Thursday, 29 August, 2013

Hindu Nationalism and the Indian Church: Towards an Ecclesiology in Conversation with Martin Luther

Rev. Dr. R. Sahayadhas, professor in the department of Theology and Ethics in the UTC has published his latest book "Hindu Nationalism and the Indian Church: Towards an Ecclesiology in Conversation with Martin Luther." The book published by Christian World Imprints costs Rs 1,390 and is being offered at a price of Rs 1251with free delivery all over India.

The publishers say that "In the book, the author attempts to re-construe an Indian ecclesiology vis-à-vis the narrowly defined ideals of Hindu nationalism in contemporary India by analyzing and investigating the ecclesiological thoughts of Martin Luther, the 16th century Protestant Reformer. The book brilliantly places the teachings of the Reformer within ‘the social and historical travails of that time and brings them to bear on the ongoing constructive task of living into a relevant and appropriate Indian ecclesiology (and thereby, Indian Christian theology) today’.In this process, it is being maintained that the Indian Church must transform itself into a “Perichoretic Communion”, in which the diverse Christian ethnic groups and the plurality of cultures of India must interpenetrate in order to form one unit, while keeping their respective ethnic, linguistic and cultural identities intact. The author draws his insights from Luther’s fundamental theological/ ecclesiological principle: unity of the opposites or distinction and integration, and passionately proposes that it must be the principle of the Indian Church today. This theological writing presents an important and pioneering opus. It clearly focuses on contemporary contextual issues, concerns and challenges, and offers insights of general validity, not only for the Indian world but also from a global perspective. It is a timely volume and is well advised for the worldwide Church and the public at large."

Monday, 19 August, 2013

Academic Guidance Programme 2013

The Academic Guidance Programme being conducted every year by the UTC will be held from September 24- October 11, 2013. The programme is meant for less privileged students from various backgrounds who intend to do their BD studies in UTC. The orientation, classes and training given equips the candidates for studying theology and introduces them to life, academic work and spirituality in UTC. The last date for submission of application forms has been relaxed and any query can be directed to
"The Registrar, United Theological College, Post Box 4613, 63 Miller's Road, Bangalore- 560046."

Friday, 16 August, 2013

Koodankulam: The voices that matter from whom it matters


There will be a seminar/meeting/sharing session from the field on Koodankulam conducted by the People's movement against Nuclear Energy, Koodankulam and the Koodankulam Struggle Committee. The programme will be conducted in collaboration with the NCCI, Department of Theology and Ethics, Department of Communication and Carey Society of the UTC in UTC at 5:00 P.M.

The team talking to the UTC community will comprise of Rev. Gibson, Dr. Samuel Asir, Mrs. Millret and Mrs. Sundari.

(Pictures courtesy Hindu Business Line)

Thursday, 15 August, 2013

Independence day celebrated in UTC

Rev. Earnest Deenadayalan

The 67th Independence day of India was observed in UTC today. The day started with flag hoisting at 7:00 A.M. and was followed by the Independence day worship. Rev. Earnest Deenadayalan, distinguished alumnus of the college, renowned social activist and director of "Other Media" preached based on the theme "The truth will make you free".

He challenged the UTC community to participate actively in the struggles for freedom and dignity in India today. For him, the crisis that we face today is the crisis of governance. The essence of the state-sponsored celebration of independence is to reinforce the hegemony of the national security state, which continues to unleash terror on its subjects—particularly the subaltern communities—through draconian acts to advance the interests of neo-liberal globalization and casteist forces. Christian discipleship makes it imperative on us to celebrate dissent, trusting in God’s promise of freedom and liberation.

The Independence Day special liturgy, prepared by Dr. Evangeline Anderson-Rajkumar and led by BD I students, enabled the community to reflect upon the challenges of bearing witness in the public sphere in the context of the Empire. The Independence Day celebrations concluded with community breakfast. The community participated in the planting of saplings in the Main Campus and the Nandidurga Campus under the auspices of the Creation Club of the Carey Society.

