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Evangelism and education discussed in consultation in South Africa

A five-day consultation on “Evangelism in Theological Education and Missiological Formation In Africa” drew some 25 participants who explored what it means to live out authentic Christian witness within secular, multicultural and multi-religious contexts.

Tourism Watch calls for fair and sustainable tourism

As the northern hemisphere slows down into its annual summer holiday mode, the German Tourism Watch says that tourism has failed many poor countries. "Tourism has not fulfilled its promise to bring poor countries more development and prosperity," Antje Monshausen, the tourism expert of the globally-active development organisation of the German Protestant churches, Brot für die Welt (Bread for the World) has said. "The equation: more tourism = more development has not borne fruit.”

South African church leaders appeal for calm ahead of elections

With less than a week before hotly contested local elections, church leaders in South Africa have appealed for calm and asked political leaders of all political parties to help contain dissent. The run-up to the elections on 3 August has been marred by recurrent bouts of violence, intimidation and even political assassinations.

Faith groups must act for children to “Super Fast Track” out of HIV, say experts

To help the world’s children become HIV-free, faith groups must help bring UN goals to life through strong advocacy, rapid action and unprecedented collaboration, say experts. Children must be helped onto a “Super Fast Track” to end AIDS or they will die at what Dr Stuart Kean describes as a “shocking” rate.

Rio Olympics: WCC joins “Team Refugees”

An historic event is coming up, and we invite you to join and support it. At the Rio 2016 Olympics, for the first time ever, a team will represent those women, men, boys and girls displaced from their homes by crisis. The WCC encourages all people and churches to cheer on the strongly symbolic Refugee Olympic Team, a group of ten top-tier athletes from around the globe.

“We need support for the people of South Sudan and just peace”

Interview with Fr James Oyet-Latansio (JOL), general secretary of the Christian Council in South Sudan and Mr Ferdinand von Habsburg-Lothringen (FHL), advisor on reconciliation, South Sudan Council of Churches

Japan attack demands affirmation of all human life, says WCC

A murderous attack on disabled people in Japan has brought condemnation and condolences from the World Council of Churches.

WCC offers sympathies to French community after hostage-taking

An elderly French priest celebrating Mass was taken hostage, along with two nuns and several laypersons, today in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray and killed before two hostage-takers’ themselves were killed in confrontation with police, the French interior ministry reported today.

Facilitating peace with passion

Facilitating peace requires conviction, political independence and endurance. Add a whole lot of passion and native Cypriot Salpy Eskidjian fits perfectly into that job description. Since she started in 2011 as executive coordinator of the Religious Track of the Cyprus Peace Process, which is operating under the auspices of the Embassy of Sweden in Nicosia, she has tirelessly – and successfully – sought to engage religious leaders in a dialogue for peace.

AIDS2016 pushes faith communities to respond to epidemic’s new challenges

The 21st International AIDS Conference, which concluded July 22, had its normal dose of science speak, with seminars and workshops ranging from new vaccine trials to the testing of a vaginal ring that appears to dramatically lower the risk of HIV infection in women.

WCC condemns terrorist attack in Kabul

WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit condemns the terrorist attack claimed by so-called Islamic State that took place in Kabul on Saturday 23 July, apparently directed against a demonstration organised by the Hazara community of Afghanistan. The death toll has reached at least 80, with several hundreds injured. The casualities include a number of members of the Afghan security forces who were seeking to protect the demonstration.

WCC decries Munich shootings, calls for nonviolence

The general secretary of the World Council of Churches, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, decried the shootings in Munich, Germany, on 22 July. Tveit said: “The fatal attack that took place yesterday in Munich against innocent people, adding to the litany of recent religiously-motivated violence, is an attack on human life, human dignity and the human rights of all.”

Star power shines light on AIDS epidemic

Prince Harry, Elton John, Charlize Theron, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, Bill Gates – royalty, celebrities, religious leaders and philanthropists joined scientists, politicians, health workers, and activists – all of whom include people of faith – at the 21st International AIDS Conference in Durban. At a time when “AIDS fatigue” deepens, affecting funding, awareness and capacity to respond, the stars help to put a media spotlight on the many challenges and injustices that remain.

Communication has vital role in building a just peace

Students of communication and theology will address questions of media and globalization and then explore how these relate to the theme of religion in mass media, as part of a global summer school held from 23 to 31 July in Jamaica.

A fresh agenda for ecumenism in Asia

No time has been wasted since May last year when the 14th General Assembly of the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) mandated its newly elected executive committee to reorganize CCA’ s programme structure. In October, after five months as its new general secretary, Dr Mathews George Chunakara could present a new strategic plan focused on four programme areas with clear priorities outlined.

“Walk the talk” - Philippines churches put words into action for HIV response

Thirty-five years into the response to HIV and AIDS, it remains a disease that not only thrives on, but exploits the lines of exclusion and inequality in society. In the Philippines, where there has been an alarming increase in people testing positive for HIV, the country’s National Council of Churches recognized that more than words were needed. While dialogue and debate were important, they needed to translate into action, given the ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor in Filipino society, and a faith-based and societal milieu still dominated by a sex-negative theology.

Churches bring strong voice for justice in Zimbabwe

“Ecumenical solidarity will be the key for Zimbabwe as we move into this latest phase — a kairos moment— when Zimbabwe will need the support of the whole ecumenical movement.” These are the words of Rev. Dr Kenneth Mtata, study secretary for Lutheran theology and practice at the Lutheran World Federation in Geneva since 2010. He has also recently been appointed general secretary of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches.

“Finish the race!” - Faith communities recommit to end HIV and AIDS

In a final session at the faith-based pre-conference on HIV and AIDS, faith communities re-committed themselves to ending HIV and AIDS, and to keeping up the pressure in the face of “AIDS fatigue.” In a stirring speech, Rev. Phumzile Mabizela, executive director of INERELA+ said, “We must continue in the fast lane. We cannot return to the slow lane or go slow in the fast lane.”

Faith-based groups vow to create even more safe spaces for people living with HIV

“Prophet, people and a plan.” That’s what faith-based organizations (FBOs) need to ensure nobody living with HIV is left behind, said Jesse Milan, past board chair of the Black AIDS Institute. He was speaking as part of a panel group at the Faith on the Fast Track AIDS2016 Pre-Conference.

In Zimbabwe, churches implore: “be responsive to the cries of our people”

Church leaders in Zimbabwe expressed their concern for their country’s political, social and economic meltdown that has caused increasing civic unrest and violence over the past month.