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A hopeful, but not optimistic Palestinian ecumenist

With olive harvest season coming to an end, life under occupation returns to “normal” for Palestinian communities on the West Bank. Under that “normal,” which means forced displacements and constant fear of threats and harassments, now also looms a threatening Israeli annexation of large chunks of fertile land owned by Palestinian farmers – a move which would “undermine peace and justice and be in direct violation of international law,” according to a joint ecumenical statement by the WCC and other ecumenical organizations earlier this year.  

Olive harvest initiative reaffirms commitment to justice and peace in the Holy Land

Olive trees know neither religious nor territorial boundaries and bear fruit even under occupation. With the annual olive harvest season commencing, the WCC launches a global initiative this week, highlighting the spiritual, economic and cultural importance of the olive harvest for Palestinian communities, and witnessing to the impact of the occupation.

Hope prevails in times of crisis in Lebanon

The fatal blast in Beirut last month became yet another blow to an already plagued country. In recent months, a financial crisis with a free-falling currency and rising unemployment has further undermined the Lebanese economy. Add to that one million Syrian refugees and the COVID-19 pandemic, and the contours of a fragile nation facing monumental challenges emerge.

Metropolitan Vasilios reflects on peace process in Cyprus

It has been 46 years since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus led to the partitioning of the island, the northern third inhabited by Turkish Cypriots and the southern two-thirds by Greek Cypriots, whose government is internationally recognized. The August 1974 ceasefire line became a United Nations buffer zone, along which Cyprus remains divided.

Christian communicators create fund to support lifesaving community media

The World Association for Christian Communication is creating a rapid response fund to help support grassroots community media outlets that provide accurate, trusted coronavirus-related information to vulnerable people who often cannot access mainstream media. Individuals and organisations are encouraged to contribute to the fund.

Father Jacques Mourad, priest held hostage by Islamic State, reflects on what he learned

Father Jacques Mourad is a monk and priest of the community of Mar Moussa in Syria. He is very active in Islamic-Christian dialogue and belongs to the diocese of Homs of the Syriac Catholic Church. In 2015, he was captured and held hostage by the Islamic State, before escaping with the help of Muslims. During Advent, Father Mourad visited the Ecumenical Centre, where he led a special midday prayer for peace in Syria and the Middle East.

WCC leader reflects on antisemitism, definitions and future cooperation

The World Council of Churches (WCC) and the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC) met formally on 25-27 June in Paris, under the theme “The normalization of hatred: challenges for Jews and Christians today”. This meeting took place at a time of significant challenges in public and religious life for many communities around the world. At the meeting Peter Prove, director of the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, presented the WCC policies on antisemitism and the WCC’s work for human rights for all. The WCC News met with him after the meeting.

With continuous presence and just peace at heart

“Lead us from despair to hope, from fear to love, and may peace be in our hearts,” said Rev. Gabrielle Zander from the Augusta Victoria Church in an opening word of prayer, as participants in the WCC-EAPPI gathered in Saint Anne’s Basilica in Jerusalem in mid-April.

‘Not a page in a book’ – accompaniers hear Palestinians’ testimonies from Ma’alul village

Ma’alul, a Palestinian village destroyed in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, saw a visit by ecumenical accompaniers in mid-March. “I would have liked to invite you to a real home, not just as a refugee,” said Jad Saba Yusef Salem as he received the group of accompaniers to the village. Today, 95-year-old Salem is one of few remaining survivors from the 75 families who used to live in the village back in 1948.