In historic Nidaros Cathedral, the ancient shrine and pilgrimage destination of medieval Trondheim, the Church of Norway on Sunday, 10 May 2020, consecrated the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit as bishop of the Diocese of Nidaros and installed him as Preses or presiding bishop of its Bishops’ Conference.
In a video message, Patriarch Daniel of Romania addresses the faithful, reflecting that “the state of pandemic calls us to transform suffering into hope and isolation into a desire for more communion among people.” Due to the pandemic, state authorities have imposed strict measures of social distancing, of isolation and quarantine, which greatly change people’s lives and activities, the Patriarch observed .
Using lessons learned from building health-competent faith communities and responding to the HIV and AIDS epidemic, African church leaders are doing their best to help their communities cope with the novel coronavirus.
As the UN secretary-general António Guterres shared a message on 12 May with religious leaders about how our shared vulnerability to the coronavirus pandemic reveals our common humanity, World Council of Churches (WCC) leaders agreed that solidarity is a foundation of a meaningful global response.
The WCC Executive Committee will meet online on 1-3 June, while the WCC Central Committee meeting has been postponed until June 2021.
The South Sudan Council of Churches, in a pastoral message on 13 May, acknowledged that COVID-19 is a reality in South Sudan, and urged every citizen to make a personal commitment to fight it. “Our people must for sure understand that basic preventive measures by individuals and communities remain the most powerful tools to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” reads the message. “Therefore, unless each and every person works hard enough to quickly control the spread of this virus, it is likely to overwhelm us.”
The Migrant Network of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Denmark has started a series of webinars about church, migration and integration. The perspective is how to grow an international church in Denmark, and the discussion also centers on the global Christian fellowship.
As the world lurches through the coronavirus pandemic and its wide-ranging consequences, the World Council of Churches (WCC) will publish sets of resources for individuals, groups and faith communities to grapple spiritually with the new reality and come to terms with its meaning for their lives.
Dr Jurjen Zeilstra is a historian and theologian. His biography “Visser 't Hooft, 1900-1985 Living for the Unity of the Church” served as a dissertation in the humanities at the Amsterdam Free University in order to receive the degree of Ph.D. in 2018. Willem Visser 't Hooft led the World Council of Churches (WCC) during its formative stages. Below, Dr Zeilstra reflects on what it was like to study the life of Visser 't Hooft.
Technology is transforming the world, and the latest issue of The Ecumenical Review, the quarterly journal of the World Council of Churches (WCC), offers theological and ethical perspectives on the digital age.
The World Council of Churches expressed deep shock and sadness over the attack on a hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, which left at least 15 people - including two newborn babies - dead and many more injured. In a separate incident in the province of Nangarhar, a suicide bombing claimed the lives of at least 25 people and injured about 68 others, most of whom were participating in a funeral for a local police commander.
In a 5 May message entitled “The Story of our Pacific Household in the ‘New Normal,’ ” the Pacific Conference of Churches acknowledges those risking their lives to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and expressed condolences to those who have lost loved ones.
In a message on Pentecost, entitled “Waves of despair, tongues of fire,” the regional presidents of the World Council of Churches reflect on the mighty presence of God.
The Lutheran World Federation and Islamic Relief Worldwide issued on 11 May a call on all parties to lay down arms, institute an immediate ceasefire, and ensure humanitarian access in order to protect people from COVID-19.
Leaders of member churches in the South African Council of Churches wrote a pastoral letter to the people of South Africa, offering comfort and addressing the question of what will be the normal. “We write to say, God is with us even in these times of perplexing national pain,” reads the letter. “We applaud the scientific community, both here and at the World Health Organisation for the work they do in the face of a virus that is totally new to humanity; and we call on the nations of the world to support the WHO for the sake of all human society.”
A series of online Working Together meetings last week helped strengthen collaboration between the World Council of Churches (WCC) and its round table partner and specialized ministries, including ACT Alliance. The meetings, which normally takes place every May at the Bossey Ecumenical Institute was convened online by WCC acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca.
In a joint letter to foreign ministers that are part of the European Union, the WCC and Middle East Council of Churches appealed for a firm and principled stance by the European Union against any annexation by Israel of occupied Palestinian territory in the West Bank.
A virtual event on “The Contribution of Buddhism to Peace” was organised to mark the International Vesak Day at the United Nations on 7 May. The event was organised by the International Buddhist Foundation in Geneva (IBF), an interreligious partner of the World Council of Churches (WCC), under the leadership of its president Ven. Halyale Wimalaratne, in collaboration with the permanent missions of Sri Lanka and Thailand. Inaugurated by H.E.Tatiana Valovaya, Director General of the UN Office in Geneva (UNOG), the event drew Permanent Representatives and Deputy Permanent Representatives of more than 40 countries.
Rabbi Mark Dratch is the executive vice president of the Rabbinical Council of America. Below, he reflects on what has inspired him amid the pain of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as how we can work together to create a redeemed world.
In a message about the current security situation in Sierra Leone, representatives of the Christian community urged the political chaos be addressed immediately, even as the nation tries to stop the spread of COVID-19.
In a 7 May statement, Patriarchs and heads of churches in Jerusalem expressed their deep concern about Israeli unilateral annexation plans.
The National Council of Churches (USA) has joined with other humanitarian and human rights organizations in writing the US Congress to urge that obstacles keeping nongovernmental organizations from addressing the “devastating potential for COVID-19’s spread” within the nation of North Korea be removed.