Thought for the day

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."
- Matthew 7:7-8

Daily Reading

EXODUS

3:1-22



  • Edwin Centre CSI School and Home for the Intellectually Challenged in Satchiyapuram, Madurai Bags Special Prize in the Documentary Contest Ecological Concerns

    Eco-Initiatives| CSI Synod Ecology | The Edwin Centre CSI School and Home for the Intellectually Challenged | Satchiyapuram, Madurai | Special Prize | School Level | Award-Winning Documentary| How Green is my Institution- Contest |

    The Edwin Centre CSI School and Home for the Intellectually Challenged in Satchiyapuram, Madurai (CSI Madurai Ramnad Diocese), bagged special prize in the Documentary Contest in school level conducted by CSI Synod Department of Ecological Concerns. This video includes the eco-initiatives implemented by the school. The awards were gifted during the Valedictory ceremony of 5th International Eco-Conference on Greening the Globe for Sustainable Living (IEC–GGSL 2019) organized by the Consortium of Higher Educational Institutions under the leadership of CSI Synod, Chennai held from 1st to 4th August 2019 at CSI Synod Centre, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.

    School Level
    First Prize: CMSLP School, Ennooramvayal, Pathanamthitta
    https://youtu.be/KmVb0lCGgBc

    School Level
    Second Prize: Noyes School, Madurai
    https://youtu.be/rvttdSanG10

    School Level
    Second Prize: CSI Girls Higher Secondary School, Pasumalai, Madurai
    https://youtu.be/ABH04yYkVas

    School Level
    Third Prize: OCPM School, Madurai
    https://youtu.be/ycMZAqDBgg8

    School Level
    Third Prize: CMS High School, Mundakayam
    https://youtu.be/5ch__KW9vno

    School Level
    Special Prize: The Edwin Centre CSI School and Home for the Intellectually Challenged in Satchiyapuram, Madurai

    https://youtu.be/264yeF2-D0s

    Prof. Dr. Mathew Koshy Punnackad,
    Hon. Director,
    Ecological Concerns Department,
    CSI Synod

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    Greening the Globe for Sustainable Living— International Eco-Conference: Reviews Ecological Concerns

    The recent International Conference on “Greening the Globe for Sustainable Living”, organized by the Department of Ecological Concerns, CSI Synod, was unique as it sought to address Climate Change, as “the most important issue of science in the 21st century” (Mark Maslin). The Conference, held from August 1 to 4, 2019 at the CSI Synod Center in Chennai in partnership with the CSI Consortium of Educational Institutions, WCC, NCCI, Madras Diocese and ACEN, revealed what religious collectives could do to tackle the issues of ecological conservation. Also, it underscored the importance of inter-faith dialogues and united struggles against the forces of environmental exploitation. Quite distinctively, the CSI Synod Department of Ecological Concerns chose to address a very terrestrial concern against the overall backdrop of biblical spirituality.

    That hierarchical religious fraternities often organize conferences of such magnitude is common experience. But that only the CSI has chosen Global Greening as the theme of an international conference makes this Conference distinct. As Rev. Dr. D. Rathanakara Sadananda, the General Secretary of the CSI, desired in his welcome speech, the Conference went a long way in grappling with the issues of Climate Change. It provided a great opportunity to the participants to learn more about the scientific reasons for Climate Change. They could also learn more about the scientific methods for resisting it. Now onwards, hopefully, the greening of the Earth will be a part of the prayerful activities of the CSI fraternity. And it makes the CSI efforts singular and salutary.

    The Conference, attended by more than 380 delegates from different states of India and foreign nations, was intended to create better ecological awareness among the participants. Providing a thorough scientific understanding of the unprecedented natural disasters all over the world, the Conference sought to impress upon them that the very survival of the human species may turn critical if there was no restraint on environmental exploitation. Right from the inaugural session, the speakers and the researchers stated and restated the fact that the present global threat was anthropogenic. In loud, clear and unambiguous words they told themselves and the world that man should change himself in order to organize defense against Climate Change.

