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 >>
Organizers of the 2013 World Council of Churches assembly stressed that the next meeting would bring together not only WCC members, but also representatives of other Christian traditions, including Pentecostals and Evangelicals still outside the WCC fold.
“Moving together towards a wider Christian family, a wider global Christian forum – that is our goal and we are moving towards this goal,” said Dr. Jong-wha Park of the assembly organizing committee.
“That’s why Pentecostals are invited, evangelicals are invited, ecumenicals are invited to Korea. This is the clear sign that we are working towards a wider ecumenical solidarity.” more >>
The Central Committee of the World Council of Churches has voted to hold its next General Assembly in Busan, South Korea, in 2013.
After hours of deliberation, the final vote was cast by more than a hundred members of the Central Committee in a secret ballot.
Busan came out on top with 70 votes, followed by Damascus in Syria with 59 votes in favor. There were no abstentions. more >>
The American Jewish Committee, one of the oldest Jewish advocacy organizations in the United States, denounced a statement made by the World Council of Churches General Secretary the Rev. Samuel Kobia who called Israel’s “occupation” of Palestinian territories “a sin against God.”
“Rev. Kobia parrots the same hypocritical statements regarding Israel that the WCC regularly issues, ignoring the root cause of Israel’s presence in the West Bank,” said Rabbi David Rosen, AJC’s international director of interreligious affairs, in a statement issued Friday.
The prominent rabbi pointed to the Six-Day War in 1967 when Israel battled against Egypt, Syria and Jordan to protect the Jewish state from being destroyed. As a result of the war, the West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, the Sinai desert and the Golan Heights all fell under Israel’s control. The Sinai Peninsula was later returned to Egypt after a peace treaty was signed. more >>