The Department of Youth, Young Adult, and Campus Ministry of the Orthodox Church in America will host the third in its series of job search skills webinars on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time.
“The topic for this month’s webinar is ‘Do’s and Don’ts of the Interview Process’,” according to Andrew Bo...
Church representatives at a recent Oikotree Global Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa stressed the need to support peoples’ movements promoting justice in the economy and ecology, a concern, they say, that lies at the heart of the faith.
The forum was organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC), World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) and the Council for World Mission (CWM) from 3 to 8 March, and it was attended by more than fifty representatives of churches, ecumenical organizations and people’s movements.
The Oikotree movement was initiated by the WCC, WCRC and CWM as an ecumenical space where people can seek solidarity in faith while living in the midst of threats based on oppression, economic injustice and ecological destruction.
At the forum, the need to support people’s struggles against companies like Pohang Iron and Steel Company (POSCO) in India was emphasized. POSCO, a United States-South Korean company, is conducting a multi billion dollar steel and port project in Odisha, India.
According to media reports, the project will displace at least 22,000 farmers, affecting the livelihoods of 20,000 fisherfolk, generating a water crisis and harming livestock in the area. The project is said to deplete forests where Adivasis or tribal people live.
“Despite lacking an environmental clearance, the Indian government is proceeding with the forceful acquisition of land for the project,” said Tridib Reeves, a social activist from India.
“The local communities opposing the steel mill are being criminalized. Leaders are being thrown into jail, protestors have been attacked by armed people, and at least three protestors were killed in a bomb attack on 2 March,” he added.
With regards to people’s struggles in other parts of the world, the participants called for solidarity and action against the occupation of Palestine. Issues demanding global solidarity included militarism in Colombia, the Philippines, as well as poverty and inequality in Southern Africa.
“The formation of the Oikotree movement is a good way of bringing together ecumenical voices addressing injustice today,” said Dr Rogate Mshana, the WCC programme executive for Poverty, Wealth and Ecology.
“The forum in Johannesburg affirms Oikotree as a ‘movement of movements’. This affirmation is an inspiration for those who are addressing exploitation of the people and earth by global capitalism,” he said.
“Therefore, the cooperation between the WCC, WCRC and CWM to make this movement a reality is immensely commendable,” added Mshana.
The Oikotree Global Forum identified land as an overarching theme for theological reflections, education and awareness-building, networking, research and advocacy for the next two years.
The Oikotree movement will present a “Global Kairos Faith Stance”, a document in progress, at the upcoming 10th Assembly of the WCC in Busan, Republic of Korea.
The 10th Assembly of the Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC), meeting from 3 to 10 March in Honiara, the Solomon Islands, adopted a series of resolutions on public issues ranging from climate change and resettlement, through seabed mining and nuclear weaponry, to the self-determination of West Papua and Maohi Nui (or Tahiti).
It called on the World Council of Churches (WCC) to combine forces with the PCC “to support, through advocacy, efforts for the re-inscription of Maohi Nui on the list of countries to be decolonized.”
The general secretary of the WCC, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, expressed appreciation for the proposals made by the PCC assembly. He said, “We are preparing for our own 10th Assembly to take place at Busan in the Republic of Korea, and we see in these PCC resolutions many of the concerns that will challenge us there.”
The WCC assembly will be held from 30 October through 8 November 2013.
“The theme of our assembly is a simple prayer,” said Tveit. “The theme is this: God of life, lead us to justice and peace.”
“The resolutions of the PCC assembly”, he observed, “are a means of putting the concerns of our theme firmly into a particular context, the context of the Pacific peoples. They show by a list of concrete examples how life is threatened today, and they suggest the ways of God that may lead us toward justice and peace.”
Tveit pledged that the WCC would partner with the PCC in advocacy for self-determination, justice and peace throughout the Pacific region.
In a letter to Pakistani churches, the World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit has condemned the attacks on Christians in Badami Bagh, Lahore, on Saturday, 9 March. More than a hundred houses were burned down following allegations of blasphemy.
“We share the pain of hundreds of innocent families who have become victims of atrocious acts, and we deplore such actions. We view this targeting of Christians within the context of Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws, frequently used to persecute religious minorities or settle personal disputes,” said Tveit.
He implied that these incidents were part of the series of attacks against Pakistan's Christian minority, who has often been victimized by the blasphemy laws.
Tveit said that “Pakistan’s federal and provincial authorities should take a firm decision to undertake actions that introduce effective law enforcement mechanisms to protect all religious minorities.”
He assured the churches of “continuous prayers and solidarity with the Christians of the Badami Bagh community in Lahore” and recalled his visit to Lahore one year ago.
WCC calls for Pakistani government commission to probe abuse of blasphemy law (WCC news release of 19 September 2012)
At a time of widespread scandals over clergy sex abuse, the World Council of Churches (WCC) and World Student Christian Federation (WSCF) have called for professional standards of clergy accountability at an international forum on violence against women.
In a lively event with more than 50 participants in New York City last week, the issue of abuse of women by members of the clergy was highlighted at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) 57th session on the elimination of violence against women. The current session of the CSW will conclude on 15 March.
Presentations centred on a new WCC and WSCF book titled When Pastors Prey, edited by Valli Boobal Batchelor. It is among the few books currently on the market to examine the issue in its personal, ecclesial, legal and theological dimensions and to offer specific guidelines for dealing with clergy “sextortion.”