    Every episode and chapter of the Conference was well orchestrated, thanks to the imaginative planning and dedicated co-ordination conducted by Dr. Mathew Koshy Punnakkadu, the Hon. Director of the Dept of Ecology and the General Convener of the Conference. The inaugural session was opened by Rev.Dr.P.C.Singh and graced by many luminaries from the theological and academic firmaments. Rt.Rev.Dr.Vadappally Prasad Rao, Most.Rev.Dr.P.C.Singh, Rev.Dr.D.Rathanakara Sadananda, Rt.Rev.M.Joseph, Rt.Rev.Dr.J.George Stepehen, Rt.Rev.Dr.D.Chandrasekharan, Dr.Paul Dayabharan, Mr.R.Sreedhar (Thanal), Dr.Manoj Kurian, Mr.Dinesh Suna and Prof. Dr. J. Samuel Cornelius, Fr.Joshtrom Isaac Kureethdam, Prof. A. Alagappa Moses, Dr.D.P.Godwin Samraj, Dr.E.J.James, Prof.S.A.Abbasi, Dr.Paul Appasamy, Dr.T.Sekhar, Dr.J.R.V.Edward, Dr.Roy Sam Daniel were some of the clerics and academics who graced the conference with their presence. The inaugural session of the Conference was presided over by The Rt.Rev. Dr.Vadappally Prasad Rao, the Acting Moderator of the CSI. Delivering his inaugural address, the Most Rev.Dr.P.C.Singh, the President of National Council of Churches in India and the Moderator of the Church of North India, made an impassioned plea for seeking alternatives in life style, initiatives in non-conventional energy consumption and dialogues on global poverty. The keynote address was given by Prof. Dr. Joseph Mar Dionysus Metropolitan, a pre-eminent environmental scientist. In his highly informative and enlightening speech, he dealt with the various aspects of eco-theology. He observed that global warming was not just a matter of rise in temperature. It had ligaments with the economic order, he observed. Elaborately dealing with the causes for climate change, the Metropolitan suggested a shift from carbon-based technology to hydrogen-based technology as means for reversing the rise in temperature.

    Many research papers on important topics were presented in the different sessions of the Conference. However, considering the brevity of this review, a select few can be referred to here. In the presentation on “Eco-Justice: A Philosophical Perspective”, Fr. Joshtrom Isaac Kureethadam SDB brought out the Vatican’s views on ecology and capitalism and their linkages with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Dr. Sujith John Chandy and Dr.Philip Mathew, co-researchers from CMC Vellore, together led the delegates to the unchartered territory of “Antibiotics and Environment”. Mr. R. Sreedhar, Director of Thanal, Thiruvananthapuram, quite passionately argued for the practice of the precepts we set for ourselves. There are umpteen opportunities for every environmental activist to adopt alternate ways of living which might ultimately lead to the mitigation of natural calamities, he pointed out. The presentations “Ecological Concern for sustainable Living” by Dr.Manoj Kurian and “Water for Sustainable Living” by Dinesh Suna were remarkable for their scientific content and academic brilliance. Rev. Asir Ebenezer ‘s speech on “Religious Involvements in Eco-Conservation” was another highlight on the first day of the Conference.

    From the second day onwards, the organizers gave much opportunity to the participants to present their points of view. Simultaneous paper presentations were arranged in three different halls. Aspects of environmental science such as Water, Energy, Waste, Sustainable Agriculture, Air, Health, Bio-diversity and Alternate Models were given utmost importance. Dr. E. J. James, (PVC, Karunya University), Mr. Ranjan Panda, Prof. S. A. Abbasi (CSIR Emeritus Professor, Pondicherry University) and Dr. Paul Appasamy (Former Vice Chancellor, Karunya University) spoke respectively on “Integrated Water Management”, “Importance of Rivers to Address Water Crisis: Human Rights and Ecological Perspective”, “Waste Water Treatment” and “Biodiversity Conservation”.

