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 >>
South Korea’s Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant leaders have together declared 2009 as the Year of Prayer for Christian Unity.
The Catholic bishops’ Committee for Promoting Christian Unity and Interreligious Dialogue and the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) announced last week that South Korean churches will hold ecumenical activities such as prayer services, forums and exchanges throughout this year.
“During 2009 we hope all Christians in Korea find their mission to be ‘salt and light’ in the world,” said the Christian leaders in a joint statement released at the press conference on Dec. 29, according to the Union of Catholic Asian News. more >>
Christian leaders across denominational lines are signing onto an ecumenical letter that urges President-elect Barack Obama to make Israel-Palestinian peace a priority in his incoming administration.
“The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians has gone on for too long. It has caused untold suffering for both sides, created economic hardships, and provided a rallying cry for extremists,” the letter signed by 40 U.S. Christian leaders read.
“As people of faith and hope, we believe peace is possible,” it stated. “Majorities of both Israelis and Palestinians continue to support a negotiated solution based on two secure and sovereign states as the best way to end this tragic conflict.” more >>
Leaders of two dozen U.S. churches will call on President-elect Barack Obama to lead the nation towards peace and justice this week during the annual meeting of the United States Conference for the World Council of Churches (WCC), which begins on Tuesday.
Citing Obama’s campaign promise of hope and change, the Rev. Dr. Bernice Powell Jackson, WCC President from North America, said the Council’s member churches in the United States are “eager” to share a “special word” with the president-elect that outlines hopes that the nation will move away from the current context of “war and want and waste.”
The meeting will address, among other issues, the ethical dimensions of climate change and the ecumenical involvement in Middle East peace-making. more >>
Six well-known ecumenical organizations banded together to call for the protection of the right to life, dignity and democracy of the people of Zimbabwe on Friday.
The general secretaries of the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, the World YMCA, the World Student Christian Federation and the World Alliance of YMCA’s issued a joint statement calling for the protection of right to life and dignity of all Zimbabweans and “for adherence to democratic principles and processes in the mediation process and a return of the rule of law inside Zimbabwe.”
Leaders issued the statement because they were “deeply disappointed and saddened” by the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) summit on Nov. 9 that failed to address the growing humanitarian crisis and challenge the illegitimate power of the current government. more >>