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by admin last modified 27 March 2015 05:00 PM

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.

Solidarity with peaceful eco-resistance movements

“We are part of a struggle in defense of water, life, and mother earth,” people from the Peaceful Resistance Movement of La Puya told us. La Puya is a campsite at the entrance of the El Tambor gold mine in Guatemala, built by some local people five years ago after Kappes, Cassiday and Associates (KCA) – a U.S. based company, tried to bring in equipment to start mining.

As Reformation jubilee ends, it's time for a reformation of the economy!

Looking back on a year of Reformation commemorations, many churches ask themselves, what has changed, or what will change after this outstanding 500 years jubilee. We look back on an enormous engagement, from congregations to the worldwide level, to organize events and celebrations. The Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation pointed out clearly: “Salvation, human beings and creation are not for sale.” The three protestant churches of Austria – Lutheran, Reformed and Methodist - celebrated the 500-years Reformation Jubilee together with thousands of participants and proclaimed “Justice, Peace and Integrity of creation” as their main topics. No question: we are talking about the economy!

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.

Diwali – the festival of lights

“Religion,” the American theologian Paul Tillich once said, “is the substance of culture and culture the form of religion.” This is particularly true of Hinduism, with the result that a religious dimension can be discerned in almost all of the festivals that originate in India. Diwali, the festival of lights, the most popular and widely celebrated Hindu festival, is no exception.

Who feeds the cities?

With mega cities "mushrooming" all over the world, one must wonder how they can be supplied with enough, and healthy, food. Ideas range from an increased rural production to urban gardening and technically complex solutions like vertical indoor gardens. As Christians, we are called to side with people who live in poverty and who are marginalized. For me and my colleagues at Bread for the World, it is important to ask: What does all this mean for the rural population and for small scale farmers?

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.

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.

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.

A church that cares for its youth in the midst of HIV and AIDS

The old chapel of the United Evangelical Church "Anglican Community in Angola" in the neighborhood of Golf 1 in Luanda turned out to be quite small for the large number of students from the church's district school. 200 of them had come to attend a workshop on "HIV and AIDS amongst Adolescents and Youth: The Church´s Responsibility" on 2 August, organized by the World Council of Churches' Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiatives and Advocacy (WCC-EHAIA) team.

Moments of rest on the pilgrimage

When recalling the 2013 WCC General Assembly in Busan, South Korea, one of the things than often comes to my mind is Madang. In Korean culture, the Madang is a space in the traditional Korean household, where the members of a larger family meet not only to discuss serious issues, but also to spend time together, to rest, to laugh, and simply to enjoy each other’s company.

The five stages of grief in Palestine and Israel

When it comes to the stance of churches towards the so-called conflict between Israel and Palestine, it is useful to understand it as a process of grief. The theory of the five stages of grief from Elisabeth Kübler-Ross is a creative way to describe the “dying” and “mourning” process of the churches and international community. The creation of the state of Israel in 1948 was seen by the Western world as a sign of justice for the suffering Jewish people after the Holocaust and centuries of persecution of Jews in Europe. Two elements played a major role in this initial excitement: the historical guilt of Europeans and the fulfilment of biblical prophecies related with the reestablishment of Israel.

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.

Theological reflections on the way of just peace

What are the prospects for theology in peacebuilding? A couple of years ago this question became the springboard for my research on a textual process that was carried out by the World Council of Churches. The process towards an international ecumenical declaration on just peace resulted in An Ecumenical Call to Just Peace and the study document Just Peace Companion being published in 2011. Eventually, it formed part of the groundwork of the current Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace. My research on this process drew my attention to a couple of themes that inspire theological conversation around the very idea of a pilgrimage: the way, the movement, the process, and the fellow traveller.

Prophetic voices and the AIDS epidemic

Now, perhaps more than at any time in the history of the AIDS epidemic, the world needs strong prophetic voices from Christians as well as from people of other faiths. HIV and AIDS have faded from public consciousness. For a variety of reasons, most people don’t think about AIDS much anymore. Perhaps they think the war is already over, that the scientific and medical advances of the last few decades have solved the problem. Perhaps they think that the epidemic only affects other people, people we don’t need to care about. Perhaps it’s just fatigue, with other issues pushing AIDS aside. Whatever the cause, the lack of attention and awareness may lead us to make some serious mistakes with some even more serious consequences.