On 26 February, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas formally received the general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit for a meeting to discuss just peace in Palestine and Israel. Abbas is scheduled for a speech at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, in the beginning of the week.
“The peace message must be delivered to all the stakeholders, including the opposition," urged Adama Dieng, United Nations special adviser on the prevention of genocide, during opening remarks at a consultation of church leaders from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi opened in Addis Ababa on 23 February.
“Standing at the threshold of the Sustainable Development Goals, the WCC believes it is time for the church to reaffirm the role it has played over centuries as leader in global health, and to consolidate efforts towards health and healing for all,” says Dr Mwai Makoka, WCC programme executive for Health and Healing. Meeting in Maseru, Lesotho, on 27 February, the WCC is starting the process of developing a Global Ecumenical Health Strategy, following the legacy of churches’ high profile in health care and mission historically.
At the initiative of the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network, the Church of Uganda is now including persons with disabilities in its “Empowering youth and women for sustainable livelihoods” project. This project, which is being implemented by the church’s Planning, Development and Rehabilitation Department in the Busoga Diocese, aims at impacting and improving household incomes through farming skills and management ethics for sustainability.
“…the most important thing I’ve ever done is to become a follower of Jesus. I took my first steps with Him about 42 years ago,” says Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in a recently released video as part of a “Pledge2Pray” campaign.
Athena Peralta is dedicated to observing and encouraging people who are defending their livelihood and defending creation across the world. “There is so much injustice in this world that it is really something beautiful to learn about and be able to accompany, even in tiny ways, struggles of communities and churches,” she said.
“Faith communities, in almost all humanitarian contexts, are the key sources of social capital for life-saving, transformation and hope”, says Rudelmar Bueno de Faria, in a 16 Feb. interview given shortly after his nomination as the new general secretary of ACT Alliance, a partner organization of the World Council of Churches (WCC).
ACT Alliance and the WCC jointly announced today that they will hold two strategic governance meetings, back to back, in Uppsala, Sweden in the fall of 2018. The ACT Alliance General Assembly will be held at the end of October, bringing together over 200 people from its membership around the world at its quadrennial meeting. The WCC’s Executive Committee and members of ACT’s General Assembly will then meet together on 1 November for a joint day of learning and work around the concept of ecumenical diaconia and sustainable development, followed by the WCC Executive Committee’s regular meeting.
Bishop Munib Younan of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land was named a recipient of the Niwano Peace Prize for his work toward interreligious dialogue among Christians, Muslims, and Jews in Jerusalem and worldwide.
Rauha. Paix. Friede. Paghidait.
“Now is the time to take action, to build that bridge” – Tveit speaks on climate justice in Oslo, Norway
“Now is the time for someone to take action, to start building that bridge. It is possible, if we all contribute our part,” said WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit in Oslo, Norway on 17 February. Speaking at a convention of union members and political leaders, Tveit offered the final reflection on a day under the theme ”Bridges to the future”.
World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit expressed sadness on 16 February with the news of a bomb attack on the Lal Shahbaz Qalandar Sufi shrine in Sindh province, Pakistan.
Christianity is growing faster in Africa than anywhere else in the world says Rev. Fr Dr Lawrence Iwuamadi, Professor of Ecumenical Biblical Hermeneutics at the Ecumenical Institute, Bossey. He was the convener of a discussion on the Anthology of African Christianity held by the WCC on 15 February with a panel of experts at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva.
The WCC celebrated implementation of its responsible water commitments in an event on 15 February in the Ecumenical Centre. The WCC became a Blue Community In October 2016. The special occasion was marked by the visit of Dr Maude Barlow from the Blue Planet Project, Canada, who awarded a “blue community certificate” to the WCC and raised awareness of the problems created by indiscriminate use of disposable plastic bottles and their negative impact on our planet’s ecosystem.
After learning about the link between HIV and sexual and gender-based violence, the Rev. Neila Ingram said what was on the minds of many women religious leaders: “So now I have work to go and do in my community and church.”
At a 27 January conference in Rome, Rev. Henrik Grape, coordinator of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Working Group on Climate Change, spoke about how to transform our world to sustainability and, at the same time, fight poverty and hunger without destroying the environment.
The WCC, along with the Geneva Interfaith Forum on Climate Change, Environment and Human Rights; Franciscans International; and Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University organised a public panel discussion on climate change and human rights from the perspective of ethics, spirituality and justice on 13 February at UN office in Geneva.
Is religion discriminating? Does there exist discrimination within and by different religions? World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit explored these questions with fellow panelists in Trondheim, Norway.
The visit 9-10 February 2017 to the World Council of Churches by the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, H.H. Abune Matthias, occasioned reflection on the distinctive history and traditions of that ancient church, as well as its role in Ethiopian society and in the larger ecumenical landscape. Coming to his work from a lifetime of service in the church and its monasteries and schools during an especially turbulent time, Abune Matthias was elected in 2013. The church numbers about 50 million members, including several million outside Ethiopia itself, where it accounts for about half the population. What follows is a brief interview with the Patriarch.
When the Bossey Ecumenical Institute marked 70 years of formation, hundreds of current and former students, professors and friends gathered at the Château du Bossey to celebrate. Rev. Khaing Moh Moh was one of that band, but perhaps she travelled the furthest, from Myanmar, where she serves the Shan State Lisu Baptist Association about 200 kilometres north of Mandalay, the country’s second biggest city.