    Topics pertaining to ecology were discussed under the theological, sociological and philosophical perspectives too. The presentations of people’s stories, indigenous practices and eco-theological concerns elicited much interest in the participants. The stories on the Kerala Floods by Nivin Thomas and Athul Abraham and Dr.Sam Deva Asir’s story of Cyclone Gaja were remarkable as they brought home the fact that we had begun to be the direct victims of climate change. Dr.K.P.Krishnankutty, Retired Principal, Govt. College, Kottayam narrated the interventions and struggles of the Kerala Sastra Sahithya Parishath, the unique People’s Science Movement of Kerala, for keeping the Earth safe and sustainable to the posterity. Dr.T.Sekhar’s presentation “Environmental Laws” threw light on the legal steps to be observed in architectural constructions.

    The Conference provided the much space for aspiring academics and researchers for peer presentations. The sessions, where new views, inferences and experiences were presented, had an open expansiveness, emanating from the positive attitude of the participants. The looming threat of impending global disaster, it seemed, had surely pervaded them all. As a result, there was a general tolerant readiness to learn the other person’s perspective. When a conference of this sort willfully accepts the plurality of religious convictions, the much needed space for harmonious global greening can be steadily worked out. At the Conference, the Hindu, the Islamic and the Jain points of view were presented respectively by Ms Shribala Mylavarapu, Ms Fathima Sarah and Ms Reshma Bhansali. The Brahmakumaris gave course on their style of meditation which would, according to them, enable sustainable life on the Earth.

    The highlight of the four-day Conference was the documentary presentations on the Green School Programs in the schools and colleges under the CSI. Twelve Colleges and thirteen Schools and one Special School had sent their entries for screening. Generally, the documentaries maintained high standard of excellence. They revealed the potential of the academic fraternity—students and teachers--to initiate actions for transforming the world. If teachers are ready to act as good facilitators, the finest in the green creativity of the students can be brought out to fruition, the documentaries told us verbally and visually. Impassioned with the idea of green and clean campuses, the students communicated through their documentaries the vital importance of keeping air, water, energy, land and vegetation free from contamination. They demonstrated that they had the practical knowledge of waste management, the basics of agriculture and the value of physical labor. Some of the documentaries maintained high artistic perfection. Documentary cinema also, despite its inherent informative and didactic value, provides ample room for artistic creativity. A well-written screen play, edited flow of visuals, natural narration and skilful use of background music are the essential ingredients of a good documentary. If proper directorial imagination is employed to put all these together in artistic harmony, a documentary can be a feast for aesthetic experience as well as food for thought. The documentaries of Malabar Christian College, Calicut and CMS LPSchool, Vechoochira were remarkably excellent. They were adjudged as the best documentaries of all. At the college level the second position was shared by Bishop Heber College, Tiruchirappally and CMS College, Kottayam. The second prize at the school level was shared by Noyes School, Madurai and CSI Girls Higher Secondary School, Pasumalai, Madurai. Summing up the assessment of the documentaries, it can be stated that there was a sincere effort on the part all concerned to communicate the idea of school greening through the creative involvement of students in environmental practice.

    The organizers of the Conference had taken care to dispel the monotony of the intellectual deliberations through a series of cultural programs every evening. Boys and girls from different CSI educational institutions and Sunday schools in and around Chennai staged dance items, music performances, tableaux and mimes to entertain the delegates. With unusual seriousness and sense of social commitment, they artistically communicated the importance of environmental activism. A salient aspect of the performances was that they were all steeped in the Dravidian tradition--the musical tones, the rhythmic patterns, the costumes and the ornamentations which made the performances naturally vibrant, resurgent and creative.

