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Orthodox and Anglican appeals from 1920 remain inspiration for unity

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.

Freedom of religion rooted in justice

A recent consultation took important steps to find a faithful paradigm of thinking over the issue of "Freedom of Religion or Belief."Twenty-two church leaders and theologians gathered in Hattersheim am Main, Germany, 25-27 February, to discuss this issue in light of the global rise of ethno-nationalisms, xenophobia, interreligious intolerance, patriarchal hegemony and racism.“Given the present rise of ethno-nationalisms that use religion as identity markers and for legitimization of violence, it is imperative that we as people of faith be able to support the freedom of religion and work towards a world in which all people of faith have the freedom of expression, articulation and propagation of their faith,” said Philip Vinod Peacock, executive secretary for justice and witness of the World Communion of Reformed Churches.

CCIA meets in Brisbane with focus on Pacific regional priorities

Impacts of the climate change and the lingering health and environmental effects of nuclear testing on the countries in the Pacific region are among the issues to be discussed at the meeting of the WCC’s Commission of Churches on International Affairs (CCIA), convened from 19 to 21 February in Brisbane, Australia.

Peace-building women explore their strength, value

Women have a unique approach to peace-building that could strengthen communities facing conflict and other challenges, found participants at a side event during Geneva Peace Week.The World Council of Churches, ACT Alliance and Norwegian Church Aid organized a dialogue that emphasized new arenas for women’s participation in peace-building.

Asian Ecumenical Institute to train next generation of leaders

Twenty-seven young ecumenists from across Asia are currently attending the month-long Asian Ecumenical Institute organized by the Christian Conference of Asia. The programme aims to provide ecumenical formation and leadership development training for prospective church and ecumenical leaders. It is being held at the Christian Conference of Asia headquarters in Payap University Campus in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

WCC leads exploration on racial justice

“Think about your policies, practices and actions, not to just look back at the past, but to ask what can we do today?” These are the reflections of Judith Roberts, director for Racial Justice Ministries for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.

WCC pilgrimage turns its eyes to Asia

“Our churches are directly involved in upholding the dignity and rights of people and communities in Asia irrespective of their religious or faith identities”, said Matthews George Chunakara, general secretary of the Christian Conference of Asia, at the opening of the annual meeting of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace Reference Group, in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on 4 March.

WCC promotes Global Day of Prayer to End Famine

The World Council of Churches, World Evangelical Alliance and All Africa Conference of Churches, along with church-related humanitarian organizations and a coalition of church-related networks and organizations and partners, are promoting 10 June as the second annual Global Day of Prayer to End Famine to be observed in faith congregations worldwide.

In the ecumenical movement to stay

Since a small scholarship got her involved in the ecumenical movement, Sana Jennifer’s future has been staked out. She started as a bishop’s secretary and office administrator at the Diocese of Raiwind, Church of Pakistan, in Lahore three years ago and was appointed youth programme coordinator this year.

Aiming for unity within diversity in Asia

When the Asia Ecumenical Youth Assembly (AEYA) kicked off in Manado, Indonesia on the 6 April, it was the first such gathering in 34 years. More than 350 youth from 23 countries across Asia came together to address pertinent issues in today’s globalized world.

Bishop Helga - diaconal apostle

This year it is five hundred years since the Reformation. This has been commemorated throughout the year. A lot has happened in the world. The Reformation is ongoing in churches around the world. Discussions are constantly held about how a church should be today and how to reach out with the gospel. WCC News meets Bishop Helga Haugland Byfuglien this year, one of the most experienced and prominent women among Lutheran bishops in the world.

“I can do things better back home”

For April Robinson, hopping in a bus with 35 other Christians from across Asia – from Pakistan, to Japan, to New Zealand – and travelling four hours to West Java, Indonesia to meet with interfaith activists brought just the perspective she needed to deepen and bolster her interfaith work back home in Melbourne, Australia.