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In pictures: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Prayers for unity took on a different look and feel this year, but they weren’t stopped by widespread restrictions on face-to-face gatherings. From prayer cards to personal reflections, online gatherings to new connections, the images worldwide convey the spiritual richness of an ecumenical family that came together in prayer.

Easter at home: celebrations still bring joy thanks to creative delivery

As Christians across the world prepare to celebrate Easter shuttered in their homes, they will still find the joy of the day and feel closer to each other, thanks to creative thinking by church leaders.

From including photos of church members within webcast worship services, to placing written greetings at doorways, Easter celebrations can still safely connect people who want to celebrate the resurrection of their common Lord.

Hanbeet Rhee: “Young people can be bridges”

Our series of interviews with Thursdays in Black ambassadors highlights those who are playing a vital role in increasing the impact of our collective call for a world without rape and violence. Hanbeet Rhee, from the Presbyterian Church of Korea, is a member of the Ecumenical Youth Council in Korea. She is also a commissioner with the World Council of Churches (WCC) ECHOS programme, as well as a youth advisor for the WCC Central Committee.

In Japan, spirit of koinonia deepens

During a visit from World Council of Churches (WCC) deputy general secretary Prof. Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri, WCC member churches in Japan received expressions of appreciation from the WCC for hosting various visits and forums that strengthened ecumenical ties.

WCC members in Japan reported a deepening spirit of koinonia as well as more involvement in the programmatic life of the WCC, particularly as the ecumenical movement sets its sights on the upcoming WCC 11th Assembly in 2021 in Karlsruhe, Germany.

Indian Orthodox Church Catholicos, Patriarch Kirill hold historic meeting

His Holiness Moran Mar Baselios Marthoma Paulose II, Supreme Head of the Indian (Malankara) Orthodox Church, and Catholicos of the East, met with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia at St Daniel Monastery in Moscow on 3 September.

His Holiness Catholicos Paulose II thanked Patriarch Kirill for the hospitality, stressing that “forty years have elapsed and now we as primates of our Churches can resume the exchange of visits. Your Holiness, your love and insight have helped to make it possible. Once again, thank you for it”.

In Korea, young ‘stewards of hope’ forge ahead together

As the Youth in Asia Training for Religious Amity opened at the Yonsei University Chapel in South Korea on 18 September, participants were already learning to live into the theme “Stewards of Hope, Seekers of Harmony.” For the first time, the training includes not only young people from Asia but from across the world, and is being co-coordinated by the World Council of Churches (WCC) Programme for Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation, the Council for World Mission, and youth representatives from the ecumenical movement.

Asian Ecumenical Institute to train next generation of leaders

Twenty-seven young ecumenists from across Asia are currently attending the month-long Asian Ecumenical Institute organized by the Christian Conference of Asia. The programme aims to provide ecumenical formation and leadership development training for prospective church and ecumenical leaders. It is being held at the Christian Conference of Asia headquarters in Payap University Campus in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Australian churches confront domestic and family violence

In January 2019, Aya Maasarwe, a university exchange student in Melbourne, was walking home at night and speaking to her sister on her phone. She was attacked, raped and murdered.
The public outcry intensified a national debate about violence against women in Australia following several high-profile murders in the country.

Peacemakers at work in Sri Lanka

In the wake of the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka, the Omnia Institute for Contextual Leadership, based in Chicago, lifted up points of hope that peace will win in the end. In a 25 April message, Shanta Premawardhana, president of the institute, wrote that every person of every faith of every nation deserves to wake up in peace. “Every child deserves to feel safe, welcomed, and alive to the promise that each day brings,” Premawardhana wrote. “I'm sure you know that this is why we build Interfaith Peacemaker Teams in Sri Lanka.”

Peace is common denominator of all major religions

The Christian Conference of Asia gathered over 100 participants representing seven religions including Christian, Buddhist, Islamic, Jewish, Bahai, Hindu and Sikh to meet with the participants of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace Reference Group to discuss relevant issues about religion and their implications to the Asian society.

Churches across the globe prepare for Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

From 18-25 January, Christians will embark on the largest prayer gathering in the world, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Whether praying together, exchanging preachers or planning ecumenical services, they will bear witness to Jesus’s prayer for his disciples that “they may be one so that the world may believe.”