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As Kerala celebrates “comebacks” in face of disaster, churches across the world reach out

Even though flood survivors are displaced in some 2,000 relief camps across Kerala in south India, many of them observed the indigenous Malayali festival of Onam on 25 August in whatever way they could. The traditional festival, for thousands, carried an even more poignant meaning because the holiday celebrates the return of joy to the land: the story of the return of King Mahabali, considered to be a very kind and generous ruler, during a “golden period” in Kerala.

When you have nothing, you give your heart

If the human spirit and likeness of God's will for peace with justice for all people is alive in the world, the pilgrim team that visited South Sudan this week has witnessed it. From 5-9 May, a World Council of Churches “Pilgrim Team” visited South Sudan under the theme “African Women of Faith and Gender Justice.” The delegation was hosted by the South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC).

Luke 24:13-35 "The Walk to Emmaus", by Susan Durber (Pilgrimage Bible study)

There are all sorts of pilgrimages for which one plans and prepares, looks forward to and anticipates with excitement. This story in Luke 24:13-35 is nothing like that. This is a story about a walk that comes from grief and trauma, from profound disappointment and sorrow. It is a story that starts with the slow steps of the depressed and cast down. But it ends with the excited running of the redeemed, and the joy of finding life transformed.

WCC Programmes

WCC pilgrims visit the wounds of Colombia

Expressing solidarity with the people of Colombia and searching for clearer understanding of the country’s complex humanitarian situation, some participants of the annual meeting of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Reference Group of the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace (PJPRG) visited the regions of Valledupar, Barranquilla, Cartagena, Chocó, Cali and Cauca on 3-5 February.

Rebecca Dali: My faith in God motivates me every second

During World Humanitarian Day on 21 August, Dr Rebecca Samuel Dali received the 2017 Humanitarian Award from the Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation at the United Nations office in Geneva in recognition of her courageous efforts in reintegration of women abducted by the Boko Haram into their local communities in the northern Nigeria. In her visit to the Ecumenical Centre, Dali shares the source of her courage and commitment to help the most vulnerable.

Geneva event focuses on ending violence against children

Participating in a new World Vision campaign called “It takes a World to End Violence against Children,” World Council of Churches (WCC) deputy general secretary Prof. Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri spoke at a Geneva-based event on 13 June, reflecting that churches and organizations working together can prevent and address “a tragic reality.”

Carrying the cross without fear

The brutal attacks on two churches in Alexandria and Tanta on Palm Sunday with more than 40 victims are not the first attacks on Christians in Egypt. In January, the so-called Islamic State declared threat on Coptic Christians and killed eight. In December 2016, a blast at the Cathedral in Cairo killed 30 people.

Amid conflict and looming famine in South Sudan, the church offers hope

For the general overseer of the South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC) there is trauma and hopelessness in his country, and the only institution that can offer hope at the moment is the church. “We are experiencing levels of violence we have never seen before,” says the bishop. “I talk as a church person, as a person who is involved in the situation every day, listening and hearing from both sides and the ordinary person in the street,” says quiet-spoken Dau, whose words carry a poignant power.

Holy work for the Holy Land

The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel was launched by the WCC in 2002 based on an appeal from local church leaders to create an international presence in the country. So far, more than 1,800 ecumenical accompaniers have worked to create conditions for a just peace.