More than 120 theologians from various Christian traditions concluded on Tuesday a meeting in Greece where they discussed ecumenism and the call to be one church.
The weeklong meeting of the World Council of Churches' Faith and Order Commission was considered to be a "landmark in ecumenical dialogue," according to Dr. John Gibaut, director of the commission.
On the opening day of the Oct. 7-13 meeting the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians around the world, acknowledged the unity of the Church is a "never-ending search, an ever-unfolding journey." But he added that their ongoing pursuit of unity is "a testimony to the fact that what we seek will occur in God’s time and not our own." more >>
Relevance, aggressive secular attacks, and the threat of extremism are challenges for all people of faith, said former British Prime Minister Tony Blair at a major Muslim-Christian dialogue conference this past week.
“These challenges are not for Muslims alone, or Christians or Jews, Hindus or Buddhists for that matter. They are challenges for all people of faith,” Blair said at the 2009 Common Word Conference at Georgetown University.
And the “best hope” for faith in the twenty-first century, the former U.K. leader added, is that people of faith confront all of this together. more >>
Both the incoming and outgoing heads of the World Council of Churches this week stressed honesty as the basis upon which people of different faiths can have meaningful encounters.
Speaking at a conference on inter-faith relations in Geneva this week, outgoing WCC General Secretary the Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia said that a fruitful understanding between people of faiths depended on honesty and being able to recognize and hold in “creative tensions,” areas of convergence as well as genuine differences.
"Because we are different, we each have something unique to contribute, and every contribution counts. At the same time, dialogue partners seek to discover and appreciate the common values held by all,” he said during the gathering initiated by the Muslim World League and also attended by Jewish leaders. more >>
Protestant and Catholic leaders are gathering in Chicago on Thursday to mark the tenth anniversary of a landmark ecumenical agreement made between the two faith traditions.
Considered the most significant agreement since the Reformation, the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification was signed by the Vatican and the Lutheran World Federation on Oct. 31, 1999 in an effort to end centuries of doctrinal dispute.
"For hundreds of years, the issue of justification by faith divided Catholics and Protestants," said Bishop Gregory Palmer, president of The United Methodist Church’s Council of Bishops, in a released statement. "This agreement celebrates consensus on the basic truths of the doctrine of justification." more >>
More than 25 Christian, Jewish, and Islamic leaders from the United States will be gathering Tuesday as part of an effort to press leaders of the world's largest national economies to fulfill their promises to help people who have suffered from the global economic recession.
Ahead of this week’s G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh, the religious leaders will convene for the two-day Faith Leaders Summit to press for actions – not just words – that will help hungry and poor people lift themselves out of poverty.
"Our world is facing not just a financial crisis, but a moral crisis," said the Rev. Bernice Powell Jackson, an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ (USA) and the World Council of Churches (WCC) president in North America. "Shall we create a world based upon economically and ecologically sustainable principles which will result in abundance, dignity and security for all? That is the great moral question of our time." more >>
The World Council of Churches on Wednesday called on Israel to cease and dismantle its settlements in the occupied territories.
Passed on the last day of the WCC Central Committee meeting, the “Statement on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory” encouraged an international boycott of products and services from settlements. It also urged the Israeli government to commit to non-violence and peace negotiations.
“[While] Israel’s own right to exist in security evokes sympathy and solidarity around the world,” states the Central Committee, WCC’s main decision-making body, “its policies of expansion and annexation generate dismay or hostility.” more >>