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WCC interim general secretary: We continue to pray for reconsideration of Hagia Sophia decision

As Muslim Friday prayers took place in Hagia Sophia on 24 July for the first time since the 1930s, the World Council of Churches (WCC) joined member churches and international organizations, including a number of prominent Muslim leaders, in urging a reconsideration of the decision to turn the museum into a mosque.

WCC raises alarm over crises in Nigeria

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, is experiencing concurrent crises this year, and the World Council of Churches (WCC) has reached out to churches there with expressions of support and solidarity.

Christian presence in Jerusalem an issue in legal battle

The WCC’s executive committee took note of a recent decision by the Jerusalem District Court in a longstanding property dispute involving churches there and encouraged the Israeli government to respect the rights of Christian churches in the Old City.

Deepening crisis in Lebanon demands structural reform, says WCC

Once considered the shining example of diverse Middle Eastern peoples and religious groups living in harmony, Lebanon’s decades-long civil struggle has spiralled into economic collapse and governmental paralysis.

WCC 11th Assembly, 31 August – 8 September 2022

The executive committee approved, on 24 July, the new dates for the WCC 11th Assembly, to be held in Karlsruhe, Germany, 31 August – 8 September 2022. Pre-assemblies will take place 29-30 August 2022 in Karlsruhe. This will be officially communicated to WCC member churches and ecumenical partners in August.

Religions for Peace: Hagia Sophia meant to be shared with all the world

In a 24 July statement on Hagia Sophia, Religions for Peace reiterated its commitment to the universality of heritage as something that can create peace and respect for all faiths. “We call for calm, in times when we see the use of religious sentiments and institutions in a manner that is divisive, thus pitting some believers against one another,” reads the statement. “We stand on the side of peace, and of deliberate, intentional, coexistence, particularly as we hear of the voices, and see the actions, of divisiveness and hatred from many quarters.”

Bells to toll in mourning in Greece and in Greek Orthodox Church of America for Hagia Sophia

As Hagia Sophia opens for prayer on 24 July, Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece has announced that on this date will be a day of mourning for Christians and Greek people everywhere. He will perform the customary Good Friday liturgy and hymns at the Metropolitan Church of Athens Evangelismos Theotokou and is inviting everyone to join in prayers for aid and support to the nation.

Hagia Sophia decision by President Erdogan evokes 'grief and dismay' from World Council of Churches

The head of the Geneva-based World Council of Churches has written to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressing “grief and dismay” from WCC members at his decision to convert the world famous Hagia Sophia into a mosque.

Muslim leaders in solidarity with WCC’s urgent calls to keep Hagia Sophia a place of openness

On 11 July, World Council of Churches (WCC) interim general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca sent a letter to the Turkish president expressing “grief and dismay,” noting that since 1934, “Hagia Sophia has been a place of openness, encounter and inspiration for people from all nations and religions.” The letter generated widespread reactions from churches and the media—and also from Muslim leaders. Sauca met online with H.E. Judge Mohamad Abdel Salam, general secretary of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity (HCHF), special adviser of the Grand Imam of al Azhar Cheikh Ahmad al Tayeb, and special adviser of the Muslim Council of Elders.

WCC webinar series to focus on good practices of ecological justice and economy of life

A four-step webinar series promoted by the World Council of Churches (WCC) titled “Churches on the Road to an Economy of Life and Ecological Justice” will feature concrete examples of churches and faith communities engaged in efforts for transforming their local context.

WCC plans to deepen regional communication on water justice

The International Reference Group of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Ecumenical Water Network is planning to deepen its regional communication on water justice. During a meeting on 21 July, the group discerned ways to move forward in lifting up authentic experiences that reflect the insights and values of communities, particularly amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tree planting ceremony sows seeds for West Papua’s return to the UN

Trees are being planted by people participating virtually in a ceremony that both commemorates the life of Dag Hammarskjöld, the second UN secretary-general, and sows seeds for West Papua’s return to the UN.

WCC COVID-19 support team answers most-asked questions

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have faced new challenges worldwide. Our life situation has changed drastically and in many places and regions of the world it has even become an existential challenge. We do face many ambiguities and uncertainties, which raise many questions. In such a life situation, it is good to rely on the experiences and practices of others, and to be part of a wider fellowship of voices of reason and support.

WCC executive committee explores ways to “be a voice of reason and support”

As the World Council of Churches (WCC) executive committee convened online this week, the focus was on addressing the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on WCC work, and on plans to scale up ecumenical cooperation to overcome racism.

Through decades of militarized patriarchy, Korean women continue to shine a light for justice and peace

The legacy of sexual slavery before, during and after the brutal Korean War weighs heavily on the shoulders of the thousands of Korean women who lived for decades under a brutal militarized patriarchy.

WCC calls for disarmament amid remembrance of nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

The World Council of Churches (WCC) is calling for a world free from nuclear weapons, as the international community prepares to commemorate 75 years since the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Already, the WCC has published the first few in a series of blog posts highlighting different reflections and experiences from those who are calling for an end to nuclear weapons, from Japan, from the Pacific, from nuclear weapons states, and from those leading advocacy at the global level.

WCC executive committee to convene online, focus on the 11th WCC Assembly 2022 and plans 2021

The World Council of Churches (WCC) executive committee will meet 20-24 July by videoconference to address the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on WCC work in 2020 and 2021, and plans to scale up ecumenical cooperation on overcoming racism.

Does the pandemic challenge your faith?

The global coronavirus pandemic, which has brought death to hundreds of thousands, serious illness to millions more, and financial hardship to the whole world, also poses profound spiritual questions and real challenges to Christians everywhere.

WCC calls for urgent de-escalation of confrontation on Azerbaijan-Armenia border

World Council of Churches (WCC) interim general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca called for urgent de-escalation of the confrontation on the Azerbaijan-Armenia border, where renewed fighting since 12 July has cost the lives of at least 16 people and resulted in destabilization and increased threats of wider conflict.

Pilgrims accompany Korean women’s struggles with fallout of 70-year war

A Women of Faith Pilgrim Team gathered, some in person and others virtually, in South Korea from 13-15 July. They were there to listen and accompany Korean church women as they called for an end to patriarchy – manifested in the Japanese colonization of Korea and establishment of ‘comfort women’ and also in the Korean War — and to the resulting pain and injustice that remains a grim daily reality for many today.