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Re-engineering life forms: Church forum raises concerns

“What do we have the right to manipulate in creation?” The question is at the heart of a Canadian Quaker’s commitment to the process of encouraging member churches of the World Council of Churches (WCC) to reflect on scientific experiments in modifying life forms known as “synthetic biology”.

Responsible agriculture investments theme of WCC session

Promoting responsible agricultural investments was the theme of a session organised by the WCC at the Civil Society Policy Forum of the World Bank Group-International Monetary Fund Annual Meetings held in Washington DC from 9-13 October. “There is no doubt we need to invest more in agriculture – it feeds us all and remains an important source of employment, especially for the world’s poor,” said Athena Peralta, WCC programme executive for economic and ecological justice.

G20 summit: call to pray for peace in Hamburg

Friday evening when the leaders of the G20 states will be meeting in Hamburg and discussing global economic, social, environmental and political issues, the churches in Germany are inviting people in Germany and all over the world to a common peace prayer.

G7 must address famine

Not nearly enough is being done to save the lives of the 20 million people who face famine in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria. Among them are 1.4 million children, who are at imminent risk of death unless aid reaches them immediately.

UN discussion focuses on women, HIV and property rights

“She is HIV positive too. No need to inherit her late husband’s title deed. She will die soon and leave it anyway.”

These man’s thoughts during his brother’s funeral were used by Jane Ng’ang’a, national coordinator, International Network of Religious Leaders Living with or Personally Affected by HIV (INERELA+) Kenya Chapter, to push the debate on property and inheritance rights linked to HIV. The discussion was held during the 61st Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), on 16 March, at the headquarters of UNAIDS, in New York.

Faith-based groups bring hope for a fast-track HIV response

"If there ever was a time to change words into action, it is today", said U.S. ambassador-at-large Deborah L. Birx, M.D., coordinator of the United States Government Activities to Combat HIV/AIDS and U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy, at an interfaith prayer breakfast held during the United Nations General Assembly in New York on 20 September.

WCC book featured in UN discussion on gender, religions and health

“Dignity, Freedom, and Grace: Christian Perspectives on HIV, AIDS and Human Rights,” a book published earlier this year by the WCC, will be among reports discussed at a 20 September event with the theme “Keeping the Faith in Development: Gender, Religions & Heath.”

Prayers ring to “open our eyes and lift up our heads” on AIDS response

You disgust me. - “We value you despite our differences.” I’m scared of you. - “Let’s spend some time together.” Your children cannot come to this school. - “All of our children can play together.” Gathered in prayer and determined to overcome stigma and discrimination, participants in a 7 June interfaith service replaced words of rejection with words of acceptance.

Faith community issues call to action: end AIDS by 2030

At an interfaith prayer service on 7 June, people from diverse faith communities issued a call to action to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. The call focuses on reducing stigma and discrimination; increasing access to HIV services; defending human rights; and ensuring testing and treatment for all, including children.

Dialogue on HIV, sexual reproductive health and rights

An “inter-generational dialogue on faith, culture, HIV and sexual reproductive health and rights” was initiated on 11 March in New York City by the World YWCA in partnership with the WCC and other international organizations. The dialogue was organized as a side event at the United Nations 58th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women.

Issues of justice in focus at WCC Busan assembly

The plenary on justice at the WCC 10th Assembly brings into focus the core of its theme “God of life, lead us to justice and peace.” Following on diverse reflections from around the world on Christian unity, Asia and mission, the assembly plenary on 6 November in Busan, Republic of Korea, highlighted struggles for justice.