Ekaterina E. wears the human face of statelessness every day.“Statelessness is about expulsion from the human community” she says, “for me personally, being stateless means I have been separated from my mother for nearly 30 years now.”
A new publication from WCC, “Coexistence: Peace, Nature, Poverty, Terrorism, Values (Religious Perspectives)” by Anastasios, Archbishop of Tirana, Durrës, and All Albania, is now available in hard copy and as an eBook.
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.
One of the foundational moments in the modern ecumenical movement is an encyclical letter issued 100 years ago by the Ecumenical Patriarchate on 1 January 1920. As its opening words state, it was addressed “Unto the Churches of Christ everywhere” and sent as a letter to the leaders of key Christian churches. Its first words are an appeal to “Love one another earnestly from the heart,” quoting from 1 Peter 1:22. The thrust of the letter is the suggestion that doctrinal differences among Christian churches do not, or at least should not, prevent “rapprochement” between Christians.
The annual meeting of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) and the World Council of Churches (WCC) was hosted by the WCC at the Ecumenical Centre, Geneva, and at the nearby Chateau de Bossey from 6-7 February.
With great sadness, the World Council of Churches (WCC) received news of the demise of Prof. Vuyani Vellem on 4 December. A member of the WCC’s Commission on Ecumenical Education and Formation, Vellem was director of the Centre for Public Theology and associate professor at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. He also served as deputy secretary of the South Africa Council of Churches.
A Christian and a Muslim scholar have told a seminar at the World Council of Churches (WCC) about their work in an annual “Building Bridges” seminar with “freedom” as the theme, as participants described what they do as a process, not an event.
At a conference with the theme “Promoting Peace Together” held in Geneva on 21 May, religious leaders focused on two historic documents related to peace-making. The first, “Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together,” was jointly signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar in Abu Dhabi in February. The second, “Education for Peace in a Multi-Religious World: A Christian Perspective,” jointly prepared by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the World Council of Churches (WCC), was officially launched at the conference.
Under the headline “Free to change” hundreds of Swedes gathered in the sacred cathedral in Gothenburg on 2 February to learn more about international advocacy from a faith and human rights perspective.
A full-day programme arranged by the dioceses of Skara and Gothenburg in cooperation with Church of Sweden’s youth organisation, covered a wide spectrum of pertinent issues facing the ecumenical movement.
Calling for a new social pact, World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit urged an international, interreligious conference in Abu-Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to use their religious influence and institutions to nurture tolerance and respect through the transcendent value and concrete practices of love.
Peace education to promote mutual understanding and cooperation between people involving the religious and secular sectors is needed to counter uncertainty fed by radicalization and xenophobia, says a leading human rights advocate.
Ten weeks after Pope Francis visited the WCC in Geneva as “a pilgrim in quest of unity and peace,” church leaders of different churches representing the WCC and the Roman Catholic Church are meeting in Germany this week to continue their task of “walking, praying and working together.”
The World Council of Churches (WCC) is inviting proposals for workshops to be conducted at the Conference on World Mission and Evangelism (WMC), which will take place from 8-13 March 2018 in Arusha, Tanzania, under the theme “Moving in the Spirit: Called to Transforming Discipleship”.
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.”
On the 28th Quadrennial Assembly of the National Council of Churches in India, held in Jabalpur from 27-30 April, Rev. Dr Sang Chang, WCC president for Asia, urged Indian churches to commit themselves afresh to the task of building just and inclusive communities.