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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.”

Pilgrims accompany Korean women’s struggles with fallout of 70-year war

A Women of Faith Pilgrim Team gathered, some in person and others virtually, in South Korea from 13-15 July. They were there to listen and accompany Korean church women as they called for an end to patriarchy – manifested in the Japanese colonization of Korea and establishment of ‘comfort women’ and also in the Korean War — and to the resulting pain and injustice that remains a grim daily reality for many today.

WCC joins UN statement on harrowing violations in Philippines

The World Council of Churches (WCC) joined the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, National Council of Churches in the Philippines, and United Methodist Church in a joint statement prepared for the 44th session of the Human Rights Council. The statement calls upon the Philippine government to end human rights violations. “We welcome the High Commissioner’s report on human rights in the Philippines,” reads the statement. “It accu-rately describes the harrowing violations committed by the government, which is continuing to ag-gravate the situation.”

Papuan religious leaders urge justice as an end to racism

In a statement to the president of the Republic of Indonesia, Papuan religious leaders are urging justice for seven defendants on trial in the Balikpapan - East Kalimantan District Court who held a demonstration because they were rejecting racist treatment. “But the indictments and charges at the trial were very different from the data and facts in the field,” reads the statement. “They are victims of racism but they have been accused of treason.”

“United Methodists Stand Against Racism” campaign offers array of actions

In a campaign called simply “United Methodists Stand Against Racism,” the United Methodist Church is offering an array of worship opportunities, prayer gatherings, practical suggestions and other resources.

“We recognize racism as a sin,” reads a statement introducing the campaign. “We commit to challenging unjust systems of power and access.”

Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians: ‘Mama, Mama... I Can’t Breathe!’

The Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians published a statement entitled “Mama, Mama…I Can’t Breathe!” that expresses heartbreak over the death of George Floyd at the hands of a policeman.

“Floyd pleaded for his life to no avail until he finally succumbed to death,” reads the statement. “The community has been pleading, ‘Black Lives Matter.’ ”

Women bishops offer candid look at what drives their leadership

Bishop Mary Ann Swenson, a retired United Methodist bishop from the USA, has spent her career voicing the need for a church that includes all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity. And, throughout her career, she’s never been afraid to say that out loud.

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.

Freedom of religion rooted in justice

A recent consultation took important steps to find a faithful paradigm of thinking over the issue of "Freedom of Religion or Belief."Twenty-two church leaders and theologians gathered in Hattersheim am Main, Germany, 25-27 February, to discuss this issue in light of the global rise of ethno-nationalisms, xenophobia, interreligious intolerance, patriarchal hegemony and racism.“Given the present rise of ethno-nationalisms that use religion as identity markers and for legitimization of violence, it is imperative that we as people of faith be able to support the freedom of religion and work towards a world in which all people of faith have the freedom of expression, articulation and propagation of their faith,” said Philip Vinod Peacock, executive secretary for justice and witness of the World Communion of Reformed Churches.

“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.

Workshop addresses human rights in Australia

Climate change, the rights of asylum seekers and indigenous issues were amongst human rights concerns raised during a 2-day workshop organised by the World Council of Churches (WCC) Commission of Churches on International Affairs and the National Council of Churches of Australia in Brisbane on 24-25 February. The workshop, which included representatives from the Uniting Church, Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane, The Salvation Army, Sisters of Saint Joseph, Queensland Churches Together and the Anglican Board of Mission, took place in the context of the upcoming Universal Periodic Review of human rights in Australia by the United Nations Human Rights Council later this year.

On International Human Rights Day, WCC’s work is ever-present

On International Human Rights Day, observed on 10 December each year, the World Council of Churches (WCC) is not only commemorating the day but actively continuing its human rights work on many levels. For more than 70 years, the WCC has supported member churches and partners from many countries and contexts as they work to support their governments in making human rights a reality for all.

Retired Norway bishop risks jail over principles

An 84-year-old former bishop of Oslo, Gunnar Stålsett, was ordered to appear in court because he illegally employed a woman from Eritrea who’d been denied asylum and wound up as an undocumented and rejected refugee.

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit: “We as churches can really make a difference”

During 16 Days Against Gender-Based Violence, the World Council of Churches staff are demonstrating the links between their work and efforts to overcome sexual and gender-based violence under the theme, “From our House to Yours”.

Today, the #16Days contribution is from the General Secretariat, and the important role leadership plays in making equality and justice visible, and violence unacceptable.