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European Union should not pressure developing countries to hastily sign trade agreements against their interests, WCC says

Concern about undue pressure exerted by the European Union on African, Caribbean and Pacific countries to sign interim Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) by the end of the year has been expressed by World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia in a 6 December letter to EU commissioner for external trade Peter Mandelson. The interim agreements open up local markets to competition with European companies without adequate legal frameworks and infrastructure in place, and they address issues which are still contentious within a deadline that prevents parliamentary discussion. Therefore these agreements represent an imminent danger of revenue loss for those countries, hindering their poverty eradication efforts, the letter affirms.

Ecumenical conference to tackle racist patterns left by slave trade

The legacies of the slave trade, and how churches can respond to past and present forms of slavery, are going to be discussed at an ecumenical conference to be held 10-14 December in Runaway Bay, Jamaica. About sixty theologians, church leaders, social scientists and activists, mainly from Africa, the Americas and the Caribbean will gather in the country where nearly one million Africans and later indentured servants from Asia were exploited as human commodities and many more transited on their often deadly passage into slavery.

International Day of Solidarity with Palestinians: WCC emphasizes international community failure

Rev. Christopher Ferguson, representative of the World Council of Churches to the United Nations, denounced that "the international community has failed and continues to fail to stand with the Palestinian people in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem and worldwide in ending the brutal military occupation, ongoing dispossession and securing the right to return".

After Annapolis, Christian leaders entertain hope, with provisos

"So far is just a signature, now they have to walk the talk", says Munib Younan, the bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, commenting on the results of the Annapolis Middle East conference hosted by the US administration on 27 November. Cautiously optimistic, he adds: "I do hope this is a serious attempt to achieve a lasting peace."

Nigerian Methodist leader heads inter-church group charged with re-envisioning a "polycentric" ecumenical movement

Methodist archbishop Michael Kehinde Stephen of Nigeria has been chosen to moderate the Continuation Committee on Ecumenism in the 21st Century, a group assigned to monitor and encourage initiatives in the global quest for Christian unity. He was affirmed by consensus of the fourteen members attending the committee's first meeting during the week of 18-20 November in Bossey, Switzerland.

Canadian theologian Gibaut to lead Faith and Order

Rev. Canon Dr John Saint Helier Gibaut, from the Anglican Church of Canada, will head the World Council of Churches (WCC) Commission on Faith and Order as of January 2008.

WCC welcomes Annapolis meeting, suggests criteria for success

Good faith, multilateral participation and adherence to the rule of law are essential if the Annapolis Middle East Conference starting Tuesday, 27 November, is to be a success, WCC general secretary Samuel Kobia writes to Condoleezza Rice, Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas.

The worsening human rights situation in the Philippines calls for greater international pressure, Kobia says

In face of what he called "escalating human rights violations," the World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia announced stronger ecumenical advocacy efforts to bring the Philippines under international scrutiny.

Latest AIDS figures: Church advocates call for renewed action, not complacency

Revised figures for the HIV epidemic which drop the estimated number of people living with HIV worldwide to about 33 million have been welcomed by church workers active in the response to HIV and AIDS around the world as a sign of hope and a challenge to keep promises. The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA) collected their views.

Churches rush aid to Bangladesh cyclone victims

Churches in Bangladesh have launched a massive relief effort for victims of the devastating cyclone that has claimed thousands of lives along the country's southwestern coast.

WCC general secretary to visit the Philippines amidst human rights concerns

The global ecumenical family's concern about the growing human rights violations in the Philippines will be a major focus of the 18-21 November visit to the country by the World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia.

Greed, overproduction and over-consumption are sinful, say African Christians

A severe reminder "of the wealth that was built and sustained on the continued extraction and plunder of Africa's resources as well as on the exploitation of Africa's people" was addressed to Christians in the global North by the participants in the African ecumenical consultation "Linking poverty, wealth and ecology" last week.

"Historic breakthrough" - Global Christian Forum to go forward, extending an invitation to join the encounter

After four days of meetings, some 240 leaders of a broad range of churches, confessions and interchurch organizations from over 70 countries agreed to carry forward what they call "the Global Christian Forum process", an open platform for encounter and dialogue whose goal is to "foster mutual respect, explore and address common challenges".

Death and rebirth are needed if the visible unity of the church is to be achieved, Pentecostal scholar says

Pentecostal theologian and scholar Cheryl Bridges-Johns proposed a radical reinvention of the ecumenical movement in a keynote address delivered on the third day of the Global Christian Forum which takes place 6-9 November in Limuru, near Nairobi, Kenya.

Let's take risks, Kobia tells Global Christian Forum

"Some would have said that this event was not possible, but here we are - and the world wonders what will come next," said the World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia at the opening of the Global Christian Forum taking place in Limuru, near Nairobi, Kenya, from 6-9 November.

Most diverse Christian gathering ever to discuss unity and common witness

A unique gathering of high level church leaders to start Tuesday 6 November near Nairobi, Kenya, features the broadest range of Christian traditions ever represented at a global meeting, allowing for a discussion of unprecedented ecumenical breadth on what Christians are called to do - together if possible - in the world today.

UN and WCC general secretaries reaffirm commitment to strong and close collaboration

The United Nations and the World Council of Churches (WCC) have reaffirmed their commitment to collaborate at a meeting between the general secretaries of both organizations held on 29 October at the UN headquarters in New York.