Flag hoisting and community breakfast

Plating of saplings by UTC Creation club

Inputs from Dr. George Zachariah. Photo credit Calvin Sushith Ambler.  

Monday, 12 August, 2013

Interfaith Pilgrimage

The College had the rare honour of hosting the visit of 36 participants organized by the Foundation for Universal Responsibility of His Holiness The Dalai Lama, on August 10 and 11, 2013. 

The Foundation for Universal Responsibility of His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a not-for-profit, non-sectarian, non-denominational organization established with the Nobel Prize awarded to his Holiness in 1989.The participants were from different faiths, professions and nationalities, which included monks and nuns from the Buddhist traditions. The purpose is to understand learn about different faiths, and the visit to UTC, was intended to look closely at the Christian faith, its traditions, history, spirituality and practices.
The two day programme had brief presentations by Faculty members dialogue with students, orientation to the Library and worship at  Wesley English Church and dialogue with members of the Church. 

Foundation for Universal Responsibility
Interfaith Pilgrimage, 2013
United Theological College (UTC), Bangalore India
Aug 10 & 11, 2013
Theme for sessions : Who is my Neighbour?

Aug, 10 (Sat), 2013
10.00 -10.10 am 
Welcome and Greetings:  Rev. Dr. Dexter S. Maben, UTC
10.10-10.50 am
Christian Bible :  Rev. Dr. J.G. Muthuraj
11.10 -12.00 pm
Introduction to UTC Library; Christian Literature and Communication: Fr. Jerry Kurian, UTC  (With visual presentation)
Christian Theology: Rev. Dr. R. Sahayadhas, UTC
1.00 pm-2.00pm
2.00 pm -2.50
Dialogue: Neighbours- An Inter-faith forum
Dialogue: UTC Students- Coordinated by Paul Karunakar, BD, III student
Christian Ethics   : Dr. George Zacharaiah, UTC
4,30 pm

Aug, 11 (Sun.) 2013
9.00 am
Worship at WESLEY ENGLISH CHURCH, Coles Park, Bangalore
(Preacher will be Rev. Dr. Jones Muthunayagom, UTC).

(Reporting at UTC Campus at 8.15 am and then proceeding to Wesley Church)
11.00 -11.45 am
Interactive session with worshippers

Coordinator: Dr. Amita Santiago, Professor of English at Mount Carmel College, Postcolonial Scholar and member of Wesley English Church
Christian Mission : Sr. Dr. Mary Shruthi, UTC
1.00 pm-1.00pm
Lunch – UTC 
2.10-2.50 pm
History of Christianity:  Rev. Dr. Allan Samuel Palanna, UTC
Christian Counselling: Dr. Joseph George, UTC
4.00-4.30 pm
Concluding session and feedback: Who is my Neighbour?  Rev. Dr. Dexter S. Maben, UTC

Rev. Dr. Dexter S. Maben

Saturday, 10 August, 2013

Annual General Meeting held in UTC

The Annual General Meeting of the UTC was held on August 8 and 9, 2013 in the ERC. Representatives of the churches on the UTC council attended the meeting which was held from morning to evening on both days. The Annual General Meeting is the General Body of the UTC which looks into all administrative, academic and spiritual matters of the college.

From left to right: Rev. Dr. John Samuel Raj, Most Rev. Dr. Devakadasham and Rev. Jeyakumar

The president of the UTC and the moderator of the Church of South India Most Rev. Dr. G. Devakadasham, the principal Rev. Dr. John Samuel Raj, the secretary of the council Rev. Jeyakumar, bishops, pastors and lay persons from various dioceses of the CSI and various denominations, faculty representatives of the UTC, alumni representatives and student representatives of the college attended the meeting.

