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Recently World Leaders from the seventh day Adventist church conducted a 10-day visit to the People's Republic of China. General secretary of the Adventist world church, Pastor Matthew Bediako headed the delegation. The official visit was aimed at connecting with local Adventists, as well as with government officials overseeing religious work. The six-member delegation visited officials of the state Bureau of Religious Affairs, which oversees religious activities, as well as with the National Three-Self Patriotic Movement, which proclaims a common program for all Christians in China. The delegation also met officials of the Christian Council of China. This according to Adventist Review
60 years on, all denominations invited to Canada's ecumenical table
The Canadian Council of Churches celebrates its diamond jubilee on 13 May. It was founded as "a kind of Protestant lobby". But now it brings together diverse denominations including Anglican, Roman Catholic, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches. The leader for the Canadian Council of Churches is Professor Richard Schneider from the Orthodox Church in America's Archdiocese of Canada. He is the first Orthodox to be president of the council. Professor Richard Schneider says to Ecumenical news international that "Instead of trying to plot the perfect church, we are coming to the table as we are."
According to a global study of hate sites done by Surf Control, a British based web filtering company, the number of extremist websites has increased by 26 percentage in the first four months of 2004. The number of violent and extremist sites have according to research risen by almost 300 percentage in the past four years. Religious hatred appears to be flourishing on the web, with increase of American religious sites advocating extremist views and militant Islamist sites. Research noted a connection between sites advocating hate and those promoting direct violence. Spokesperson for Internet Watch Foundation in Britain said there has been a 101% increase on the previous year in complaints of racial abuse made to its hotline.
In United States of America the national council of churches have released a “pastoral letter” which it urges local churches to read out during service. The national council of churches, the NCC, represent 36 Protestant and Orthodox member communions. In the letter the NCC call for a change of course in Iraq. Their goal, they agree, is peace and a renunciation of violence as contrary to the will of God. They call on the United States "to turn over the transition of authority and post-war reconstruction to the United Nations - and to recognize U.S. responsibility to contribute to this effort generously through security, economic, and humanitarian support - not only to bring international legitimacy to the effort, but also to foster any chance for lasting peace."
Christian Aid warns that people from the poorest country pay the price for “the war on terror”
Christian Aid in United Kingdom has this week published a report that shows how some of the world’s poorest people are paying for the War on Terror. The report is called “The politics of poverty: Aid in the new Cold war” .One of the authors of the report, Dominic Nutt explains:
<The report was written to highlight the dangers that we feel that the war on terror is posing to aid delivery across the world. We argue that rather like the days of the Cold War when aid was given often by donor countries for their own political benefit and not to target problems of poverty but really for political reason. We are sying that there are the beginning signs that this is happening again on the war on terror >
The way in which Aid is being distributed is changing back to how it was distributed during the cold war, Dominic Nutt continues:
<There are examples of aid already being channelled towards for example Iraq, and away from other countries that were promised aid, and that is something that Britain is doing and we are saying that is happening incorrectly and wrongly. But realy it’s a problem that the rich nations of the world, including the European union, and the OECD nations, these are the 20 riches countries in the world, are beginning to suggest that aid can now be given as military aid as opposed to aid to tackle poverty. It’s something that they are actually discussing and debating and what we are trying to do in this report is that that doesn’t happen.>
South Korea’s Middle Eastern Missionaries
In South Korea, missionaries have started targeting the Muslim world to Christianity. In spite of the recent missionary kidnappings, the volunteers believe they have a sacred duty to spread their faith in the Middle East. There are 12,000 Korean missionaries in total. According to the BBC, Korean churches have identified Muslim countries as a new frontier.
In Haiti churches face an enormous task of building reconciliation. Church leaders report. That "The church has played an important role in providing education and health care to the Haitian people, but we shouldn't stop there." General secretary of the Protestant Federation of Haiti, Edouard Paultre, told Ecumenical News International. "We have to change minds. We have to help construct a society where conflicts can be resolved peacefully.”
In South Africa, more than 80 catholic women from several African countries gathered together to discuss the effects of HIV/AIDS as it impacts people’s lives.
The women have committed themselves to expand the dialogue and strategic actions in their communities in search for deeper awareness and comprehensive action. They’ll network with churches, government and families who hold an interest in fighting the pandemic.
Nigerian State Alcohol penalties/
Catholic Church denies existence of Christian Militia
In Nigeria, the Catholic Church has intensely denied the media reports alleging the existence of a Christian militia said to be behind the attacks in Northern plateau state. Last week at least 100 people were killed.
The catholic bishops of Nigeria condemned any form of violence and called for brotherly co-existence between Muslims and Christians.
Meanwhile in Kano, Lawmakers have approved a law calling for penalties towards both Christians and Muslims for alcohol consumption.
The penalty for Christians is a one-year jail term or a monetary fine, and for Muslims, 80 strokes of the cane. This comes at a time when tensions between Christians and Muslims are higher due to the clashes last week. A few have expressed fear that enforcing the legal punishment could further fuel conflict. The governor of the Northern Kano state must sign this bill, passed on Thursday, before becoming law.
Ship of Fools launches Church of Fools
The first ever virtual church service was launched and held this week. The Church of Fools, launched by the website ship of fools, was behind the service.
Stephen Goddard, co-editor of Ship of Fools comments:
<It was very successful, we had at least 200 people logged in during the first service we think a whole lot more tried to get in and couldn’t for a variety of reasons.
Ever since the launch of the first service, we’ve had the church populated constantly by people wandering around. >
And should you want to log into the virtual church service, you will find a link on our own webpage, that’s English.awr.org/n7n
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