N7N 377 News

 

Churches Warn on Exploitation of Southeast Asia’s Stateless Children

 

Southeast Asian churches and humanitarian groups are being urged to step up efforts to help “undocumented children” avoid exploitation.  Ecumenical News International reports that a vast number of people in Southeast Asia have been forced to leave their homelands due to violence or lack of work, leading to scores of “undocumented” children with no home country.  Such children are left vulnerable to what one humanitarian worker describes as “economic and sexual exploitation.”  Church leaders were urged to help stateless children during a meeting organized by World Council of Churches and the Christian Conference of Asia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

 

 

Death of Patriarch of Alexandria in Helicopter Crash Stuns Orthodox Church

 

The Christian Orthodox community is mourning the loss of Patriarch Petros VII of Alexandria and All Africa, one of the most powerful figures in the Orthodox Church.   Petros and several other Orthodox leaders died last weekend when a helicopter transporting them to an Orthodox holy site in Greece, crashed to the ground.  Petros is fondly remembered for the mission work he oversaw as well as his advocacy for dialogue between Christians and Muslims.  He was 55 years old.

 

 

Iraq: No Injuries As Car Bomb Explodes Outside Baghdad Adventist Church

 

In Iraq, a powerful car bomb exploded outside the Baghdad Seventh-day Adventist Church recently.  The Adventist News Network, ANN, reports that no one was injured in the blast, which gutted two rooms and blew out the building’s stained glass windows.  One official quoted by ANN believes the bomb was directly targeted at the church as there are “…No other significant targets on the side [of the building] that was bombed.”  News of the incident was reported by both Arab news stations and the Reuters news service.  No one has yet claimed responsibility for the bombing.

 

 

UN is Indispensable but Must Reflect Realities Say World Church Leaders

 

Representatives from eight regional inter-church organizations as well as the World Council of Churches who met recently in Nairobi, Kenya, have stated that although the United Nations is essential in making peace across the world, the UN must alter its practices in order to better deal with modern realities.  Ecumenical News International reports that the representatives sent a letter to UN secretary-general Kofi Annan concerning the current state of the UN, including a section that reads, “…Outside of Europe and North America, the inherited structures of governance of the UN do not adequately reflect the present realities and needs of the world as a whole.”

 

 

 

 

Church Leaders in Africa Warn of Land Conflict After Kenya Dispute

 

In Kenya, World Council of Churches general secretary, Rev. Sam Kobia, warned that serious conflicts could arise in Africa if land reform does not involve the poor.  Ecumenical News International quoted Kobia as saying, “In Africa the issue of land has not been satisfactorily dealt with.”  Kobia went on to state that the wealthy are often the ones who benefit from land reform and that governments must include the poor in future land reforms or face mounting tensions.  Land reform has been a flashpoint of controversy not only in Kenya but also in Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

 

 

Global Church Heads Query Sudan’s Sincerity on Ending Darfur Turmoil

 

Representatives from world regional inter-church organizations have recently denounced the government of Sudan for having what they perceive to be little interest in ending the humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of western Sudan.  Ecumenical News International, ENI, reports that the representatives especially singled out the reluctance of the Sudanese government to disarm the Janjaweed militia, the group held largely responsible for much of the Darfur crisis.  World Council of Churches general secretary, Rev. Sam Kobia, was quoted by ENI as saying the government of Sudan is “…Not as serious as they claim to be” about ending the crisis.

 

 

Serbia’s Orthodox Bishops Appeal to UN on Kosovo

 

Serbian bishops of the Orthodox Church recently appealed to both the United Nations and the European Union to aid in reconstruction efforts stemming from the 1999 conflict in Kosovo.   According to Ecumenical News International, the bishops requested help for returning refugees as well as assistance with rebuilding churches demolished in the conflict.  The bishops said in a statement that international help in the rebuilding effort was essential to the “protection of the spiritual and cultural heritage of Kosovo.”

 

And finally,

 

Zimbabwe Church Groupings Deplore Government Bids to Split Them

 

In Zimbabwe, eight separate church groups have denounced media attacks against various church leaders and organizations who speak out against certain government policies and practices.  Also a prominent church leader has called for tolerance as elections for parliament are scheduled for the beginning of next year.  According to Ecumenical News International, the groups have stated that the media attacks are “calculated, hateful and unjustified” and show “disrespect” for “legitimate church institutions.”