Purpose: To increase awareness of and strengthen coordinated efforts through the global Faith-in-Action campaign, launched by Religions for Peace top Religious Leaders and UNICEF Executive Director to mobilize inter-faith commitments of Religious Leaders and Faith representatives including Women of Faith and Interfaith Youth Network Members to support the specific calls to action; to equip these Influencers with a standard set of global guidance with messages and resources that can be customized for local use and to share existing examples of best practices to motivate others.
RfP senior Religious Leaders, Members of regional and national IRCs and some district religious leaders, Women of Faith, Interfaith Youth Network
Representatives from Ministries of Religion and related ministries
International FBOs from the FPCC Advisory Group with regional/national capacity
UNICEF technical leads from HQ, regional, country office and field office level
WHO Regional representative
Others at discretion of RfP Regional Secretary Generals according to community engagement protocol
On April 16, 2020, JLI held a webinar where participants shared their reflections on the implications of the current situation for religion and development research, including the field in general but also their own research. Participants also shared practical resources and adaptations that have been useful to research and teaching at this time. Olivia Wilkinson, JLI Director of Research did a brief presentation of JLI’s Faith and COVID-19 Resource Repository with Berkley.
In an unprecedented and fast evolving global crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic challenges both global health and religious practice in profound ways. Two recent events, on March 11 and April 6, organized by the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University, reflect a continuing effort to learn from evolving experience, with a focus on communities that face large vulnerabilities and enhancing individual and collective responses from religious communities to the crisis. The intention is to continue this series of discussions in different formats, some taking a broad view and some more focused on specific topics and communities.
On April 16, conveners of the Faith and COVID-19: Resource Repository, Katherine Marshall, David Robinson, and Olivia Wilkinson, will be joined by two people who are directly involved in COVID-19 responses in Liberia and South Africa:
Sister Barbara Brillant, FMM, of Mother Patern College of Health Sciences and the National Catholic Health Council of Liberia, and
Daleen Raubenheimer-Foot, technical advisor for Channels of Hope at World Vision.
The goal is to add to our knowledge about what is happening at country and community levels and to ensure continued learning from experience.
High schools are the primary setting where refugees (youth as well as adults) learn about different cultures, improve language abilities, and acquire crucial life skills for further growth and development. However, educational spaces (including informal and non-formal) also provide a platform for the acculturation of students, not just in academic terms, but also through better understanding of the host community.
Providing refugees and migrants with opportunities for inclusive, quality education ensures smooth integration for both the newly arrived and their host communities.
The use of dialogue to support education is also vital, because it provides refugees with an increased understanding of their rights, supports them in language learning and helps them to better engage with their host country’s culture. Additionally, dialogue is useful for host communities as lack of awareness about culture and religion, as well as about the religious beliefs of others, can lead to discrimination and reduce the capacity of communities to deal with change and meet the needs of citizens.
Welcoming experts in the fields of intercultural education and migration, this webinar will explore the role education plays in shaping the social inclusion of refugees and migrants in Europe, as well as examine present challenges and opportunities.
The webinar is April 16 at 3 pm CET/ 2 pm UK/ 9 am ET
April 6, 2020 | The COVID-19 pandemic challenges both global health and religious practice in profound and still evolving ways. Religious institutions, beliefs, leaders, and practices have vital roles to play—positive and less positive—in the ongoing coronavirus crisis and response. This applies equally across all affected countries and communities, though reactions and responses differ quite widely. In this rapidly evolving situation, religious voices should be part of the broad policy exchange, based on an informed and nuanced understanding of developments. This conversation follows an exploratory discussion at the Berkley Center on March 11 that inspired the development of an online resource repository to gather faith responses to COVID-19. The discussion will focus on three broad areas where religious actors have large roles to play: (a) challenges centered on safe religious gatherings and adaptations of rituals, (b) challenges of building trust, including interfaith government/religious relationships, and promoting effective communication, and (c) outreach to vulnerable communities. The event will explore a planned series of meetings focused on specific topics arising from the COVID-19 faith response, and will thus seek inputs and differing perspectives.
JOINT STATEMENT FROM UNICEF AND RELIGIONS FOR PEACE
NEW YORK, 7 April 2020 – The COVID-19 pandemic has presented us with an unprecedented global challenge, touching every community in every nation of the world. The pandemic is causing systems of work, education, finance and domestic lives to grind to a halt, affecting nearly every aspect of people’s lives.
