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Ecumenical statement on migration received by European Commission

The advocacy statement of ecumenical organisations responding to the new EU Migrant Pact and the situation of migrants and refugees in Europe was received 25 September in the European Commission offices in Brussels. The statement was addressed to Vangelis Demiris, cabinet member of the vice president of the commission Margaritis Schinas, who is coordinating the commission’s work on the New Pact on Migration and Asylum. Dr Jørgen Skov Sørensen, general secretary of the Conference of European Churches, and Dr Torsten Moritz, general secretary of the Churches' Commission for Migrants in Europe, delivered the statement to Demiris, who is responsible for the dialogue with the churches and faith-based organisations.

Erich Weingartner: “Peace needs an emotional bond” on the Korean Peninsula

Erich Weingartner, who previously helped lead the World Council of Churches (WCC) Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, has also represented CanKor, a Canadian interactive resource on North Korea. From the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, he was also founding head of the Food Aid Liaison Unit of the World Food Programme.

WCC mourns passing of Metropolitan Anba Bishoy of Damietta

The World Council of Churches is mourning the passing of Metropolitan Bishoy of Damietta, Kafr El-Sheikh, Barary, and the Monastery of Saint Demiana of the Coptic Orthodox Church. One of the senior and most influential Coptic Orthodox Prelates of the modern era, he has made extensive contributions in the areas of Pan-Orthodox unity, dialogue and ecumenism. He was a close colleague of the late Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria.

Trying to do good for the world

When WCC’s long-time partner, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize, another small but important step towards a safer world was taken. Not only was it a recognition of global efforts to abolish nuclear weapons, but also an affirmation of the role Christian churches have played at local and grassroots levels to raise awareness and mobilize people against nuclear proliferation.

Ending statelessness in Europe is high priority for realizing human rights

A regional conference held 5-6 September in Berlin allowed participants to look at statelessness in the European context through the lenses of human rights and development.

The conference, with the theme “Statelessness in the European Context: Prevention, Reduction and Protection,” approached statelessness as an issue that is often invisible even though it occurs in so many countries around the world.

What is done for children, impacts all community

Churches can make a huge difference in children’s lives and therefore improve the whole community, strongly believes Frederique Seidel, World Council of Churches (WCC) special advisor on children’s rights. To help the churches in their efforts in improving the wellbeing of children, WCC has published this year the invitation and resource for churches, “Churches’ Commitments to Children”.

In Lebanon, refugees face hardship - but find hope

The fifteenth of March 2017, marks the sixth year since the start of the Syrian war.
Lebanon, being a small Middle Eastern country facing constant political and national unity challenges with a population of approximately 450,000 Palestinian and Iraqi refugees, has been the shelter for more than 2 million registered Syrian refugees since 2011.

WCC delegation seeks secure future for religious minorities in Iraq

A global delegation of church leaders concluded a visit to Iraq on 24 January, focusing on the future of vulnerable components of Iraq’s society following the expected military defeat of the so-called “Islamic State”. The delegation called for an emergency response from international donors to support efforts to secure, stabilize and rebuild affected communities and societies.

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: The Patriarch of Solidarity

He earned the title “Green Patriarch” as a religious leader addressing alarming environmental issues over at least two decades. In 2008, Time Magazine named His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew as one of 100 Most Influential People in the World, for “defining environmentalism as spiritual responsibility”.

Negotiate a nuclear weapons ban next year, says UN group with broad support

“Negotiate a legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons”. Do it “in 2017”. Make sure the negotiations are “open to all states” and include civil society. These are key points in a much-disputed report adopted last week by a United Nations working group of more than 100 countries meeting in Geneva.

Hielke Wolters: Apostle of mission strategies

Rev. Dr Hielke Wolters is leaving the WCC after serving for nine years - the last seven years as associate general secretary - but he is not leaving the ecumenical movement to which he has been dedicated since his student days. Officially is he going to retire, but only on the paper. He has many thoughts and plans to realize as he moves back to the Netherlands to serve, in one way or another, the church or the wider ecumenical movement. Wolters said to WCC News with a smile: “I’m open for any suggestion and I know that God will lead me in the right direction when that time comes.”

South African church leaders appeal for calm ahead of elections

With less than a week before hotly contested local elections, church leaders in South Africa have appealed for calm and asked political leaders of all political parties to help contain dissent. The run-up to the elections on 3 August has been marred by recurrent bouts of violence, intimidation and even political assassinations.