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World Council of Churches urges Sudan to end hostility and Human rights violations

 World Council of Churches general secretary, Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, commented this week on the situation in Sudan's Darfur region by sending a letter to the president of the Republic of Sudan, Lieutenant-General Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir. In a press release Dr. Kobia says that: "We have urged the president of Sudan to work for an immediate end to hostilities and to take steps to resolve the conflict through a negotiated settlement so that much needed humanitarian relief is able to reach those in desperate need of such assistance.  Dr Kobia also urged the president to take steps to put an end to human rights violations in the region and to ensure that those guilty of committing acts of violence and human rights abuses are brought to justice.

United Nations World Food Programme executive director James Morris commented on the 14-month-old conflict in the Darfur region of western Sudan describing it as "one of the world's worst humanitarian crisis". Dr. Kobia explained that as a result of the escalation of fighting between government forces and rebel groups, over 700,000 Sudanese were internally displaced and another 110,000 were forced to cross the border into neighbouring Chad."  World Council of Churches General Secretary emphasized the urgent need for Sudan's government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement to undertake work on the drafting of a new constitution based on respect for human rights, justice and equality. Kobia stressed. That "We are willing to consider and help in promoting any proposal or suggestion that Sudan's government may have to contribute to an early end to the conflict so that peace can prevail."

Christian doctor to head regional government in India

In India, a member of the Church of South India, has been sworn in as chief minister of the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh after winning a landslide victory in a regional election on 11 May.  A doctor by profession, 55-year-old Yedu-guri Samuel R Reddy led the National Indian Congress party and its allies to clinch 226 of the 294 seats in the Andhra Pradesh legislature. The outgoing ruling alliance of the Telugu Desam party and the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party won 49 seats.

Indian churches hail the defeat of Hindu-nationalist government

Also in India Ecumenical News International reports that Churches have hailed the defeat of the National Democratic Alliance the NDA government led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party BJP at a general election in the world's largest democracy.  Results showed that millions of India's poor rural people moved their support to the secularism of the India National Congress party, led by Sonia Gandhi, the Italian-born widow of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Reverend Ipe Joseph, general secretary of the National Counsil of Churches in India, a group of 29 orthodox and protestant churches, told ecumenical News Internationally “This is a mandate to renew secular democracy in India. By ejecting the NDA government out of power, most voters have shown that they reject Hindu fundamentalism.”


Israel Adventist Church experience growth

In Israel the Seventh day Adventist church has over the last couple of years experienced growth. From being a small group of believers there now is more than 11 hundred Adventists in Israel. Peter Roenfeld, ministerial leader for the region comments:

<About 8 years ago we put in place an initiative that we call the Shalom project. To educate nationals and residence and facilitate them in reaching the majority people group of Israel the Jewish people, with the story of the Gospel. Over the last couple of years we have seen this develop very quickly and the establishment of 23-24 local churches or prayer houses and over the last 18 month we have seen 68 new groups established in 68 new un entered cities of new cities across Israel  >



Presbyterians play key role in court postponement of Malawi elections

In Malawi The Presbyterian Church of Central Africa, which is Malawi's second largest denomination, has taken a key role in influencing the postponement of national elections. The elections were postponed by one week after noting numerous anomalies and raising fears of vote rigging. The elections were postponed by Judge Healey Potani, of Malawi's High Court.  The decision to postpone the elections came after opposition groups complained about irregularities leading up to voting.

Nigerian church calls for conflict resolution commission

In Nigeria the Presbyterian Church has called on the Federal Government to urgently set up a National Commission for Conflict Resolution. The call comes after recent clashes between Christians and Muslims. In a seven point communiqué the church noted the increase hunger and poverty in the country, as basic necessities are becoming more and more un affordable. The Presbyterian Church called on the Federal Government to effectively implement its economic policies in order to bring relief to the average Nigerian.  According to Interworld Radio a state of emergency has been declared in Nigeria’s Plateau State.


And finaly…

Anglican Women Priest 10 years study

In United Kingdom a survey of clergy and laity on the first ten years of women priests in the Church of England was released. The Survey painted a picture of overwhelming acceptance for Women Clergy. However there is less acceptance among the clergy of the possibility of allowing women to become bishops.

The study was done Ian Jones who is a researcher at the Lincoln Theological Institute at Manchester University. The main findings show that 81 per cent of the clergy surveyed supported the 1992 decision to ordain women as priests, with even higher levels of support in many of the case-study congregations. The suggestion that women should become bishops received 69 per cent of clergy support, and a similar level among lay respondents. But the report noted  "there was often a wide variation between the case-study congregations."

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