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In Argentina, “Serving a Wounded World” is a hopeful call to collaborate

Prof. Dr h.c. Humberto Martin Shikiya, vice president of the Regional Ecumenical Advisory and Service Center (CREAS) In Argentina, reflects on how Serving a Wounded World in Interreligious Solidarity: A Christian Call to Reflection and Action During COVID-19 and Beyond” is being received as a hopeful call to collaborate ecumenically and interreligiously. The World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue jointly published Serving a Wounded World” to encourage churches and Christian organizations to reflect on the importance of interreligious solidarity in a world wounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brazilian ecumenical water network launched

An online event held on 22 July marked the launch of the Ecumenical Water Network Brazil, an initiative that intends to articulate several ecumenical organizations and interfaith voices with the purpose of raising awareness about the life cycle of water.

DiPaz urges stronger international call for Colombian government to advance peace

In a 13 July letter to the United Nations Security Council, the Diálogo Intereclesial por la Paz en Colombia (DiPaz), an interchurch platform for dialogue for peace in Colombia, called on the international community to urge the Colombian government to resume the full implementation of the peace agreement and strengthen channels of dialogue to resolve societal issues.

Pulling together for a living River Pardo

Areas around the River Pardo in northeastern Brazil are home to more than one million people. Included in them are traditional communities such as the quilombolas (descendants of runaway African slaves), the geraizeiros and others. Each year they see less water in their river. “This is not solely due to the reduction in rainfall. 

Brazilian city joins “water diagram” initiative headed by Swiss Church Aid

The Brazilian municipality of Juiz de Fora has approved a cooperation agreement with Swiss Church Aid (HEKS/EPER), a member of the WCCs Ecumenical Water Network (WCC-EWN), thus becoming part of an international working group that wants to contribute to good water management and management practices using a water flow diagram. The project also encompasses the city of Bern, Switzerland; Cape Town, in South Africa, and Rio Pardo de Minas, in Brazil.

Hoping against hope

The same week Brazil reached half a million deaths by COVID-19, my parents got the first dose of the vaccine. On my way to work, I pass through a vaccination post full of people, and through a cemetery full of grief. The past year and few months were a mix of fear, indignation and anger for me. But also a time where I saw generosity and hope bloom.

Indigenous peoples and the pandemic in the land of inequalities

476 million indigenous people live around the world, of which 11.5% live in our Latin American region. In these years that we are going from the COVID 19 pandemic in our territories (indigenous or tribal at the Latin American level), the presence of many extractive companies, mainly uranium and lithium, has increased, land traffickers and among other monoculture companies with fires for the cultivation of oil palm, logging, putting vulnerable peoples at greater risk than what is already experienced.

Less COVID-19 cases, more “hope cases”

The Uruguayan Council of Christian Churches (CICU, by its Spanish acronym), the only ecumenical organization in the country, hosted an online gathering during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. It took place last 26 May at 7:30pm (local time) via Zoom. I had the immense joy of participating as a Catholic communicator, currently serving as correspondent for SIGNIS ALC (Latin-American and Caribbean Association of Catholic Communication) and as vice president of SIGNIS Uruguay (the Uruguayan Association of Catholic Communicators).

Week of Prayer brings fruits of the Spirit despite COVID-19

Prayer is a powerful way to be united as Christians from all over the world. Every year my church community in Cuba joins the celebration of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity with daily devotions and a special worship service, usually on Sundays. Being connected in the same prayerful spirit around a common text that turns into so many testimonies of faith is truly a gift of the Spirit and an ecumenical commitment.

In Colombia, “what is happening is terribly painful”

Rev. Gloria Ulloa, World Council of Churches president for Latin America and the Caribbean, is in Cali, Colombia, with a delegation of DiPaz, the country’s main ecumenical peacebuilding platform. The group is having direct grassroots contact with the conflicts currently taking place. Ulloa and others hope to bring to light testimonies of peoples and communities usually forgotten by the big media.

Below is Ulloa's latest description on the ground.

International church-based organizations urge Colombian president to stop spiral of violence

The World Council of Churches, ACT Alliance, Lutheran World Federation, World Communion of Reformed Churches, Anglican Communion, World Methodist Council, Latin American Episcopal Council and World Association for Christian Communication, in a letter sent 18 May, urged Colombian president Iván Duque Marquéz to stop the spiral of violence that is doing terrible harm to the civilian population.

WCC expresses concern about crisis in El Salvador

“It is with great concern that we are following political developments in El Salvador that undermine democracy and the rule of law in the country”, said Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca, acting general secretary of the World Council of Churches.

"We pray that the God of life will lead El Salvador to peace and justice”, added Sauca.

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?

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.