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Two new scholarship endowments for Bossey

The endowment of two new scholarship funds geared towards facilitating studies at the Ecumenical Institute of the WCC was celebrated at the graduation ceremony for the 61st session of the institute's Graduate School of Ecumenical Studies on 3 February.

2010 focus on peace building in Africa

The role of the church in building just peace was highlighted last week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where three World Council of Churches (WCC) advisory groups met to recognize the culmination of the Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV) and the forthcoming International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC) scheduled for May 2011.

WCC interns blog about Kirchentag

Five young men and women from Australia, Kenya, Greece, India and Scotland, who are attending the German Kirchentag as part of their year-long internship with the WCC, will convey their impressions of this nationwide protestant convention on a new blog .

New website to add "New Fire" to future ecumenism in the US

www.FaithConnectsUs.org is a new website launched during the "New Fire: Young Adult Ecumenical Days", a gathering of young adult ecumenists from the United States that took place in Denver, Colorado, 8 - 10 November 2008. The participants expressed a strong desire to deepen the relationship with one another, to work more effectively to be the body of Christ to the world and to add 'New Fire' to the ecumenical movement.

Expectations for young visions of the future

"I eagerly await an account of your visions predicting what tomorrow may bring", expressed the World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia in a message of support to the 34th General Assembly of the World Student Christian Federation (WSCF). Taking place in Montreal, Canada from 1-9 August 2008, the gathering will bring together some 200 students and young leaders from all over the world with the theme "Your sons and daughters shall prophesy". In recalling his own involvement with the WSCF as a young Christian student, Kobia stated: "I am profoundly aware of the influence that the student Christian movement can have in shaping a person's life".

"Like being in the center of the globe"

Nazeli Kandakarjian, a member of the Armenian Apostolic Church (Holy See of Cilicia) in Lebanon, is serving as a young adult steward at these central committee meetings. She arrived five days late for the training programme due to a series of visa difficulties, ultimately receiving her visa just a few hours before her rescheduled flight on 11 Feb. "It was like in the movies", she said of the last-minute rush. When she finally arrived in Geneva, though--her first trip outside the Middle East--she was warmly welcomed by the other stewards. They were eager to learn about her, and she enjoyed hearing their stories, as well. She said the group bonded quickly and has worked well together. "It's like being in the center of the globe", said Kandakarjian, who was born in Kuwait. "I have people from all over the world telling me their experiences. It couldn't be any better than this. I'm so happy to be here". A friend who attended the WCC Assembly in Porto Alegre in 2006 encouraged her to apply for the stewards programme. She did, because she liked the idea of actually working at the meetings and not just being an observer. Now Kandakarjian is carrying that same message to others. "I would like to encourage everyone to be in this kind of experience", she said, expressing an appreciation for the ecumenical work she was able to witness. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It's great". All of the stewards were recognised at the conclusion of the meetings Wednesday with a round of applause and the moderator's thanks, and each received the gift of a WCC watch.

Serving as stewards

A group of young adults again has a significant role at these Central Committee meetings in Geneva, with two dozen young people from 22 countries on five continents serving as stewards. They can be easily spotted around the building, all wearing their royal blue WCC shirts. The stewards assist in a variety of ways during the meetings, often behind the scenes, while learning about the ecumenical movement and the work of the WCC. Their tasks include distributing documents and translation headsets, monitoring the doors of the main hall, setting up for morning prayers, assisting the press operation, running errands, and much more---including the job of ringing bells to summon Central Committee members back to their tables after breaks. Stewards, chosen through a competitive application process, serve during each Central Committee meeting and Assembly.

Christian youth movements call for signs of unity

A number of major international Christian youth movements and organizations called for stronger efforts towards unity in a joint statement issued on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Addressed to the heads of the Roman Catholic Church, the World Council of Churches, Christian World Communions and Regional Ecumenical Organizations, the statement asks them to "share ecumenical dialogue with young people" and expresses the commitment of the signatories to "raise awareness of the importance of Christian unity among young people".

WCC to strengthen churches' peace efforts in Palestine/Israel

Local churches in Palestine/Israel are looking to the whole fellowship of the World Council of Churches (WCC) to play a stronger role in supporting local churches' struggles for a just peace there. This is the main finding of a delegation led by the Council's general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia that visited Palestine/Israel from 21 to 26 June. A new advocacy forum launched prior to the visit, and ecumenical accompaniment are high on the churches' list of actions in pursuit of this goal.

Youth body to strengthen new ecumenical leadership

Young people will strengthen their profile in the World Council of Churches (WCC), following the establishment by its central committee of a new body to promote the participation of youth in the organization's life and work.