Banglore; August 2, 2006. Over two hundred persons from all over India attend a one-day Prayer and Fellowship meeting of Persecuted Christians organised by the Global Council of Indian Christians at the Campus Crusade Auditorium in Bangalore on 2nd A
Among those present were the families of eight men who were martyred for their lives and Christian witness. A wave of emotion filled the hall as the organizers with crowns honoured the eight widows present, symbolizing the crown of honour that their husbands had received from the Lord (Rev. 6) for their martyrdom.
"This is an attempt to recognize and honour the sufferings of Christians who live in remote locations, facing intense and prolonged persecution for their faith. It is also to challenge Christians in the rest of the country with their stories," said Dr. Sajan George, President of the Global Council of Indian Christians.
Testimonies of survivors of persecution and violence from the states of Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Karnataka, Gujarat, Kerala, Tamil Nadu ,Maharashtra and Rajasthan were shared to a supportive and receptive audience. There were many wet eyes among the listeners as the stories of widowed women from remote locations were recounted, and the public disgrace meted out to young women by shaving their heads. Women from poor tribal families in MP were raped by local hoodlums after the village heads said that they could do what they pleased with the Christians, and ordered them to leave the village leaving behind their lands and homes with all possessions. But suffering and persecution was not the only common factor. Also common was the firm resolve by every one of the survivors to continue in their faith and work, with full faith in God.
Also present at the meetings were over one hundred and fifty local invitees, including Dr T.C. George, Superintendent of AG church, Past. Kenneth Pinto, President of Pentecostal Fellowship, George Ninan, Director, India Campus Crusade for Christ, Mr Charli Abro, and Rev. Panneerselvam Williams, representative of the Bishop of the Methodist Church, and Past. Arthur Paul, senior pastor, Grace Gospel Mission, Bangalore.
After every round of testimonies, senior Christian leaders prayed for those who testified.
Rev. Varadarajan of the Indian Prayer Force assured those present that he would be able to mobilize prayers around the world for the persecuted church of India. Mr Sunil Fernandez, President ICCC and Mr BG Koshy encouraged the particpants with their active participation
Also speaking on the occasion, Sr. Alice of the Missionaries of Charity from Secunderabad appealed to the pastors especially of the independent churches to have fellowship together, and to stand by each other in order to face the persecution that is bound to increase in future. Quality leadership is the need of the hour for the Christian community, she said.
The Participants have started arriving from different parts of India from 31st July and will be leaving from 3rd Aug onwards.