Dr Fulata Mbano-Moyo, WCC programme executive for Women in Church and Society, and WSCF general secretary Christine Housel joined Batchelor to express hope of ending such violence, especially through joint projects and advocacy.
The book launch also featured a presentation from the Rev. Dr Marie Fortune, founder of FaithTrust Institute, Seattle, who has done pioneering work in the field.
While clergy abuse of children has received worldwide attention from media and legal authorities, little has been written about the more widespread phenomenon of clergy abuse of adult women, said Batchelor. “This prophetic project breaks the silence and gathers the resources to address a problem that undermines the very foundations of pastoral work and institutional Christianity,” she said.
Calling it “a problem that undermines the gospel itself,” the WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit welcomed the project, noting that “Christian community and witness hinge hugely on the personal integrity of professionals in ministry. Yet that bond is severed by sexual exploitation and abuse, a phenomenon sadly present in the Christian churches around the world.”
The volume features a prologue by former United States President Jimmy Carter, who situates the publication in the light of a history of religious mistreatment and devaluation of women and their gifts.
When Pastors Prey relates the stories of women whose trust has been abused by their pastors. It also offers a helpful procedural and legal framework in which to understand and address the problem.
“Ultimately, clergy sexual abuse of women is but the most horrific expression of longstanding Christian misunderstanding and mistreatment of women,” said Batchelor. “This volume illuminates not only the phenomenon but its roots and — in brave hope — its cures.”
Although media attention to the problem is encouraging, said Fortune, “We cannot guarantee that leaders will not abuse power. But we can guarantee that when that happens, the faith communities and institutions will be there to support the abused and accompany them to healing, including justice for the perpetrator.”
When Pastors Prey: Overcoming Clergy Sexual Abuse of Women is available from 1 April and can be ordered from WCC Publications distributors: www.isbs.com in North America and www.gazellebookservices.co.uk in the United Kingdom and Europe, as well as online retailers.
«Les femmes handicapées sont souvent exclues de la société et elles ne sont plus considérées comme des bénéficiaires des dons de Dieu», a déclaré la pasteure Micheline K. Kamba à l'occasion d'une récente conférence du Conseil œcuménique des Églises (COE). Selon elle, il est important de prier pour que des mesures soient prises face à la situation alarmante de violence que subissent les femmes handicapées.
La pasteure Kamba, qui est elle-même handicapée, est une membre du Comité central du COE originaire de République démocratique du Congo. Elle est coordinatrice bénévole pour l'Afrique francophone du Réseau œcuménique de défense des personnes handicapées (EDAN), un projet du COE.
C'est lors d'une récente conférence de l'EDAN, à Johannesburg (Afrique du Sud) du 27 février au 2 mars, que la pasteure Kamba a abordé la question de la marginalisation des femmes handicapées, encourageant les Églises à prendre davantage d'initiatives pour protéger leurs droits.
«La plupart des femmes handicapées souffrent de graves problèmes psychologiques. Elles ont du mal à voir que Dieu est avec elles. Elles pensent qu'elles sont maudites et qu'elles portent malheur à la société», a affirmé la pasteure Kamba.
«Il faut de toute urgence trouver une solution à la lumière de la ferme prise de position du COE sur la recherche de la paix et de la réconciliation. Pour le COE, la paix véritable sera possible quand les femmes qui sont détruites de l'intérieur trouveront leur raison d'être», a déclaré la pasteure congolaise.
Elle a poursuivi en affirmant que les témoignages apportés par les femmes handicapées à la Neuvième Assemblée du COE, au Brésil, en 2006, et au Rassemblement œcuménique international pour la paix, en Jamaïque, en 2011, manifestent la vulnérabilité de ces femmes face aux abus, au harcèlement et au viol.
«Ainsi, la paix, la réconciliation et la guérison auront lieu quand nos efforts nous permettront de reconstruire une image positive des femmes handicapées qui ont été victimes de ces fléaux», a-t-elle indiqué.
«Ces efforts doivent s'accompagner d'une promotion de la coopération œcuménique entre femmes provenant de milieux divers. Cette prise de conscience peut donner aux femmes les moyens d'agir et les aider à s'opposer à toutes sortes d'abus», a conclu la pasteure Kamba.
La conférence de l'EDAN avait invité à la réflexion sur «la violence faite aux femmes handicapées» en mettant l'accent sur la prière «Dieu de la vie, conduis-nous vers la justice et la paix», thème de la Dixième Assemblée du COE, qui se tiendra prochainement à Busan (République de Corée).
La conférence a réuni une trentaine de participantes et participants de plusieurs pays, notamment des femmes handicapées de la République démocratique du Congo, de Madagascar, du Burundi, du Kenya, d'Afrique du Sud, du Togo et des États-Unis.
L'événement a été accueilli par «The Haven», un foyer de Pietermaritzburg (Afrique du Sud) offrant une protection aux victimes de violences et d'abus domestiques.
Les Églises s'attaquent à la violence faite aux femmes handicapées (Communiqué de presse du COE du 8 mars 2013, en anglais)
ROME (RNS) If ordinary Romans still had in a say in selecting their bishop – also known as the pope – the way they did in the early centuries of the church, then Cardinal Timothy Dolan might already be pontiff.