The Middle East Council of Churches: The Turkish Government’s decision to convert the “Hagia Sophia” church into a mosque is Violation of religious freedom and coexistence
July 11, 2020 - Following the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's signature on the Turskish Supreme Court’s decision to transform the Hagia Sophia Church into a mosque, the Middle East Council of Churches issued a statement through its General Secretariat considering that this decision is an assault on religious freedom, the freedom that has become the cornerstone in international consciousness and that is protected by international laws. Therefore, the MECC calls for a decisive position from the United Nations and the League of Arab States by filing a legal appeal of the Turkish Supreme Court’s decision to find justice based on the principles of religious freedom, as well as preserving the historical symbolism represented by the Church of "Hagia Sophia".
Located on the European side of the Bosphorus, the Feriköy Protestant Cemetery has been the main burial place for Istanbul’s Protestant (and otherwise non-Catholic or Orthodox) foreign community for just over 160 years. Its roughly 5,000 dead from many nations include about 200 US citizens, the largest number of Americans interred at any cemetery in Turkey. Americans helped establish the burial ground in the 1850s and have continued to play a key role in its care until today.Read more
Written by Fiona Kendall, European and Legal Affairs Advisor, Mediterranean Hope
and Mission Co-Worker jointly appointed by Global Ministries and the Church of Scotland
As the world faces a new challenge, this seems an appropriate time to write to you all with an update on the work being carried out by Mediterranean Hope (MH) and how we are experiencing the current situation. Tough operational decisions have had to be made within a rapid time-frame. However, we remain committed to carrying out what work we can with due regard for the current health situation and attendant measures. [See below for ways to support these efforts.]Read more
Churches on EU-Turkey border: Show solidarity, respect rights and human dignity
The Conference of European Churches (CEC) and the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME) have expressed deep concern on rising tensions at the EU-Turkey border. Speaking from Brussels, general secretaries of both European ecumenical organizations voiced alarm over reports of violence against persons trying to cross border between Turkey and EU countries, and those who are assisting them.Read more
The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) has long called for official recognition by the United States government of the Armenian Genocide. Therefore, we strongly urge the U.S. House of Representatives next week to pass House Resolution 296 which recognizes and memorializes the Armenian Genocide.Read more
A high-level delegation from CEC recently visited headquarters of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) in Beirut, Lebanon, 11 to 13 April.
The visit was meant for European churches to recognise the urgency of deepening relations with churches in the Middle East and to learn from one another. The visit comes at a time when there are heightened tension internationally with regards to the conflict in Syria and on-going wars in the region – and – the ensuing refugee crisis.
Five years after retiring to California from our appointed work in Turkey, we unexpectedly received an invitation to return. The Health and Education Foundation in Turkey asked us to join them on a weekend in May for the historical dedication of a new school campus (see photo). We had worked as colleagues with the Foundation for several years before our retirement, so we knew what this invitation meant, and we were honored to accept.Read more
As a fellow mission partner and believer, I am writing to you in the important work that generations of missionaries have, and continue to contribute, to assist those living in poverty, battling illness and facing persecution. The UCC's work in Armenia is an extension of the missionaries' credo of going to serve where God has called you.Read more
Dr. Frank Andrews Stone
January 12, 1929 - March 6, 2014
World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, condemns the latest terrorist attack against people in Istanbul celebrating the New Year.Read more