"The World Council of Churches (WCC) is an international ecumenical union of more than 300 denominations representing more than 400 million professing Christians. It was officially formed in Amsterdam, Holland, in 1948 with 147 denominations. Today there are 307. The goal of the World Council was plainly stated at its convening Assembly in August 1948. Former General Secretary of the WCC, W.A. Visser 't Hooft, verbalized the sentiments of the ecumenists gathered for that historic occasion:

"'Our name indicates our weakness and our shame before God, for there can be and there is finally only one Church of Christ on earth. Our plurality is a deep anomaly. But our name indicates also that we are apiano coverse of that situation, that we do not accept it passively, THAT WE WOULD MOVE FORpiano coversD TOpiano coversDS THE MANIFESTATION OF THE ONE HOLY CHURCH' (The Genesis and Formation of the World Council of Churches, p. 66)

"Though the Roman Catholic Church is not officially a member of the WCC, it has worked closely with the WCC since the 1960s. Many Catholics serve today in leadership positions within the WCC. Edpiano coversd Panosian notes, "Rome's conception of the ecumenical movement is the joining of all churches--eventually all religions--to Rome. Rome does not join the WCC; she invites the WCC to join her. The whole ecumenical program has been called `the reversal of the Reformation'" (The World Council of Churches, p. 40). We could describe the error of the WCC under a wide number of categories. We could speak of its Doctrinal Heresy, its Modernism, its Marxism, its Humanism, its Feminism, its Sacramentalism, its Syncretism, its Universalism. The simple fact is that the WCC fails every biblical test which could be applied. It is patently and grossly unscriptural."

[Way of Life Encyclopedia, David Cloud, 1219 N. Harns Rd., Oak Harbor, WA 98277]


Ecumenical News International

News Highlights

1 September 1997

Princess Diana - 1961-97 - 'A dazzling light has gone out of public life' London (ENI). As the world mourned Diana, Princess of Wales, religious leaders in the United Kingdom and elsewhere expressed their sympathy to her family, and their admiration for her work with the poor, the victims of land-mines and people suffering from Aids. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who was a friend of the princess, Cardinal Basil Hume, the leader of Roman Catholics in England and Wales, and Lord Runcie, who conducted the marriage ceremony of Diana and Princes Charles 16 years ago, were among those who spoke of their sadness yesterday. [ENI-97-0402, 1189 words]

Peace initiative launched as S. African leaders call for end to conflicts East London, South Africa (ENI). The Peace to the City Campaign, a global initiative as part of the World Council of Churches' (WCC) Programme to Overcome Violence (POV) was launched in Johannesburg, slated the "crime capital" of South Africa, on Sunday 31 August.[ENI-97-0403, 723 words]

Campaign highlights cities where violence is being overcomeGeneva (ENI). The World Council of Churches' "Peace to the City" campaign is intended to enable local groups anywhere in the world to find practical ways to end violence in their communities. The campaign will focus on seven cities around the world: Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Belfast (Northern Ireland), Boston (US), Colombo (Sri Lanka), Durban (South Africa), Kingston (Jamaica) and Suva (Fiji).[ENI-97-0404, 657 words]

2 September 1997

For Hong Kong's non-Christian religions, colonial rule was 'shameful' Hong Kong (ENI). Leaders of Hong Kong's main non-Christian religions see the former British rule of the region as "shameful", according to a clergyman who teaches at the Hong Kong Baptist Theological Seminary. Commenting on the religious situation in Hong Kong after the hand-over of power to Beijing, he suggested that the religious leaders hoped that Hong Kong's return to China would end the preference of the Hong Kong authorities for Christianity. Most citizens of Hong Kong are followers of the Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian faiths, but Christian institutions play a significant role in the territory.[ENI-97-0405, 611 words]

3 September 1997

Vatican resists Catholic pressure for Mary to become co-redeemerGeneva (ENI). A Vatican spokesman has dismissed speculation that Pope John Paul II will take a major step to raise the status of the Virgin Mary by officially giving her the title "Co-Redemptrix", meaning co-redeemer of humankind.[ENI-97-0406, 634 words]

