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Northern European consultation explores multiple religious belonging

The World Council of Churches, Council for World Mission and United Reformed Church, held a joint consultation on Multiple Religious Belonging, 14-16 December, at Queen’s Ecumenical Centre, Birmingham UK. The consultation which included members of different faith groups, renowned theologians and grassroots interfaith activists extended and enriched continuing conversations on the lived reality of multiple religious belonging and religious hybridity. The consultation included panel discussions from inter-religious; theological; ritual and socio-anthropological; and interdisciplinary perspectives.

WCC condemns terrorist attack in Istanbul on innocent New Year revellers

The WCC general secretary, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, condemns the latest terrorist attack against people in Istanbul celebrating the New Year.

Church and political leaders send messages of hope to Taizé meeting

The Taizé religious community from the east of France is meeting over the New Year’s period in Riga, Latvia and world church leaders from many traditions have bestowed greetings of hope on its annual gathering.

WCC mourns the death of Polynesian nuclear fighter John Doom

John Doom lived in a small place on the planet, but he was committed to big things through his faith, fighting to stem atomic testing in the fragile ecosystem of his homeland French Polynesia.

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: The Patriarch of Solidarity

He earned the title “Green Patriarch” as a religious leader addressing alarming environmental issues over at least two decades. In 2008, Time Magazine named His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew as one of 100 Most Influential People in the World, for “defining environmentalism as spiritual responsibility”.

Children from Bethlehem in key role, as WCC shares Christmas message

As Christians worldwide await the arrival of the Holy Child in late December, children in Bethlehem have been playing a particular role in preparation of the WCC's Christmas message this year.

The child in the manger and the war in Syria

How will Christmas 2016 be in the Middle East? Two Christians, one refugee mother in Lebanon and one pastor in Qamishli in northeast Syria, tell how difficult the message of Jesus’ birth becomes in times of war and unrest.

Dr Halfdan Mahler leaves legacy of public health justice

Churches, health institutions, health workers and advocates worldwide expressed deep sadness at the death of Dr Halfdan T. Mahler on 14 December. Mahler served as the third director-general of the World Health Organisation from 1973-1988. Under his leadership, WHO collaborated with the Christian Medical Commission of the WCC, to promote a dramatic change in the approach to bring about ‘health for all’ through primary health care.

Strong bridges needed more than ever

The ecumenical dialogue between churches has a long and fruitful history. But since war and terrorism are threatening the existence of churches in the Middle East, Christians of this region feel more and more neglected by their Western partners.

WCC general secretary extends prayers for Berlin, Zurich

As two European cities suffered attacks yesterday, WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit denouced the violence and mourned the loss of life, extending prayers for the victims and their families.

WCC supports demands for release of Argentinean indigenous activist Milagro Sala

“WCC notes the concern expressed by Movimiento Ecuménico por los Derechos Humanos (MEDH) and many other civil society organizations in Argentina that Milagro Sala, a prominent political activist, social and indigenous leader, is being arbitrarily detained because of her activism, though other charges are laid against her”, wrote Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), in a letter on 16 December, to the Evangelical Methodist Church of Argentina (IEMA), in support of MEDH in its claim regarding Sala.

Church in German state is a partner for refugees and society

Baden-Württemberg minister-president, Winfried Kretschmann, has expressed gratitude to the churches for putting Christian service and neighbourly love into practice, and not only at Sunday sermons. The German state’s governor Kretschmann gave his message in a meeting with the general secretary of the World Council of Churches, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, in Stuttgart last Thursday.

“Walking Together” project explores pilgrimage traditions

As part of an ongoing, multiyear project called “Walking Together,” an international and interreligious group met in Nicosia, Cyprus, from 6-8 December to explore different facets of the theme “Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace,” which undergirds the World Council of Church’s programmatic focus.

WCC general secretary sends birthday greetings to Pope Francis

As Pope Francis celebrated his 80th birthday, WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit sent a greeting expressing gratitude for the steps Pope Francis has taken to foster the search for the visible unity of the church.

Asia-Pacific religious leaders meet to develop a strategy for the prevention of incitement to violence that could lead to atrocity crimes

Religious leaders from across the Asia-Pacific region met in Bangkok on 6 and 7 December to develop a regional strategy for the prevention of incitement to violence that could lead to atrocity crimes. Religious leaders and actors from thirteen countries took part in the meeting from the Bahai, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim faiths. The meeting was organised by the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect in collaboration with the International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID) and the World Council of Churches (WCC).

Action now to stop killer robots in future? Governments inch towards “maybe”

Are steps needed now in case high-tech weapons of the future are designed to attack and kill on their own? Members of a United Nations treaty on inhumane weapons have decided an expert group will deliberate on the topic next year, and WCC has joined with civil society organizations and concerned governments for plans to ban such weapons.

“There are no strangers here” – Saint Irenaeus a key to unity?

How can the early founding fathers of the church inform us as Christians in the 21st century, what stands at the centre of their theology, and how can we continue to envision a future of unity in the church? The questions were numerous as scholars, students and theologians met at the Anaphora Institute near Cairo, Egypt, to explore the theme of “Saint Irenaeus and Enlightened Humanity” on 14-16 December.

Food and land justice focus of Mozambique workshop

A workshop in Mozambique examined the connections between finance on the one hand and food and land on the other. Titled “From the Financialization of Food to Life-giving Agriculture,” the workshop took place in Maputo from 7-11 December. It was organized by the WCC together with Bread for All and was hosted by the Christian Council of Mozambique.

In wake of Cairo attack, return to Christian roots inspires hope and forgiveness

“What we did when we created the Anaphora Institute, is we dug deep into the ground, until we found water. We brought the water to the surface, spread it across the ground, and it bore fruit. The same you should do in yourself: dig deep until you find the love of Jesus, bring Christ to the surface, and it will bear fruit in your life.”

Exhibition highlights 1,000-year link between Mount Athos and Ukraine

The Christian presence on the Greek peninsula of Mount Athos goes back 1,800 years, but lesser known is that there is a deep connection to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine extending over the past millennium.