    Of course, at the valedictory session of the Conference, all participants had a sense of satisfaction. They seemed to share valuable pieces of knowledge and experience, useful to transform the world, to make the world a better place to live in. Among the felicitation speeches, the words of Bishop J. George Stephen, the Bishop of the Diocese of Madras, had a distinct tone and character and they seemed to encapsulate the message of the Conference. With an uncommon historical acumen, unambiguously he declared that capitalism was the villain behind global warming and climate change. The environmental disasters, which make human existence uncertain on the Earth, were the cumulative consequences of the unbridled profit-oriented exploitation of man and nature by capitalism since the beginning of Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, he substantiated. The implication that an alternative global economic policy is inevitable is, surely, food for thought and action in the years to come. Mr. Atul Baggai, the head of the UNEP in India appreciated the eco works of CSI in his keynote address during the valedictory session.

    When Dr. Mathew Koshy Punnakkad, the General Convener of the Conference proposed the vote of thanks to all dignitaries, the speakers, paper presenters, participants, artists and to the other Directors Rev.James Cecil Victor, Rev.Sunilraj Philip, Rev. Maxcin John,Rev.Dr. Praveen Perumalla and Rev.Solomon Paul for making the Conference a historic event in the annals of the ecological concerns of the CSI, his words had the clear ring of a sincere conviction that the we would make the world a better place for “the best is yet to be”.

    Dr.K.P.Krishnankutty
    (Retired Principal, Govt.College, Kottayam)

    The International Conference on “Greening the Globe for Sustainable Living”, organized by the Department of Ecological Concerns, CSI Synod from 1st to 4th of August 2019 at Chennai, was the most timely one, and at the onset, I should say is also a milestone, marking many years of very focused and committed efforts to green the CSI community, the institutions associated with the community and its people. This I must say is a rare and singular action, considering that CSI is one of the largest church community in India, and is perhaps the largest such green and sustainable outreach by a faith community for its people, anywhere in the world.

    The credit fully goes to the officers of CSI and to the Director of the Department of Ecological Concerns, Prof. Mathew Koshy Punnackadu. Incidentally, I have no knowledge of any other community denomination having such a full fledged pro-active and vibrant department for something as critical as ecological concerns !

    The milestone conference was not just a confluence of expertise, experience and sharing of community efforts, but also a very important pointer at something that needs to be highlighted. That this world has a very different way of denoting itself, beyond nation boundaries and physical fences. This world is also a habitat of diverse communities, most of them having their own faith and culture. The change that we all desire to sustain and nourish life on earth, to address collective concerns such as poverty, hunger, livelihood, and now most critical global warming and climate change, need not necessarily be only through nation states, that are parties to global conferences on environment. It can and should also happen through the communities voluntarily, decisively and collectively adopting such protocols, guidelines, and actions at all levels starting from individuals to the regional levels, to mitigate the impacts of negative environment impacts, and create positive and nourishing impacts through actions. In that sense CSI pioneered this, and it must be seen with pride and hope.

    In this context, I must laud the Department for adopting the Green Protocol, and spreading the same. The International Conference also followed the Protocol, thus setting a precedent. The sessions very clearly put forth the problem our earth is facing, the actions that caused it, and the solutions that can remediate the condition. I only wish that this conference, its papers and thoughts put forward will trigger such efforts in other faith communities, and eventually we will be able to call for a global treaty that will establish the settlement norms for human beings to sustain this earth and sustainably live here. If that happens, this conference would become the beacon, and not just a milestone. Best wishes for the green efforts in the future. God bless.

    Sridhar Radhakrishnan,
    Director, Thanal

    Coordinator(Policy&Campaigns), Save our Rice Campaign – India.

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    Malabar Christian College, Calicut, Bags First Prize for the Documentary Competition on Ecology 'How Green is my School/College?’ Ecological Concerns

    Malabar Christian College, Calicut, bags First Prize for the Documentary Competition on Ecology organised by the CSI Synod Ecological Concerns under the title'How Green is my School/College?’. This award and the other prizes for the colleges were distributed during the International Eco- Conference held at the CSI Synod Centre from 1st to 4th August 2019. The results and the links to the prize-winning documentaries are given below.

