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Happy Birthday, Dear WCC!

You are very much needed. You are very much appreciated. You are very much discussed. You are bringing the fellowship of churches together through prayers, discussions, reflections, and actions in consensus.

Where is God in these times?

In a time of a global pandemic that has killed almost 200,000 Americans, civil unrest in the streets, and an economy in tatters, I have been blessed with the opportunity to share my thoughts with you during this unique time in history. I decided to contribute to this blog in the form of a personal letter to each of you.

Treating the underlying conditions

On May 24, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA hosted a memorial service for lives lost to COVID-19. In a time of physical distancing, the church ecumenical gathered online for “A Time to Mourn,” drawing thousands together to remember and lament. Grounded in our hope in the resurrection, the Rev. Elizabeth A Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, declared, “The body of Christ is COVID-positive.”

Racism, sexism and the pyramid of discrimination

On 24th December 2018 I was on a long queue to the pay point in a supermarket in Malawi. It was a hot day. The lights went off. Everything was now processed manually. Being a day before Christmas holiday, the shop was full of people. I had been on the queue for 20 minutes. In front of me was a black Malawian man. The teller was also a black Malawian man. After the person in front of me was served, I put my items on the counter for payment. In a flash a young Indian girl cut the line in front of me and the teller served her.

Different. Reality!

Several years ago, I went in search of food in a foreign country. Spring had just begun to show her face, and though the air was nippy, it was a beautiful day to walk. The wonderful aroma of barbeque assailed my senses and I virtually floated into the restaurant and placed my order.

To communicate beyond words. It is spelled love.

Looking back on a week of grief. A week full of sorrow, tears, loss and anger.
A week of grief that began with the air disaster in Ethiopia, when the life of our colleague Rev. Norman Tendis was taken too early. A question that surfaces: Why? Why this air crash, involving leading climate experts on their way to the UN climate meeting in Nairobi? So many dead and missing. So much grief.

Care enough to stop

About three weeks ago on my way to work two teen boys were walking ahead of me to school. But they stopped and made a detour. One pulled out a pack of cigarettes. They both lit up and began smoking. I kept walking and passed them by. As I sat at my desk, I felt convicted that I had behaved like the Priest and Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25 ff).

The Resistance of Biblical women and the leadership of Mrs. Winnie Nomzamo Madikizela Mandela

When I was a young adult I visited the home of Mrs. Winnie Nomzamo Madikizela Mandela. I was blessed to meet her and a few of her family members. I also heard her speak at a program in Soweto. Since this time, I have come to a deeper understanding about her and the spouses of celebrated leaders. Too often their leadership is not only overlooked but not considered.

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.

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.”

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.

Religious groups working for peace and love

Teenagers pose lots of challenges for any parent. Emotional, rebellious, and subject to inevitable pressures, it is undoubtedly difficult to raise children who are transitioning from becoming children to adults. I am in this situation—I have three. As I reflect on their growing into individualized people, I can only hope that, once they embark on their respective paths, they live in a society that is peaceful and accepting.

Struggle for truth, justice, peace and reconciliation

My first contact with Dr. Vinie Burrows happened in 1983 while I worked as a volunteer pastor at Trinity Presbyterian Church in “Hell’s Kitchen” in New York City. At that time she, as a feminist, Human Rights and peace activist, hosted a radio program, More Than Half the World, on Pacifica station WBAI in New York.

Now is the time for queenly leadership!

Sometime between 486 and 465 BCE, the Bible tells us, a disagreement arose between a husband and wife on the way the wife should be presented at a banquet. The disagreement resulted in the wife losing her title of queen. The wife’s name was Queen Vashti, and her husband was King Ahasuerus of Persia. King Ahasuerus decided to find another wife. Esther, a disguised Israelite teenager, was chosen as the new queen.