi. The CNI celebrates it 40th Anniversary this year since its formation on 29th November 1970 when six denominations came together including the British and Australasian Methodist Connexions.

General Secretary - Rev Enos Das Pradhan

The Vision for Unity, Witness and Service
The concern for unity of the Church grew out of a zeal for the mission of the Church, because a divided Church could not bear witness to the one Gospel and the one Lord in a country like India with diverse religions, languages, races and cultures. Through the process of negotiations and prayerful seeking of the guidance of Holy Spirit unity was achieved in the understanding and practice of the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, the three-fold ministry of Bishops, Presbyters and Deacons and in the organizational structures of Pastorates, Dioceses and the Synod, Episcopacy was received and accepted as both constitutional and historic.

Mission Statement of the Church of North India

The Church of North India as a United and Uniting together is committed to announce the Good News of the reign of God inaugurated through death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in proclamation and to demonstrate in actions to restore the integrity of Gods creation through continuous struggle against the demonic powers by breaking down the barriers of caste, class, gender, economic inequality and exploitation of the nature

The Church of North India is a remarkable example of God's transforming love and engaging faith in a society where there are many unique challenges.

About India- India is made up of 28 different states. A population of over 1.1 billion people who are multi-lingual and multi-ethnic, containing 8% of tribal peoples.
It is estimated the population by religious affliation comprises of 80% Hindu, 13% Muslim, 3% Christians, 2% Sikhs.
It has the 11th largest economy in the world and over one third of the world's poor - wit
h over 30% of the population living below the poverty line. The challenges of poverty, illiteracy, corruption, disease and malnutrition remain very apparent and the christian church is participating in making a significant contribution to these challenges in a remarkable way.

St Crispins School
My first school visit was to St Crispins in Gouragon. Here I am in the Principal Mrs Poormina Lal's office having been greeted by the entire school and accompanying brass band on the lawn. Poormina and I had already met in London where she attended the All Partners Conference as a representative of the Church of North India and again in Portsmouth at Methodist Conference. It was such a delight to visit the school in which 1,300 local children are being educated in such a positive environment.

The Delhi Brotherhood -

Imagine our surprise when we visited The Delhi Brotherhood Society to discover the portrait of a former Bishop of Durham (Spennymoor, Co.Durham is where I was born and brought up) especially as only the weekend before I was standing looking at the same picture hanging in the residence of the Bishop of Durham at Auckland Castle.

Under the guidance of Bishop Foss Westcott in 1877 a small number of English priests set out to Delhi with the aim of promoting higher education.

This they did at Delhi and St. Stephen’s College was established in 1881, which became known as the “Star of the East”.

The members of the Brotherhood take a life vow to remain single without marriage whole life to serve the poor and under privileged. Since 1887, they have been involved in education program, vocational programme & health care programme for the poor, marginalized and weaker section.

One of its members, C.F. Andrews had earned the distinction of involving himself in trade union activities and in the independence movement of India. A close associate of, Mahatma Gandhi the Father of the Nation, the Mahatma honored Andrews with the title of Deenabandhu.

Talking to Father Monodeep Daniel, the current leader of the Brotherhood was a privilege and inspirational as he spoke of the challenges facing the people of Delhi and the Brotherhood's commitment, 'To go where they are needed most.'

We were very aware of the statues and memorials honouring Ghandi and frequently came across many of his famous words including the Seven Deadly Sins which I often quote in sermons.

Ghandi considered these traits to be the most spiritually perilous to humanity.

Wealth without Work
Pleasure without Conscience
Science without Humanity
Knowledge without Character
Politics without Principle
Commerce without Morality
Worship without Sacrifice

Indian Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge

Deep in the streets of Old Delhi is the thriving heart of the ISPCK, which unlike many of its English counterparts is flourishing. Indian authors contribute to significant theological reflection on Dalit and Tribal integration and empowerment. Several hours spent with the General Secretary Rev Dr Ashish Amos provided some fascinating insights into the Society's history and substantial contribution to theological reflection.

Taj Mahal-Agra

CNI very kindly arranged for us to visit Agra for the day and see the Taj Mahal ...and yes we know the picture is very cheesy and typically tourist but it was hard to resist.

It is breathtakingly beautiful, an absolutely stunning piece of architecture.The Taj Mahal is a mausol
eum built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal
and considered to be the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements from Persian, Islamic and Indian architectural styles.
Construction began around 1632 and was completed
around 1653, employing thousands of artisans and craftsmen.

St Stephen's Hospital, Delhi

We spent our final morning visiting the largest Christian Hospital in Delhi in the company of the Director Dr Sudhir C. Joseph. A fee paying hospital that is self-sustaining and is not reliant upon external funding but does offer concessions to low income families, all emergency treatment is free. The major causes of death are infectious diseases followed by heart disease.

St Crispin's Dancers in Rahjastani Dress

A slide show from Delhi

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