The World Council of Churches (WCC) will join the Day of Prayer and Fasting for South Sudan and for the Democratic Republic of Congo, launched by Pope Francis on February 23rd in response to endless social and political tension and violence in the two nations. It was announced earlier today by the general secretary of the ecumenical organisation, pastor Olav Fykse Tveit, at the ceremony organised in Geneva to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the foundation of WCC, where a lecture was given by the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. In a release, WCC points out that 4.3 million people have been evacuated in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and this year 13.1 million people will need humanitarian assistance. In South Sudan, in the last four years of the conflict, 2 million people have fled the nation and about 1.9 million people have been evacuated within the country. Another 7 million people in the country – almost two thirds of the population – need humanitarian assistance. Pastor Olav Fykse Tveit sent a letter to the Churches of WCC, insisting that it as above all children, young people and women who are hit hardest by crises. “Millions of women and girls are exposed to all sorts of abuse in these areas affected by the crisis”. It was card. Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, who wrote a letter to the general secretary of WCC to tell him that Pope Francis wished to ask Christians of all Churches, to the devotees of the other religious traditions and to all the people of good will to join this initiative in the ways they will deem appropriate. “On that day, the prayers of all Christians for the gift of peace – the cardinal wrote – would be a genuine proof of solidarity and sympathy with all the people who suffer in those nations and above all with the many Christians of different churches who live there, and it would also be an actual step forward in the shared testimony of the Gospel of peace, which the world so badly needs”.