The Church of South India declares its open affirmation to growing into a child friendly, child focused, child oriented, child centred church. This, the Church of South India affirmed while preparing to celebrate the 70th anniversary of its formation. 180 participants including children representing different regions of the Church of South India, Bishops, Presidents of Diocesan Women Fellowship, Directors of education, hostel and Christian education ministries of the 24 dioceses of the Church of South India met between the 24th and 26th of August 2017 to deliberate on the theme ‘Church of South India affirming child rights’.
This consultation was within the second phase of the Church of South India’s Girl Child campaign (Focus 9/99) centred around the theme “assuring her future”. This program trained people at the grass root level (one congregation in each revenue district in South India) to promote child rights, facilitate compliance to legal frameworks protecting child rights, and monitoring and reporting abuse through State and National commissions for protection of child rights. A mapping of vulnerability context was done in June 2017. The present consultation in August 2017 brainstormed on the different vulnerability contexts and themes relevant to child rights and protection. The participants also worked on the content of the child protection policy of the Church of South India. The General Secretary of the Church of South India speaking on behalf of the church concluded affirming the following,
5. The Church will exercise all its strength to equip children parents and community to overcome the threats and stumbling blocks for children. The Church will employ its communication wing to help equip children with information, and begin a young parent accompaniment program. All fellowships and instruments of the Church will take child rights and child protection very seriously and help the Church implement measures.
Learnings from this consultation will be taken to seven regional meetings of children who will further sharpen the direction of the church. The entire consultation was focused and led by the children. The vibrant morning worship laid the biblical theological foundation for the discourse. The Most Rev. Thomas K. Oommen, Moderator, CSI inaugurated the consultation. Rt. Rev. Dr. V. Prasada Rao, Deputy Moderator, CSI and Rev. Dr. Rathnakara Sadananda, General Secretary, CSI and Adv. Robert Bruce, Honorary Treasurer, CSI offered greetings.
Ms. Jessica Richard, Coordinator (Campaign & Advocacy) CSI-SEVA, Mr. Daniel Solomon Raja, Coordinator (CSI Girl Child Campaign), and Ms. Aruna Stephen (Program Executive, Focus 9/99) Co-ordinated the consultation.
Rev. Asir Ebenezer