The Inter-Faith Peace Building Programme, Diocese of Amritsar, Church Of North India
The Diocese of Amritsar, Church of North India faces particular challenges operating in a multi-faith, multi- lingual and multi-cultural context. From vast stretches of plane lands in Punjab to sky high hills and mountains in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir, the area of Diocese of Amritsar is inhabited by the Sikhs and a large majority of Hindus in the states Punjab and Himachal Pradesh and majority of Muslims in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. In addition there are many minor religious and ethnic communities which cannot be ignored. In the midst of this vast majority of communities of other faith affiliations, socio-economic diversities and political power play the Christian community has to work like leven to spread the message of peace, harmony and justice.
- Equipping the pastors, workers and lay leaders to carry out peace building programmes: The pastors, workers, youth and lay leaders are constantly trained and equipped through various seminars/ workshops/ training programmes to carry out the mission and ministry of the Church in the diverse socio- economic, political and religious context of the Diocese. Consequently, there is better and cordial relationship among people of diverse background in the diocesan territory.
- Christian Procession for Peace and Harmony: The Annual Masihi Chetna Yatra (Christian Procession) is a unique occasion when the leadership of the Church is honored and acknowledged both by Sikhs and Hindus alike while taking out procession to mark the Christmas celebrations with the view to build community consciousness among Christian congregations and create awareness about the Faith and Order of the Church. It is a unique way of Christian witness to promote peace and harmony among all people during the Advent season.
- Celebrating Palm Sunday: Palm Sunday is another unique event for the Christian community to commemorate the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem by taking out a grand procession through the city of Amritsar with a message of Peace and Harmony among people from all faith communities.
- Peace Rallies: The peace rallies such as ‘Ride for Peace’ (Bike Rally) led by The Most Rev. P.K. Samantaroy himself on the bike has been another very effective tool for spreading the message of peace among communities of other faiths.
The other Dioceses of the Church of North India namely, Diocese of Chandigarh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan also participated to spread the message of peace. The occasion has been always used to bring people of different faith affiliations together, to promote peace and harmony among communities. On such occasion the media of all kinds play a very vital role to reach the message of peace to the doorsteps of people through print and electronic media.