As the pandemic continues wreaking unimaginable sickness and increasing death tolls, we are particularly aware of the increased vulnerability of children, families and in particular girls. Children are facing a range of challenges to their health and safety: school closures, high levels of emotional distress, higher risks of violence and increased food insecurity. We are also seeing an increase in the number of orphans and in the incidence of other diseases due to the break in vaccination services. And we are seeing a growing need for financial and material support for households hardest hit by loss of income and resulting strains.
Today, as multitudes prepare for diverse religious observances (including Passover, Easter, Ramadan and Vaisakhi (Vesak) and Ridván), Religions for Peace (RfP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), are joining forces to launch a global Multi-Religious Faith-in-Action Covid-19 Initiative to raise awareness of the impacts of this pandemic on the world’s youngest citizens.
The Initiative reflects the unique and critical roles played by religious leaders and actor, in influencing values, attitudes, behaviors and actions that affect the development and wellbeing of the world’s children. The Initiative will be coordinated by the global partnership on Faith and Positive Change for Children, Families and Communities , which involves Religions for Peace’s Interreligious Councils, including senior leaders of the world’s religious and spiritual traditions – Bahai, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islamic, Jain, Jewish, Sikh, Zoroastrian and Indigenous spirituality. It also includes interfaith youth and women’s networks, in collaboration with the Joint Learning Initiative of Local Faith Communities (JLI) with its membership of International Faith-Based organizations.
This global partnership now commits to strengthening multi-religious action and community mobilization, in countering the COVID-19 pandemic. The global Multi-Religious Faith-in-Action Covid-19 Initiative calls upon all communities across the world, together with governments, UN entities, and broad civil society organisations, to join forces to:
…Faith gatherings, rituals and services in keeping with the RfP-ACT Alliance Statement and WHO Guidance on religious mass gatherings, burials and rituals, to:
Honour international and national health authorities’ guidance on public gatherings, physical distancing and other critical matters of public health related to faith community gatherings, services and rituals such as funerals, marriages and births for the health and safety of religious followers while developing alternative pastoral approaches.
…Heightened focus on hygiene and sanitation in keeping with religious teachings and sacred texts that emphasize cleanliness as an element of holiness.
…Listening, to children and families, through organized spaces for dialogue on-line, through media and where permitted house-to-house, and within small group fora (keeping distance).
…Intergenerational dialogue to give voice to girls, boys together with parents and communities to find solutions to issues surrounding the epidemic.
…Voices of faith and wider community engagement to inform local responses as well as national policy-making and programmes.
…All forms of stigma and discrimination associated with transmission of the disease with active promotion of attitudes and behaviours to uphold the dignity and rights of all people.
…Active engagement of networks of religious communities including faith-based women, and youth, in collaboration with local governance structures, to provide organized voluntary services in:
Spiritual and emotional care and support for parents, children, the elderly and those experiencing disruption and distress in order to provide a source of support, peace, comfort and hope.
Positive age-specific and gender-responsive parenting guidance and support to families in relation to the health, development, protection and social and emotional wellbeing of children and young people, particularly those in low-income families and those most vulnerable and hardest to reach.
Youth-friendly communication and engagement including their support with more systematic use of technology and social media as a connective communication platform for communities during periods of physical distancing and beyond.
We stand united in this global Inter-faith moment of hope and solidarity for the survival, protection and development of our children, families and communities.
Religions for Peace Moderators:
Dr. Vinu Aram
Director, Shanti Ashram
Co-Moderator, Religions for Peace
Rev. Kosho Niwano
President-Designate, Rissho Kosei-Kai
Co-Moderator, Religions for Peace
H.E. Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah
President, Forum for Peace in Muslim Societies, Abu Dhabi
Co-Moderator, Religions for Peace
H.E. Metropolitan Emmanuel
Metropolitan of France, Ecumenical Patriarchate
Co-Moderator, Religions for Peace
With the following Religions for Peace Leadership:
Ms. Bani Dugal, Principal Representative to the UN, Bahá’í International Community; Co-President, Religions for Peace
Mr. Homi Gandhi, President, Federation of Zoroastrian Associations of North America; Co-President, Religions for Peace
The Most Rev. Antje Jackelen, Archbishop of Uppsala, Primate of Sweden, Church of Sweden; Co-President, Religions for Peace
H.E. Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje, Grand Mufti, Uganda; Co-Moderator, African Council of Religious Leaders- Religions for Peace
H.E. John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Archbishop Emeritus of Abuja, Nigeria; Honorary President, Religions for Peace
Ms. Aruna Oswal, Vice President, World Jain Confederation; Co-President, Religions for Peace
Grand-Father Dominique Rankin, Algonquin Hereditary Grand Chief; Co-President, Religions for Peace
Chief Rabbi David Rosen, KSG CBE, International Director of Interreligious Affairs, American Jewish Committee; Co-President, Religions for Peace
Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh, OBE KSG, Chairman, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha; Co-President, Religions for Peace
The COVID-19 pandemic challenges both global health and religious practice in profound and still evolving ways. Religious institutions, beliefs, leaders, and practices have vital roles to play—positive and less positive—in the ongoing coronavirus crisis and response. This applies equally across all affected countries and communities, though reactions and responses differ quite widely. In this rapidly evolving situation, religious voices should be part of the broad policy exchange, based on an informed and nuanced understanding of developments.
