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In wake of earthquake, WCC offers solidarity and prayers for Turkey, Greece

Upon news that a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck in the Aegean Sea off the coasts of Turkey and Greece on 30 October, World Council of Churches interim general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca called for prayers, and expressed solidarity with churches and responders who continue to help hundreds of injured and traumatized people.

Moria fire a grave signal to stop “hotspot” approach in Europe

Dr Torsten Moritz, general secretary of Churches' Commission for Migrants in Europe, expressed his dismay at the fire that has destroyed the Moria camp, leaving 13,000 migrants without a home. He urged Europe to end—once and for all—the “hotspot” approach to sheltering migrants.

Religions for Peace: Hagia Sophia meant to be shared with all the world

In a 24 July statement on Hagia Sophia, Religions for Peace reiterated its commitment to the universality of heritage as something that can create peace and respect for all faiths. “We call for calm, in times when we see the use of religious sentiments and institutions in a manner that is divisive, thus pitting some believers against one another,” reads the statement. “We stand on the side of peace, and of deliberate, intentional, coexistence, particularly as we hear of the voices, and see the actions, of divisiveness and hatred from many quarters.”

Bells to toll in mourning in Greece and in Greek Orthodox Church of America for Hagia Sophia

As Hagia Sophia opens for prayer on 24 July, Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece has announced that on this date will be a day of mourning for Christians and Greek people everywhere. He will perform the customary Good Friday liturgy and hymns at the Metropolitan Church of Athens Evangelismos Theotokou and is inviting everyone to join in prayers for aid and support to the nation.

Netherlands churches urge Dutch government—and other nations—to care for children from Greek refugee camps

In a letter to its European sister organizations, the Council of Churches in the Netherlands reiterated its call to the Dutch government to honour the call from the European Committee regarding the relocation of vulnerable and unaccompanied children from Greek refugee camps. The letter also urges European sister organizations to appeal to their governments to exercise the same human compassion.

German delegation finds “intolerable conditions” for displaced people on Lesbos

A German delegation comprised of representatives of municipalities, church leaders and prominent civil society organizations recently visited the Greek island of Lesbos, already hosting tens of thousands of migrants and displaced people, and was on site when the news of the opening of the Turkish border was announced and the first new arrivals were appearing.

“Migrants are not missiles, they are people” says WCC general secretary in response to crisis at Greek-Turkish border

Following a deal reached between the European Union and Turkey in March 2016, Turkey has been taking measures to prevent migrants – many of them fleeing the conflict in Syria – from reaching the EU, in exchange for European aid for migrants and refugees, and for relaxation of EU visa requirements for Turkish citizens. On Friday 28 February, after military losses in north-west Syria – where Turkey has been trying to create a safe area to resettle millions of Syrian refugees and to serve Turkish interests against the Kurds – those measures were suspended, resulting in large numbers of people attempting to cross into Greece and consequent clashes with Greek security forces.

Working group of the WCC Commission on World Mission and Evangelism meets in Turkey

A special working group of the World Council of Churches Commission on World Mission and Evangelism met in Istanbul, Turkey this week to further explore the place and profile of transforming discipleship in the life and work of churches globally. During the meeting the group on “Transforming Discipleship” worked on a document drafting that could best depict the shape of discipleship in the light of the Arusha Call.