As approved by the Board of Governors in its meeting held on November 24, 2022, the following Expressions of Religious Faith at MLCU Statement of priorities has been resolved to be adopted:



Expression of Religious faith and practices of religion is to bring harmony, peace and well-being of all people and the whole creation. Unfortunately, religious practices have an exclusionary nature. By privileging a certain group, create barriers that dehumanize others, reducing them to ‘outsiders.’ Recognising these exclusivist tendencies that excludes the people at the margins and to bring the fact that the Gospel of Christ proclaims the mission of Christ to the marginalised of the society, today’s understanding of Christian church is “Theology from the margins” and theology to emanate from the Public Sphere, developed on the ethical question for which the answer is evident.

As human beings and especially as tribals, we subscribe to our shared existence and experience on this planet. As part of the stream of humanity we travel together through time and to our destiny. David Christian, a distinguished professor of history at Macquarie University in Australia puts it so well:

Like cosmic fireflies, we travel with all other humans, family, friends and enemies. We travel too with other life forms, from bacteria to baboons, with rocks and oceans and auroras, with moons and meteors, planets and stars, quarks and photons and with lots of empty spaces. The cavalcade is rich, colourful, cacophonous and mysterious.

As tribals we have a distinctive worldview which is expressed in the MLCU value expressed as:

The university upholds the tribal values of harmony with one another and with nature, and a collective responsibility for the well-being of all.

In a university, the priorities are academics and research and the collective development of all, not placing ourselves in compartments or sects. Personal faith and spirituality is uplifting, the quiet counsel and support of close friends is comforting in times of difficulty. But organised religion tends to parochial and encourages sectarianism. Exclusivism eventually leads to extremism, as has been seen repeatedly in history, both ancient and contemporary.

Society, Religion and Education

Separation of church and state has been a cardinal tenet of Western democracy as conceptualized and practiced in modern nations. Perhaps the only group of countries that profess to be religious states are Muslim. The only Christian country is the Vatican. The erstwhile Hindu country of Nepal became a secular state in 2007.

Similarly, most institutions of higher education separate academics from religion, a trend seen clearly even among the church-established great universities of the West, many of which had first started out as seminaries. The colleges and universities which remain Christianity centred are the theological colleges or institutions set up by conservative denominations such as the ten Concordia universities in the USA/Canada. These colleges are specific to a particular synod of the Lutheran Church.

Moral formation (Kohlberg) and spiritual enlightenment are perhaps facilitated by certain efforts such as reflection, practicing one’s values and studying the precepts of other faiths (Dalai Lama). In his book, Ethics for the New Millennium, the Dalai Lama makes several noteworthy points:

From the perspective of human society, we must accept the concept of ‘many truths, many religions’. For me Buddhism is best, for another, Christianity is the best way. In a medical analogy, one medicine may suit a particular patient. But that does not mean that there may not be other medicines suitable for other patients.

Simply relying on faith without understanding and without implementation is of limited value. The important point to keep in mind is that ultimately the whole purpose of religion is to facilitate love and compassion. Religion has enormous potential to speak with authority on such vital moral questions as peace, social and political justice, the natural environment and many other matters affecting all humanity.

In a recent address to the Alphonsian Academy, Pope Francis stressed the need to “guard against excessive idealization.”  This world is not to be condemned, said the Pope; instead it needs “to be healed and liberated” with mercy, following in the actions of Christ. The “teaching of moral theology must encourage the highest values of the Gospel, such as charity. … The Pope also emphasized the ecological emergency in our world, describing it as, “the cry of the earth, violated and wounded” by selfish exploitation. He appealed to the Alphonsianum to not hesitate to get “its hands dirty” with concrete problems, especially with the fragility and suffering of those who see their future threatened.

History and legacy of MLCU

While MLCU was established by agencies of the Lutheran and Presbyterian churches, neither church indicated that their doctrines should receive importance in the University, and while the founders generally conceived of a Christian university they accepted a secular and inclusive wording in the MLCU Act which provides that, “The University shall be open to all persons irrespective to class, caste, creed, religion, language or gender.”

It is apparent that the founding fathers and the key articulations in the founding documents envisaged an inclusive university that welcomes equally all sections of society to the University family of students, faculty, staff and other stakeholders. It follows that no preference of any kind be provided for any section of staff or students.

With the continuing growth and stability of the University, it is necessary to examine this issue.  Several developments such as amendments to the Mission Statement, decision to apply for minority status, and articulation of values necessitate this exercise. It is also incumbent to review various facets of the University’s ethos, philosophy and mission. Some of these aspects are already articulated in the Name, Act, Emblem, Vision and Mission Statements of the University. These are repeated below:

The Emblem

The University Emblem comprises of the Knup, the Cross and the Hearth… In the centre of the Knup, is the Cross which is the symbol of Christianity and denotes sacrifice and endurance.


Christian education and values for the betterment of society, especially its youth and Christian community.

The above-stated Vision of the University has encapsulated the mandate and commitment of the Founders of the University which have been recorded verbatim in the Minutes of the first meeting of the Board of Governors and is extracted as given below:

  • “The role and responsibility of the church is to transform society in a manner that is relevant in today’s context. The process of transformation must come about in such a way that it solves the problems of unemployment among young people, poverty, health, education and development. The university has come at the right time and should help our people to help themselves.  Our state has a rich potential in nature and the university should help to tap these resources in a proper way.  The university should be rooted in the local culture.”
  • “The university should help to define the role of the church in this society. It should serve the people of Meghalaya. Historically, the church has provided schools and higher education in Meghalaya, and the university will be the crown of our educational efforts in Meghalaya. The praxis of faith, grace and scripture is education.”

