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COP24: “Time for reflection and deliberation is long gone”, says Ecumenical Patriarch

“We wonder when the leaders of our world will realize how late we have left our response to the climate crisis”, wrote His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in a letter to the participants of the United Nations climate conference underway in Katowice, Poland.

All pilgrim routes lead to COP24

Pilgrims coming from Germany, Italy and Norway ended their journeys for climate justice on 7 December upon arrival at the St Stephen’s Church in Katowice, Poland, where the United Nations (UN) climate conference is underway. They were warmly welcomed by the delegations of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) that are attending the 24th Conference of Parties of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24).

‘Respect for the other’ lies at the heart of peace education, say panelists at UN debate

Respect for the other lies at the heart of peace education and was a key thread through a debate entitled “Education for Peace in a multi-religious world”. It was held on the 2018 World Human Rights Day at the United Nations Office in Geneva.

WCC president at COP24: “God wants us to be stewards for the whole ecological weave, for our shared home, for the oikoumene”

“God wants the world. God wants us to steward it”, said the Swedish Archbishop Anders Wejryd, president of the World Council of Churches (WCC) for Europe, on 9 December, in his sermon at the Ecumenical Service as part of the United Nations climate conference, in Katowice, Poland.

WCC reaffirms UN declaration on human rights

This year marks the anniversary not only of the WCC but also of the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

Oslo prays for peace, in week of Peace Prize ceremony

Hundreds gathered in the Trinity Church in Oslo, Norway on 9 December for an ecumenical prayer for peace, in connection with the annual Nobel Peace Prize ceremony.

Head of WCC’s Ecumenical Water Network disappointed at global water event

The World Water Council (WWC) held its 8th General Assembly 29 November – 1 December, in Marseille, France. In an interview for WCC Communication, Dinesh Suna, coordinator of the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Water Network (WCC-EWN) expressed discontent over the lack of opportunities for participation of the civil society in the structure and work of the WWC.

Dialogue addresses improving HIV testing and treatment for children

A “High-Level Dialogue to Assess Progress on and Intensify Commitment To Scaling Up Diagnosis and Treatment of Paediatric HIV” was convened 6-7 December at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in Vatican City.

Christian communicators work to counter hate speech against refugees

The World Association for Christian Communication – Europe Region (WACC Europe) is embarking on a one-year project to identify and promote strategies to counter online hate speech focused on refugees and migrants.

Momentum grows for health-promoting churches

“I see this approach of ‘a healthy church’ as a setting that will hopefully go global,” says Dr Suzanne Jackson of the University of Toronto, who directs the World Health Organization’s Collaborating Centre for Health Promotion.

WCC-EDAN observes International Day of Persons with Disabilities

On 3 December, the world marked the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) under the theme “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”. The theme focused on empowering persons with disabilities for the inclusive, equitable and sustainable development envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Christmas: A time for inclusive celebration

“Let us promote inclusion from the family to society level.” This was the clarion call made by Rachna Singh, National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) executive committee member and Sanjay Singh, director of the Church of North India stewardship ambassadors’ ministry during the Christmas celebrations of people with disabilities on 1 December at the NCCI Campus in Nagpur.

Learning exchange focuses on human rights among indigenous people

The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation and World Council of Churches held a learning exchange activity in the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, Switzerland on 28 November. The activity was attended by indigenous peoples’ organizations and support networks from the Philippines, Zambia, Peru, and Colombia.

EKD launches resource for churches to engage on sustainable development

The Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) has recently made available a discussion paper affirming the significance of Agenda 2030 and placing specific demands upon those in positions of responsibility within politics, civil society and churches.

Rev. Dr Rebecca Peters receives scholar-activist award

Rev. Dr Rebecca “Toddie” Peters received Auburn Seminary’s 2018 Walter Wink Scholar-Activist Award at the American Academy of Religion on 19 November in Denver, Colorado (USA). Peters first because involved in gender justice when she responded to an internship advertised on a flyer from the Presbyterian Church headquarters.

WCC hones training on attitudes toward HIV treatment

The WCC is absorbing valuable input from communities in Rwanda that will help hone training aimed at changing attitudes toward antiretroviral medication for people living with HIV.

WCC general secretary receives honorary doctorate from Serampore College

World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit was invited to address a significant and historic gathering of Theological institutions in India on the 4th of December. He also received an honorary doctorate degree from the Senate of Serampore College which represents 60 Theological Colleges in South Asia.

Faith groups at COP24 advocate for just transitions

Faith-based groups gathered on 2 December, the eve of the opening of the United Nations climate conference, in Katowice, Poland, for an Interfaith Talanoa Dialogue to take stock of the collective global efforts to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases.

Politicization of religion and vice versa threatens Asian harmony

Under the topic “Politicisation of Religion and Religionization of Politics in Asia”, the Christian Conference of Asia’s (CCA) general secretary Dr Mathews George Chunakara shared serious concerns about emerging trends where religions are used for political power gains and vice versa.

Meetings in the WCC and Bossey widen horizon for ordinands

Twenty ordinands from the Church of Sweden accompanied by Rev. Pehr-Albin Edén, ecumenical officer, and professors from the Church of Sweden Study Institute, visited the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey in November. This has become a real tradition for the Swedish who come every year.

Church leaders present Christmas statement on refugees and migrants to the European Parliament

Church leaders in Europe stand together for an approach on refugees and migrants “based on dignity, respect, and where possible compassion”. This is the conclusion of a festive ceremony in which the leaders of the Churches Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME) and the Conference of European Churches (CEC) handed over on 4th December a European Church leaders Christmas statement to the European Parliament’s 1st Vice President Mairead McGuinness.

Panel on education and peace at UN in Geneva draws faith and secular sectors together

Peace education to promote mutual understanding and cooperation between people involving the religious and secular sectors is needed to counter uncertainty fed by radicalization and xenophobia, says a leading human rights advocate.

COP24: Global church bodies urge transformative action to protect the most vulnerable

As the United Nations climate summit kicks off in Katowice, Poland, global church organizations including the World Council of Churches (WCC), Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and ACT Alliance called for renewed global solidarity and urgency of action to support the communities at the frontline of climate change impacts.

Dr Cecile De Sweemer, the doer of God

Dr Cecile De Sweemer, who served as staff of the Christian Medical Commission of the World Council of Churches (WCC) from 1982 to 1986, died on the 27 November in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). De Sweemer, a Belgian medical doctor with a doctorate in International Health from Johns Hopkins University, with extensive experience in Asia and Africa, was a dedicated and compassionate physician.

Interfaith submission to Talanoa Dialogue calls for respecting Mother Earth

A network of faith-based organizations, including the World Council of Churches (WCC), has released a submission to the Talanoa Dialogue. The title of the submission is: “Respecting Mother Earth and caring for ecological systems, the most vulnerable communities and all future generations.”