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In wake of earthquake, WCC offers solidarity and prayers for Turkey, Greece

Upon news that a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck in the Aegean Sea off the coasts of Turkey and Greece on 30 October, World Council of Churches interim general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca called for prayers, and expressed solidarity with churches and responders who continue to help hundreds of injured and traumatized people.

WCC invites all member churches to observe a day of prayer

WCC acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca invites all member churches to observe a global prayer day on 14 May. The joint initiative with the members of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity, of which the WCC is part, is calling for “prayer and supplication” to God for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Greenland’s grand Gospel preacher

Although she loves what she is doing, there are times when bishop Sofie Petersen feels a strong desire to be someplace else than inside her cosy diocesan office in Nuuk, Greenland. Preferably outdoors, inhaling crisp, arctic air in a stunningly beautiful landscape where mighty polar bears roam and huge whales gently plough their way through the ice-scattered waters along the coastline.

A deeply rooted teacher and preacher

It is a bright and crisp Sunday morning in mid-May in Ilulissat on Greenland’s west coast, more than 300 kilometres north of the Arctic circle. As usual, the sea is scattered with glittering icebergs in different shapes and sizes. This morning, like most mornings this time of the year, new formations of frozen water, calved from the Greenland icecap at the bottom of Ilulissat Icefjord, have made their way out into the Disko Bay and shaped up right in front of Zion Church, one of Church of Greenland’s two churches in use in Ilulissat. Built in 1779, this dark-brown wooden jewel is the oldest church in the country and a natural meeting place for locals.

Erhard Hermansen: “The church in South Sudan needs our prayers"

Erhard Hermansen is general secretary of the Christian Council of Norway, which has been collaborating closely with churches in Sudan and South Sudan for nearly 30 years. Hermansen attended the South Sudan Council of Churches 2019 Assembly in late August, and shares his reflections and hopes below.

Ecumenical young trailblazers

Young people are trailblazers, pioneers, visionaries and leaders who have the potential to create a positive, sustainable legacy for future generations on a global scale.
On 12 August, International Youth Day, youth led a TED-style talk and discussion in Geneva, with five young speakers from different parts of the world, four virtually and one live. The stories and experiences shared connected them to theme “Transforming Education,” while inspiring the audience for a call to action.

A humble servant in God’s herd

When he was asked last year to take over as vicar in the parish of Ilulissat, on Greenland’s west coast, Loqqi Fleischer was a bit anxious about how the transition from his smaller hometown Uummannaq, further north along the coastline, would work out. Nevertheless, he took on the challenge and was warmly welcomed right away in the new environment.

A worried but hopeful man

People still often refer to him as “the cop”, when he walks down the streets. Working as a police officer for 14 years has made John Johansen, a familiar face in his hometown Nuuk, Greenland’s capital. Ordained in 2015, he was promoted last year to lead the deanery of mid Greenland, one of three deaneries within the diocese of Greenland, and its largest in terms of population and church members.

Dealing with traumas and healing of wounds

It is confirmation season in Greenland. In churches across the country, bench rows are decorated with flowers and candles along the aisle. Joy is in the air and it is time for a vast majority of 14-year-olds to have their Christian baptism confirmed.

WCC offers condolences in wake of Great Britain attack

As Great Britain continued to cope with grief and trauma in the wake of the country’s deadliest terror attack in 12 years, WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit offered sympathy for those who lost loved ones from both Great Britain and other countries.

Study shows religious and ethnic diversity vital for peace in Iraq and Syria

Analyzing efforts to protect religious communities and groups and build peace in Syria and Iraq, the WCC and Norwegian Church Aid presented a joint study on protection needs of religious and ethnic minorities in Syria and Iraq. The findings were announced on 12 December to the media and public at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Solidarity overcomes sorrow: Indigenous Peoples gather in Trondheim

Journeying from urban centres and small Pacific islands, mountain ranges and rural towns, more than 170 Indigenous people gathered this week at the mouth of the river that flows from traditional Sami lands. Their conference, “Reconciliation Processes and Indigenous Peoples: Truth, Healing and Transformation,” brought together representatives of more than two dozen Indigenous societies in connection with the WCC Central Committee meetings in Trondheim, Norway.

United Bible Societies: A world fellowship serving the churches

Bible Societies are working in more than 200 countries and territories around the world to make known the Word of God. At the heart of the work – from the translation of Holy Scripture to publishing, distribution and advocacy, and engagement activities – is the principle of collaborating with and serving the churches.

Archbishop of Canterbury reflects on the “pilgrimage of justice and peace”

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby generously granted an interview on the subject of “the pilgrimage of justice and peace” last week in São Paulo, Brazil. His visit to Brazil was part of a personal journey that has taken Welby to 31 Anglican provinces around the world since his enthronement as archbishop in 2013.

Christian responses on health and healing

Churches must commit themselves to create “healing and reconciling ministry that puts people at the centre and allow for a wholistic approach in health care”, states a declaration issued during an international symposium on “Christian Responses to Global Health and Development” in Tübingen, Germany.