Rev. Selina

The agenda included the principal's report, appointments to the college, confirmation of service, promotions, retirement, sabbatical and resignations over the past year. The audited statement of accounts for 2012-13 were read and elections to finance and development and building and property committees were also conducted.
On the left: Bishop B.D. Prasad Rao, the bishop of the CSI Rayalseema diocese and Bishop Thomas K. Oommen, the bishop of the CSI Central Kerala diocese

The principal's report included the progress of the college in the past year, accomplishments of various departments and faculty members, and the hostel building project. All AGM members and members of the faculty spoke about the direction the college has to take in the coming years. There was a united voice to work towards bringing out good candidates for ministry in the church from UTC. The bishop of the Methodist Church Bishop Taranath S. Sagar, the bishop of the CSI Rayalseema diocese Bishop B.D. Prasad Rao, the bishop of the CSI Vellore diocese Bishop A. Rajavelu, the bishop of the CSI Central Kerala diocese Bishop Thomas K. Oommen and the bishop of the Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church Bishop Mathews Mor Aphrem attended the AGM.

Checking the progress of the hostel building project

The hall way under construction

Thursday, 8 August, 2013

UTC pre council seminar

The UTC AGM pre council seminar lecture was delivered today in the UTC ERC seminar hall by the Registrar of the Senate of Serampore College (University) Rev. Dr. Santanu Patro. The title of his paper was "Brahminism in the Subaltern: Predicament in Theorising Feminism for India." The bishop of the CSI Central Kerala diocese Rt. Rev. Thomas K. Oommen presided over the presentation.

The paper dealt with the questions Is Brahminism reappearing as an alternative paradigm within the field of subaltern studies to theorise Indian Dalit, Adivasi and Women studies? Is it enough to accept Brahminism because it has countered effectively ‘Westernism’ and contextualised through indigenous movements, cultural rootedness and pluralistic religious foundations? Is there a possibility of doing Indian Feminism without Brahminism while maintaining equidistance from the Western influences such as Feminist Theology?

He ended by suggesting by suggesting a few tools of analysis to help construct an adequate methodology for Indian Feminist Theology.
1. Critical shift is needed from Narisakti to Narimukti
2. Emphasis on Prakrti over and above Purusa.
3. Little story and oral history constitute Herstory.
4. Critiquing tradition as an a priori engagement.
5. Analysing power.
6. Experience.
7. Accompanying in the struggles with the Dalits and Adivasis.

Wednesday, 7 August, 2013

Rev. Dr. Santanu Patro to speak in the pre council meeting of the Annual General Meeting

The Rev. Dr. Santanu K. Patro, the Registrar of the Senate of Serampore College (University) will be speaking for the pre council seminar of the UTC Annual General Meeting tomorrow at 10:00 A.M. His paper will be on the WCC theme "God of life, lead us to justice and peace."

The Rev. Dr. Patro was professor in the department of Religions in the Gurukul Lutheran Theological College, Chennai prior to his appointment as registrar. He is an alumnus of the United Theological College, Bangalore.

The Executive body of the UTC is meeting today and tomorrow's pre council seminar will be followed by the Annual General Meeting of the UTC Council.

Monday, 5 August, 2013

Tribal and Adivasi Sunday worship held in UTC

The Tribal and Adivasi Sunday worship was held in UTC by the NCCI yesterday in the Tagore Hall at 6:30 P.M.. The celebration of the wonderful diversity and energy offered by the tribals and adivsasis in India has not come to the forefront in churches in India. The alarming realities of the increasing violence and violation of Human Rights and Dignities meted out against the Tribal and Adivasi (original inhabitant of the children of the soil) communities in India today makes the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) feel that the Church can no longer afford to remain a silent spectator. 
Way back in the year 1994, during its General Assembly, the United Nations had, for the first time, pronounced the 9th of August as International Day of the World’s Indigenous People all over the World. By following this UN day, on the 17th September 2010, during the Annual General Body Meeting of the National Council of Churches in India in Bangalore, the NCCI, for the first time, announced the observance of NCCI Tribal and Adivasi Sunday. The NCCI therefore from then urges and requests member constituents to annually observe every First Sunday of August as the NCCI Tribal and Adivasi Sunday, commencing from year 2011 and that the date be marked in the Church Calendar and Dairy.

