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COVID-19 in conflict zones: “a crisis within another crisis”

Damaris, a Nigerian woman, described her experience of 2020: “We’ve gone through hell.”

Damaris and her sisters were kidnapped in March 2020 and threatened with death as their kidnappers demanded money. Her father had to sell everything and beg on the streets to meet their demands. “We are just a common people in Nigeria,” she said. “We don’t know what we did.”

Rt. Rev. Sharma Nithyanandam: “Contribute toward suspending negativity”

Rt. Rev. Sharma Nithyanandam is the bishop in Vellore, Church of South India. Below, he reflects on how churches can infuse hope as an antidote to despair by becoming agents of tangible social action. During the COVID-19 lockdown, our church doors may be closed but our hearts are not, and Bishop Nithyanandam reflects on why this is a time for deeds and not just words.

Hanbeet Rhee: “Young people can be bridges”

Our series of interviews with Thursdays in Black ambassadors highlights those who are playing a vital role in increasing the impact of our collective call for a world without rape and violence. Hanbeet Rhee, from the Presbyterian Church of Korea, is a member of the Ecumenical Youth Council in Korea. She is also a commissioner with the World Council of Churches (WCC) ECHOS programme, as well as a youth advisor for the WCC Central Committee.

Dr Saïd Ailabouni: God is on the side of rejected, oppressed, occupied

Born in Nazareth, Galilee, Rev. Dr Saïd Ailabouni moved to the US at the age of 19 to become a physician. But he was so angry at God that he went to study theology instead, becoming a Lutheran pastor. Now he is leading the Middle East & Europe desk of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Since leaving his hometown 50 years ago, he visits his Palestinian family regularly. As the World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel approaches, Ailabouni agreed to share some of his lifetime observations with the Word Council of Churches.

A passionate Korean feminist and ecumenist

At the most glorious moment in her career, Rev. Prof. Dr Sang Chang discovered that society is not always friendly and that politics can be devilish. But thanks to God, she got over it. Without bitterness and even more determined in her fight for gender equality and social justice.

WCC leader reflects on antisemitism, definitions and future cooperation

The World Council of Churches (WCC) and the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC) met formally on 25-27 June in Paris, under the theme “The normalization of hatred: challenges for Jews and Christians today”. This meeting took place at a time of significant challenges in public and religious life for many communities around the world. At the meeting Peter Prove, director of the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, presented the WCC policies on antisemitism and the WCC’s work for human rights for all. The WCC News met with him after the meeting.

As Seven Weeks for Water begins, water scarcity “no act of God”

“It is not God’s will that the earth is destroyed. We the creatures, we who are supposed to be stewards of creation, are unjustly self-destructive”, read the sermon of the Rt. Rev. Arnold C. Temple, president of the All Africa Conference of Churches, at the opening service of World Council of Churches (WCC) Lenten Campaign “Seven Weeks for Water”, on 5 March, in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Paving the way for ecumenical studies, learning English in Bossey

Each year students from all over the world arrive at Bossey near Geneva for a three-month language training course to pave their way for ecumenical studies that follow on straight after. “The title captures the goal of the course,” says Father Lawrence Iwuamadi, the Nigerian priest who studied at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and is academic dean of the Ecumenical Institute.

Bishop Younan receives ‘Bridges of Understanding’ award

Bishop Emeritus Munib Younan from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land accepted a “Building Bridges of Understanding” award on 12 September at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. The award is organized by the Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.

WCC extends greetings as Buddhists observe Vesakh

As many Buddhists prepare to observe Vesakh on 29 April - a day commemorating the life and legacy of Gautama Buddha - WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit extended his greetings to Buddhists across the world.