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Bishop Helga - diaconal apostle

This year it is five hundred years since the Reformation. This has been commemorated throughout the year. A lot has happened in the world. The Reformation is ongoing in churches around the world. Discussions are constantly held about how a church should be today and how to reach out with the gospel. WCC News meets Bishop Helga Haugland Byfuglien this year, one of the most experienced and prominent women among Lutheran bishops in the world.

Consultation explores multiple religious belonging in Latin American context

A theological consultation in Matanzas, Cuba explored the pastoral and theological questions that the phenomenon of multiple religious belonging poses to Christian churches in Latin America.

Participants in WCC consultation visit projects in Seoul that model ecumenical diakonia

Participants in a 7-11 December consultation on ecumenical diakonia held in Seoul, South Korea, didn’t just talk about the important concept of service. They also took time to visit local projects where Korean Christians are fleshing out their call to actively practice diakonia in the communities they serve.

For Faith and Order, theological reflection hinges on crucial issues of peace, unity

After an historic meeting in South Africa in June 2017, study groups within the WCC Faith and Order Commission are using theological reflection as a tool to build unity between churches. The questions Faith and Order considers are not abstract issues but, in many contexts across the world, matters of life and death.

Ecumenical Review focuses on contemporary ecumenical challenges in Asia

It is time to revitalize the Asian ecumenical movement to respond to contemporary realities in Asia, according to Mathews George Chunakara, general secretary of the Christian Conference of Asia, in the article that opens the latest issue of The Ecumenical Review, the quarterly journal of the WCC.

South Sudan church leaders offer Christmas season roadmap for hope

The people of South Sudan are experiencing the most difficult time in their history of suffering and self-destruction, says the South Sudan Council of Churches, reaching out with an Advent and Christmas message of hope.

Jerusalem: “May all our lives be beacons of justice, peace, love and hope”

There is a warm buzz in the church. Happy reunions. Friends and colleagues reunited. It is a time for goodbyes for some. It is a time of being welcomed for others. Nearly 150 people gathered in St Anne’s Basilica in East Jerusalem to pray for a just peace, for an end to the 50 years of occupation and for the solidarity to be able to live side-by-side in Palestine and Israel. It is time for the ecumenical accompaniers in group 67 to hand over to those in group 68.

Asian church leaders exchange ideas on diaconia

At a consultation in Seoul on December 7-11, participants from churches throughout northeast Asia shared insights on diakonia and how vital it is to the nature and mission of the church.

Trying to do good for the world

When WCC’s long-time partner, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize, another small but important step towards a safer world was taken. Not only was it a recognition of global efforts to abolish nuclear weapons, but also an affirmation of the role Christian churches have played at local and grassroots levels to raise awareness and mobilize people against nuclear proliferation.

WCC condemns attack on church in Pakistan

World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit condemned an attack at a church in Pakistan that killed at least eight people and injured dozens of others. Tveit expressed sorrow for the lives lost in the suicide bomb and gun attack.

WCC, Vatican confront xenophobia, populism and racism

An international ecumenical study meeting on xenophobia and populism took place in Rome from 13-15 December. The gathering was jointly hosted by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Among its goals was the planning of a world conference on these issues, to be held from 22 to 23 May next year.

Global church leaders inform President Trump: Recognizing Jerusalem as Israeli capital threatens peace, risks more conflict

Christians from throughout the world want it known that they believe the decision of US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel is a serious blow to efforts for a just and sustainable peace in the Holy Land, and risks provoking further conflict in the region.

WCC moderator receives honorary doctorate from Norway university

Dr Agnes Abuom, moderator of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee, has been awarded an honorary doctorate from VID Specialized University, one of Norway’s largest private universities.

Iraqi religious leaders call for restoring religious and social cohesion

More than 40 religious leaders from Iraq gathered in Beirut, Lebanon under the auspices of the World Council of Churches for three days of constructive interfaith dialogue to identify and analyse opportunities and challenges related to cohesion and highlight the role of religious leaders in re-storing inclusive multi-religious and multi-cultural communities in Iraq after years of conflict.

Historic symposium on statelessness plans joint interreligious action

An “Interfaith Symposium on Statelessness” held 7-8 December in Rome focused, for the first time in history, on joint actions from Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Christian and Jewish groups to address statelessness.

“We must see further than our own issues.”

As he participated in prayers for peace on the Korean Peninsula and for a world free from nuclear weapons, Bishop Reinhart Guib (Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Romania) said when he visits the WCC, he sees the world as much bigger than he could imagine.

Learning of great global challenges

At the Church Leaders Meeting from 4-8 December at the Ecumenical Centre and Bossey Ecumenical Institute, representatives of faith communities across the world had the opportunity to interact with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and with each other. In a series of interviews with WCC Communication, church leaders shared their biggest challenges and the rewards of their dialogue with each other.

May we remember them well, with dignity and respect

Meeting the Hibakusha, survivors of the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, is humbling. Sharing their stories is a challenge. Travelling to Oslo in Norway on 9-10 December, more than 20 Hibakusha joined celebrations of ICAN receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. May we remember them well, with dignity and respect.

Latest issue of International Review of Mission focuses on mission insights from Africa

As the World Council of Churches prepares to hold its next Conference on World Mission and Evangelism in Arusha, Tanzania in 2018, the latest issue of the International Review of Mission focuses on insights on mission from Africa, reflecting the diversity of African perspectives.

Treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons represents “long-held dream” for WCC

The WCC has for decades been calling for a world free from nuclear weapons. As the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a WCC partner, received the Nobel Peace Prize over the weekend, WCC leaders reflected on the next steps to build on momentum toward ridding the world of nuclear weapons.

Global evangelism group explores “the hope within us”

A group of 25 evangelism practitioners, scholars and church leaders from Orthodox, Pentecostal and Protestant perspectives gathered in Bangkok, Thailand from 26 November to 1 December to reflect on evangelism at a time when religious faith is often accused of - and guilty of - stirring up intolerance, suspicion and even violence.

Kenyan child’s drawing proclaims ”Christ is born”, as WCC sends Christmas greetings

“Christ is born” declares a drawing by Kenyan schoolboy Richard Ochieng, whose work is featured on the WCC’s Christmas card this year.

New life behind high walls: Egypt's monasteries bursting at the seams

The Coptic Church does not have to worry about the future of its monasteries. Many young Copts want to become monks or nuns. That was not always the case. In the late 1960s, monasticism in Egypt was close to extinction.

“Solidarity more powerful than darkness”

Amid continuing tensions on the Korean Peninsula, Christians in Seoul are hoping the fragile light of candles will illumine a path to peace. Along with Christian groups around the world, they are holding candlelight vigils for peace during the season of Advent.

Church Leaders Meeting nurtures sharing of challenges and rewards

At a Church Leaders Meeting from 4-8 December at the Ecumenical Centre and Bossey Ecumenical Institute, representatives of faith communities across the world had the opportunity to interact with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and with each other.