The think-tanks Ekklesia and the Centre for Welfare Reform have sent and published an open letter to Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, from Catholics and people brought up in the Catholic faith who support its teaching on social justice and who are deeply critical of the government’s treatment of vulnerable and disabled people.
Today (13 March 2015) 26 senior figures from various faith groups published a letter in The Times newspaper calling on the UK government to join with others “to develop a robust plan of action that will lead us to a world free of nuclear weapons”. Steve Hucklesby, Policy Adviser for the Joint Public Issues Team of the Free Churches, provides the background to this initiative.
The managing editor of Foreign Affairs magazine recently went to Damascus, where he interviewed President Bashar al-Assad. Ekklesia associate and regional expert Dr Harry Hagopian assesses where the president stands in the tragic and bloody mess that exists in Syria at the moment, where ordinary people are caught between competing barbarisms.
Action of the World Council of Churches more than four decades ago raised the profile of environmental issues, and in the process helping to galvanise the ecological movement in communist East Germany, says Ekklesia associate Dr Stephen Brown. This became the soil for the independent ecology groups in the 1980s as one of the forms of dissent that culminated in East Germany’s 1989 peaceful revolution.
When children are murdered, let us call each child by name and name what has been done to her in the name of some cause she will never know or understand. To call a murdered child a suicide bomber is to violate her all over again, says Professor Tina Beattie, in the wake of Boko Haram's deadliest yet attacks in northern Nigeria.
Religious fidelity and free speech can learn the art of coexistence despite the acerbic challenges that have flowed from the terrible Paris shootings and the arguments about Charlie Hebdo magazine, says Ekklesia associate and Middle East analyst Dr Harry Hagopian. The much harder – and harsher – question is whether we as followers of a religion or as advocates of free speech can coexist too?
As the World Council of Churches (WCC) promotes the vision of a “pilgrimage of justice and peace”, four students from the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey, Switzerland, share their understanding of justice and peace and how they embarked on a pilgrimage of their own. Writer and photographer Sandra Cox talks to them.
On the centenary of the beginning of the terrible Armenian genocide in 1915, can Turkey show the good will and good faith needed to repair and repopulate the destroyed Armenian nest, asks Ekklesia associate and regional expert Dr Harry Hagopian. Can it act so that its hitherto legal denial of a human truth does not breed further oppression, but challenges it instead?
This year Prince Charles visited the Armenian Orthodox, Chaldean Catholic, Coptic Orthodox and Syrian Orthodox Churches during the course of 2014. In the case of the Syriac Church, he visited them twice in one short year. Ekklesia associate and Middle East analyst Dr Harry Hagopian assesses the significance of these acts of concern and solidarity.
Ferguson is in turmoil. So is New York. And so is Union Theological Seminary in the city of New York, a long-standing institution of theological education located on the upper west side of Manhattan – or in West Harlem – since 1836. Annegreth Schilling, a German theologian currently at Union, looks at the social and political location and witness of theology in a troubled and unjust world.