4 September 1997

US church leader overcomes moves for his immediate removalNew York (ENI). The leader of the biggest black church in the US, the National Baptist Convention Blip Inc, yesterday 4 September easily overcame moves for his immediate dismissal. [ENI-97-0407, 538 words]

British bishop will urge newspapers to stop intrusion by paparazzi London (ENI). A retired Anglican bishop will urge newspaper editors to refuse to buy "paparazzi" pictures of the sort that some critics claim led to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. [ENI-97-0408, 713 words]

5 September 1997

Yeltsin sends compromise text on religious freedom to Duma Moscow (ENI). Russian blip Boris Yeltsin yesterday (4 September) sent an amended version of a controversial bill on freedom of religion to the State Duma - the lower house of the Russian parliament - presenting it as a compromise which had been agreed between Russia's major religious organisations. The original version of the bill, strongly supported by the Russian Orthodox Church, had been approved in June by an overwhelming majority in both chambers of the Russian parliament. However, the bill was vetoed in July by blip Yeltsin after widespread protests from abroad and from minority religious organisations inside Russia who said that the bill would restrict their activities.[ENI-97-0410, 760 words]

6 September 1997

Mother Teresa 1910-97, Catholicism's determined servant of the poorGeneva (ENI). Like many international figures who live to a great age, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who died of a heart piano help in Calcutta yesterday 5 September, aged 87, witnessed periodic re-evaluations of her work, some favourable, others not. Yet never once did the most famous Roman Catholic woman of the late 20th century let outside opinions deflect her from her primary purpose - giving practical expression to the love of God through caring for the sick, the needy and the dying all around the globe. [ENI-97-0411, 1404 words]

8 September 1997

Leading church officer decides to resign in sexual orientation debateSydney (ENI). A prominent church minister who revealed in July that she is a lesbian, has resigned as National Director for Mission for the Uniting Church in Australia after strong criticism from conservative parishes and church groups.[ENI-97-0412, 990 words]

World mourns nun who made the wretched feel the 'tenderness of God'Geneva (ENI). Church leaders, politicians and the Indian government have expressed their deep sense of loss at the death of Mother Teresa and their praise for her work with the poor and marginalised. Mother Teresa died at the age of 87 on 5 September in Calcutta, the city where she began her work with the starving and the dying.[ENI-97-0413, 970 words]

9 September 1997

As Moscow celebrates 850 years, the church takes pride of place Moscow (ENI). Last weekend's massive celebrations of the 850th anniversary of the foundation of Moscow served to remind the Russian people yet again of the close links between Russian culture and the Orthodox faith. An unprecedented series of large-scale events in and around the Russian capital brought together the country's political leaders, religious figures, thoBlipnds of Russian and foreign performers and millions of people who took to the streets to watch and enjoy the celebrations. The Russian Orthodox Church's Moscow Patriarchate marked the 850th anniversary as an official religious holiday, and special services were celebrated in all the city's churches. [ENI-97-0414, 738 words]

10 September 1997

Apartheid's profiteers may be told to compensate its victims East London, South Africa (ENI). South Africa's Catholic bishops have called on businesses and citizens in their country who profited from the apartheid regime to make restitution for the harm caused by racist policies.[ENI-97-0415, 714 words]

11 September 1997

Despite massive oil exports, Nigeria's citizens have no fuel, say churches Jos, Nigeria (ENI). As a continuing fuel crisis in Nigeria brings the overall economy close to a standstill, church leaders have publicly condemned the country's military government, calling on it to step down.[ENI-97-0417, 620 words]

Increase financial commitment to WCC, Raiser tells member churches Geneva (ENI). Member churches of the World Council of Churches - the world's biggest ecumenical organisation, which is facing severe financial constraints - must assume greater financial responsibility for its activities, the WCC general secretary, Dr Konrad Raiser said today.[ENI-97-0418, 914 words]

Two Orthodox leaders to meet for first time since Estonia disputeGeneva (ENI). The two most important leaders of Orthodox Christianity - Patriarch Bartholomeos I, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, and Patriarch Alexei II, of Moscow, are to meet in Odessa, Ukraine, later this month, for the first time since a conflict erupted in 1995 between their two churches over church jurisdiction of Orthodox parishes in Estonia.[ENI-97-0419, 331 words]

