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WCC congratulates Nobel Peace Prize laureate ICAN

The WCC congratulated its partner, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), for receiving the Nobel Peace Prize on 6 October.

Ecumenical diakonia: sharing God’s gifts at all tables

"Maybe through ecumenical diakonia, hence by jointly preparing the tables for the marginalized and hungry, the theologies will emerge among us that will allow us to eventually accept the invitation of Christ to receive and share God's gifts at one table”, said Rev. Dr Kjell Nordstokke, during the Ecumenical Strategic Forum on Diakonia and Sustainable Development. The concept of “ecumenical diakonia” has been a key element of inspiration in the discussions taking place at the headquarters of the World Council of Churches (WCC), in Geneva, Switzerland, between 3-6 October.

Conference explores Christian approach to borders

Borders – physical, political, attitudinal – which deny people their human rights, dignity and life are counter to the gospel which calls us to protect and welcome migrants and refugees. This was the recurring theme of an international conference on migration and reception, “Living and Witnessing the Border”, held 30 September – 2 October in Palermo.

Holy Land tourism goes beyond traditional paths

For decades, the tourist industry in the Holy Land has been dominated by Israeli tour operators who rely mostly on Israeli hotel owners and land arrangement providers. Visiting Palestinian territories is seldom prioritized and excursions rarely take Palestinian perspectives into account. Most visitors are thus not provided opportunities to familiarize themselves with everyday life of the Palestinian people.

In face of climate change and unfair mining practices, where is human dignity?

A 25 September panel discussion in Geneva offered compelling examples of how climate change and unethical practices in the extractive industry are robbing people of both their human rights and their human dignity.

Responding to the world’s challenges: forum shapes strategy on diakonia

An Ecumenical Strategic Forum on Diakonia and Sustainable Development was convening this week, drawing 130 thinkers from across the globe who have agreed to seek a common vision for churches and strengthen their ability to collaborate.

Tveit offers inaugural address at Church of North India synod

On 30 September, WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit offered an inaugural address during the 16th Synod Meeting of the Church of North India which focussed on the theme 'The Harvest is Plentiful but the Labourers are Few'.

Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church hosts WCC delegation

A delegation from the WCC concluded a solidarity visit to the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church, one of Africa’s oldest Christian churches dating back to the year AD 329. It was the first such visit in more than 10 years and the WCC left with a pledge to pray and work for peace between Eritrea and its neighbor Ethiopia as they attempt to resolve a border dispute.

We Mourn This Terrible Act: a joint statement by the WCC and the NCCUSA

The World Council of Churches and the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA grieve with the families of those who lost their lives in the mass shooting that took place in Las Vegas, Nevada, on the night of October 1, 2017. We pray for those whose lives have been shattered by this senseless act and lift up those who will be recovering years to come.

Guided by faith, hope and endurance

In spite of a seemingly bleak outlook for a solution to the conflict in Palestine and Israel, religious leaders all over the world persist in their advocacy for justice and peace in the Holy Land. That became evident at the WCC peace consultations in Beit Sahour this summer, where 60 leaders and representatives from Christian churches and faith-based organizations around the world gathered to manifest their support for a peaceful end to the occupation of Palestinian territories.

Ecumenical Centre plans “green approach”

Prompted by a commitment to care for creation, organizations in the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, Switzerland have joined together to develop a “Sustainable Mobility Plan” that strives for a more environmentally friendly and sustainable solution for traffic mobility and commuting.

Church of South India celebrates 70th anniversary

The Church of South India (CSI), the largest united church in India, marked its 70th anniversary with celebrations which lasted more than three days in Chennai.

Former director of the WCC Programme on Theological Education has died

Rt Rev. Dr Samuel Amirtham, an internationally renowned theologian, bishop and ecumenical leader, passed away on 26 September at the age of 85. Amirtham was a multifaceted and charismatic teacher, pastor, leader, and revolutionary, inspiring and accompanying many lives, from remote villages to universities, to the corridors of power.

Zimbabwe Council of Churches appeals to government to address fears of the people

In a press statement on 27 September, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) called for government officials to offer adequate information in order to ensure peace and justice in the face of panic buying of fuel and basic food items.

“The work of truth-telling has to happen”

At a “Hearing on Racism, Discrimination, Afrophobia and Xenophobia” held at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva on 25 September, speakers reflected, lamented and, at times, simply sat in silence as they considered the experience of people of African descent in the USA.

Churches appeal for peaceful dialogue in Korea

Churches in Korea and in the USA continue to appeal for peaceful dialogue and an end to the threat of military action that has caused profound concern across the world.

Churches call for urgent action for Cremisan Valley

As the statements calling for justice in Cremisan Valley fail to work, churches urged the international community at the 36th Session of UN Human Rights Council for action regarding the occupied territories between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Noted ecumenist Keith Clements publishes memoir: Look Back in Hope – An Ecumenical Life

A memoir by noted ecumenist, Keith Clements, was launched Monday, 25 September at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva. The event celebrating the publication of Look Back in Hope: An Ecumenical Life featured an address by Clements followed by a panel discussion on the theme of the importance of history and biography for the formation of a new generation of ecumenists.

Shifting gears - WCC-EAA on strategy for Faith on the Fast Track HIV Campaign

"Over a number of years, the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (WCC-EAA) has advocated for governments, intergovernmental organizations, religious leaders, faith organizations and individuals to fulfil their commitments to contribute to the vision of ‘getting to zero’ – zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination, and zero AIDS-related deaths,” explains Francesca Merico, HIV campaign coordinator of the WCC-EAA.

Learning and networking flourishes at WCC Ecumenical Officers Meeting

From 15-20 September, about 40 Ecumenical Officers of member churches from all over the world spent four days discussing and sharing common issues at the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey and the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva.

"Green Patriarch" to visit Iceland

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is visiting Iceland from 12-15 October, invited by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland, the WCC and the Arctic Circle. The Ecumenical Patriarch will deliver a keynote speech at the Arctic Circle Assembly under the title Just Peace with Earth on 13 October, then preside over a Divine Liturgy in the Hallgrímskirkja cathedral in Reykjavík and attend an ecumenical service on 15 October.

Building momentum – as WCC-EHAIA addresses ”faith-healing only” practices in Francophone Africa

Gathered in Kigali, Rwanda on 25-29 September, religious leaders from a variety of faith communities in French-speaking Africa have explored the issue of ”faith-healing only” practices, where some faith communities encourage people living with HIV to stop taking their anti-retroviral medication, claiming they can be healed by faith alone – a rationale devastating for work to overcome HIV and AIDS.

Norwegian visit enriches ecumenical experience

Visiting Geneva on 20-22 September, representatives of the Church of Norway Council on Ecumenical and International Relations and the leadership of Norwegian Church Aid dedicated time with colleagues at the WCC, the Lutheran World Federation and ACT Alliance, to explore and learn more about ecumenical work around the world.

WCC staff resolve to work with “faith, hope and love”

As they met from 20-22 September, the staff of the WCC resolved to work not only effectively but also with a sense of “faith, hope and love.” The annual Staff Enrichment Days are a time when WCC staff temporarily puts aside regular office work to share, connect and network with each other, and to think about the connections between their areas of work.

World Week of Peace highlights “culture of love and resilience”

From Geneva to Bethlehem and across the world, the World Council of Churches (WCC) World Week of Peace in Israel and Palestine inspired gatherings for prayer, reflection and action last week. Among the commemorations, a group gathered on 22 September at the Wi’am: The Palestinian Conflict Transformation Center in Bethlehem to pray for peace.