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Ivory Coast violence threatens region say African church leaders

Speaking from Kenya The general secretary of All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), the Rev. Mvume Dandala, has called on the Ivorian people to give peace a chance. With a concern that renewed fighting in Ivory Coast could threaten the fragile peace in the region,  Dandala  said that , “it is time for African people to refuse war and reject leaders who promote war.  We must opt for democratic and peaceful ways to power.  Africa must lay firm foundations of peace now that we shall bequeath our children of tomorrow and not the culture of corruption, greed and senseless wars.  The church in Africa is called upon to use her prophetic voice in ensuring that peace prevails in Africa.” Having recently visited the region Dandela commended the efforts in Liberia and Sierra Leone he said he saw hope, healing, and firm commitment for the attainment of a lasting peace from the citizens of these countries.   

 

Adventists is Turkmenistan Seek End to Sabbath Schooling Threats

 

In Turkmenistan, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Capitol of Ashgabat is being threatened with the loss of government registration if Adventist children do not begin attending school on Saturday, the Adventist Sabbath.  Losing registration would make all church-related activities illegal for Adventists in Turkmenistan.  The Turkmen school week lasts from Monday through Saturday.  According to the Forum 18 new service, government officials insist that by monitoring schools and checking Adventist membership lists, they will make sure Adventist children attend school on Saturday.  Local leaders of the Adventist church remain hopeful that a peaceful solution can be found.

Christians mourn Arafat's loss to Palestinians.

Several Christian leaders have expressed sorrow at the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.  The World Council of churches expressed their condolences to the Palestinian People in a letter to the Palestinian Prime Minister Mr. Ahmed Querei. Director of the World Council of Churches International Affairs Commission, Peter Weiderud recognised the commitment of Mr. Arafat to uphold the place of both Christians and Muslims in Palestinian Society. Among Christian leaders in the Holy Land who have expressed sorrow is the Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah, Anglican Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal and Bishop Arris from the Armenian Patriarchy in Jerusalem, who all commented on MR. Arafat’s concerns for the Palestinian Christians. Lutheran World Federation President, Bishop Mark Hanson noted that Arafat will be remembered in radically different and often contradictory ways, and that his death presented both opportunity and risk to the peace process in the region.

 

Asian Corrupted churches urged to revitalising,

In Hong Kong  Dr Ahn Jae Woong, The general secretary of the Christian Conference of Asia, stressed the need for "revitalising" Asian spirituality. Ecumenical News International reports that  Dr. Woong Addressed representatives of Asian Church groupings partner agencies at a meeting in Hong Kong. Dr Woong said in his speech, that “This comes at a time when, traditional cultures are on the verge of extinction due to Western influences. Many churches in Asia had lost their missionary vocation and become corrupted

Indian human rights commission censures anti-conversion laws

In India  a report by the National Human Rights Commission in India has criticised laws enacted in some Indian states to restrict conversion from one religion to another. These anti-conversion laws are seen as an attempt to hold onto the caste system. The 300-page report by the commission on prevention of "atrocities against Dalits, Indians consigned to a low caste, said the anti-conversion laws were an attempt by the state and upper caste Hindus to 'freeze' the status of Dalits as "untouchables". This according to Ecumenical News International.

Canadian clergy plan to join trade union to protect their interests

In Canada the Auto Workers Union has accepted a request from some United Church of Canada clergy in Ontario to represent ministers of religion. The Auto Workers Union now plans to launch a campaign to unionise the 4000 ministers of Canada's largest Protestant denomination. Rev. David Galston, minister at Eternal Spring United Church in Hamilton, Ontario, initiated the action. Speaking to Ecumenical News International Reverend Galston claimed "There have been decades of clergy abuse.”

US Catholics Appoint New Head Bishop

 

American Roman Catholic bishops recently elected a new president to lead the church in the United States.  The candidate, Bishop William Skylstad, has already come under criticism for being too lenient in the prevention of child abuse by catholic clergy.  Skylstad’s home diocese of Spokane, Washington has filed for bankruptcy to protect its self from lawsuits filed by alleged victims of child abuse.  Skylstand, who is currently vice-president of the US Roman Catholic Church, will serve a three-year term as president.

And finaly…

European Adventist Leaders Call for End to Religious Freedom Violations

 

Leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church from across Europe recently called for increased efforts to combat modern violations to religious freedom.  The announcement came at the conclusion of a conference in Slovenia addressing current religious freedom issues including the rise of extremism, the problem of intolerance and the need to protect the right of conscience and belief.  Bertil Wiklander, president of the Adventist Church in Europe, said of the conference, “We need to have greater representation at the European level working for greater awareness and development of religious freedom.”

 

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