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Latest issue of Ecumenical Review explores the “spirit of truth” in a digital age

Technology is transforming the world, and the latest issue of The Ecumenical Review, the quarterly journal of the World Council of Churches (WCC), offers theological and ethical perspectives on the digital age.

WCC expresses shock and sadness over attacks in Afghanistan

The World Council of Churches expressed deep shock and sadness over the attack on a hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, which left at least 15 people - including two newborn babies - dead and many more injured. In a separate incident in the province of Nangarhar, a suicide bombing claimed the lives of at least 25 people and injured about 68 others, most of whom were participating in a funeral for a local police commander.

Pacific Conference of Churches on “the new normal”

In a 5 May message entitled “The Story of our Pacific Household in the ‘New Normal,’ ” the Pacific Conference of Churches acknowledges those risking their lives to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and expressed condolences to those who have lost loved ones.

WCC presidents on Pentecost: “Waves of despair, tongues of fire”

In a message on Pentecost, entitled “Waves of despair, tongues of fire,” the regional presidents of the World Council of Churches reflect on the mighty presence of God.

Faith-based organizations call for ceasefire to protect people from COVID-19

The Lutheran World Federation and Islamic Relief Worldwide issued on 11 May a call on all parties to lay down arms, institute an immediate ceasefire, and ensure humanitarian access in order to protect people from COVID-19.

South African Council of Churches: “God is with us even in these times”

Leaders of member churches in the South African Council of Churches wrote a pastoral letter to the people of South Africa, offering comfort and addressing the question of what will be the normal. “We write to say, God is with us even in these times of perplexing national pain,” reads the letter. “We applaud the scientific community, both here and at the World Health Organisation for the work they do in the face of a virus that is totally new to humanity; and we call on the nations of the world to support the WHO for the sake of all human society.”

“Working Together” meeting bonds WCC with specialized ministries

A series of online Working Together meetings last week helped strengthen collaboration between the World Council of Churches (WCC) and its round table partner and specialized ministries, including ACT Alliance. The meetings, which normally takes place every May at the Bossey Ecumenical Institute was convened online by WCC acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca.

World Council of Churches, Middle East Council of Churches write letter appealing to EU for firm stance against annexing occupied Palestinian territory

In a joint letter to foreign ministers that are part of the European Union, the WCC and Middle East Council of Churches appealed for a firm and principled stance by the European Union against any annexation by Israel of occupied Palestinian territory in the West Bank.

Vesak Day commemorated at the UN

A virtual event on “The Contribution of Buddhism to Peace” was organised to mark the International Vesak Day at the United Nations on 7 May. The event was organised by the International Buddhist Foundation in Geneva (IBF), an interreligious partner of the World Council of Churches (WCC), under the leadership of its president Ven. Halyale Wimalaratne, in collaboration with the permanent missions of Sri Lanka and Thailand. Inaugurated by H.E.Tatiana Valovaya, Director General of the UN Office in Geneva (UNOG), the event drew Permanent Representatives and Deputy Permanent Representatives of more than 40 countries.

Rabbi Mark Dratch reflects on “the larger picture of God's love”

Rabbi Mark Dratch is the executive vice president of the Rabbinical Council of America. Below, he reflects on what has inspired him amid the pain of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as how we can work together to create a redeemed world.

Heads of churches in Sierra Leone express concern on the spate of violence

In a message about the current security situation in Sierra Leone, representatives of the Christian community urged the political chaos be addressed immediately, even as the nation tries to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Church of Norway consecrates Olav Fykse Tveit as presiding bishop

In historic Nidaros Cathedral, the ancient shrine and pilgrimage destination of medieval Trondheim, the Church of Norway on Sunday, 10 May 2020, consecrated the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit as bishop of the Diocese of Nidaros and installed him as Preses or presiding bishop of its Bishops’ Conference.

Patriarchs and heads of churches in Jerusalem deeply concerned about Israeli unilateral annexation plans

In a 7 May statement, Patriarchs and heads of churches in Jerusalem expressed their deep concern about Israeli unilateral annexation plans.

Religious and human rights leaders urge more relief for North Korea amid COVID-19

The National Council of Churches (USA) has joined with other humanitarian and human rights organizations in writing the US Congress to urge that obstacles keeping nongovernmental organizations from addressing the “devastating potential for COVID-19’s spread” within the nation of North Korea be removed.

Knowing COVID-19 was on its way, Africa’s churches prepared

Africa is of huge concern around the novel coronavirus pandemic for the World Health Organization (WHO), but the continent’s churches have been preparing for the silent and lethal virus for some time.

Dr Stephen Brown: how do we hang onto spirit of truth amid swirl of digitally-driven information?

Dr Stephen Brown is the editor of The Ecumenical Review. The most recent edition, “The Spirit of Truth in a Digital Age,” reflects on how our perceptions of reality are becoming dependent on the way communication and information ecosystems are organized and regulated as technology has developed.

WCC invites all member churches to observe a day of prayer

WCC acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca invites all member churches to observe a global prayer day on 14 May. The joint initiative with the members of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity, of which the WCC is part, is calling for “prayer and supplication” to God for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mask intentions of ex-Bossey student from China provide Swiss succour

Former Bossey student Rev. Jianmei Jing who works at the Jingling Protestant Church in Hongkou near Shanghai in China has shown that masking your intention can be a truly Christian act. At significant sacrifice during the current COVID-19 pandemic when they were in short supply, she managed to get hold of 300 face masks and sent them to the Bossey community who she knew needed them in Switzerland.

WCC sends greetings to Buddhists for Vesak

In a letter to Buddhist friends, World Council of Churches (WCC) acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca sent cordial greetings of peace and joy for Vesak. “May this be a truly blessed time for you, your families and your communities,” wrote Sauca. The greetings focused on the role of faith communities in the midst of COVID-19. “We are all going through an unprecedented situation at present due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

WCC remembers, with gratitude, life of Rev. Bernard Thorogood

Rev. Bernard Thorogood, who served as the first general secretary of the Council for World Mission and also served on the World Council of Churches (WCC) central and executive committees, was 92 when he passed away peacefully in Sydney.