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South Asian church leaders seek to redefine Christianity

Christianity in South Asia needs to be redefined if it is to be relevant and responsive to issues of armed conflict and religion-based animosities, say church leaders from the region attending the World Council of Churches’ ninth assembly. "Why are we not being recognised as Christians? Maybe we have failed to follow Christ. Maybe our churches have become worship-oriented rather ...

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US church body joins UN in call to close Guantanamo facility

The US National Council of Churches is calling on the government in the United States to close its detention centre on Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, following a United Nations report that recommended the immediate closure of the facility. The NCC’s general secretary, Robert Edgar, sent a letter to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reiterating a request made in 2003 and ...

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Anglican leader warns on military action against Iran

The head of the worldwide Anglican Communion has cautioned against a military incursion into Iran by Western powers who say they are increasingly nervous about that country’s revived nuclear technology programme. "I hope and pray that the West doesn’t embark on another costly and misjudged military adventure that will further destabilise an already unstable region," the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan ...

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US church leaders denounce Iraq war, confess inability to stop it

A group of religious leaders from the United States has issued a public letter criticising the war in Iraq and acknowledging their churches’ inability to stop it. "We confess that we have failed to raise a prophetic voice loud enough and persistent enough to deter our leaders from this path of preemptive war," the 18 February letter to the assembly ...

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North and South Koreans pray in Brazil for unity

North and South Koreans have prayed together with world church leaders for the peaceful reunification of their divided country and are urging the World Council of Churches, the world’s largest grouping of Christian denominations, to give that process a boost. They prayed in the chapel of the Pontifical University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre during the WCC’s ninth ...

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Homosexuality a new barrier to Christian unity, warns Vatican

Disputes in churches about homosexuality are hampering the search for Christian unity, Vatican officials have said during a global meeting of the World Council of Churches in Porto Alegre, Brazil. "In the past all Christian churches had the same position on this question," Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, told a media conference at ...

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A new element in migration for churches to deal with

As issues around migration, both voluntary and forced, become more complex, the efforts of churches are becoming increasingly critical to the survival of refugees worldwide, participants at a global church gathering have heard. "We know the long-term solution is peace and stability, so that people can be taken care of in their own homelands," said Georges Mourad of Lebanon. "But ...

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First openly gay bishop in US says he is being treated for alcoholism

Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop of the US Episcopal (Anglican) Church, says he is undergoing treatment for alcoholism. In a letter to the Episcopal churches in New Hampshire state, where he serves as bishop, and made public earlier this week, Robinson said he would spend all of February at a treatment centre, whose location he did not disclose ...

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Global churches urged: ‘Speak with one voice’ on climate change

The top official of the World Council of Churches says climate change represents one of humanity’s most dire threats and he has appealed to denominations around to world to speak with one voice to alert political leaders to tackle the issue. "Just as atomic weapons changed the very way we thought about life, so too the potential of major climatic ...

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