WCC Pilgrimage Blog

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Boats, borders and Christmas parallels

We did not realize that we would get so close. We had imagined maybe seeing boats from afar, having to remind ourselves that what we saw in the water was people. As we stood on the beach in Molivos, there was no question about the reality of the situation as the boats came in. 45 people on boats designed for no more than ten. Most of them wore life vests, but not all. The entire range of emotions was expressed just after reaching land. As some took selfies and thanked God for reaching safely, others cried out in despair after seeing their own death in front of them on the terrifying journey.

Preaching and practice in stormy times

COP 21. Weather! We have always discussed it, several times a day. What could we expect this day, the next day? At least in my country, Norway, where the weather may change several times per day, it is always a theme for a small-talk. Until some years ago we could not imagine that we had to discuss rain storms and drought, ice and heat because we could make a difference. Or that human behaviour already had made a difference.

Paris Attacks, COP21 and the WCC: Embracing the Other

Friday November 13, 2015's terror attacks in Paris, which followed on attacks in Baghdad and Beirut and preceded the attack in Yola, break my heart. All such attacks do. What makes people want to kill innocent people enjoying their Friday night with friends and family at a concert and in restaurants? Such attacks not only kill the bodies, they deeply wound the spirit.

From London to Paris walking by faith in hope

It has been ten days since the Pilgrimage2Paris set off on their mammoth journey. I remember the excitement as the pilgrims arrived last Friday at St Martins in the Field in London. I was eager to meet each pilgrim and find out who these people were who were willing to give up their time over a fortnight to walk from London to the climate talks in Paris. They have come from all walks of life and from all corners of the country, each sharing a strong commitment to put their faith into action and tackle climate change.

World Toilet Day is all about dignity and life!

The 19th of November is observed around the globe as United Nations World Toilet Day. The theme for this year’s World Toilet Day is highlighting the link between sanitation and nutrition. “Drawing the world’s attention to the importance of toilets in supporting better nutrition and improved health. Lack of access to clean drinking water and sanitation, along with the absence of good hygiene practices, are among the underlying causes of poor nutrition,” the United Nations' official event site reads.

Be anxious for nothing

Worries, like weeds, seem to thrive. The more you feed them, the more they grow. In Matthew 6, Jesus tells us not to worry about food, drink, clothing, or even the next day. He illustrates with magnificent images. The carefree lilies blooming in the field. And then there are the birds that fly about, singing in the trees. You could be jealous, for they worry about nothing. They are carefree, even though their lives are transitory and threatened.

A year full of promise for sustainable development, water and sanitation

Year 2015 is an important milestone for all those who care for the environment, climate and water. Arguably it could be remembered along with 1992, as one of those “green years”. For networks such as the Ecumenical Water Network, who are engaged with both water concerns as well as other ecological issues such as climate change, this year has been an excellent opportunity to highlight issues of water and sustainable development.

UNICEF and “Halloween” in North America

When first I lived in Europe as a teenager during the 1960s, western culture was less homogenized than it is today. One didn’t see the same high-street boutiques in all airports everywhere. Not only that… Imagine Western Europe without a single McDonald's.

A good work begun - PAWEEN!

Recently I returned to my alma mater, Yale University Divinity School (YDS). In the taxi from the train station to the school, the driver expressed his interest in my ministry. He wanted to know if I was Presbyterian or not. When I told him I was Baptist and that I felt called to work with all Christians, he expressed his interest in giving me a gift. I was curious. I then realized that he wanted to give me some Biblical wisdom and encouragement. The gift was the following and how apropos given the new work of PAWEEN at this time!

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).

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.