Floods and landslides devastate Rwanda
THE floods that have devastated Rwanda since 2 May have caused a humanitarian crisis that is beyond the capacity of the Church to meet alone, the Anglican Archbishop of Rwanda, the Most Revd Laurent Mbanda, reports. More than 130 people have died, and thousands have been made homeless, by flooding and landslides that have swept entire houses away. Clerics in the worst-affected regions are aiding the relief effort, alongside religious groups, government authorities, and humanitarian organisations. This includes providing food, water, medicines, and shelter to displaced people, and burying the dead. Government officials have asked the Church to do more, however. “The Church wants to do something, but . . . it has no capacity,” Archbishop Mbanda said. “This is beyond us, we need all the help we can get.”
Coptic Pope addresses pilgrims at General Audience
THE Coptic Orthodox Pope, Tawadros II, spoke at the weekly general audience with Pope Francis, on Wednesday, 50 years to the day after a historic Christological agreement between their two Churches. It is said to be the first time the leader of another Church has addressed the crowd gathered in St Peter’s Square. Pope Tawadros recalled his last visit on 10 May 2013, when he had suggested that the date be celebrated annually as a “Day of Coptic-Catholic Friendship”. Since then, he and Pope Francis have spoken on the phone each year on 10 May. He went on to thank Pope Francis for his visit to Egypt in 2017. “Despite the differences in our roots and affiliations,” he said, “we are united by the love of Christ who dwells within us, and the host of our Apostolic Fathers and saints which surrounds and guides us.”
WCC condemns attack on aid workers in South Sudan
THE World Council of Churches (WCC) has condemned an attack on Norwegian Church Aid vehicles in South Sudan, during which seven humanitarian staff were reportedly killed. In a pastoral letter to the Churches of South Sudan and to Norwegian Church Aid, the WCC’s general secretary, the Revd Professor Jerry Pillay, said: “The fact that the victims were on a humanitarian mission and promoting peace and human dignity in their country makes this tragedy even more painful. The WCC condemns in the strongest possible terms the attack on civilians and humanitarian workers in South Sudan.”
US poll: More pray in their cars than in church
TWO-THIRDS of Americans pray, despite declining religious affiliation and attendance at worship, a new survey of more than 1700 US adults suggests. It was released on National Prayer Day on Thursday of last week by the Radiant Foundation, the Religion News Service reports. A higher proportion of US adults (85 per cent) said that they engaged in some form of a spiritual practice to connect with a higher power, whether through prayer, meditation, mindfulness, reciting affirmations, or spiritually based yoga. US adults who prayed often did so at dawn or when they awoke (50 per cent), or at bedtime (55 per cent). More people reported praying in their car (61 per cent) than in a place of worship (46 per cent).