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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.

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.

Rev. Dr Shanta Premawardhana: ‘Seeds of peace come from the ground’

“The seeds of peace come from the ground.” That is the vision that Rev. Dr Shanta Premawardhana, former director of Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation at the World Council of Churches and now president of OMNIA Institute for Contextual Leadership, tries to follow with his organization.

WCC condemns attack on renowned social activist in India

World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit is condemning an attack on renowned social activist Swami Agnivesh in Jharkhand state in northeast India. A violent mob of alleged fringe fundamentalist groups in the Pakur district attacked Agnivesh on the same day as a Supreme Court judgment called mob lynching unacceptable and holding the local administration, the state and central governments responsible for preventing it.

Youth in Asia Training for Religious Amity starts in Hong Kong

Youth in Asia Training for Religious Amity (YATRA) began at the Tao Fong Shan Christian Centre, Hong Kong on 7 July. Drawing young women and men from across the World Council of Churches (WCC) fellowship in Asia as well as theological institutions, the focus of this year’s YATRA is ‘Passionately Christian and Compassionately Interreligious’.

Korean Christian leaders: churches have vital role in peace process

Korea’s Christian leaders have urged Catholics to work together with the WCC to help bring peace and reconciliation to their country. Rev. Dr Sang Chang, president of WCC’s Asia region, and Rev. Dr Lee Hong-jeong, general secretary of the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) were speaking as Pope Francis visited the headquarters of the ecumenical movement in Geneva to mark the WCC’s 70th anniversary.

WCC extends greetings as Buddhists observe Vesakh

As many Buddhists prepare to observe Vesakh on 29 April - a day commemorating the life and legacy of Gautama Buddha - WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit extended his greetings to Buddhists across the world.

Youth in Asia can now apply for WCC inter-religious training

Applications are now open for YATRA (Youth in Asia Training for Religious Amity) 2018, an inter-religious training programme of the WCC. The intensive training course, held annually since 2014, seeks to enable young Christian leaders from Asian churches to contribute towards the building up of just, harmonious and peaceable communities by equipping them for ministries of justice and peace from an inter-religious perspective.

WCC delegation visits China

World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit and a WCC delegation will visit member churches in China 7-16 January. The historic visit will begin the celebration of the WCC’s 70th anniversary. The WCC delegation, in addition to Tveit, includes WCC Asia president Dr Sang Chang and Rev. Dr Peniel Rajkumar, WCC programme executive for Interreligious Dialogue.

Ecumenical Review focuses on contemporary ecumenical challenges in Asia

It is time to revitalize the Asian ecumenical movement to respond to contemporary realities in Asia, according to Mathews George Chunakara, general secretary of the Christian Conference of Asia, in the article that opens the latest issue of The Ecumenical Review, the quarterly journal of the WCC.

First Christian-Confucian dialogue initiated by WCC begins in Seoul

For the first time in its history, the World Council of Churches (WCC) has initiated a formal dialogue with Confucians. Organised in collaboration with the Council for World Mission and the Korea Forum for Science and Life and with the support of the National Council of Churches in Korea, the Sungkyunkwan University, the City of Andong and the Korea Foundation for Culture and Ethics, the dialogue commenced on 27 October with an interreligious consultation on Christian-Confucian relations in Seoul