Peter Heslam looks at the late Anita Roddick's legacy, and her argument that because it has surpassed both church and state in power and influence, business should assume moral leadership in society. It has to shift its emphasis from the material to the spiritual, she declared.
Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, the Vatican's permanent observer to the Office of the United Nations and Specialized Institutions in Geneva, spoke of the need for compassionate support of refugees during the 58th session the UN High Commission for Refugees executive last week.
The international affairs and peace programme of the National Council of Churches USA (NCCUSA) has endorsed a nationwide initiative for local congregations to raise awareness of the ongoing killing in Darfur, and action on the issue.
Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) in the USA is among the global church agencies providing emergency assistance to communities hit by severe flooding in Ghana and Uganda. Nearly 17 African countries have been affected by heavy rains which began in June 2007.
A coalition of church-based aid and development agencies is backing a creative range of self-help initiatives in the former Soviet Central Asian republics, such as Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, which are often overlooked in the worldwide media.
A five-year campaign by human rights campaigners, including the Franciscan religious order, has influenced the Human Rights Council of the United Nations to has decide to appoint a Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery.
There is an "international responsibility to protect people at risk in the Darfur region ... and in neighbouring Chad," says the World Council of Churches executive committee, calling on member churches to bring that responsibility "to the attention of their governments".
The Archbishop of Harare has issued an urgent appeal for help as Zimbabwe faces a spiralling food crisis. It is estimated that one in three people will soon be in need of food aid following a disastrous harvest.
Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican's Secretary for Relations with States, has called on the 62nd session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, currently being held in New York, for a consistent ethic of life in relation to development, poverty, ecology and human dignity.