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WCC honors world’s indigenous communities

The World Council of Churches (WCC) will join many in honoring indigenous communities across the world on 9 August. Designated by the United Nations as “International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples,” this year the day is particularly honoring indigenous people for seeking unique solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic, and for leading the way in sustainable living in a post-COVID-19 era.

Kiritimati and the Bomb: A Tale of Two Churches

Kiritimati is a tiny atoll at the heart of the Pacific Ocean. It is also known as “Christmas Island,” and forms a part of the nation state of Kiribati – an archipelago that stretches across the Pacific Ocean. Kiritimati has a population of approximately 6,500 people, who live across the villages of Tabwakea, London, Banana, and Poland. If you were to visit now, you would never consider that this small island was once an epicentre of British and American nuclear weapons testing during the Cold War.

I have a dream

Using Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, I crafted the following text to reflect the timelessness of Dr King’s speech, and to share my own personal dream within my context of the Holy Land. I am attempting to honor the original words of Dr King while, at the same time, making it clear that his passion and unflagging determination are still badly needed today. May the spirit of our dreams find unity in pursuing peace and justice for all human beings.

“There are no spare parts for whales”

It is midnight and the sun just about hides for a little while beneath the horizon. The calm sea is scattered with icebergs in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Some are like five-story buildings, with vertical sharp-edged walls rising high above the surface. Others are more like snow-capped hilltops, slowly ploughing through the blank water.

Ideas and advocacy of Brigalia Bam still vibrant today

Most South Africans know of Brigalia Bam as chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), where she served from 1999 to 2011. Previously secretary general of the South African Council of Churches, and already an IEC commissioner, she was chosen by then-President Nelson Mandela from the list of parliamentary nominees for this critical role. In a country that had recently been on the brink of racial civil war, she guided South Africans with humour, tolerance and impartiality along the path of inclusive democracy.

Holy Land tourism goes beyond traditional paths

For decades, the tourist industry in the Holy Land has been dominated by Israeli tour operators who rely mostly on Israeli hotel owners and land arrangement providers. Visiting Palestinian territories is seldom prioritized and excursions rarely take Palestinian perspectives into account. Most visitors are thus not provided opportunities to familiarize themselves with everyday life of the Palestinian people.

The five stages of grief in Palestine and Israel

When it comes to the stance of churches towards the so-called conflict between Israel and Palestine, it is useful to understand it as a process of grief. The theory of the five stages of grief from Elisabeth Kübler-Ross is a creative way to describe the “dying” and “mourning” process of the churches and international community. The creation of the state of Israel in 1948 was seen by the Western world as a sign of justice for the suffering Jewish people after the Holocaust and centuries of persecution of Jews in Europe. Two elements played a major role in this initial excitement: the historical guilt of Europeans and the fulfilment of biblical prophecies related with the reestablishment of Israel.

Tourism Watch calls for fair and sustainable tourism

As the northern hemisphere slows down into its annual summer holiday mode, the German Tourism Watch says that tourism has failed many poor countries. "Tourism has not fulfilled its promise to bring poor countries more development and prosperity," Antje Monshausen, the tourism expert of the globally-active development organisation of the German Protestant churches, Brot für die Welt (Bread for the World) has said. "The equation: more tourism = more development has not borne fruit.”

Hagia Sophia: reciprocal respect and the politics of religion

During this year’s Muslim festival of Ramadan, the Turkish ministry of religious affairs has permitted the call to prayer by a muezzin and the reciting of the Quran, the holy book of Islam, within the historically Christian site of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.

Prague ceremony marks the close of Jan Hus anniversary year

Czech Television devoted 90 minutes of programming on the afternoon of 6 July 2016 to a liturgical commemoration of national and religious leaders, chief among them the reformers Jan Hus and Jerome of Prague who were executed in 1415 as heretics and are celebrated today as martyrs and champions of faith, intellect and liberty.

European Reformation Roadmap launch

03 - 04 November 2016

The year 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. A chain of commemorative events, starting in Geneva, will connect cities in the Netherlands, Italy, Hungary, Switzerland, Slovenia, Ireland and Germany. Each stop-over will last 36 hours: regional and ecumenical partners will invite people to a festive occasion with numerous activities, in order to discover local traces of Reformation history.

Geneva, Switzerland

Call on Holy Land pilgrims to work for peace

Christian pilgrims visiting the Holy Land need to go beyond a mere homage to ancient sites and instead show concern for the Palestinian people living there, whose lives are severely constricted by the Israeli occupation of their land.Â