Easter prayer issued for South and North Korea
THE National Council of Churches in Korea and the Korean Christian Federation have composed a “Joint North-South Prayer” for Easter, to “express the joy of the resurrection, and the sorrow of 70 years of separation” between South and North Korea. “Clear away the pain-filled memories of separation,” it reads. “Let us sow the seeds of tolerance, love and service, and with God’s blessings, may that land bear much fruit, and bless our people with a life full of joy and harmony. Help us remember the days when the North and the South once were one, to better live into a world of harmony and peace.”
Mexican priest honoured for documenting persecution of clergy
A ROMAN CATHOLIC priest in Mexico, Fr Omar Sotelo Aguilar, who has documented attacks on the clergy and churchpeople by criminal groups in the country for more than a decade, has been honoured by the National Club of Journalists, Christian Solidarity Worldwide reported on Wednesday. Fr Sotelo received an award for his investigative report, The Tragedy and Crucible of the Priesthood in Mexico: Ten years of persecution, published in December. It states that the assassination of 31 priests have been registered in the past ten years, including 15 in the past four years, alongside threats, extortion, kidnapping, torture, and murder. More than 80 per cent of these cases are unresolved or have been categorised as archived, it says. Fr Sotelo dedicated his prize to “all of my brother priests, especially those who suffer persecution and violence in silence”.
US Episcopal refugee service pruned after Trump order
EPISCOPAL MIGRATION MINISTRIES (EMM) in the United States is to reduce the size of its 31-member network by six, because of an order from President Trump to reduce the number of refugees resettled in the country per year by more than half, the Episcopal News Service reported on Tuesday. From October, EMM will no longer resettle refugees through six of its partners across the dioceses of Chicago, Florida, North Dakota, New Hampshire, and Western Massachusetts. Its director, Canon Mark Stevenson, said: “It’s painful; it’s horrible, but we hope — we pray — that we have made the right decisions for the health of the overall network and for the well-being of the refugees. That is our number-one concern.”
UNESCO director reaffirms centrality of Jerusalem to Jews
THE director general of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has spoken out against denying the place of Jerusalem in Jewish history, after complaints last year about an Arab-sponsored resolution passed by the UNESCO board which referred to the Temple Mount only by its Muslim name, Haram al-Sharif (News, 21 October). In a statement to the European Coalition for Israel conference in the European Parliament on Thursday of last week, she said: “In the Torah, Jerusalem is the capital of King David, where Solomon built the Temple and placed the Ark of the Covenant. . . to deny, conceal, or erase any of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions undermines the integrity of the site, and runs counter to the reasons that justify its inscription in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The protection of the heritage of Jerusalem is part of a broader vision for peace and the fight against all forms of denial of Jewish history, de-legitimisation of Israel, and anti-Semitism.”