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For birth or death: the destiny of Bethlehem For birth or death: the destiny of Bethlehem
I sometimes ask people if they know which is the first point in the Bible that Bethlehem gets a mention. And that normally offers them quite a challenge. People certainly move back from the New Testament into the Old – and come up with responses like, ‘the story of David’, or ‘the Book of Ruth’. Good thinking. But actually the first mention of Bethlehem in our Bibles (as they are now set out) occurs much earlier still.
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Power in this Nobel Peace Prize: truth told, truth heard Power in this Nobel Peace Prize: truth told, truth heard
A Nobel Peace Prize ceremony’s greatest power may be that it enables unrealized truth to be told in a new light. The truth at issue has surely been spoken before, from shattered neighborhoods to the heights of power. Yet this Nobel award to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons enabled such truth to be spoken to an attentive mixed audience representing the street as well as the summit: Civil society campaigners, the diplomatic corps, nuclear-armed and nuclear-free; religious leaders; Norwegian society, a royal family in the front row; a worldwide audience.
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A witness for peace with ICAN Nobel Prize A witness for peace with ICAN Nobel Prize
First event in the Nobel Peace Prize weekend? A seminar at the Norwegian Red Cross on what a nuclear weapon could do to Oslo. The dark winter clouds hanging over the city are a backdrop for careful assessments of nuclear disasters and the inadequacy of a feasible response. But partners and supporters of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), this year’s Nobel Peace Prize laureate, fill the room. A sense of excitement and shared resolve is evident. The same is true among ICAN partners arriving in Oslo and the wide civil society network including churches gathering on-line around the world to celebrate the collaboration and commitment that led to the Nobel Prize.
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Vatican conference and ecumenical echoes on nuclear arms and human development Vatican conference and ecumenical echoes on nuclear arms and human development
A ground-breaking pontifical critique of nuclear weapons affirms the new treaty to ban nuclear weapons. By linking possession and use, Pope Francis is offering a new standard for Catholic debate over nuclear weapons. By offering it now, the pope is making a moral affirmation of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons adopted at the United Nations in July. The new treaty--which bans the possession, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons--is cited in this year’s Nobel Peace Prize award to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). The World Council of Churches is a member of ICAN and shares the same moral and spiritual critique of nuclear armaments.
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Impressions from Iraq Impressions from Iraq
Returning from another visit to Iraq alongside Carla Khijoyan, the World Council of Churches' Middle East programme executive, and Fr Emanuel Youkhana of the Christian Aid Programme Northern Iraq (CAPNI), many images fill my mind: images of destruction, and of life hesitantly picking up again. Many uncertainties remain, prompting us to bend our heads and raise our prayers to the Lord.
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Hungry for food, hungry for justice, hungry for peace Hungry for food, hungry for justice, hungry for peace
October 16 is the World Food Day, and from October 15 to October 21, we celebrate the Churches' Week of Action on Food. So it is an appropriate time to reflect on the scandal and the shame that each night, one person in nine of all humanity goes to sleep hungry. 38 million more people than the previous year are hungry, bringing the number up to 815 million, reversing the 10-year trend of gradual reduction in hunger.
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Radical love for the stranger and banning the bomb Radical love for the stranger and banning the bomb
I don’t think that the news that the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) won the Nobel Peace Prize has fully felt like a reality for any of us who have been involved with this work over the years. Since the prize announcement on Friday, we have had the opportunity to raise our message in an unprecedented way but it is still that message at the heart of what we are doing – that nuclear weapons are immoral, unethical, dangerous and now, illegal.
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Set a new course towards peace and away from nuclear threats Set a new course towards peace and away from nuclear threats
Only a handful of “Hibakusha” – the victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs – remain with us in 2017. These men and women represent a living link, eye witnesses, to the otherwise unimaginable capacities of the most deadly weapon of mass destruction ever used.
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Faith on public trial Faith on public trial
Last weekend, as I watched the terrible scenes from Charlottesville, Va., my heart was deeply troubled, often full of anger, and distraught at what I was seeing. Sunday morning our choir performed Brandon Boyd’s arrangement of “Jacob’s Ladder.” We were privileged to have Brandon Boyd, a young, gifted African-American composer, with us accompanying the choir. His version includes a moving solo with the words, “Is there anybody here who loves my Jesus?” I reflected that those words are what many African Americans were asking in Charlottesville—words their ancestors had sung since they arrived in slave ships.
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Celebrating Sea Sunday - justice and peace for seafarers Celebrating Sea Sunday - justice and peace for seafarers
Sea Sunday is celebrated by churches all over the world. Many churches will celebrate it on the 9th of July but many more will celebrate it at different times during the year. Sea Sunday is the one day of the year when churches honour and pray for seafarers. It is a day of celebration and praise but also a day to reflect and be grateful for the work seafarers do.
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