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News from the World Council of Churches
20 - 26 November 2020

In an ongoing call to churches across the globe to work together to prevent gender-based violence, particularly against women, children and young people, World Council of Churches moderator Dr Agnes Abuom reflects below on some of the reasons such violence has increased, and the vital role churches can play in creating safe spaces for those most at risk.

What does it mean to plant an olive tree? For people in the Holy Land, and in many other regions, this act of love bears deep cultural, spiritual, and economic meaning. In 2019, UNESCO established 26 November as World Olive Tree Day.

During an online gathering, religious leaders called for greater awareness around toilets and the plight of 4.2 billion people living without access to safely managed sanitation.

The fruits of an intergenerational, international dialogue have been published as a "Statement on Faith in Action for Children: Taking Action Together for Children in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond.”

In the continuation of a webinar series organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC), a two-part online discussion was held on 25 November, during which those involved in bilateral and multilateral dialogue shared their processes, methodologies, results, and reception.

A 24 November webinar unveiled and then unpacked many aspects of “Converting Discipleship: Dissidence and Metanoia,” a study paper produced by the World Council of Churches (WCC) Commission for World Mission and Evangelism.

Amid a surge in so-called misleading theologies in Africa, the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) has launched a book to help member churches respond to false teachings, practices and doctrines.

A book by Ken RossMission Rediscovered: Transforming Disciples, will be released during a webinar on 2 December 2020. A commentary on the Arusha Call to Discipleship, the publication unpacks the meaning of the 12-part summons of the Arusha Call. With an up-to-date theological and missiological view on the Arusha Call, the book also offers a personal reflection on the state of a world desperately in need of change and transformation.

The World Council of Churches is standing behind a call for action on climate justice issued by global youth religious organizations. The appeal—initiated by the World Student Christian Federation in Europe, Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe Network, the Lutheran World Federation, the European Christian Environmental Network, and Junge Buddhisthe Union—is drawing other organizations in solidarity to come together for climate justice.

It is easy to feel despair of the unjust situation for the Palestinians, who are experiencing daily humiliation, annexation of land, growing settlements, land grabbing and poverty. This year Palestine has been illegally occupied for 53 years. But there are also many people in Palestine cultivating hope, faith and love for transforming the situation.
 

Tower of the Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in Shushi, Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh.

In a 23 November letter to Audrey Azoulay, director-general of UNESCO, World Council of Churches (WCC) interim general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca urged the protection of religious and cultural monuments the Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh region.

Thursdays in Black ambassadors have created a joint message, unifying their voices in support of “16 Days against Gender-Based Violence.”

The brutal killing of Joao Alberto Silveira Freitas, 40, a black man, at the hands of two white security guards outside a supermarket in Porto Alegre, Brazil, on 19 November, the eve of National Black Consciousness Day, has sparked outrage across the country. World Council of Churches (WCC) member churches raised their voices to condemn the killing and to express deep concern regarding systemic racial injustice in Brazil.

Illegal occupation of Palestinian lands has been ongoing for 53 years, imposing deep injustices on the daily life of local communities. In Nablus, in the northern West Bank, many Palestinians know what it can be like to live with settlements close by, not least in the villages around the city, where Palestinian landowners regularly face settler abuse. Yet there are many in the area who persist, in working hard on a daily basis to foster peace and justice. Below, Rev. Jamil Khadir reflects on what this means for him as a local pastor in Nablus.

With the “16 Days Against Gender-Based Violence” international campaign beginning on 25 November, the World Council of Churches (WCC) is encouraging member churches and all people of good will to reflect—and act—on the link between the household of God, and the urgent need to make our homes safe and loving spaces.

A webinar hosted by the World Council of Churches (WCC) on 26 November will explore “Conflict Zones and Covid-19: A call to compassion.” Speakers from Cameroon, Nigeria, South Sudan, Lebanon, Belarus and Colombia will offer their insights on how conflict exacerbates the conditions for contracting and treating COVID-19 among civilians caught in the crossfire, especially women.

In a letter of condolence to the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church, World Council of Churches interim general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca expressed sadness at the passing of His Holiness Patriarch Irinej, head of Orthodox Church of Serbia.

Church leaders in Africa are continuing to call for a peaceful settlement of the armed conflict in northern Ethiopia, as agencies warn of a humanitarian crisis in the region.

World Council of Churches (WCC) interim general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca expressed solidarity with the Methodist Church of Peru, and all the Peruvian people faced with unprecedented challenges resulting from political crisis, violent upheaval, and corruption in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During an intergenerational, international dialogue on 19 November, World Council of Churches deputy general secretary Prof. Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri spoke on poverty in the context of COVID-19, and how it relates to sustainability, climate change and the use of natural resources.
 

