The Day of Pentecost was marked by Christians around the world Sunday except for those who will be celebrating the date this coming Sunday.
Because Christians of the Western tradition had marked Easter this year on April 12, they marked Pentecost on May 31 – 7 weeks after Easter. Christians in the Eastern Orthodox Church, meanwhile, had marked Easter on April 19 and therefore will mark Pentecost on June 7.
But the hope remains that that one day all Christians will celebrate Easter (and consequently Pentecost) on the same date – aside from the coincidental overlaps between the Julian calendar followed by Orthodox churches and the Gregorian calendar followed by Western churches. more >>
Former president Jimmy Carter delivered the closing address at a diverse gathering of Baptists over the weekend, and urged them to come together to help the people of America in their time of need.
During his address Saturday at the Southeast regional gathering of the New Baptist Covenant, Carter said the shared faith in Jesus Christ should be enough reason for Christians to unite and that other divisive issues need to be put aside if they stand in the way of unity.
Disharmony among Christians, he said, “is like a cancer metastasizing in the body of Christ.” more >>
Church leaders from around the world heard real stories of injustice based on India’s caste system at a conference in Bangkok this week, where several leaders issued strong statements against the ancient system of discrimination.
“Governments that exclude a whole section of [their] own citizens – or allow them to be so treated – are incompetent to govern," wrote the Rev. Dr. Ishmael Noko, general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation, in a statement read out at the conference on his behalf, according to the World Council of Churches. "And members of the international community that know but ignore the issue are accomplices to the systemic violations of human rights resulting from this unjust system."
The Global Ecumenical Conference on Justice for Dalits, held on March 21-24, examined the 3,500-year-old caste system that continues to be practiced despite India’s constitution guaranteeing equal rights for all. The conference was organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in partnership with the Christian Conference of Asia. more >>
Top leaders of U.S.-based National Council of Churches recently met in Shanghai with leaders of China’s official church bodies for discussions that included a partnership to raise the issue of climate change with their respective governments.
NCC president the Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon and general secretary H.E. Archbishop Vicken Aykazian traveled to China in late February to meet with representatives of the China Christian Council (CCC) and the National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of Protestant Churches in China (TSPM). It was the first time both an NCC president and general secretary had traveled together to China.
During their Feb. 26 meeting, the three major church bodies were able to affirm a mutual desire to engage in an “even deeper working relationship” that allows them to “consult regularly” with each other and to “speak and act together in response to contemporary issues,” according to an NCC USA report. more >>
LONDON – Christians across the United Kingdom may have prayed to become one this past week, but church unity at the national level remains an unlikely prospect, say the leaders of the nation’s main denominations.
The heads of the Anglican, Baptist, Methodist, Roman Catholic and United Reformed Churches spoke candidly last week of a loss of impetus in national efforts to bring about unity in their personal responses to questions put to them by the Church Times and Baptist Times.
“There is still at grassroots a great enthusiasm for unity,” acknowledged Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams, but also “a fair amount of impatience with denominational structures that are seen as failing to deliver it.” more >>
More than 300 leaders and members of various faith communities are proclaiming a message of peace and reconciliation and calling all churches across denominations to also take the message to the world.
"Radical peacemaking is usually associated with one segment of the Christian community: the Historic Peace Churches," the Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, general secretary of the National Council of Churches, said earlier this week. "What I am stressing, however, is that radical, costly, insistent peacemaking is not simply your witness. Peace is the message of the church ecumenical!"
Kinnamon was making his address at the "Heeding God's Call: A Gathering on Peace" meeting in Philadelphia. The Jan. 13-17 meeting, convened by the Historic Peace Churches – the Religious Society of Friends, the Church of the Brethren and the Mennonite Church – has brought together an ecumenical group representing more than 15 faith communities with the aim of strengthening their witness. more >>