WCC calls for reduced tensions in Korea
EVERYONE involved in the stand-off on the Korean peninsula should promote dialogue and negotiation to avoid ratcheting up tension between the two countries, the general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), the Revd Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, has said. Last week, North Korea claimed to have test-detonated a hydrogen bomb, although international experts have cast doubt on the claim. On Wednesday, South Korean soldiers fired across the border at a North Korean surveillance drone.
Dr Tveit said that the WCC had long opposed all nuclear weapons, and urged both North and South Korea, and their international allies, to reduce tensions to avoid a “catastrophic conflict”.
President apologises for delays in church rebuilding in Egypt
THE President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, apologised to Christians at an Orthodox Christmas service last week in Cairo for the lack of progress in rebuilding churches that were firebombed more than two years ago (News, 16 August 2013). The Presiding Bishop in Jerusalem and the Middle East, the Most Revd Mouneer Anis, wrote for the Anglican Communion News Service that Mr Sisi’s surprise visit filled the Orthodox Cathedral with joy, when he joined the congregation in Cairo on 6 January. After promising to be a president for all Egyptians, he also said that the churches, which were burnt down by Islamists protesting against the military coup that brought Mr Sisi to power, would be repaired by the end of the year.
Swiss missionary abducted again in Timbuktu
A SWISS missionary, Beatrice Stockly, has been kidnapped from her home in Timbuktu, in Northern Mali. Ms Stockly was first taken by the Islamist group Ansar Dine in 2012, but later released. AFP reported last week that Malian officials had confirmed that Ms Stockly had been abducted again on Thursday. It is not clear who is responsible for her kidnapping, but other Westerners are known to be held as hostages by Islamist terrorists in the country.
Anglican Alliance keen to use football for peace
THE Anglican Communion’s humanitarian arm, the Anglican Alliance, has begun working on a programme to use football to promote peace and development. A summit at Lambeth Palace last month brought together church leaders, footballers, and aid workers to discuss how the game could help to bring about reconciliation. The Archbishop of Canterbury has given the plans his backing. He said that football was a “universal language” that could bring people together. Churches in Nigeria, Kenya, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo have already begun to use the sport to address gender inequality, overcome trauma, and alleviate poverty. The Anglican Alliance now wants to draw together various initiatives in a regional consultation.