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World church leaders call for end to violence in Middle East

A joint appeal signed today by the leaders of the World Council of Churches (WCC), the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) calls "upon Israel and Hezbullah to end the fighting in Lebanon" and "upon the United States, the European Union, and the Arab States to exercise their influence toward this end". It also calls "upon the Israeli government, the Palestinian Authority, and Hamas to end the conflict in Gaza".

WCC health periodical focuses on HIV prevention

A collection of articles by HIV/AIDS authorities, experts and practitioners, the latest issue of the World Council of Churches (WCC) periodical on health issues, CONTACT, offers a comprehensive, state-of-the art overview of current issues and new technologies in the area of AIDS prevention targeted as much towards concerned church leaders and members as towards health professionals.

First meeting of new WCC central committee to explore changes, new challenges since 1966 church and society conference

An exploration of changes in church and society since 1966 will be a central feature of the forthcoming meeting of the World Council of Churches' (WCC) central committee - the WCC's main governing body between assemblies.Â

Tribute to Johannes Cardinal Willebrands

"An honourable and devoted servant of the Gospel and of the cause of Christian unity" and "a pioneer of the ecumenical movement" is how World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia describes Johannes Cardinal Willebrands, who died on 2 August 2006, in a tribute issued today.

WCC appeals to international community to "do whatever is possible" for a cease-fire in Lebanon

An appeal to "do whatever is possible to stop the bombings, negotiate a cease-fire and a comprehensive peace settlement" has been addressed today by the World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia to "the leaders of the international community, especially to those from the United States, Israel and the United Kingdom".

Geneva Chief Rabbi Alexandre Safran

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Jewish community at this time, and especially with those who were closest to Dr Alexandre Safran in life", said WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, in a 28 July letter of condolence addressed to the Geneva Jewish community on the death of its Chief Rabbi. Expressing gratitude to God "for the great gift of his life, faith, intellect and service to humanity", Kobia recalled Safran's struggles "to warn the international community of the terrible menace posed to vulnerable minorities by Nazi domination in Europe", and described him as "an accomplished advocate for the state of Israel" whose contributions to inter-religious co-operation were "well ahead of his time".

On eve of Congo elections, Kobia offers plea for justice

In a pastoral letter to member churches in the Democratic Republic of Congo on the eve of historic elections, World Council of Churches' (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia has offered words of compassion and an appeal to the nation's leaders - and to the wider world.

Reconciliation is central to ecumenical vision, says Kobia in Korea

Reconciliation is at the heart of the ecumenical vision, and can be a source of unity among churches and cultures, the WCC general secretary, Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, has affirmed at an international Methodist gathering in Korea.

Middle East: Pray, help and speak out, says WCC general secretary

The World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia encouraged the Council's member churches to pray for all those suffering as a result of the Middle East crisis, to support the appeals for emergency aid and to speak out for justice among the states and peoples in the region.

Haiti: Hope depends on human security say churches

A high-level meeting to urge the strengthening and continued presence of the UN peacekeeping force in Haiti was held on 14 July in New York, hosted by the Canadian government in collaboration with the UN liaison office of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and World Vision.

WCC's Kobia at World Methodist Council

WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia is the guest speaker at the 19th World Methodist Council in Seoul, Korea from 20-24 July. The overall conference theme is "God in Christ Reconciling".

Middle East: end violence, protect civilians, cease rhetoric of war, urges WCC

The new wave of violence in the Middle East is a cause for alarm around the world, and all sides should cease the violent confrontation and ensure the protection of civilians, the World Council of Churches (WCC) appealed today.

Churches and the UN: protecting children

The plight of the world's children was in focus at a high-level panel discussion organized by the WCC UN liaison office in New York on 13 July on the theme "Churches and the United Nations: Building a Partnership for the Protection of Children".

Small arms, big issue for the churches

For five years since the first UN global conference on small arms in 2001, hopes around the world were that this year's follow-up conference, which concluded on 7 July, would find new ways to contain the intercontinental epidemic of guns and gun violence.

Overcoming Violence: Focus on Europe 2007

"Make me a Channel of Your Peace", the first line of the prayer of a peacemaker attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi, is to be the theme for the Focus on Europe 2007 of the WCC's Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV).

Cuba: WCC warns against new US government restrictions

New proposals to tighten US economic and humanitarian restrictions on Cuba will adversely effect vulnerable Cuban people, and a recommendation that would isolate the Cuban Council of Churches constitutes "a gross violation of religious freedom and a remarkably aggressive interference in religious matters," the WCC states in a letter addressed to President George W. Bush, issued on 10 July 2006.

Korean missiles launch: WCC writes to churches

On behalf of the World Council of Churches (WCC), which has a two-decades-long record of supporting the peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula, its general secretary Rev. Dr Sam Kobia, today wrote to WCC member churches and the national council of churches in South Korea condemning the test launching of seven missiles, including the long-range Daepodong- missile 2, by the People's Republic of Korea on 4 July 2006.

Kobia attends world summit of religious leaders

WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia joins more than 200 religious leaders from around the world who have arrived in Moscow for the World Summit of Religious Leaders, 3-5 July 2006.

International Christian bodies welcome adoption of new human rights standards

International church and ecumenical organizations have welcomed the adoption of a new International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, and a Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, both of which were agreed at the inaugural session of the UN Human Rights Council which concluded in Geneva on 30 June 2006.