In a lively video exchange, Elizabeth Wathuti, founder of Green Generation Initiative and head of campaigns at Wangari Maathai Foundation in Kenya, asks World Council of Churches interim general secretary Rev. Prof Dr Ioan Sauca a key question: “What is your message to children and young people?”

Celebrating International Children's Day, the World Council of Churches (WCC) has released a research paper "Cooler Earth - Higher Benefits: Actions by those who care about children, climate and finance.” The publication gives suggestions of how churches and other organizations around the world can respond to the climate emergency through investment decisions which are crucial to protect children from global warming.

Prayer Cycle



This week we pray for:

Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore

22 - 28 November 2020
 


Next week we pray for:

Myanmar, Thailand

29 November - 05 December 2020

 

New videos

WCC interim general secretary to children: “The future is yours. Be bold"
Thursdays in Black Ambassadors: Joint Statement on 16 Days Against Gender-Based Violence
Webinar-“Converting Discipleship: Dissidence and Metanoia” study paper
Ecumenical Bilateral Dialogues Yesterday and Today: session 2

 



New photos


 Thursdays in Black poster      
Porto Alegre: Vidas Negras Importam protests
 
 

New resources


Thursdays in Black poster     
Ecumenical Global Health COVID-19 Response Framework


Thursdays in Black poster     
Prayers and resources for coping with Coronavirus


 
 

New on Facebook


learning session
Pray with the #WCC



Gertrude Fefoame
#StaySafeTogether #PrayTogether



Gertrude Fefoame
16 Days against Gender-Based Violence


 

 

News in other languages

 
Brazil black lives matter

Igrejas brasileiras clamam por justiça racial transformadora

A morte brutal de João Alberto Silveira Freitas, negro , de 40 anos de idade, pela ação de dois agentes de segurança brancos do lado de fora de um supermercado em Porto Alegre, Brasil, no dia 19 de novembro, véspera do Dia da Consciência Negra, despertou revolta em todo país. As igrejas membros do Conselho Mundial de Igrejas condenaram a morte de João Alberto e expressaram profunda preocupação com a insjutiça racial sistêmica no Brasil.

Upcoming events

 

With the annual olive harvest season commencing, the World Council of Churches launches a global initiative to highlight the spiritual, economic and cultural importance of the olive harvest for Palestinian communities, and witnessing to the impact of the occupation.

In five episodes held on the third Thursday of each month beginning in November, the webinars will explore the following themes: “Answering the Ancestral Call of Legacy and Leadership,” “The Healing in Our Lament,” “Hope: Unity Within Diversity,” “The Celebration in Transformation,” and “Resurrection: The Diakonia at Work in the World Today.”
 

The 16 Days Against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that begins on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and ends on 10 December, Human Rights Day. This year, the World Council of Churches is highlighting the links between the household of God, and the fundamental need to make our homes safe and loving spaces.


 

A book by Ken RossMission Rediscovered: Transforming Disciples, will be released during a webinar on 2 December 2020.

The WCC is hosting a webinar on Uprooting Identities or Planting Just Peace? on 2 December at 16.00 CET.

Preparing the Week of Prayer 2021, the Community of Grandchamp in Switzerland chose the theme “Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit” (cf. Jn 15:5-9). It expresses their community’s vocation to prayer, reconciliation and unity in the church and the human family.

The fourth edition of the  World Council of Churches (WCC) Eco-School on Water, Food and Climate Justice will be held 23-27 November 2020 in the Pacific region in five countries (Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, Tuvalu &  Solomon Islands), hosted by the Pacific Conference of Churches.

 

Preparing the Week of Prayer 2021, the Community of Grandchamp in Switzerland chose the theme “Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit” (cf. Jn 15:5-9). It expresses their community’s vocation to prayer, reconciliation and unity in the church and the human family.

Students in conversation outside the chapel of the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey. Photo: Peter Kenny/WCC

From 2-5 June 2021, the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Institute at Bossey hosts an international conference on ‘Teaching Ecumenism in the Context of World Christianity’.

Photo: Albin Hillert/WCC

The Central Committee serves as the chief governing body of the WCC until the next assembly, meeting every 2 years. It is responsible for carrying out the policies adopted by the Assembly, reviewing and supervising WCC programmes and the budget of the Council.

Applications for the Interreligious Summer School of the WCC's Ecumenical Institute Bossey are open until 30 November 2020.

 

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The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 350 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 550 million Christians in over 120 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The WCC interim general secretary is Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca, from the Orthodox Church in Romania.

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