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ECLOF: 60 years of micro-credit for human development

One of the world's first international micro-credit institutions in the service of the poor is celebrating its 60th anniversary at a conference in Geneva this week. ECLOF, the Ecumenical Church Loan Fund, was founded in 1946 by leaders of the WCC and visionary bankers who sought to harness credit in the service of the most needy, and pioneered the system of micro-credit with the poor which today is recognised as one of the most important motors of human development.

"When we think about Chinese Christians, we think about the future," Kobia says

The unique contribution of Chinese Christians to the ecumenical movement was highlighted yesterday in Shanghai by the World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia at the beginning of a November 15-22 visit to China.

WCC general secretary to visit People's Republic of China

World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia is leading an ecumenical delegation to visit the People's Republic of China (15-22 November). It will be Kobia's first visit as WCC general secretary to China.

Eugene Carson Blake 1906-1985

The second general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), Eugene Carson Blake, would have been 100 years old on November 7, 2006.

El Salvador: Lutheran pastors assassinated

The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the World Council of Churches (WCC) have reacted together to news of the "despicable" assassination on 4 November of Lutheran Church in El Salvador co-pastors Francisco Carillo and his wife Jesús Calzada de Carillo.

US event brings interreligious perspective to efforts to understand, overcome violence

An inter-religious seminar on the "spiritual dimensions underlying the crisis in violence" will be part of a 13-15 November public event in Rochester, New York (USA) focusing on violence and the how faith communities can respond to it. Â

"Another world is possible" : World Social Forum founder Chico Whitaker to speak at WCC

World Social Forum (WSF) co-founder and 2006 Right Livelihood Award-winner Chico Whitaker from Brazil has something new and exciting to say about how a people-centred economic model can supplant the currently dominant neo-liberal global economic model.

Twenty-five new ecumenical accompaniers, including a Hindu and a Muslim, get to work

A new group of 25 ecumenical accompaniers have just begun three months of working with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). The group includes the first Hindu and the second Muslim to participate in the programme, the former from South Africa and the latter from the UK.

Still young at sixty: the Bossey Ecumenical Institute

Amidst the quiet vineyards overlooking Lake Geneva is a place that can seem an unlikely setting for the preparation of future church leaders. And yet the WCC's Ecumenical Institute at Bossey has been a unique international centre for Christian dialogue and learning for six decades, since its creation in 1946.

Tragic death of Father Boulos Iskander

The 11 October killing in Mousel, Iraq, of a Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch priest, Father Boulos Iskander, was a "senseless crime that... neither benefits anyone nor promotes the cause of any religion".

WCC congratulates Muhammad Yunus, says genuine economic and social development must "grow from below"

The Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Grameen Bank's creator Muhammad Yunus not only recognizes his "creative genius in promoting his concept of microcredit, but also testifies to the fact that genuine economic and social development has to grow from below if it is to be accessible for the people," the World Council of Churches (WCC) said today in a congratulatory message.

Metopolitan Chrysostomos of Ephesus (1921-2006)

Learning of the death on Friday 13 October of Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Ephesus, WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia pays tribute to the former WCC president and senior representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in a tribute addressed to the ecumenical patriarch, Bartholomew I.

Kobia: UN reform is urgent task for new UN head

In a letter congratulating South Korean foreign minister Ban Ki-Moon on his election 13 October as United Nations secretary-general, World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia notes the Korean's "rich experience" as international diplomat and civil servant, assures him of the Council's prayers and support, and emphasizes that reform of the United Nations is an "important task" facing the new UN head.

WCC reacts to brutal stabbing of Philippines bishop

A 10 October World Council of Churches (WCC) pastoral letter to the National Council of Churches and WCC member churches in the Philippines expresses the Council's "deep shock and grief" over the brutal stabbing on 3 October of Philippine Independent Church Bishop Alberto Ramento, and alleges that Philippines government security forces continue "to indulge in victimization, torture and extra judicial killings on the pretext of fighting the terrorist threat in the region" in spite of protests and demonstrations.

WCC praises draft UN arms control resolution, insists on inclusion of human rights norms

The World Council of Churches (WCC) has congratulated the sponsoring states of a draft resolution on conventional arms control currently before the United Nations General Assembly and urged them to include in the text a specific reference to international human rights law.

WCC asks for peaceful, lawful and collective response to North Korean nuclear test

As news on the North Korean nuclear test is breaking on 9 October, World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia asks for the response to be peaceful, lawful and collective.

WCC general secretary congratulates Desmond Tutu on his 75th birthday

"You have challenged and pushed us never to adjust to the powers that are, but always to discern the signs of God's coming kingdom and to act accordingly."

WCC urges Israel to recognize Theophilus III as head of the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem

"The World Council of Churches (WCC) calls for the prompt and unqualified recognition of His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilus III as the primate of the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem by the Government of Israel," said WCC general secretary, Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia in a letter sent to Israel's prime minister Ehud Olmert on 29 September.

Youth Internship Programme 2006-2007

The WCC welcomes three young people (aged 18-30) to serve as interns in its Geneva offices. Successful candidates are people committed to the ideals of the ecumenical movement, who will bring their energy, commitment and fresh vision to a specific work assignment.

WCC to continue pastoral accompaniment of relatives of five Cubans arbitrarily imprisoned in the US

The World Council of Churches (WCC) will continue to offer pastoral accompaniment to the relatives of a group of imprisoned people known as the "Cuban Five", and will advocate for the relatives' right to visit them.

New over-arching ecumenical body mooted for Pacific churches

A consultation of leaders of World Council of Churches (WCC) member churches in the Pacific and representatives of three ecumenical bodies in the region has decided to bring the region's three major ecumenical organizations together under one common ecumenical umbrella.

International Day of Prayer for Peace, 21 September 2006

The International Day of Prayer for Peace is being marked by dozens of churches and organizations worldwide on 21 September. The day is an opportunity for Christians and their communities in all regions to pray, reflect and act together in support of peace. This WCC initiative was launched two years ago within the framework of its Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV), and was welcomed by UN secretary-general Kofi Annan. Its celebration coincides with the UN International Day of Peace. The theme for this year, "and still we seek peace", was chosen by churches from Latin America - the region of the DOV annual focus in 2006. A special prayer service is being held on 21 September at 12.15 in the Ecumenical Centre, 150 Route de Ferney, Geneva.