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Dr Abuom reflects on women of faith as healers of creation

Dr Agnes Abuom, moderator of the World Council of Churches (WCC) central committee, shared a message with the Conference of the World Council of Religious Leaders on Faith and Diplomacy: Generations in Dialogue, being held 4-7 October in Lindau, Germany.

Religions for Peace: Hagia Sophia meant to be shared with all the world

In a 24 July statement on Hagia Sophia, Religions for Peace reiterated its commitment to the universality of heritage as something that can create peace and respect for all faiths. “We call for calm, in times when we see the use of religious sentiments and institutions in a manner that is divisive, thus pitting some believers against one another,” reads the statement. “We stand on the side of peace, and of deliberate, intentional, coexistence, particularly as we hear of the voices, and see the actions, of divisiveness and hatred from many quarters.”

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.

“Women Makers of Human Fraternity” express social friendship, respect

At an event held in Rome on International Women’s Day, 3 March, women gathered for an event, “Women Makers of Human Fraternity,” to express social friendship and mutual respect. The gathering for women of faith, organised by the World Union of Catholic Women's Organisations in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, received the document of two religious leaders, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmad Al-Tayyeb and His Holiness Pope Francis, signed in Abu Dhabi on 4 February 2019: “Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together.”

Peacemakers at work in Sri Lanka

In the wake of the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka, the Omnia Institute for Contextual Leadership, based in Chicago, lifted up points of hope that peace will win in the end. In a 25 April message, Shanta Premawardhana, president of the institute, wrote that every person of every faith of every nation deserves to wake up in peace. “Every child deserves to feel safe, welcomed, and alive to the promise that each day brings,” Premawardhana wrote. “I'm sure you know that this is why we build Interfaith Peacemaker Teams in Sri Lanka.”

Church of the Lord in Nigeria called women to pastoral work from its founding

The primate of The Church of the Lord, Aladura, Worldwide, an African initiated church founded in 1925 talks with pride about how the founder had a calling from God to have women serving with men in pastoral work. Primate Rev. Dr Rufus Okikiolaolu Ositelu, metropolitan archbishop of the church visited Geneva and the WCC on 29-30 January.

Walking together against hatred and violence

When more than 100 religious leaders and other actors from around the world gathered at the UN in Vienna in mid-February, it was a manifestation of unity between religious and non-religious organizations, and a genuine commitment to cooperate in dealing with hate speech and incitement to violence that could lead to atrocity crimes.

Young leaders share passion and courage in diverse traditions

On 18-19 July, 35 young leaders from 14 countries across Asia – part of the World Council of Churches' (WCC) Youth in Asia Training in Religious Amity (YATRA) – travelled to the Indonesian city of Bandung to meet with faith leaders and young activists engaged in interreligious dialogue and work.

Faith community issues call to action: end AIDS by 2030

At an interfaith prayer service on 7 June, people from diverse faith communities issued a call to action to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. The call focuses on reducing stigma and discrimination; increasing access to HIV services; defending human rights; and ensuring testing and treatment for all, including children.

Symposium focuses on religion, violence, extremism

To promote open discussions on the theological and practical discourse, narrative and experiences on implications for the work of the multi-religious organizations on religion, violence and extremism, the WCC, along with the General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church and the General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists held a Symposium on the Role of Religion and Faith-Based Organizations in International Affairs.

Rebuilding a smashed church in Albania

In 1967, the Albanian government, under despotic leader Enver Hoxha, began closing down all religious institutions in the country, declaring Albania the world’s first officially atheist state.