Keep working for peace, King urges Kenyans
THE King encouraged religious leaders in Kenya to continue their peace-building efforts at a meeting at the Holy Ghost Cathedral, Mombasa, during his recent tour of the country. Leaders from Christian, Muslim, Hindu, and African traditional religions are working together under the banner of the Coast Interfaith Council of Clerics to encourage the peace process. The network runs a reconciliation programme known as Re-Invent. The clerics told the King how they were promoting peaceful co-existence and tolerance in their communities. Afterwards, the Bishop of Mombasa, the Rt Revd Alphonse Baya Mwaro, said: “He encouraged us to continue pursuing this path. He was keen to know if we also involve politicians.”
Cuban church leaders call for change
THE Alliance of Christians of Cuba (ACC) has issued a public declaration calling for reform after a meeting in the province of Santiago de Cuba last week. The Santiago de Cuba Declaration includes calls for the release of political prisoners, greater respect for human rights, and the protection of freedom of religion or belief. This was the third time that the ACC had gathered since its formation last year. The head of advocacy for Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), Anna Lee Stangl, said: “CSW stands with the Alliance of Christians of Cuba in their call for real reforms to protect and uphold freedom of religion or belief and associated rights, and for the release of all political prisoners. We commend their courage in coming together, despite ongoing government harassment and threats, and publishing this declaration.”
Vatican confirms ban on joining the Freemasons
THE Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has reaffirmed the incompatibility of the Roman Catholic faith and Masonic lodges, in a document signed by the Prefect, Cardinal Victor Fernández, and approved by Pope Francis. The declaration was a response to a question from Bishop Julito Cortes, of Dumaguete, in the Philippines, who asked for clarification in the light of the growth of Freemasonry in his diocese. The Congregation reiterated that membership of Freemasonry was prohibited because of the irreconcilability of Roman Catholic doctrine and Freemasonry, and called for the bishops of the Philippines to consider making a public pronouncement on the issue.
Mercy Ships win award for advocacy campaign
A CAMPAIGN by the international Christian charity Mercy Ships was recognised for its creativity and strategic success in the PRovoke Media SABRE Awards in Washington, DC, last week. The award-winning African Celebration campaign, run in partnership with the APO Group, effectively emphasised the critical need for increased access to surgical, obstetric, and anaesthetic care and training across the continent. The campaign used storytelling, digital content, and advocacy initiatives to promote global conversations on health-care disparities and the life-changing effect of surgical interventions, which resulted in more than 4000 pieces of online coverage — estimated to be worth $125 million in PR terms. Mercy Ships provides free surgical, obstetric, and anaesthetic care through its hospital ships, and also delivers training to medical professionals in the places it serves.