Saturday, May 29, 2010

the religion-racism paradox

Ecumenical News International News Highlights
28 May 2010

US study analyses 'the religion-racism paradox'

New York (ENI). A recent study analysing a half century of research and data
on race and religion in the United States has concluded that religious
belief does not inoculate believers from racial prejudice - a finding its
authors call "the religion-racism paradox". The study is entitled, "Why
Don't We Practice What We Preach? A Meta-Analytic Review of Religious
Racism," One of conclusion of the study is that religious racism "partly
reflects intergroup dynamics," the study. News about the study is carried by Such racism, "arises because religions are social
groups," said Wendy Wood, a social psychologist who teaches at the
University of Southern California and one of the authors of the study, which
was first released in February. [467 words, ENI-10-0360]

ENI Online -

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  • Friday, May 14, 2010

    A Prayer of Great Urgency - From Chief Arvol Looking Horse

    A Great Urgency

    To All World Religious and Spiritual Leaders
    My Relatives,

    Time has come to speak to the hearts of our Nations and their Leaders. I ask you this from the bottom of my heart, to come together from the Spirit of your Nations in prayer.

    We, from the heart of Turtle Island, have a great message for the World; we are guided to speak from all the White Animals showing their sacred color, which have been signs for us to pray for the sacred life of all things.

    I am sending this message to you, many Animal Nations are being threatened, those that swim, those that crawl, those that fly, and the plant Nations, eventually all will be affect from the oil disaster in the Gulf.

    The dangers we are faced with at this time are not of spirit. The catastrophe that has happened with the oil spill which looks like the bleeding of Grandmother Earth, is made by human mistakes, mistakes that we cannot afford to continue to make.

    I asked, as Spiritual Leaders, that we join together, united in prayer with the whole of our Global Communities. My concern is these serious issues will continue to worsen, as a domino effect that our Ancestors have warned us of in their Prophecies.

    I know in my heart there are millions of people that feel our united prayer for the sake of our Grandmother Earth are long overdue. I believe we as Spiritual people must gather ourselves and focus our thoughts and prayers to allow the healing of the many wounds that have been inflicted on the Earth.

    As we honor the Cycle of Life, let us call for Prayer circles globally to assist in healing Grandmother Earth (our Unc I Maka).

    We ask for prayers that the oil spill, this bleeding, will stop. That the winds stay calm to assist in the work. Pray for the people to be guided in repairing this mistake, and that we may also seek to live in harmony, as we make the choice to change the destructive path we are on.
    As we pray, we will fully understand that we are all connected. And that what we create can have lasting effects on all life.

    So let us unite spiritually, All Nations, All Faiths, One Prayer. Along with this immediate effort, I also ask to please remember June 21st, World Peace and Prayer Day/Honoring Sacred Sites day. Whether it is a Natural site, a temple, a church, a synagogue or just your own sacred space, let us make a prayer for all life, for good decision making by our Nations, for our children's future and well-being, and the generations to come.

    Onipikte (that we shall live),

    Chief Arvol Looking Horse
    19th generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe

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  • Tuesday, May 11, 2010

    Taking the pulse of the ecumenical movement

    World Council of Churches - Feature


    For immediate release: 11 May 2010

    Church ecumenical officers play a key role in the advancement of ecumenism
    at a time when resources are scarce and inward-looking tendencies thrive.

    "I regard you as the group that is closest to us in our daily work", the
    World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
    told a gathering of church ecumenical officers on Tuesday, 4 May.

    A former ecumenical officer himself, Tveit emphasized the crucial relevance
    of the ecumenical officers' work: "Serving the churches in their response to
    the call to seek Christian unity, nurturing opportunities for the churches
    to be one in faith, prayer and service, encouraging their witness for
    justice and peace - these are indeed huge tasks, sometimes quite demanding."

    Some 55 ecumenical officers from as many churches and all over the world met
    at the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey, near Geneva, 4-6 May. The network of
    ecumenical officers of WCC member churches meets once every year,
    alternating global and regional gatherings.

    Walking the paths of ecumenism

    The Rev. Grace Moon, from the Presbyterian Church of Korea, found the
    encounter with fellow ecumenical officers "amazingly helpful". Being her
    first meeting of this kind, she discovered a rich of insights on a number of
    issues. "I've been able to learn ecumenical methodologies to address, for
    instance, gender issues", she said.

