On 17 June, six new master students finished their yearlong studies with the graduation ceremony of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Ecumenical Institute at Château de Bossey.
In a lively online discussion entitled “Breaking Down the Walls,” the Northeast American Diocese of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church explored the racial injustices in our society, how racism plays a role in the Indian American community, and what Orthodox Christians can do. Sunil Kurian, an attorney who resides in Philadelphia (USA) moderated the discussion, saying: “These are troubling times. We as Orthodox Christians must break down the walls of racism that separate us.”
In the field of multilateral relations, the major partner of the Catholic Church is the World Council of Churches (WCC). Founded in 1948, it is the broadest and most inclusive ecumenical organization, bringing together 350 Christian denominations including Orthodox, Lutherans, Reformed, Anglicans, Methodists, Baptists as well as United and Independent churches. Altogether they represent over 500 million Christians worldwide.
Ayoko Bahun-Wilson is regional coordinator for West Africa for the World Council of Churches (WCC) Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiatives and Advocacy programme. She hosted a weekly radio show for churches in Benin called “Zero Rape, Zero Violence.” The show was offered in collaboration by the WCC, Deborah Network, INACES and Hosannah Radio. Below, Bahun-Wilson reflects on how the radio show, offered every Wednesday for three months, has heightened awareness—but there are many challenges that remain.
South Sudan church leaders are among African clerics who are highlighting a painful “hunger pandemic” in their countries, as experts warn of aggravated food insecurity in regions due to coronavirus. Fr James Oyet Latansio, general secretary of the South Sudan Council of Churches, said the disease had devastated families, creating a “triple pandemic” including COVID-19, gender-based violence and severe hunger.
A Joint Ecumenical Peace Message for the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War will be presented at the online event “Ecumenical efforts for peace on the Korean War’s 70th Anniversary,” hosted by the World Council of Churches (WCC) at 13.00 CEST on 22 June.
During a graduation webcast, students from the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Institute Bossey described what it was like to live for ten months or more in an environment like no other. As they receive their post-graduate degrees in ecumenical studies, they look back fondly on their sense of community, professors—and even the food.
When asked on the day of her graduation how she would describe Bossey, former student Quantisha Mason replied, ’Bossey is like a love letter to God.’ Now, the Ecumenical Institute invites prospective students to apply for the study year of 2021-2022.
Rev. Inácio Lemke is president of the National Council of Christian Churches of Brazil (CONIC). He is an ordained pastor of the Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil. This interview is part of a series dedicated to the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca, World Council of Churches (WCC) interim general secretary, expressed both alarm and dismay at the destruction of the joint liaison office in Kaesong - opened in 2018 to facilitate communication and cooperation between the two Koreas - and renewed threats of military action on the Korean Peninsula.
In a statement to the president of the Republic of Indonesia, Papuan religious leaders are urging justice for seven defendants on trial in the Balikpapan - East Kalimantan District Court who held a demonstration because they were rejecting racist treatment. “But the indictments and charges at the trial were very different from the data and facts in the field,” reads the statement. “They are victims of racism but they have been accused of treason.”
Church leaders from across the world are expressing their grave concern over the government of Israel’s plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
In a statement on 16 June, WCC interim general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca reiterated the WCC’s policy position in support of international law, and corrected false media portrayals of activities in Israel and the occupied territories.
The global pandemic has led to major structural increases in public expenditures to support health, incomes and employment. The question of who will ultimately foot the bill will need to be answered. A report launched on 15 June by the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation alerts that the economic burden must not fall disproportionately on disadvantaged groups and countries.
WCC interim general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca sent a video greeting to the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan’s 65th General Assembly.
A Peace Convocation commemorating 70 years since the start of the Korean War will be held on 20 June at the White Horse Memorial in Cholwon, South Korea.
In a campaign called simply “United Methodists Stand Against Racism,” the United Methodist Church is offering an array of worship opportunities, prayer gatherings, practical suggestions and other resources. “We recognize racism as a sin,” reads a statement introducing the campaign. “We commit to challenging unjust systems of power and access.”
As Brazilians face harder times on a daily basis with the increasing impacts of COVID-19 at all levels of society, several church-based organizations launched a campaign on 11 June calling on people to express solidarity with all who have lost family members and friends due to the pandemic and its systemic consequences in a reality marked by inequality, such as hunger, violence, and racism.
As part of a “Coronaspection” project in which world religious leaders share wisdom in times of crisis, Church of Sweden Archbishop Dr Antje Jackelén was featured in a lively conversation with Rabbi Alon Goshen-Gottstein, director of The Elijah Faith Institute. Through Coronaspection, The Elijah Faith Institute is bringing together world religious leaders for their insights on faith during the time of the coronavirus, with a sense of solidarity and interconnectedness of humanity.