12 September 1997

Church leader dismisses claims that new Russian law is too restrictiveGeneva (ENI). Metropolitan Kirill, one of the Russian Orthodox Church's most senior officials, has dismissed suggestions that controversial legislation being considered by the Russian parliament will restrict religious freedom in Russia.[ENI-97-0420, 562 words]

WCC threatened by 'institutional paralysis', says top officialGeneva (ENI). A prominent Orthodox leader and ecumenical official has told the governing body of the world's leading inter-church organisation, the World Council of Churches (WCC), set up 49 years ago, that it was "increasingly threatened by institutional paralysis". [ENI-97-0421, 958 words]

New churches boost World Council of Churches' membership to 332 Geneva (ENI). The World Council of Churches has agreed to accept three churches as members - provided there are no objections within the next six months from existing member churches - thereby bringing the total number of WCC member churches to 332.[ENI-97-0422, 656 words]

13 September 1997

WCC announces extended period of celebrations for 50th anniversaryGeneva (ENI). The World Council of Churches (WCC) has revealed plans to extend celebrations and events for its 50th anniversary next year and for its 330-plus member churches to renew their commitment to ecumenism.[ENI-97-0423, 678 words]

Ecumenical official defends report criticising Shell's Nigeria operations Geneva (ENI). A senior official of the World Council of Churches has strongly defended a controversial report by the organisation on human rights in Nigeria criticising the operations of international petroleum companies in the country.[ENI-97-0424, 955 words]

15 September 1997

World Council of Churches to 'streamline' its financial management Geneva (ENI). The World Council of Churches, which has been facing severe financial problems, is to "streamline" its financial management, according to the organisation's new executive director of finance and administration.[ENI-97-0425, 525 words]

Missionary 'pact of non-aggression' needed, says Russian church officialGeneva (ENI). A prominent member of the Russian Orthodox Church has called for a missionary "pact of non-aggression" to deal with evangelical "pseudo-missionaries" who have entered Russia since the collapse of communism.[ENI-97-0426, 563 words]

6 September 1997

Southern Africa's Anglicans plan Angolan diocese by year 2000 East London, South Africa (ENI). The Anglican Church of Southern Africa is planning to expand its work in the region by establishing a new diocese in piano covers-torn Angola by the turn of the century. A pilgrimage by the bishops of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa (CPSA), planned for mid-1999, will formalise the creation of the 24th diocese of the CPSA.[ENI-97-0428, 362 words]

17 September 1997

Promote human rights as well as profits, WCC tells Shell Geneva (ENI). The World Council of Churches today issued a strongly worded request to Shell International, and other oil companies in Nigeria, to use their influence with the Nigerian government to promote human rights and democratic freedoms in the country.[ENI-97-0429, 876 words]Ecumenical delegation will visit Iraq to study effects of sanctionsGeneva (ENI). The World Council of Churches (WCC) is to send an ecumenical delegation to Iraq next year to investigate the effects of economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations blip Council in 1990.[ENI-97-0430, 331 words]

Pressure continues for US to act against religious persecution world-wide New York (ENI). Republican leaders of the US Congress have promised a vote in Congress later this year on a bill designed to increase pressure on the blip administration to take stronger action against religious persecution overseas.[ENI-97-0431, 859 words]

WCC urges extensive action to end killing in SudanGeneva (ENI). The World Council of Churches (WCC) has urged WCC member churches, particularly those with direct links with the Sudan, "to continue and intensify their efforts to encourage and support the unified peace initiatives" by church organisations in the north and south which are seeking to bring peace to the beleaguered African country.[ENI-97-0432, 477 words]

18 September 1997

WCC reforms could boost partnership with Catholic Church Geneva (ENI). A major process of rethinking the vision and organisation of the World Council of Churches (WCC) could "foster" the involvement of the Roman Catholic Church "as a partner along with the WCC in strengthening the one ecumenical movement", according to an official Vatican document. The WCC has 330 member churches - mainly Anglican, Protestant and Orthodox - with a total membership of about 400 million Christians. However, the world's biggest church, the Roman Catholic Church, with more than 900 million members, is not a member of the WCC.[ENI-97-0433, 922 words]