In order to have a better understanding of the life situation of the Tribal and Adivasi communities in India, and to have a common form of worship for this special Sunday, the NCCI, Commission on Tribals and Adivasis therefore brings out this Liturgy. The NCCI acknowledges that many Churches do not follow a liturgical form of worship, still the NCCI requests those Churches to use this Liturgy by adopting it suitably in their own tradition.  At the same time the NCCI is also aware of the absence of Tribal and Adivasi communities in certain Churches, yet the NCCI requests all those Churches to observe this special NCCI Tribal and Adivasi Sunday to show our solidarity to our fellow citizens and to the people of God who are oppressed and marginalized in various ways.

The NCCI hopes that the observance of this Special NCCI Tribal and Adivasi Sunday will be an enriching exercise in our faith affirmation and for widening the horizon of our Ecumenical Journey. May God bless us all to become better citizens in the Kingdom of God here on Earth by bringing the struggles of the Tribal and Adivasi communities within the worshipping communities.

The expression ‘tribal’ and ‘adivasi’ means ‘original inhabitants of their land’ and ‘children of the soil’ across India. Not all the tribals and adivasis are included under the Scheduled Tribes of the Government of India. According to Census 2011 the percentage of Scheduled Tribes of the total Indian population (1.21 billion) is 8.6 % (104,281,034 million). Majority of the SC lives in Rural areas (11.3% - 93, 819,162 million) while only 2.8% (10,461,872 million) reside in Urban areas. About 16% of the mineral resources in India is found within the tribal/adivasi land, which is the major cause for the present crises done to them in the name of globalization through so called development.    

In the service in UTC Dr. H.T. Sangliana the former Police Commisoner of Bangalore and former member of parliament talked on the importantance of quality education for the tribal and adivasi people in order to address our issues of poverty, alienation and our struggles to overcome violence and violation of our rights. We need to get right information and right knowledge in order to challenge and rise above the problems we are facing today.

Dr. Hrangthan Chhungi, the secretary of the Commission on Adivasis and Tribals, NCCI, preached on the theme God, the tree of life lead us to justice and peace. She took the metaphor of the tree of life as a life giving source, providing us with food, fodder and fuel, where people take refuge, and how significant it is for the tribal and adivasi people. God, the tree of Life is our shelter in a stormy weather, our refuge when we get the life giving oxygen, our ultimate symbol of life, the Cross, where Jesus gave up his earthly life for people who are ostracised and wronged as a mark of Justice and Life. The church is called to take steps in order to bring healing and peace in society. Dr. Chhungi spoke on the texts: Prov 3:18-20 and Rev.22:1-2..

Thursday, 1 August, 2013

Bishop Devasahayam preaches for quiet day in UTC

The Quiet Day retreat for the first term of the academic year 2013-14 was held in the UTC on July 30 and 31 in the Ziegenbalgh chapel of the UTC. The Rt. Rev. Dr. V. Devasahayam, the bishop of the CSI Madras diocese lead the sessions for the quiet day retreat. 

Bishop Devasahayam spoke on the UTC theme for the year “Christian discipleship: Call, cost and commitment.” He spoke at length on all the sub themes and developed a spirituality which can be emulated by theological students and future pastors. He brought in the need for spiritual development centres in theological colleges.

The bishop developed the theme of a Christian call by saying that a call is not dependent on human merit or virtues. God fancies calling the meek to put to shame the powerful. He said that “God does not call the qualified but qualifies the called.” The call for discipleship is also a call for a new life. One should be child like and be ready to change. Discipleship also implies companionship. It is being in the company of Jesus. Discipleship suggests following. The shepherd is the father, the sheep the people, Jesus the gate and the Holy Spirit the gate keeper. One should resemble Christ and commit to the values of the kingdom.

 Bishop Devasahayam expressed that discipleship is collective discipleship. The Holy Spirit is given to a community. Are we able to escape the divisions of class, caste and gender? Every such division is a denial of discipleship and the Christian church. Discipleship aims at continuity. 

Jesus taught his disciples the way of the cross. One must base one’s faith on this. One must do away with selfishness and choose a life of sacrifice. Therefore, one must lose one’s life to gain it. Suffering has a redemptive value. Bishop Devasahayam was happy to be in his alma mater and lead the quiet day this year.