The assembly of the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) has ended with a call to the churches of this multi-faith nation to be more "inclusive" in their relationships with other religious groups."The church is called upon to continually strive for greater mutual understanding with people of other faiths," said the official "message" released by the NCCI assembly as it closed in Ranchi, India, March 6. (The assembly is held every four years.) At the same time, the message urged churches to lobby against Hindu fanaticism and against moves to strengthen India's caste system.In a bid to strengthen ecumenical co-operation as part of these goals, the NCCI, whose 29 Protestant and Orthodox member churches account for 10 million Christians, is to seek closer links with the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India, which represents India's 16 million Catholics."It is pertinent that we live our faith and eliminate all evils, and work towards an all-inclusive community," declared the message, which had the unanimous approval of 350 representatives and leaders from NCCI member churches."The approach of the church for the next millennium is to be an inclusive community," said Vinod Peter, a Church of North India (CNI) bishop who was elected during the assembly to the post of NCCI president, which he will hold for four years.Bishop Peter, who is also moderator of the CNI, told Ecumenical News International (ENI) after his March 5 installation as NCCI president that "we [the churches] should be constantly relating with other communities around us, particularly in the present context." He was referring to propaganda and violence directed against Christians, largely by Hindu fundamentalists, some of whom are allegedly linked to the ...

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