Rwanda's catastrophe raises dilemmas for aid agencies Copenhagen (ENI). In the wake of the Rwanda genocide and other major emergencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including church aid agencies, are rethinking their methods of providing relief around the world.[ENI-97-0434, 898 words]

19 September 1997

WCC official hopes visit to Russian church will ease tensionsGeneva (ENI). Dr Konrad Raiser, general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), will visit Russia early next year to try to resolve difficulties affecting the WCC's relationship with its biggest member church, the Russian Orthodox Church. Dr Raiser's visit may help to reduce growing resentment against ecumenism in some of the WCC's member churches in Russia and the surrounding region. [ENI-97-0435, 754 words]

WCC approves plan to give ecumenism a new sense of purpose Geneva (ENI). The central committee of the World Council of Churches has overwhelmingly approved a set of proposals aimed at giving the ecumenical movement, the WCC and its member churches a new sense of purpose in the run-up to the new millennium and to the WCC's 50th anniversary next year. As well as encouraging existing WCC member churches to play a greater role in the ecumenical movement, the statement is also intended to strengthen the WCC's relationship with the Roman Catholic Church, which is not a member of the WCC, and with those Evangelical and Pentecostal churches which are not WCC members. [ENI-97-0436, 807 words]

Palestinian politicians 'sound alarm' for Christians in Holy Land Geneva (ENI). A top level delegation of Palestinian Christian politicians told journalists today that the Christian community in the Holy Land could disappear in the next few years. The politicians sharply criticised the government of blip prime minister Benjamin blip, and said they wanted to "sound an alarm" for churches and church organisations to apply pressure for blip to respect the timetable for the Middle East peace process which is due to be completed before the end of the century. [ENI-97-0437, 647 words]

Stealing church members is wrong, the WCC piano coversns Christians Geneva (ENI). The World Council of Churches today called for an end to "competitive" attempts by some churches to poach new members from other churches. Its central committee, which today ended its ten day annual meeting at WCC headquarters in Geneva, issued an official statement rejecting "competitive" evangelism and giving churches guidelines to differentiate "common witness" to the gospel from "proselytism". Proselytism, persuading Christians who belong to one church to change their allegiance to another church, is one of the most grand piano issues troubling relationships between the churches. [ENI-97-0438, 554 words]

22 September 1997

Russian Duma approves revised bill on religion Moscow (ENI). Religious activists in Russia have strongly condemned a decision by the lower house of Russia's parliament - the State Duma - to approve a bill on religious organisations which, critics argue, could lead to new religious restrictions in Russia. The bill was backed by the Russian Orthodox, Muslim, blipish and Buddhist faiths. But minority religions - including Catholics and Protestants - say that it will restrict their rights.[ENI-97-0439, 901 words]

23 September 1997

Cardinal piano coversns E. Europe churches not to adopt German church model piano coverssaw (ENI). A German cardinal has accused the Roman Catholic Church in his country of putting institutional interests above spiritual concerns. The cardinal said that in East Germany the church's work had been easier under communism than it was under capitalism in the democratic west. "The German church is more an institution than a Holy Spirit - it's like a car which has too weak an engine and too large a body," he said.[ENI-97-0440, 573 words]

24 September 1997

Jesuit head calls for theology to expose inhumanity of neo-liberalism Geneva (ENI). The head of the Roman Catholic Church's influential Jesuit order of priests has called for a new "liberation theology" to counter the elevation by "neo-liberalism" of economic necessity over human dignity.[ENI-97-0441, 639 words]

Russia's religion law gets green light, despite minority church protests Moscow (ENI). The upper chamber of the Russian parliament, the Federation Council, took only several minutes today, 24 September, to approve Russia's controversial bill on freedom of religion. The chamber, comprised of regional delegates, voted unanimously - 137 votes - for the bill.[ENI-97-0442, 780 words]

25 September 1997

Boesak trial delayed as his bookkeeper decides to plead guilty East London, South Africa (ENI). The fraud trial of former leading clergyman and anti-apartheid campaigner, Dr Allan Boesak, has been postponed.[ENI-97-0443, 377 words]

