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Dr Elizabeth Joy’s message to the WCC: “We have created history”

Dr Elizabeth Joy was the first woman ever to be shortlisted as a nominee for the general secretary of the World Council of Churches. A director at Churches Together in England, she is from the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. She grew up in both India and the United Kingdom. Below, during an interview held the day after the WCC elections, she reflects on her roots in the ecumenical movement, and on her message to the WCC.

Called to Transformation - Ecumenical Diakonia

A joint publication of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and ACT Alliance, this study document aims to clarify the understanding of ecumenical diakonia and to provide a common platform for acting and reflecting together for the churches and ecumenical partners worldwide. 

The major publication outlines the theological components of diakonia and offers practical content for those engaged in the service of diakonia. The study document is intended to be used for formation and training in ecumenical diakonia, to strengthen the institutional capacity of those involved in diakonia, and to foster dialogue and cooperation between churches, ecumenical partners, ACT Alliance and the WCC.

Transformative Spiritualities for the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace

The Churches of the World Council of Churches have been on a “Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace”—together with people of goodwill—since they met for their assembly in Busan in 2013. Building peace with justice has been at the heart of the ecumenical movement since its beginnings. It reflects the call of the churches in a wounded world caused by systemic injustice—racism, sexism, xenophobia, economic exploitation, and violence among humans and against nature, our “Mother”. While political advocacy, theological reflections, and ethical orientation have been high on the agenda of the World Council of Churches, the spiritual dimension of a “just peace” has not always received the same attention.

Starting a Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace, the WCC began to focus intentionally on “transformative spiritualities” in order to (re-)discover the strength of the many and diverse faith communities around the globe. What is the well of that distinct power to resist evil with good, to transform injustices into a life of dignity for all, to heal broken relations – including Mother nature? And what are some of the spiritual practices that inspire communities on that “sacred walk”?

This volume provides a selection of reflections on those transformative spiritualities, from Indigenous perspectives to women’s voices, from Black communities´ to campesino/as´ struggles, from specific Christian traditions to sister faiths. It is that common well we all drink from—inviting readers to participate in that promise that a life in peace and justice is, in fact, possible for all.
 

On Korean Peninsula, “the churches and the country need reconciliation and unity”

Rev. Dr Hyunju Bae represents the Presbyterian Church of Korea on the World Council of Churches central and executive committees and serves on the WCC Gender Advisory Group. She is a former professor of New Testament Studies at the Busan Presbyterian University, Republic of Korea, and now a co-president of the Korea Christian Environmental Movement Solidarity for Integrity of Creation.  Below, she reflects on a recent prayer vigil for peace, as well as other ecumenical activities in South Korea.

Reflections on “What Are the Churches Saying About the Church” share fruits of WCC Commission on Faith and Order

Below, Rev. Dr Susan Durber, moderator of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Commission on Faith and Order and His Eminence Bishop Maxim, from the Serbian Orthodox Church and a WCC Faith and Order commissioner, reflect on the publication What Are the Churches Saying About the Church?”

The publication, which presents key findings and proposals from responses to The Church: Towards a Common Vision,” is among the many fruits being harvested by the study groups of the WCC Faith and Order Commission for the WCC 11th Assembly.

Celebrate Christ’s Love!

Sing and Pray

Celebrate Christ’s Love! Sing and Pray
Feiern Wir Die Liebe Christi! Singen und Beten
Célébrons L’amour Du Christ! Chante et Prie
¡Celebremos El Amor De Cristo! Canto y Oración

In four languages, a newly released publication developed by the assembly’s worship planning group, Celebrate Christ’s Love!, expands the opportunity to prepare spiritually for the assembly.

This publication contains some of the components of the final spiritual-life resource that will be used at the assembly. It invites assembly participants and the wider fellowship to celebrate the love of God that we find in Christ through prayer, song, and reflecting on Jesus’ preaching and healing as portrayed in the Gospels.

Groundwater is “a political question”

In many regions, groundwater is being extracted faster than it can be replenished. Groundwater pollution from raw material extraction, industry, private households, and agriculture is also increasing. This year’s UN’s World Water Day focused on groundwater, urging to make “the invisible visible.” A new publication by Brot für die Welt (Bread for the World, Germany), a member of the WCC Ecumenical Water Network, takes up this call and demands the better protection and fairer use of this vital resource.  WCC news talked to co-author Dr Ingrid Jacobsen about the social and political dimension of groundwater.

Fr Ioan Sauca: “God is on the side of those who are suffering”

The World Council of Churches (WCC) has, since the first day of the war in Ukraine and even in the months before, been working and praying earnestly for peace in this conflict and throughout the world. From the beginning, the WCC has called for an immediate end to armed hostilities, to stop the war and has appealed also for an immediate end to indiscriminate attacks with an escalating impact on civilians in Ukraine. WCC News met online with the WCC acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca to get the latest update on the work of the WCC.

Spiritual path to the WCC 11th Assembly continues with Holy Week Bible studies

As the series of Bible studies leading up to the World Council of Churches (WCC) 11th Assembly continues, the focus moves to Holy Week and Easter. Below, Dr Ani Ghazaryan Drissi, WCC programme executive for the Faith and Order Commission, reflects on how churches, together, can focus on Holy Week in the context of of preparing for the assembly.

Churches´Commission for Migrants in Europe release European church leaders’ statement on response of Europe to refugees

The Churches' Commission for Migrants in Europe - CCME released a statement that speaks about the response of Europe to refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine. The statement addresses the concerns of discriminatory treatment of non-Ukrainians and minority ethnic people in this context and the more general question that the generosity shown in recent weeks often has not been extended to those fleeing from elsewhere.

Below, Dr Torsten Moritz, general secretary at the Churches' Commission for Migrants in Europe, reflects on why church leaders requested such a statement, and what lies at the heart of some of their different inputs.

I Belong Volume 2

Biblical Reflections on Statelessness

This second publication of biblical reflections on statelessness presents new perspectives, including indigenous voices and reflections on the meaning of land. These texts can be valuable tools for discussion and reflection during Bible studies in congregations and communities around the world.

Coexistence

Peace, Nature, Poverty, Terrorism, Values (Religious Perspectives)
Archbishop Dr Anastasios

First published as Συνύπαρξη, this collection of reflections suggests that coexistence has been an essential component of the life of humanity, however, it is frequently undermined and even poisoned. 

The book shows how violence has taken new uncontrollable forms which culminate in polymorphous terrorism. Human aggression expands to exploitation and even to the contempt of creation, with painful consequences for both the natural environment and for human life itself.

The author views, through a theological and religious point of view, peace in ecumenical dimensions as well as in a specific country; the human being and the environment; poverty; terrorism; and universal moral values.

Συνύπαρξη was awarded the 2016 Free Thought Essay Award in memory of Panagiotis Foteas in Greece. It has been published in Greek, Italian, and Albanian, is awaiting publication in French by Apostolia Publishing House, and the German translation will follow soon.

Pilgrims on the Path of Peace

The Journey of the WCC from Busan to Karlsruhe (Unillustrated)

For each assembly, the central committee submits an accountability report, describing and offering an assessment of the activities of the WCC between the assemblies; in this case, since the 10th Assembly, in Busan, Republic of Korea, in late 2013.

The report “Pilgrims on the Path of Peace – The Journey of the WCC from Busan to Karlsruhe,” is now available online for WCC member churches, ecumenical partners, and other global pilgrims. The WCC central committee received the report in February.