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Salvation Army Shares In Delhi Masihi Mahostov, November 2002

Lieut. Colonel Victoria participating in the
Women & Girl Child Group discussion

Four Salvationist delegates that attended the celebrations
Christians celebrate a Festival of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace

For the first time the three major Christian ecumenical bodies came together to celebrate God's faithfulness to the Church in India, express Christian solidarity and affirm faith in Lord Jesus Christ as Lord, Saviour and Prince of Peace. This historic event was planned and conducted by the Catholic Bishops Conference in India, the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) and the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI).

Festival of Jesus Christ the Prince of Peace, in Hindi - 'Masihi Mahostov' (literally Festival of Christ) was held in New Delhi from November 15 - 17th attended by over 2000 Christians from all the states in India. Talktora Stadium, the sports facility built for Asia Games was an ideal venue.

Inaugurating the celebrations 80 year old Bishop of Marthoma called the Church to love all people irrespective of faith (religion) and invited them to experience Jesus Christ following the example of Jesus as He invited the disciples saying 'Come and See' .

The Salvation Army was represented by the executive secretaries of WACI, HRDI and soldiers from India Central Territory, Mr. Ts. E. Bharath Raju and Mr. Sudev Kumar. India Northern Territory participated in the inaugural meeting when the territorial leaders represented the Army.The choir of Delhi Central Corps lent support, being officially invited.

Representing NCCI, Rev Dr. Ipe Joseph called upon the Church not be discouraged by the allegations of some groups that Christians are foreigners but called on those present to educate. He also called for 'a new spirituality as there had been signs of spiritual decadence. Exclusiveness of women, dalits, tribals, youth and children present in some churches need to be replaced by inclusiveness.

The highlight of the event was when delegates were invited to join one of the 13 groups in which various issues were discussed and recommendations presented to plenary. The following were the issues: Peace and Justice-Dalit Issues; Health Care/HIV/AIDS; Education; Gender Justice and Girl Child; Development, Poverty and Environment; Dialogue with people of other faiths and secular ideologies; Church and Media; Christian contribution to Indian culture and spirituality; Celebrating our national identity; Christian understanding and response to suffering and persecution; Overcoming Violence and Reconciliation; Religious Freedom and propagation of faith; Christian participation in nation building

Women and Youth rallies were held on first and second day afternoon which provided opportunity for Christian women to focus on women's issues and youth to display their talents in music. The students of Mount Carmel School of Delhi presented 'Mahabalidan' the life of Jesus which was well attended and appreciated. Gospel singer Vijay Benedict who left film world of Mumbai after his conversion sang many songs in Hindi.

The event gave a valuable opportunity as well as evidence of The Salvation Army's solidarity with the Church in India. We have returned praising God and with determination to serve the nation in the name of Lord Jesus Christ who alone can bring peace and justice to all.

P Devavaram
Lieut. Colonel
Executive Secretary

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