Mizoram Governor Vakkom Purushothaman today addressed the inaugural programme of the North East India Celebration of the Centenary of the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) at the Synod Conference Centre in Aizawl.

The Governor said he was honoured and privileged to attend the function and congratulated the ecumenical forum on its centennial year. He expressed happiness that NCCI which represents over 14 million people, 30 member churches, 17 Regional Christian Councils, 17 All- India Christian Organizations, 7 related agencies and 3 autonomous bodies has grown from strength to strength and this unity is no less a great achievement in hundred years.

Addressing the gathering of ecumenical leaders, he said that we are privileged to be living in a country where the Right to Freedom of Religion is guaranteed by the Indian Constitution and in a secular nation where all religions are equal and every citizen has the right to practice, profess and propagate his beliefs. He said that even in ancient India religious tolerance as seen in the Hindu scriptures known as the Upanishads which preached ‘Sarva Dharma Samabhava’ meaning respect for all belief systems.

Saying that all religions speak of the virtue of love, justice, peace and charity, the Governor pointed that in a world which is now growing increasingly violent with vested interest and lack of concern for the deprived and unfortunate, it is important that respective faiths world-wide reaffirms the mission of propagating universal love and compassion and of striving for justice, peace and cooperation.

He said the National Council of Churches in India is reflecting the concerns of the Churches for the community and the nation by serving as a common platform for mutual consultation and action. He hoped that it will continue its mission with renewed zeal and vigour. He added that missionaries who came to India made positive contribution to society in various fields including culture, education and health.

Talking on his observations about the tremendous contribution of the Church to society in Mizoram he said his recent experience of interaction with children of various orphanage homes in Aizawl was both an enriching and touching experience. He said the Church has made a difference to the lives of these children by providing them compassion and care and a chance to live with dignity.

He expressed hope that the next three days would be enlightening and that the centenary celebration will motivate greater unity and cooperation in the concern of the Church for wider and deeper ecumenism for justice, peace, love and growth.