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Peace is a process

Highschool students are searching their path through an exhibition titled "Peace takes a different way“. They stop in front of a mannequin representing a black woman dressed in white. They are reading on a roll-up about the struggle of Liberian women for peace.

Phenomenal woman

Without peace, there is no justice. Too often, we pursue justice at the expense of peace, and peace at the expense of justice. To conceive peace apart from justice is to compromise the hope that “justice and peace shall embrace” (Ps 85:10). When justice and peace are lacking, or set in opposition, we need to reform our ways. Let us rise, therefore, and work together for peace and justice.

Water and the human right to food

Water is a key resource both to provide drinking water and to generate food and energy for a growing world population. A fifth of the global population lives in regions affected by water stress - in regions where more water is used than can naturally be recharged.

April 4, 2018 - 50 years after the assassination of Rev. Dr Martin Luther King Jr

One of the most well known and remarkable personalities in the history of the ecumenical movement is Rev. Dr Martin Luther King Jr. His name is forever carved into world history and into the history of the churches’ witness in the world. Today, 50 years after his assassination, he is honoured, and he is inspiring the churches worldwide to continue the work he was leading. His message should be both guiding us and disturbing us.

Different but one in Christ

From the face value, the above African proverb “A single stick may smoke, but it will not burn,” means that it actually takes a collection of sticks to have a burning fire since a single stick can only produce a thread of wispy smoke. The same is actually true with regards to our life. It is common to hear statements like ‘let us keep the fire burning’ when initiatives are started, but, most times it is just that, statements because individualism often supersedes collectivism. Little is done to fan the fire and add wood to it to ensure that it actually keeps burning.

Is there any room for talk of transition in the Christian message?

These days everyone uses the words “change” or “transformation” yet they are used to describe very different things. The French president Emmanuel Macron speaks of the transformation of the French economy through the liberalisation of labour laws, and in his book “India Transformed” Rakesh Mohan describes the benefits achieved by 25 years of neo-liberalism. So what do church-related aid organisations like Action de Carême, Pain pour le prochain and Etre partenaires mean when they use the word “transition”? Is this concept really part of the Christian message?

Worlds come together in prayer

A thousand associations come to my mind when the theme is prayer: My Lutheran parents prayed for me and with me when I was a child, and my uncle who was a Baptist minister began dinners with long free prayers. In church and at home we sang Danish hymns with wordings such as: “All good gifts come from above” and “Now we all give thanks to God”.

Allez, les Pilgrims! The power of a team

One of my favorite activities - running - tends to be thought of as a solitary endeavor. And it’s true: I rarely have the opportunity to run on a team. On 2 December I had the privilege of running on a team: the World Council of Churches “Pilgrims for Justice and Peace.”

As Reformation jubilee ends, it's time for a reformation of the economy!

Looking back on a year of Reformation commemorations, many churches ask themselves, what has changed, or what will change after this outstanding 500 years jubilee. We look back on an enormous engagement, from congregations to the worldwide level, to organize events and celebrations. The Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation pointed out clearly: “Salvation, human beings and creation are not for sale.” The three protestant churches of Austria – Lutheran, Reformed and Methodist - celebrated the 500-years Reformation Jubilee together with thousands of participants and proclaimed “Justice, Peace and Integrity of creation” as their main topics. No question: we are talking about the economy!

Faith on public trial

Last weekend, as I watched the terrible scenes from Charlottesville, Va., my heart was deeply troubled, often full of anger, and distraught at what I was seeing. Sunday morning our choir performed Brandon Boyd’s arrangement of “Jacob’s Ladder.” We were privileged to have Brandon Boyd, a young, gifted African-American composer, with us accompanying the choir. His version includes a moving solo with the words, “Is there anybody here who loves my Jesus?” I reflected that those words are what many African Americans were asking in Charlottesville—words their ancestors had sung since they arrived in slave ships.

The pain and the glory.

The days after the Ascension are a time of waiting and expectation, a time like the earliest disciples in Jerusalem in which to reflect on the meaning both of Jesus’ life and its significance for ourselves: indeed a season of both pain and glory. That is certainly the experience these days of our brothers and sisters in those lands where Christianity first began.

Christian relations with the Al-Azhar University in Cairo

Last year in September 2016 the Grand Imam from Al-Azhar University in Cairo visited the WCC in Geneva and the Bossey Ecumenical Institute. This time it has been the turn of the WCC to visit the Al-Azhar University with the Grand Imam and the Muslim Council of Elders.

On leaving Marrakesh

Flying through the labyrinthine alleys of the Medina on a motorbike as the COP22 came to a close in Marrakesh, I thought it an apt comparison to the complex and intricate UN process responding to climate change. At every twist and turn or blind alley we encountered a huge variety of people, dwellings, riads, vehicles and forms of transport – from donkey carts to bicycles, small wagons, three-wheelers, skateboards, motos and electric cars, in all directions at once, all struggling with their different capacities to get through the narrow passageways to their destinations.

An Orthodox view on the commemoration of 500 years of the Reformation

On 31 October 2016, Lutherans and Catholics co-hosted for the first time in history a joint commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. The events took place in Lund, Sweden, under the slogan “From Conflict to Communion”. Many Orthodox representatives attended the event. What did it mean for them? I cannot respond to this question on behalf of all the Orthodox present, but I will try to explain how I perceived it through my eyes.

Walking the Pilgrimage, on my feet and in my heart

In May and June, leading up to the World Council of Churches’ Central Committee meeting in Trondheim, I was on a pilgrimage from Oslo to Trondheim, promoting peace and peaceful co-existence between religious groups in my home country, Norway. On 18-20 October, I was again at a pilgrimage of justice and peace, this time together with about 50 people, representing councils of churches, specialized agencies and other ecumenical actors, who were gathered in Nairobi, Kenya, for the annual meetings of the South Sudan Ecumenical Network and the Sudan Ecumenical Network.