The wave of attacks on churches in Karnataka, India, have only "increased our faith and brought us together," says Archbishop Bernard Moras, whose noteworthy initiative has united churches of many denominations.
On June 19, over 200 Christians from various denominations gathered at St. Mark's Cathedral in Bangalore. They came together under the banner of Karnataka United Christians Forum for Human Rights (KUCFHR).
Addressing the gathering, Archbishop of Bangalore Bernard Moras said, "God has the power to bring good even from evil. The formation of this forum is a testimony to that."
He pointed out that the attacks on churches, religious personnel, priests, nuns and pastors had "prompted church leaders to think of ways and means to arrest this violation of our right to worship and proclaim our faith."
He was referring to last year's assault on churches and prayer halls by right-wing Hindu groups. At least 20 Christian worship places were attacked in the violent crime spree in the coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada. Thousands of people were displaced.
It was following this incident that the forum was birthed by representatives from various Christian groups.
The attacks on Christians, Moras explained, propelled the move for such a platform "where we could identify what is common among us" and even think out-of-the-box for "reaching out to the less fortunate and underprivileged" in our society.
While expressing sadness over remarks such as "Karnataka will become a second Gujarat," Moras excitedly declared, "Nothing will prevail against the unity of the Church."
The gathering hosted by CSI Bishop Rev. Vasanth Kumar welcomed delegates from the Methodist, Orthodox, Jacobite, and Believer's churches, the Federation of Christian Churches as well as independent churches.
Together, they agreed to stick to acceptable methods in proclaiming one's faith and disfavor unChristian activities such as forceful conversions, allurements and inducements of any kind.