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Porto Alegre +10: pilgrim’s memories from the 9th Assembly of the WCC Porto Alegre +10: pilgrim’s memories from the 9th Assembly of the WCC
I was standing in the control booth at the back of the auditorium when the moderator of the WCC Central Committee declared the 9th Assembly open, in Porto Alegre, Brazil, on 14 February 2006. My friend Jean-Nicolas Bazin and I were surrounded by light and sound technicians and we had our eyes on the script of the opening plenary, making sure everything was flowing smoothly and according to plan.
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The water we “eat” The water we “eat”
The Ecumenical Water Network (EWN) of the World Council of Churches (WCC) has been observing World Water Day since its inception. It is an important occasion for all those working on water issues, including the WCC, to highlight the global water crisis. Particularly the Lenten campaign of the WCC, the “Seven Weeks for Water”, is an opportunity to galvanise its constituencies to discuss issues around water.
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Yes we can: all eat enough, all eat healthy! Yes we can: all eat enough, all eat healthy!
The right to food is an inalienable human right. Every man, woman and child has the right to eat a healthy, varied and affordable diet. This concerns not just the quantity, but also the quality of food. The benevolent creator has provided abundance of food to all (Psalms 104: 13-15). In the old testament he leads his people to a good land, a land of abundance, a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey (Deuteronomy 8:7–10).
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When farmers go hungry When farmers go hungry
During the night of 3-4 October 2016, Hurricane Matthew tore through the southwest region of Haiti. Powerful winds and torrential rains washed away fields, livestock, and houses. The only bridge linking the region to the rest of the country was destroyed. Suddenly farmers who had been exporting agricultural produce could no longer feed their families.
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The World Council of Churches works for environmental justice The World Council of Churches works for environmental justice
Christians have a long tradition of dominating other peoples and other faith traditions and even some variant Christian groups. From the early church times, Christians have taken seriously the mandate to go to the ends of the earth to convert peoples to Christianity. Christian European immigrants came to North America and were complicit in genocide against the indigenous peoples. Mass killing, displacement, and domination of native peoples are a horrific part of American history from which there remains irreversible damage to the Native American people and their culture.
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Those who hold seeds Those who hold seeds
Women are at the heart of agriculture, yet too often their core function is neither recognised nor supported. That message stood out to me in the annual meeting of the Food for Life strategy group that I attended last November. The issues that affect women came up in all discussions, whichever goal of the Food for Life campaign, run by the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (WCC-EAA), was on the agenda.
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Of unbalanced diets and lopsided systems Of unbalanced diets and lopsided systems
One in eleven adults is diabetic. I happen to be one of those 422 million adults. There has been a dramatic increase in the number of those affected by Diabetes over the last quarter century. This increase points to a disturbing decrease in levels of physical activity of people, excessive weight gain among populations and a dramatic shift in how people access food. In the history of humanity, this reality indicates far-reaching changes in lifestyle, economics, and well-being.
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Connected, yet disconnected: Famine in the midst of plenty Connected, yet disconnected: Famine in the midst of plenty
Never has humanity lived in a more connected, yet disconnected time! Connected by the endless notifications on our smartphones – alerting us to all the latest news and tidings in our social media, yet not connected deeply enough to respond substantially to people's suffering. Among the many tragedies are the human-made famines in South Sudan, Somalia, North-Eastern Nigeria and in Yemen.
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Intercultural community garden “Rainbow Land” Intercultural community garden “Rainbow Land”
In Landskron, where I am a pastor of the Lutheran Church in Austria, we have a dynamic, growing and socially engaged congregation. Our town hosts hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers from various countries. While their papers are being processed, they are not allowed to work. In our interactions with the refugees and asylum seekers, they have expressed their frustration at not being able to use their time fruitfully. Most of them miss working, and the contact with the land.
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Dignified and sustainable work for the common good Dignified and sustainable work for the common good
The environmental crisis and climate change are part of a more general economic, socio-political and spiritual crisis. The topic of work plays a central role in this connection. "The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it,” declares the psalmist (Psalm 24:1). And again "You cause the grass to grow for the cattle, and plants for people to use; to bring forth food from the earth, and wine to gladden the human heart, oil to make the face shine, and bread to strengthen the human heart (...). People go out to their work and to their labour until the evening” (Psalm 104:14f. 23).
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