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THE PEACE RALLY BY BENGAL CHRISTIAN COUNCIL ON 20TH JANUARY 2024….

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Staff Reporter : Kolkata, 20th January 2023. The contribution of the Church towards nation building is undeniably varied and immense. Its role in the fields of education, health service for all, with special attention to mother and child health care, elderly care, service to the differently able, care for the homeless and destitute, women’s empowerment, youth empowerment and human resource development is certainly commendable. More than two centuries ago Christian missionaries first established their educational institutions in the cities and distant rural areas of the country to spread the light of education among the masses both men and women. This also included the education and support of the Indigenous people and subaltern communities-the Adivasis and Tribals.

Several of those institutions are still catering to all sections of society producing scores of extremely successful alumni working in India and across the world. They have been educated with great care and solicitude in the hallowed portals of those iconic seats of learning which impart quality education and discipline, coupled with strong moral and ethical values.

Today, on account of the dedicated service of the Church in the field of education and printing and publication, the literacy rate, especially in the South and North East India is very high in comparison with the national average.

The social face of the Christian faith is strikingly visible through the Church and Church run organizations/agencies like hospitals and dispensaries, orphanages and destitute homes. Although Indian Christians form a minority community in the country their contribution in the field of health care and social service is enormous and exemplary. Not only do they run hospitals for patients suffering from diseases like Leprosy, Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS etc. but the various Christian missions and Churches run Care and Support Centers to provide free shelter, education and health care to the children and immediate families of these patients and finally rehabilitate them in society. Saint Mother Teresa’s selfless and dedicated service to the poor and destitute in India for over half a century is an outstanding example of the Church’s identification with some of the serious problems of Indian society of our times.

Statistics reveals that 85 percent of the health care institutions run by the Church are in the villages. This is the real aim of the Church’s life and mission-to be at the service of the last, the least and the lost. Currently it is playing a leading role in working independently and networking with Government agencies in rescuing the victims of human trafficking, offering them legal assistance, providing them shelter in care homes with skill training and bringing them back into the mainstream of society with respectable jobs and steady incomes to live lives of dignity and confidence.

The Church pays no heed to caste, creed or religion and through its service to all sections of the people of this country has helped to lay the foundations for a wider and deeper fraternity based on love, justice, forgiveness and solidarity.

Under the Leadership and guidance of The Rt. Revd. Dr. Paritosh Canning, Bengal Christian Council and Bishop of Calcutta is making an all out effort to reach out to all the sections of the society with special emphasis on Women’s Empowerment by encouraging self-sufficiency, skill training, rehabilitation, especially for trafficking victims/survivors.

For the Youth-Education, Career counseling, Income generating programme, to equip them as Entrepreneurs & job creators, organizing games and sports for them on a regular basis to foster unity, fraternity and discipline.

For the Elderly-To make sure that needy elderly people are properly looked after, facilitating their creative involvement, regular health care. For the underprivileged and downtrodden-Help they access benefits from numerous Government welfare schemes and counseling. Advises-Education, skill training, helps them preserve their rich cultural heritage.

Migrant labors and victims of pandemic induced lockdown-Assistance in terms of joblessness, job downgrading-trauma counseling and help them in mainstreaming.

In today’s Peace Rally we are praying for peace in our country and the world. We pray for Manipur that peace and good sense may prevail and for an end to the violence, looting, arson and abuse. We pray for the victims of violence and abuse for their healing, restoration and rehabilitation and that all concerned may come together to find ways and means for a solution to the prevailing conflict.

We are praying for peace in Ukraine, Gaza and in Palestine and in the region that all concerned-Government and Agencies alike-do all that in their power and ability to stop violence, destruction, save innocent lives and de-escalate further damages to the people. We need your prayers and encouragement.

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