    Although "most Koreans are unaware of the ecumenical movement and the WCC,
    they live out the three dimensions of the WCC's ecumenical vision - unity,
    witness and service - in their daily church life", Moon pointed out. The
    Presbyterian Church of Korea is a member of the National Council of Churches
    in Korea, which will host the WCC 10th Assembly in Busan, Korea in 2013.

    For Moon, the ecumenical movement is not structures but an ongoing process:
    "It has to do with the life of the churches", she said. One of her
    challenges as ecumenical officer is to convey to faithful and leadership the
    view that ecumenism "is not about an agenda to fulfill or outcomes to
    achieve, but about embracing the diversity of Christian traditions". "This
    is the most valuable insight we gain from the WCC", Moon added.

    The meeting was also a first for Metropolitan Mor Eustathius Matta Roham,
    from the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East.
    Although as a member of the WCC central committee he is well aware of the
    discussions held at these gatherings, he found it very useful - in
    particular, he appreciated the sharing of information about the upcoming
    International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (Link: ) to take place
    in Kingston, Jamaica, from 17-25 May 2011. The Convocation will be the
    climax of the WCC's Decade to Overcome Violence 2001-2010 (Link: ).

    The four themes in which the Convocation is to focus - peace in the
    community, with the Earth, in the marketplace and among the peoples - are
    very relevant for the Middle East context, said Matta Roham. "For instance
    when we talk about peace in the community, we are talking about neighbors,
    and from a Christian viewpoint, that is a concept which embraces all human
    beings, all communities, not just those who are closer to me or live near by

    Peace among the peoples also translates very concretely in the Middle East
    context. "We see war between nations and competition for nuclear weapons",
    Matta Roham said. "However, we need not nuclear weapons in any Middle
    Eastern country, but to develop technologies that serve the common good."

    For the Rev. Juan Abelardo Schvindt, from the Evangelical Church of the
    River Plate (Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay), participating at the
    gathering of ecumenical officers allowed him to gain insights on the ongoing
    efforts of the WCC to refocus its programmatic work and redefine its agenda.
    "We learnt how the WCC is trying to find its place in a world and church
    landscape that have changed", he said.

    One of the biggest challenges Schvindt faces as ecumenical officer is the
    need to "rebuild trust" amongst ecumenical actors in order to achieve a
    renewed agenda. The vitality of the ecumenical movement of the 70s and 80s
    has suffered under the pressure of inward-looking tendencies in the
    churches. "The goal isn't to suppress the churches own identities, but to
    find a space of convergence where they can cooperate and express their unity
    in a visible form", he said.

    Another challenge is the scarcity of resources, said the Rev. Dr Gail Allan,
    from the United Church of Canada. "Everybody is struggling to work with
    reduced capacity", she said. In part, the decrease in resources is due to a
    growing conservatism that affects the Canadian society and impacts the
    funding not only of churches but also NGOs.

    This scarcity "may actually be an opportunity", said Allan, "as it is a
    challenge to strengthen our joint prophetic witness, which may become
    stronger at the end." This view, together with a number of hopeful signs,
    like the growing membership of the Canadian Council of Churches, justifies
    Allan's optimism.

    Strong denominationalism is the biggest challenge for the ecumenical
    movement in Ghana, said the Rev. Dr Samuel Ayete Nyampong, from the
    Presbyterian Church of Ghana. "This tendency to see ourselves as different
    from others divides us", said Ayete. "We need to build stronger ecumenical
    ties so we can sacrifice our self-interest and pull resources and ideas
    together; we ought to see ourselves as belonging to one fellowship in

    Encountering fellow ecumenical officers allowed Ayete to hear other
    churches' stories and learn from their challenges. "I can bring home
    information my church wouldn't have received if I hadn't been here", said
    Ayete. "Learning that others are going through similar struggles makes us
    Africans to feel we are not alone."

    [930 words]

    WCC's Decade to Overcome Violence (Link: )

    International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (Link: )

    The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and
    service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches
    founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 349 Protestant, Orthodox,
    Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in
    over 110 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church.
    The WCC general secretary is Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, from the [Lutheran]
    Church of Norway. Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.

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