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January 2014

TEHRAN – Concluding a full three-day visit to Tehran, The Elders offered their support to the people of Iran during this period of renewed openness and dialogue. Among the issues discussed during the visit were: easing of regional tensions; the spread of extremist violence internationally; human rights; and the Syrian crisis. The Elders including Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, believe Iran should be part of the solution to the Syrian crisis.The Elders welcomed and supported the progress being made in the international negotiations over Iran’s nuclear programme.

Months before U.S. Army General Martin Dempsey became the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he approached business consultant Ori Brafman. The General wanted to know how the army could anticipate what the country’s next enemy might look like. To Dempsey’s surprise Brafman told him that, in order to figure that out, the General had to create more chaos in the army! Brafman’s point was that the army, like most organizations, has no system that allows unusual ideas to flow in order to encourage innovation. He said the army was like the medieval Church, “a massive bureaucracy with a powerful, entrenched, values-driven culture and a clear sense of purpose.” The danger is that these kinds of organizations become too structured, and no new ideas can grow.

Traditionally celebrated each year between 18 and 25 January (in the northern hemisphere) or at Pentecost (in the southern hemisphere), the week brings together in prayer Christians from diverse confessional backgrounds. Since 1968, the liturgical and biblical material for the annual week of prayer has been jointly coordinated by the World Council of Churches (WCC) Faith and Order Commission and by the Roman Catholic Church through the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. This year’s week of prayer materials were prepared by a group of writers led by the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism, Montréal...

[Episcopal News Service] The remains of the two most iconic symbols of Holy Trinity Cathedral in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, — its murals and its bells — are entombed today on the cathedral grounds awaiting resurrection. Episcopalians have an opportunity on the fourth anniversary of the earthquake that devastated wide swaths of the country, to hasten that resurrection. Already, there is new life in other parts of the diocese’s ministries. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has called on the church to “pray and give” in a special 'anniversary' offering to help the Diocese of Haiti rebuild Holy Trinity Cathedral. ...Jefferts Schori said in her invitation that “rebuilding the cathedral offers hope not only to Episcopalians but to the nation as a whole – a sign that God is present, that God continues to create out of dust, and that God abides in the spirit of his people.”

The archbishop of Canterbury has urged people to adopt a New Year's resolution of tackling poverty in their own neighbourhoods. But the archbishop said in his first New Year's message as head of the Church of England that many people were struggling in spite of many signs of hope. He recommended taking up a pledge this year to try to "change the world a bit where we are" .

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