The Mission Statement

To contribute to the sustainable development of Meghalaya and Northeast India, by providing knowledge, skills and values that will enable our students to become global citizens, while upholding gender, ethnic and religious equity for all, conserving its bio-cultural heritage and by recognising its Christian legacy and commitment.

The Vision and Mission of the University. These two statements stress the societal development, collective and individual academic and intellectual growth, the formation of civic responsibility and personal values. They emphasize the general good of society and social concern. The statements are an exhortation to the University to define the role of the church in societal transformation. Societal transformation is defined and expressed in terms of the social concerns of “unemployment, poverty, health, education and development”. In other words, it postulates a concern for wholistic development of all, which is presented in John 10:10, as “fullness of life”.

It is thus an inescapable conclusion that it is the duty and responsibility of the University and hence its binding commitment must be to the humane and inclusive development of society. To achieve this mandate, a Christian approach is implicit. We are all aware of the example of Jesus Christ in caring for the poor, sick and hungry (Nazareth Manifesto).

It is also to be recognised that the University is sponsored by a Lutheran organization, but the sponsor has not sought to impose any religious directive on the University. Rather, the sponsor expects that as an Academic Institution, the priorities of the University should be academics and research and the collective development of all. So, we must be inclusive and not placing ourselves in compartments or sects, setting ourselves aloof because we have a Christian faith. Personal faith and spirituality are uplifting, the quiet counsel and support of close friends is comforting in times of difficulty. But organised religion tends to parochialism. Exclusivism eventually leads to extremism, as has been seen repeatedly in history, both ancient and contemporary.

To lay claim to have Christian religious services, especially during office hours, just because we are a Christian university, is the imposition of majoritarianism. We are seeing in our country today the growing hegemony of the majority ideology. We must not be like them.

With its emphasis on hierarchy, doctrine and ritual, the church has often lost sight of its social responsibility. MLCU has been urged to redefine and revive this role. Hence, we have an emphasis on community and cultural pedagogies and development in our academic programs. In its list of values MLCU has also articulated Christian and tribal values which are:

  • Christian Values*: The University espouses the Christian values of compassion for the marginalised and deprived.

*   Christian values are that characteristics of holding Christ-like humility, as opposed to pridefully putting our own agenda first and selflessly giving our time, sharing our knowledge and wisdom with students, staff and colleagues that will create lasting relationships, demonstrated in the life of Christ, making a long-term commitment to the transformation of society. Christian values that would improve the quality of life and professionalism in our life and approach our work with humility that will result in happiness, joy, peace and fulfilment of justice and right relationship with human and all creations.

  • Tribal Values: The University upholds the tribal values of harmony with one another and with nature, and a collective responsibility for the wellbeing of all.

These approaches and actions indicate that the University is aware of the mandate given to it by the founders. The Board of Trustees of the sponsoring body has recently made available funding for two projects of compassion. One is for the Sein Jaintia Morning School and the other is for single mothers. It is hoped that the University will take up these two projects soon. To give specific expression to its tribal values, the University has recently set up a department of community and cultural initiatives.


The guiding principles of the University in its expression of religious faith may be summarized as:

  1. A Christian humanistic approach to societal concerns: all persons to be treated humanely with attention and provision for their physical and social needs
  2. A Christian approach: following the example of Jesus Christ rather than an institutionalized, denominational and impersonal approach to need.
  3. “…to be healed and liberated” with mercy, following in the actions of Christ — all the activities are to be guided by outreach programmes expressing our Christian and Tribal values such as social justice, compassion, peace and harmony with people and nature.
  4. Recognition of vulnerabilities: those who are poor or sick must not feel constrained to accept religious influence along with help. This applies also to students in relation to the authority figures of teachers or staff.
  5. Inclusiveness and equality of all – practicing religious harmony, holding on to secular values as stated in the University Act – “The University shall be open to all persons irrespective to class, caste, creed, religion, language or gender.”
  6. Social action rather than doctrine or ritual (or) Faith Active in Love and Action rather than doctrinal or ritualistic formulations and practices.


As part of its commitment to equality and diversity and to creating a tolerant and inclusive community, the University recognises the importance of treating everyone with equal dignity and respect, irrespective of their religious affiliation or other beliefs. This must be seen in our academic pursuits as well. Keeping in mind some of the above said concerns and the practices of a few other prominent Christian institutions, it is recommended that:

  1. Academic excellence in higher education and commitment to societal development are the foundational principles on which MLCU is founded. It is mandatory on all the faculty, staff and students to strive towards this goal.
  2. The University recognises its commitment to the Christian community. This is stated in more detail in a separate position statement.
  3. There may be individual ideological and religious approaches to the fulfilment of the mandates of education and development.
  4. Individual beliefs, convictions and conscientious practices will be respected. The right to religious freedom means that staff and students may act in accordance with their convictions in religious matters in private or in public or in association with others, keeping in mind that these activities should be open and should foster religious harmony.
  5. Religious services may be initiated informally by individual employees and will be guided by the following:
  6. Christian services will be ecumenical.
  7. Inclusiveness and equality of all, respect for all and practicing religious harmony.
  8. Listening with concern to the cry of all including the creation and concern for environment.
  9. All religious activities will be held outside of working hours of the University.
  10. Religious activities will not carry the University designation
  11. Special prayers such as condolence meetings may be held
  12. All activities of the University (religious/ secular/ cultural, etc.) should be with administrative concurrence. No individual or group (faculty, staff or students) is permitted to call for or organize such events without prior permission.
  13. Social upliftment will be the uppermost expression of religious faith – loving God and loving our neighbour should go together to work towards social concerns.




Click one of our contacts below to chat on WhatsApp

× How can I help you?