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Uppsala 1968: The times, they were a’changing

By rights, it should have been Africa. The World Council of Churches’ (WCC) First Assembly had been held in Europe (Amsterdam), the second in North America (Evanston, USA), the third in Asia (New Delhi). Hopes were raised that Africa would be the next continent to host the council. But questions arose concerning acts of violence and military conflicts in Africa throughout the 1960s, from the Biafran region in Nigeria to Zanzibar and Eritrea, from Algeria to Mozambique and Rhodesia. And so the Fourth Assembly returned to the “safety” of Europe, to Uppsala in Sweden. In one of history’s ironies, Soviet tanks would roll into Prague one month after the assembly’s close.

Faith based organisations underline creation justice in Stockholm+50 webinar

The World Council of Churches (WCC) and International Partnership on Religion and Sustainable Development (PaRD) co-hosted  a hybrid event on 2 June at Stockholm+50. Exploring the theme “Climate Action and Water for Life towards Creation Justice!” the event  reflected on the current scenario of the climate emergency and global water crisis which are interconnected and impact each other as well as the sustainability of the earth. 

Interfaith statement at Stockholm+50 urges commitment “to become protectors of this earth”

An interfaith statement developed at Stockholm+50, Faith Values and Reach - Contribution to Environmental Policy,” was signed by representatives of various faith-based organizations and Indigenous cultures across the world, including the World Council of Churches, and directed to the governments, UN entities, civil society, and all stakeholders of the Stockholm+50” processes.

Creation justice focus of hybrid event at Stockholm +50

The World Council of Churches and International Partnership on Religion and Sustainable Development (PaRD) are co-hosting a hybrid event on 2 June at Stockholm+50. Exploring the theme Climate Action and Water for Life towards Creation Justice!” the event will reflect on the current scenario of the climate emergency and global water crisis which are interconnected and impact each other as well as the sustainability of the earth. 

Nordic churches meet with WCC for a look at horizon of hope

Leaders from Nordic churches—including the Church of Sweden and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark—met with World Council of Churches (WCC) leadership and staff on 28 April, discussing preparations for the WCC 11th Assembly as well as directions for the next decade.

Church of Sweden in Lund delegation visits the Ecumenical Centre and Bossey

Bishop Johan Tyrberg and a delegation from the Church of Sweden in Lund visited the World Council of Churches on 22-23 September, participating in a morning prayer for Christian unity, receiving a guided tour and discussing the theme of the World Council of Churches (WCC) 11th Assembly, “Christ’s love moves the world to reconciliation and unity.”

Online spiritual dialogue fulfils growing needs

In times of involuntary isolation due to lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, online ecumenical retreats have emerged as an alternative place for spiritual dialogue. In Sweden, a series of four so-called “Quiet Days” retreats, where participants join online in a digital room to share a moment of stillness and reflection, were launched on the Eve of Pentecost. Initiated already last year under the headline “A spiritual dwelling for God,” by Lutheran Bishop Karin Johannesson from the Diocese of Uppsala, Sweden and co-hosted by Cardinal Anders Arborelius from the Roman Catholic Church in Sweden, the retreats have been expanded this year with English subtitles to also attract international audiences.  

Arctic communities to WCC pilgrims: “We need your voice”

Lorraine Netro, who was raised in the Gwichin First Nation of Old Crow, Yukon (Canada), is part of an indigenous community—but shes also a global citizen.

Todays Arctic peoples are important members of global society,” Netro said. The survival of Arctic cultures and communities remains tied to the wildlife and landscape of the Arctic Refuge.”

In pictures: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Prayers for unity took on a different look and feel this year, but they weren’t stopped by widespread restrictions on face-to-face gatherings. From prayer cards to personal reflections, online gatherings to new connections, the images worldwide convey the spiritual richness of an ecumenical family that came together in prayer.

Driven by God’s grace and a sense of duty

When Rev. Dr Antje Jackelén became its first female archbishop in 2014, a major milestone was reached in the history of the Church of Sweden. It took 850 years and 69 male predecessors to get there. Jackelén also happens to be the first immigrant, at least in modern times, to occupy the highest chair of her church. That, however, she regards as a coincidence of lesser significance. For her, as a devoted Christian, the baptism matters more than the passport.   

“Coronaspection” project features Church of Sweden Archbishop Dr Antje Jackelén

As part of a “Coronaspection” project in which world religious leaders share wisdom in times of crisis, Church of Sweden Archbishop Dr Antje Jackelén was featured in a lively conversation with Rabbi Alon Goshen-Gottstein, director of The Elijah Faith Institute. Through Coronaspection, The Elijah Faith Institute is bringing together world religious leaders for their insights on faith during the time of the coronavirus, with a sense of solidarity and interconnectedness of humanity.

Christian unity strengthens between Sweden, Malta

Mikael Stjernberg is public relations manager for the Christian Council of Sweden, which visited Malta in October to meet with churches and organizations to hear how they worked to produce the material for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and to see how they work with refugees.