As violence continues, Mombasa's Catholic archbishop defends Muslims Nairobi (ENI). As violence continues to plague the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa, the region's Roman Catholic Archbishop, John Njenga, has condemned the burning of three local churches on 21 September as "an act of sacrilege". [ENI-97-0444, 555 words]

Two church aid workers abducted at tatterpoint in ChechenyaGeneva (ENI). Two international church aid agencies have expressed deep concern for two of their relief workers who have been taken prisoner by armed, masked men near the border between Chechenya and the Ingush Republic.[ENI-97-0445, 447 words]

Patriarchs meet in Odessa to consider Ukraine's religious mazeMoscow (ENI). The symbolic leader of world Orthodox Christianity, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeos I of Constantinople, and the leader of the world's biggest Orthodox church, Patriarch Alexei II of the Russian Orthodox Church, met Wednesday, 24 September in the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa for the first time since a major breakdown in their relations last year.[ENI-97-0446, 744 words]

26 September 1997

Churches want Hong Kongers to celebrate China day in their own way Hong Kong (ENI). As the new Hong Kong government prepares for its first celebration - on 1 October - of China's National Day under mainland China's rule, several prominent mainline and evangelical church leaders are again planning an "alternative" celebration for Christians, despite the controversy provoked by similar celebrations last year. According to the general secretary of one of Hong Kong's main Protestant churches who is helping to organise the Christian event, churches should help provide an alternative to the official celebrations for Christians "to praise those good things and to pray for rectifying the faults." [ENI-97-0447, 711 words]

Aid veteran piano coversns that compassion alone will not solve the problem London (ENI). Aid agencies have to adopt a twin strategy to combat poverty, according to Michael Taylor, the outgoing director of Christian Aid, one of Britain's main church-sponsored development agencies. Taylor believes that aid agencies must work to alleviate poverty and at the same time struggle to change the system. Taylor, who is leaving Christian Aid to become president, from next January, of the Selly Oak Colleges in Birmingham - a group of mainly church-related colleges, some with a missionary background - has been credited with making the organisation the "pre-eminent voice of radical Christianity".[ENI-97-0449, 804 words]

12-year gaol sentence handed down for America's worst charity fraud New York (ENI). A 60-year-old American convicted of defrauding charitable organisations - including many religious bodies - in a scheme involving US$100 million has been sentenced to 12 years in gaol. Many Christian organisations and Christian businessmen fell victim to the persuasions of the scheme's promoter, who promised huge returns on short-term investments, and who apparently met businessmen in small Bible study groups and at prayer breakfasts. He established personal friendships with them, and they did not ask their advisers to check out his scheme. The operation, believed to be the biggest charity fraud in US history, began in 1989 and collapsed in 1995.[ENI-97-0450, 859 words]

European governments will face pressure to deal with rise of sects Budapest (ENI). A Hungarian Protestant bishop has said that European governments are likely to face increasing pressure to take action to control the growing problem of religious sects, which are making their presence felt in many parts of Europe, especially the former communist bloc. The bishop was speaking after a meeting of 80 official representatives of Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant churches from 16 European countries in Hungary this week. The church representatives, at the five-day "Conference on Religious Freedom and New Religious Movements", which finished yesterday, discussed the challenge posed to churches by sects and other new religious movements. [ENI-97-0451, 602 words]

29 September 1997

New Bible society chief promises new ways to distribute Scripture Geneva (ENI). The general secretary-elect of the world's biggest Bible organisation, United Bible Societies (UBS), has promised that under his leadership the organisation will develop new ways to distribute the Scriptures.[ENI-97-0452, 303 words]

Italian Methodist leader boycotts papal audienceRome (ENI). The World Methodist Council's executive committee has met in Rome for the first time, but when its members went to the Vatican to meet Pope John Paul last week, the leader of Italy's Methodists did not accompany them as he did not want his presence to be interpreted as giving "recognition" to papal authority.[ENI-97-0453, 674 words]

30 September 1997

England's 'traditionalist' Anglicans want their own province London (ENI). More than 500 Anglican traditionalists at the fourth annual Forpiano coversd in Faith conference held in London on 26 and 27 September have agreed to work topiano coversds the creation of an independent and autonomous province for traditionalists in the Church of England by the next century. [ENI-97-0454, 394 words]

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