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Defending the ‘blue soul of life’

Pedro Arrojo-Agudo, from Spain, is the United Nations (UN) special rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation. In this interview with WCC News, he talks about the significance of these human rights, his plans and priorities for his mandate, and to that end, the role of faith, spirituality and ethics. 

Bedouins of Pope’s Hill fight eviction

East of Jerusalem, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, a Bedouin community has lived on Pope’s Hill since the creation of Israel in 1948, when they were evicted from their lands in the Negev and arrived there as refugees.

Will children ever have safe access to education in Khan Al-Ahmar?

Khan Al-Ahmar is a Bedouin community of around 200 people whose main livelihood has been traditional farming of sheep and goats for consumption in the village, and for selling the milk, yogurt and meat. The closest village, Bethany, is 14 km away and, until recently, the women would take the dairy products to sell in the Jerusalem market, 19 km away. The children had an important role in the economy, herding the flocks, but they also went to school.

East Jerusalem: Denied citizenship and the vote

The status of Jerusalem is disputed in international law and the main issue is around the largely Palestinian area of East Jerusalem. Israel announced, in 1975, that “unified Jerusalem” was the capital of the State of Israel, ignoring the rights and claims of Palestine. International humanitarian law recognizes East Jerusalem as militarily occupied by Israel. To understand some of the issues for residents in East Jerusalem, we spoke to Nivin Sandouka, who is part of the EAPPI international reference group and lives in At Tur, a Palestinian village on the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem.

An exercise in hoping

I’m writing this text exactly one year after Brazil declared quarantine, on 16 March. Last year we went into quarantine thinking it would only be two weeks at home, and maybe a few months of wearing masks and sanitizing our hands. I’m the first to confess that I’ve underestimated the virus. However, we all know that is not how it went. Month after month went by - the internet joked about how could it possibly be August already, when last week was March?

Leadership Matters!

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how the world functions and how people relate to each other. The whole of my life I never imagined a moment where the world would come to a standstill, people giving up travelling and their busy lives to stay at home leaving the streets and public spaces empty. This shows how bad the situation was, at its initial stages. The month of March 2020 is one in which the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were felt in almost every country in the world. Leaders and policy makers rushed in to stop the spread of the deadly pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic and community life: reflections and challenges

The Greek word Koinonia, which Paul especially uses in the New Testament, translates as community, communion, union, fellowship, participation, among other meanings. The term "solidarity" expresses the meaning of Koinonia. The community based on solidarity seeks peace, justice, well-being, the Shalom of the people. The word "coexistence" can also be equivalent of Koinonia, because it means to live in unity for several generations under the same roof or house. The "coexistence" leads us to take care of the integrity of creation, to recognize that we are not the only inhabitants of this house.

Not good enough

The synthesis report from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on the National Determined Contributions (NDC) under the Paris Agreement was released at the end of last February. This report sums up the NDCs reported to UNFCCC until 31 December 2020. It represents 40% of the parties and 30% of the global emissions.

Vaccination hesitance poses yet another challenge

As vaccination programmes are being rolled out in more and more countries, there is hope for an end of a pandemic which has brought fear and anxiety around the globe since early 2020. A return to an everyday life, where people can socialize with family and friends, go to work as they used to and worship God together in church on Sundays, is eagerly awaited. 

Voices of Lament, Hope, and Courage

A Week of Prayer in the Time of the COVID-19 Pandemic

To commemorate a year since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the spread of COVID-19 a pandemic, the World Council of Churches provides this resource for a week of prayer.
This book was designed as a resource for use in prayer groups, congregational services, personal prayer, and in the pastoral accompaniment of those directly affected in different ways by the pandemic. The prayers, messages, reflections, statistics and WCC resources have roots in faith challenged by mourning, fear and uncertainty in different contexts worldwide. 

As goodwill ambassador, Rev. Martina Viktorie Kopecka breathes fresh spirit into reconciliation in Czech Republic

Rev. Martina Viktorie Kopecka, a priest in the Czechoslovak Hussite Church, is moderator of the World Council of Churches (WCC) ECHOS Commission for young people. She also serves on the WCC executive and central committees. In February, she was named a goodwill ambassador by H. E. Tomáš Petříček, minister of foreign affairs of the Czech Republic, a role she will serve for one year. Below, she reflects on her hopes and plans for sharing stories from the Czech Republic with the world, bridging divides in her home country, and, ultimately, bringing about new expressions of Christian love.

African Churches mark International Women’s Day

As African churches joined the rest of the world in marking International Women’s Day, pastors, gender experts and activists called for a critical evaluation and strengthening systems to ensure gender justice and equality in churches and society.