This conversation follows an exploratory discussion at the Berkley Center on March 11 that inspired the development of an online resource repository to gather faith responses to COVID-19. The discussion will focus on three broad areas where religious actors have large roles to play: (a) challenges centered on safe religious gatherings and adaptations of rituals, (b) challenges of building trust, including interfaith government/religious relationships, and promoting effective communication, and (c) outreach to vulnerable communities. The event will explore a planned series of meetings focused on specific topics arising from the COVID-19 faith response, and will thus seek inputs and differing perspectives.
Moderated by outgoing World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, the televised 80-minute invites all member churches and partners around the world, as well as the public, to learn more about pertinent issues, such as:
Why collaboration at all levels in society is important and how faith communities can contribute in containing the COVID-19 pandemic, along with health authorities and governments.
How church leaders’ constituencies are responding to the pandemic, and how they are accompanying their congregations.
How to ensure that information received from WHO is distributed and is adhered to.
How to uphold church life, worship services and convene congregations in conditions of a total shutdown.
Key aspects of church practices and traditions, that can assist us during quarantine and isolation.
How do we deal with stigma and discrimination against certain nationalities that have surfaced along with the pandemic?
Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, WCC general secretary (moderator)
Dr Mathews George Chunakara, general secretary of the Christian Conference of Asia
Sarah Hess, WHO Information Network for Epidemics (EPI-WIN), Health Emergencies Programme
Rev. Dr Hyunju Bae, Presbyterian Church of Korea, member of the WCC Executive Committee
Archbishop Job of Telmessos, Permanent Representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the WCC, and Rector of the Institute of Post-Graduate Studies in Orthodox Theology in Chambésy, Switzerland
Ebun James, general secretary, Council of Churches of Sierra Leone
Dr Olivia Wilkinson, director of Research, Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities, Washington DC, USA
Dr Katherine Marshall, professor of Practice and Senior Fellow, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University and Executive Director, World Faiths Development Dialogue
Dr Mwai Makoka, WCC programme executive for Health and Healing
“All in all, a diverse panel of experts in relevant fields, which we hope can shed light on urgent issues,” Tveit concludes.
Humanitarian Disaster Institute in partnership with National Association of Evangelicals Summit – March 2020. It will be live until Easter:
COVID-19 Church Online Summit
Here’s the press release: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/online-summit-to-help-churches-face-covid-19-outbreak-starts-thursday-301030042.html
As well as a write-up by RNS: https://religionnews.com/2020/03/26/surgeon-general-disaster-experts-advise-church-leaders-in-covid-19-online-summit/
Register at https://www.covid19churchsummit.com/
If you’d like to share via social media, here’s a social media toolkit with graphics and suggested posts: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1qjKgTo68iSRYcWLJS7qN0W5yOkqOMmMO?usp=sharing
The resource webpage features recent HDI articles and media outreach to help equip churches for the coronavirus. https://www.wheaton.edu/academics/academic-centers/humanitarian-disaster-institute/covid-19/
Preparedness Manual and Planning Template
We also just published two new resources on the resource page: (1) “Preparing Your Church for Coronavirus (COVID-19): A Step-by-Step, Research-Informed and Faith-Based Planning Manual” and “Coronavirus Church Planning Template.” One of the unique features about this manual and template is that pastors and church leaders can download, complete, and save their plan digitally.
Beginning on Friday, March 13th (noon CST) we started a new time-limited webinar series on church preparedness and response to COVID-19. We plan to continue to offer a new webinar each week on the same day and time as needed to help churches adapt to the potential changing needs and challenges ahead.
All these materials are free and without cost to users and can be found at:https://www.wheaton.edu/academics/academic-centers/humanitarian-disaster-institute/covid-19/