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New scholarship announced for Bossey Institute

As part of his three-day-visit to the World Council of Churches (WCC), the primate of the Church of Greece, Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens, visited the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey on 29 May 2006, and announced the establishment of a new scholarship fund to support studies in ecumenism at the Institute.

In Geneva, Church of Greece head evokes migrants, Europe, bioethics, interreligious relations, ecumenism

Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and all Greece, primate of the 10-million-strong (Orthodox) Church of Greece, will speak at a

Dr Eric R. Ram (1935-2006)

A pioneer in public health, promoting the role of churches in health, healing and wholeness, Dr Eric Ram, who died on 23 May in the USA, was active in promoting the human, social and cultural rights of marginalized peoples, and of low- and middle-income countries within the international community.

WCC executive committee endorses new programmatic directions

At its first meeting since its appointment in February 2006, the WCC's executive committee has approved new programmatic directions for the Council and has endorsed a framework for activities in the coming years.

Church of Greece's head to visit the World Council of Churches

Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and all Greece, primate of the 10-million-strong (Orthodox) Church of Greece, will visit the World Council of Churches (WCC) from 28 May - 1 June. During his stay, Christodoulos will also meet the UN high commissioner for refugees, members of the Swiss Federal Council and of the Geneva Council of State, and the mayor of Geneva. (A press conference is scheduled - see below.)Â

Risk of renewed conflict in Sudan, WCC executive committee warns

Leaders of the World Council of Churches (WCC) issued an appeal today for the churches and international community to urgently refocus efforts to safeguard the fragile peace process in Sudan, and warned of the risks of an "ominous humanitarian crisis of gigantic proportion" if those responsible for crimes against humanity in the Darfur province are not brought to justice.

Ending double standards and unilateral gains necessary for peace in Israel/Palestine

For peace to be achieved, both parties to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be held to identical standards on ending violence, respecting agreements, and recognizing the other says the World Council of Churches (WCC) executive committee.

WCC advises new UN Human Rights Council to build on strengths, avoid shortcomings of its predecessor

The World Council of Churches (WCC) executive committee today said that the new UN Human Rights Council needs to avoid "policies and practices of double standards, en-bloc voting and politicization of the human rights agenda that were so prevalent at the UN Commission on Human Rights" that they "virtually paralyzed" it before its "ignominious end".

São Paulo violence: WCC writes to Brazil's churches

Writing to the churches of Brazil from the World Council of Churches' executive committee meeting in Geneva, WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia and central committee moderator Rev. Dr Walter Altmann convey the Council's "solidarity and prayers" to the victims of recent gang violence in São Paulo, and comment on the social and legal background to these events.

Message of the Presidents of the WCC at Pentecost 2006

On the day of Pentecost described in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, the Holy Spirit transformed a diverse gathering of people - many of them drawn from distant lands (Acts 2:5-11). In February of this year, thousands of Christians from every region of the world had a similar experience - a Pentecost experience - while participating in the Assembly of the World Council of Churches held in southern Brazil.

WCC calls on Iran to stop enriching uranium, says recognition of Israel within its 1967 borders needed

The World Council of Churches (WCC) executive committee called today on the government of Iran for a moratorium on its uranium enrichment programme, to recognize the state of Israel, and to support international efforts to end terrorism. Other countries should also contribute to global security, the committee said.

Greek Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem visits WCC

Patriarch Theophilos III, head of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, was received by the WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia today at the WCC headquarters in Geneva in their first official encounter since he was elected in 2005.

New WCC executive committee meets for first time

The World Council of Churches (WCC) executive committee meets at the Bossey Ecumenical Institute outside Geneva from 16-19 May 2006 at its first session since its election at the Council's 9th Assembly in Brazil earlier this year.

Take action to stop terminator seeds demands WCC general secretary

The general secretary of the World Council of Churches, Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, called upon churches and ecumenical partners to take action to stop "terminator technology". "Applying technology to design sterile seeds turns life, which is a gift from God, into a commodity. Preventing farmers from re-planting saved seed will increase economic injustice all over the world and add to the burdens of those already living in hardship," stated Kobia.

Vatican and WCC to pursue common code of conduct on religious conversion

The Vatican and the World Council of Churches (WCC) are launching a three-year joint study project aimed at developing a shared code of conduct on the controversial issue of religious conversion.

WCC staff honoured by Dutch monarch

Mr Huibert van Beek, until recently the WCC staff person responsible for the organisation's relationships with member churches, received a high Dutch distinction in honour of the Queen's birthday on 27 April 2006. Van Beek was named Knight in the Order of Orange Nassau. He received the distinction because of his "exceptional meritorious service to the (world church) community".

WCC protests Israeli settlers' violence against Christian volunteers in Hebron

Expressing "alarm and concern" the World Council of Churches (WCC) has presented a formal protest to the Israeli ambassador in Switzerland over two recent incidents involving violence by Israeli settlers against Christian volunteers participating in the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI).

A review of the WCC's 9th Assembly

Just published, a booklet on the WCC's 9th Assembly in Porto Alegre, Brazil reviews, in words and images, an event that gathered over 4000 people from churches throughout the world. An event that, in the words of the WCC general secretary, Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, "heralded a new era in ecumenical history, to be marked by increasing attention to the spiritual strength of ecumenism along with the institutional concerns of the ecumenical movement".

WCC marks 20th anniversary of Chernobyl with interfaith ceremony and panel discussion

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the World Council of Churches (WCC) in cooperation with Green Cross International is organizing an

William Sloane Coffin

"One of the 20th century's great Christian pastors and activists for peace and justice" is how World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia describes US clergyman Rev. Dr William Sloane Coffin, Jr., who died on 12 April 2006, in a tribute issued on Maundy Thursday, April 13, 2006.

WCC asks European Union to give new Palestinian authority more time

The World Council of Churches (WCC) is urging the European Union to exercise "respect for the democratic mandate given by [the recent Palestinian] elections and time for the new government to find its feet and demonstrate its intentions," following the Council of the European Union's endorsement of a temporary halt to direct aid to the Palestinian government headed by Hamas.

Churches prepare to celebrate Easter

"Christ is risen. He is risen indeed." The joy of Easter is an expression of the yearning and hope that the chains of sin and death will be broken for all human beings and all creation, an affirmation that the transformative power of resurrection is at work in the world.

New HIV/AIDS teaching and advocacy resource

"Keep the promise" is the title of a new teaching resource on advocacy and HIV/AIDS produced by the WCC-related Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA) with support from UNAIDS, the World AIDS Campaign and the World Health Organization.

Release of Iraq hostages

World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia wrote 23 March to Christian Peacemaker Teams co-director Douglas Pritchard, expressing "great joy" at the news that three CPT team members held in Iraq had been freed.