    First Prize: Malabar Christian College, Calicut
    https://youtu.be/TpJSj9emWhg

    College Level
    Second Prize: Bishop Heber College, Trichy
    https://youtu.be/feqOb0xGuNg

    College Level
    Second Prize: CMS College, Kottayam
    https://youtu.be/rq1kJsZfiiw

    Prof. Dr. Mathew Koshy Punnackad,
    Hon. Director,
    Ecological Concerns Department,
    CSI Synod

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    CMSLP School, Ennooramvayal, Pathanamthitta, under the Madhya Kerala Diocese Wins the First Prize in the Ecology- Documentary Competition Ecological Concerns

    CMSLP School, Ennooramvayal, Pathanamthitta, under the Madhya Kerala Diocese winsthe First Prize for the Documentary Competition (School level) on Ecology organised by the CSI Synod Ecological Concerns under the title'How Green is my School/College?’. This award and the other prizes for the colleges were distributed during the International Eco- Conference held at the CSI Synod Centre from 1st to 4th August 2019. The results and the links to the prize-winning documentaries are given below.

    School Level
    First Prize: CMSLP School, Ennooramvayal, Pathanamthitta
    https://youtu.be/KmVb0lCGgBc

    School Level
    Second Prize: Noyes School, Madurai
    https://youtu.be/rvttdSanG10

    School Level
    Second Prize: CSI Girls Higher Secondary School, Pasumalai, Madurai
    https://youtu.be/ABH04yYkVas

    School Level
    Third Prize: OCPM School, Madurai
    https://youtu.be/ycMZAqDBgg8

    School Level
    Third Prize: CMS High School, Mundakayam
    https://youtu.be/5ch__KW9vno

    Prof. Dr. Mathew Koshy Punnackad,
    Hon. Director,
    Ecological Concerns Department,
    CSI Synod

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    International Eco- Conference, attended by Three-Eighty Delegates, Comes to a Close Ecological Concerns

    “UNEP keenly observes the eco-projects of the Church of South India (CSI) with great interest and we even think it is more than the work we are doing”, said Mr Atul Beggai, in his keynote address at the concluding session of the fifth International Conference organised by CSI Synod Department of Ecological Concerns with the support of 17 educational institutions, National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), World Council of Churches (WCC) and Anglican Communion. Mr Atul referred to the Green School Programme as a genuine need of the hour to inculcate and change the attitude of the young children. UNEP would like to collaborate with CSI Synod in the Green School Programme, stated Atul Beggai. He told that the appreciation of the Green Protocol of CSI is mainly because it is better doing what you are preaching.

    The CSI Synod gave Awards to 44 Schools Completed the GSP audit of Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi. The Synod also gave cash awards to the Colleges which screened the documentaries on the topic, 'How Green is my School/College'. The first prize in the college level was won by the Malabar Christian College, Calicut, the second prize winners are Bishop Heber College, Trichy & CMS College, Kottayam, and the third prize has gone to Voorhes College, Vellore. School Level First Prize was given to the CMS Lower Primary School, Enooramvayal, Pathanamthitta (Madhya Kerala Diocese), second prize was shared by Noyes School, Madurai and CSI Girls Higher Secondary School, Pasumalai, Madurai, and the third prize was shared among OCPM School, Madurai, CSI School for Differently Abled, Sivakasi, and CMS High School, Mundakkayam. Rt Rev. M. Joseph; the Chairperson of the Ecological Concerns Department of the CSI Synod, Eng. John Mahendran; Chairman of the TamilNadu State Minorities Commission, Rt Rev. George Stephen; Bishop of CSI Madras Diocese, Mr. JCD Probhakar; Ex MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly), Rt Rev. Dr Royce Manoj Victor; Bishop of CSI Diocese of Malabar, Dr. Manoj Kurian; WCC, Rev. Dr D. Rathnakara Sadananda; Gen. Secretary, CSI and Vice-President of NCCI, and Prof. Dr Mathew Koshy Punnackad; Hon. Director of the Department of Ecological Concerns spoke in the concluding session of the International Conference.

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