The Synod of the CNI started under this theme with two powerful speeches by the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit and the outgoing Moderator of the CNI Rev. Dr. P.K. Samantaroy.
“It’s a joint commitment of all of us to make our unity visible; you as a United Church make it already visible and that’s your gift to us!” said Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit. Very polarizing political and economical forces are working against the message that God created the human beings to stay together. This is a great challenge for the Christian community and Tveit asked to stay together against any nationalism, nazism, racism and economical forces dividing our societies in rich and poor. The world needs new signs of a common Christian witness today and not when unity is settled! Although we are a very diverse community as Christians we have to stand up against everything which and everyone who divides the human beings.
In his moderator’s address Bishop Samantaroy referred to the present context, charged with political upheaval and communal tension. This context “demands that the church makes itself more relevant to the people’s need’s, and finds new and alternative ways of addressing current issues. … We need to explore new areas of social intervention and interfaith initiatives to make a difference to the life of our people.” But he is also very self critical by looking on their own educational institutions. “We, the members of the Church of North India take pride in the fact that we run some of the highest ranking educational and health institutions in the whole country. … However, it is a matter of regret that our own community of Dalit, tribal and economically backward people have been unable to benefit from our own institutions because we never let them.”
In the evening the theater group of St.Thomas School Shimla gave a great cultural performance presenting the impact of Reformation to the Indian Context: education, freedom of believe, translation of the Bible in local languages. The young people had already the possibility to show their play in various places in my Church EKHN and during Kirchentag this year in Berlin.