WCC Pilgrimage Blog

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Wadi Qana and the politics of nature

Although the Israeli authorities declared Wadi Qana as a nature reserve as far back as 1983, the decision to turn it into an Israeli leisure and recreation area was only taken in 2006. This did not fail to impact Palestinian landowners. who are not allowed to dig new wells to water the fields or to repair existing facilities, whereas the Israeli settlements on the hilltops get their water from deep wells on the valley floor, with water pumped uphill through thick pipes.

Wadi Qana: Occupation's impact on a peaceful land

Although idyllic Wadi Qana is barely 50 km from the metropolitan area of Tel Aviv as the crow flies, the gap is great. Rizeq, our local contact in the nearby village of Deir Istiya, leases grazing land there. Together with three friends, he owns a small herd of goats. The herd sleeps in a large cave that serves as a shed, with an entrance enclosed by walls and gates. Rizeq and his partners built a small hut nearby out of field stones for storing tools and spending the night.

The Resistance of Biblical women and the leadership of Mrs. Winnie Nomzamo Madikizela Mandela

When I was a young adult I visited the home of Mrs. Winnie Nomzamo Madikizela Mandela. I was blessed to meet her and a few of her family members. I also heard her speak at a program in Soweto. Since this time, I have come to a deeper understanding about her and the spouses of celebrated leaders. Too often their leadership is not only overlooked but not considered.

April 4, 2018 - 50 years after the assassination of Rev. Dr Martin Luther King Jr

One of the most well known and remarkable personalities in the history of the ecumenical movement is Rev. Dr Martin Luther King Jr. His name is forever carved into world history and into the history of the churches’ witness in the world. Today, 50 years after his assassination, he is honoured, and he is inspiring the churches worldwide to continue the work he was leading. His message should be both guiding us and disturbing us.

Different but one in Christ

From the face value, the above African proverb “A single stick may smoke, but it will not burn,” means that it actually takes a collection of sticks to have a burning fire since a single stick can only produce a thread of wispy smoke. The same is actually true with regards to our life. It is common to hear statements like ‘let us keep the fire burning’ when initiatives are started, but, most times it is just that, statements because individualism often supersedes collectivism. Little is done to fan the fire and add wood to it to ensure that it actually keeps burning.

Social media – sharing the Word, with the World Council of Churches

Although continents may remain apart “technology has made the world a global village.” In the real sense of the word, it’s the interconnection of technology that makes it a village. The World Council of Churches is not ignorant to this fact and hence maintains a vibrant social media presence. The effectiveness of these channels has come to light at the ongoing Conference on World Mission and Evangelism in Arusha, Tanzania.

Sowing Peace

I recently attended the conference on ‘Interreligious dialogue for peace: Promoting Peaceful coexistence and common citizenship’ organized by KAICIID in Vienna on the 26 and 27 of February. The conference brought together some high profile religious leaders (predominantly but not exclusively from the Christian and Muslim faiths) who spoke with a united voice for social cohesion, peaceful coexistence and respect for religious diversity.

Is there any room for talk of transition in the Christian message?

These days everyone uses the words “change” or “transformation” yet they are used to describe very different things. The French president Emmanuel Macron speaks of the transformation of the French economy through the liberalisation of labour laws, and in his book “India Transformed” Rakesh Mohan describes the benefits achieved by 25 years of neo-liberalism. So what do church-related aid organisations like Action de Carême, Pain pour le prochain and Etre partenaires mean when they use the word “transition”? Is this concept really part of the Christian message?

Worlds come together in prayer

A thousand associations come to my mind when the theme is prayer: My Lutheran parents prayed for me and with me when I was a child, and my uncle who was a Baptist minister began dinners with long free prayers. In church and at home we sang Danish hymns with wordings such as: “All good gifts come from above” and “Now we all give thanks to God”.

My first Confucian-Christian dialogue

The effects of certain types of experiences do not fade with time; rather they permeate deep into your existence to further broaden your understanding about the realities of life. For me the first Christian-Confucian Dialogue initiated by the World Council of Churches at South Korea was one such experience. It will stay with me for a long time and I will time travel back and forth from it to understand the complexities of inter-religious discussions.

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

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.