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Churches overcoming racism

WCC work on overcoming racism focuses on the theological and ecclesial challenges faced by the churches in dealing with racism in their midst
Churches overcoming racism

At the conference "Churches against Racism", 2009. © Jaap de Jager/Kerk in Actie

Overcoming racism and the need to focus attention on the life and dignity of its victims has been a major concern for the World Council of Churches over several decades. Regrettably, new forms of racism constantly emerge and racial violence is on the rise.

The WCC challenges the churches to address racism in their own structures and life, and draws on their work and experience in this struggle.

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Related Documents

Address of Dr Fernard de Varennes-UN special rapporteur on Minority Issues to the Ecumenical Strategic Forum on Racism

At an Ecumenical Strategic Forum, convened by the World Council of Churches (WCC) on 9-10 May, religious leaders examined the painful history of racism and also asked difficult questions about how churches may be accountable for racism today. Dr Fernard de Varennes, United Nations special rapporteur on Minority Issues, reflected that, just in the last few weeks, horrific massacres have occurred in a mosque in New Zealand, in churches and other targets in Sri Lanka, and in a synagogue in the United States. “There are many, too many more examples in recent years,” said de Varennes. “It saddens and disturbs me to say that intolerance of the other has almost become a new normal in some societies, often linked perhaps to insecurity, unease, the zeitgeist of our times being one perhaps of fear for the future – and as history unfortunately has shown much too often religious and other minorities are often used as scapegoats.”

"Remembering the legacy" - Baldwin Sjollema

At an Ecumenical Strategic Forum, convened by the World Council of Churches (WCC) on 9-10 May, religious leaders examined the painful history of racism and also asked difficult questions about how churches may be accountable for racism today. Baldwin Sjollema, first director of the WCC Programme to Combat Racism, said that, today, many do not know or have forgotten about the past. “We seek to forget rather than to remember,” said Sjollema. “There is no doubt that the issue of refugees and asylum, of hospitality to and solidarity with people of different races, religions, cultures and sexual identities are part and parcel of the racism and discrimination today.”

Ecumenical Strategic Forum on Racism - Welcoming Remarks from the General Secretary

At an Ecumenical Strategic Forum, convened by the World Council of Churches (WCC) on 9-10 May, religious leaders examined the painful history of racism and also asked difficult questions about how churches may be accountable for racism today. In welcoming remarks, WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit said that racism is an ongoing concern of the ecumenical movement. “So often racist behaviour stems from inherited hatred reinforced by self-interest and group identification,” he said. “Invariably it results in diminished prospects for its victims and even in generations of discrimination, gender violence, and poverty; and so race is a constant factor in all the other work you do.”