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Peace message closes convocation, but work has only begun

Participants at the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC) released a message on Tuesday expressing their unified experience of a week-long exploration of a just peace and to navigate a path forward as they return to their homes and churches across the world.

When pastors prey: book breaks silence

In an energetic book launch featuring Jamaican drummers and an Indian “Bollywood” dance lesson, the World Student Christian Federation (WSCF) released a new publication seeking to break the silence on sexual abuse of women by clergy within the church.

“Rebirth” for Jamaica's young people

When 15-year-old Lydia* realized she was pregnant, she was forced by Jamaican law to leave her high school in Kingston. Left with no way to continue her education, she was struggling to find a way forward for herself and her baby.

IEPC youth essay contest: five winners

Five essays have been selected as the top entries in the Echos International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC) essay contest. It is tied to the IEPC, sponsored by the World Council of Churches (WCC), an event which is to be held in Kingston, Jamaica from 17 to 25 May 2011.

Youth and the ecumenical movement: “There is a delicate dance going on in our churches”

The Rev. Jennifer Leath is a member the World Council of Churches Joint Consultative Group with the Pentecostals and ECHOS, the WCC commission of youth. She is a member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the USA and identifies herself as “a Black American who lives in solidarity with those in the African Diaspora and all those who experience oppression, these are they who capture my heart.” Leath was one of the speakers at the 2011 WCC Central Committee plenary on “Ecclesiological Landscape”, where she shared a strong testimony on the issue of youth and ecumenical movement.  She was interviewed by Marcelo Schneider.

We are called to be one in faith and action, reports WCC general secretary

“There is no theological reflection that does not take place in God’s vulnerable world and in the midst of the joy and suffering of ordinary people,” said the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit in his report to the first meeting of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee that he has addressed as general secretary.

A young Mapuche speaks up for her people

Natividad Llanquileo is a young woman from the Mapuche people, an indigenous group that makes up some 4 percent of the Chilean population. In late November, she visited Geneva – seat of the United Nations Human Rights Council and other UN bodies – to inform the international organizations about the ongoing negotiations between the representatives of the Mapuche political prisoners and the Chilean government.

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.