India Insight

Fashion and the church: Trousers for men only?

When in church, wear what the preacher tells you. So says the Synod Executive Committee, a decision-making body of the largest church in the north-eastern Indian state of Mizoram.

All women attending places of worship should refrain from wearing see-through dresses, clothes that expose the breasts or are too tight-fitting — and trousers — according to a dress code prescribed for Presbyterian Church of India members. The guidelines also say men must wear clean shoes and respectable suits.

Church attire has been a subject of discussion for years in the Christian-majority state, whose youth are influenced heavily by western fashion and hip-hop culture, and more recently the ‘Korean Wave’ phenomenon.

While some women still wear conservative dresses and traditional ‘puan’ (cloth wrapped around the waist) to church, many others attend service with short skirts and tight pants, drawing frequent condemnation from church elders and pastors who say they demean the place of worship.

Many others also complain that the poor feel left out as most use the religious service — which also happens to be one of the biggest social gatherings in the community — to flaunt expensive outfits.

Can you outsource God?

– Saritha Rai writes for the GlobalPost, where this article first appeared. –

It is dawn in Kerala, a palm frond of a state in India’s South West. As the sun’s first rays hit the church steeple, a Holy Mass is being conducted in the local Malayalam language.

Only, the prayer is dedicated to a newborn by his Catholic family half a world away in the United States.

The Mormons in India

– Sonya Fatah writes for the GlobalPost, where this article first appeared. –

Their voices rang out, echoing in the nearby passageway. “Count your many blessings,” they sang. “Name them one by one. Count your many blessings. See what God hath done.” And so, the women, some 25 of them, members of the Sisters Committee at one of the six churches of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in New Delhi, closed their Sunday post-service meeting.

“Let us all work together so we can have a temple here,” urged the chair of the meeting, eliciting head nods and verbal assents all round.

from FaithWorld:

Ex-nun urges Indian Catholic Church reform in tell-all book

amenA Roman Catholic nun who left her convent in India after 33 years of service has penned an unflattering picture of life within the cloistered walls in a book that may further embarrass the Church.

In "Amen: The Autobiography of a Nun", published in India in English this month, Sister Jesme tells of sexual relations between some priests and nuns, homosexuality in the convent and discrimination and corruption in Catholic institutions...

"Amen" grabbed media headlines in February, when it was first published in Malayalam -- the regional language of Kerala. With the new English edition and offers of a film based on the book, Sister Jesme's plea for a reformation of the Church is now set to reach a wider audience.

Go Goa – only if you are upmarket and family

GoaGoa, long a magnet for partying hippies, penurious college students and planeloads of foreign pensioners, now wants only “upmarket and responsible family tourists”, the Economic Times has quoted the state church as saying.

In a bid to restore some of the shine lost in the Scarlett Keeling case, the Goa church, which apparently plays a key role in the state’s politics, now wants to focus on family tourists who won’t bring further disrepute to the state that has had its name tarnished not just by the media glare on the booze and drug parties on its famous beaches, but also by violent protests against industrial development.

A family-focussed tourism policy will help attract more “upmarket, high spending” tourists, whose shorter visits will contribute more to the state, the Centre for Responsible Tourism was quoted as saying.