December 23, 2009

Dear KAIROS Network, Volunteers, Supporters and Friends,

Christmas is an eternal moment of recognizing God-with-us, Emmanuel, and God beside us and around us.

This time of year also holds Hanukkah, Eid el-Adha and other religious traditions and for many a time of family, and a pause.

Sometimes we take a deep breath, searching through the darkness for light.

Thank you for being part of that light that is there and stretching towards us.

This past month has been painful, with a total cut of government funding for KAIROS global partnerships and global education. This was followed by an even more shocking revelation in a government statement at 'The Global Forum to Counter Anti-Racism in Jerusalem' on Dec 16th --that KAIROS was cut based on the outrageous premise that we are Anti-Semitic.

Thousands of people, organizations, unions and groups in Canada and overseas, those who are part of the KAIROS family and others reaching out in solidarity, are creating a momentum of support for KAIROS’ work that is transforming KAIROS and helping us work for a better world.

Staff, board and volunteers feel the strength of the ecumenical movement for social justice possibly more clearly than ever. We can also see that this ecumenical movement is part of broader movements for peace and justice around the world.

Global Partners are victims of the cuts: Heirs of Justice in the Congo with their planned legal clinic for women raped in the brutal conflict there; members of the Women’s Popular Organization in Colombia who lose funding for life-saving protection against rampant human rights abuses.

As always, we draw inspiration from them. When Pascal Kabungulu, former Director of Heirs of Justice was murdered by paramilitary in front of his family, others carried on the work with renewed passion and dedication. His widow Deborah continues to work with KAIROS for the Congo and for Heirs of Justice from Ottawa where she now lives with her children. Leaders of the Women’s Popular Organization continue their work despite ongoing death threats from the paramilitary.

KAIROS also continues its work for human rights and ecological sustainability, and your donations are a critical part of this.

We thank God for being present in this moment of crisis and hope. We thank you for your commitment to a world without poverty or oppression.

Christmas blessings, peace -- and gratitude -- to you and your families from the KAIROS Board and Staff.

Cheryl Curtis, Chairperson and Mary Corkery, Executive Director.


KAIROS has received a level of support since the CIDA cuts that is truly humbling and inspiring. Clear statements of dismay, solidarity and encouragement from all our member churches, dozens of NGOs and all the opposition political parties, uncountable letters from individual supporters, and, perhaps most moving of all, the letters coming from our overseas partners describing what the impacts of the funding cuts will have on them.
Please visit any or all of the above links for a picture of what KAIROS has been experiencing the last weeks.

archbishop desmond tutu

"The Church in Southern Africa is deeply indebted to the churches in Canda for their prayers, ecumenical actions and solidarity in overcoming the scourge of apartheid. The initiatives of the Canadian churches through KAIROS have inspired continued faithful ecumenical action not nly in Africa but around the world to uphold human rights. The world needs more of KAIROS Canada. It would be an unparalleled setback for the poor, vulnerable and disenfranchised if the voice and work of KAIROS in the global south is muted."

- Archbishop Desmond Tutu, December 9, 2009



On December 13 well over 300 churches of all denominations (and let's not forget DR Congo and Peru!) rang their bells as part of a global action timed to coincide with the ecumenical service of the World Council of Churches in Copenhagen. A wave of ringing swept across Canada that Sunday. We've created a google map with all the churches that participated (you can zoom right in to your own church!).

KAIROS Bell Ringers map >>

We've also been keeping a blog of all the photos and stories that poured in from all across the country and they're pretty amazing! Lots of kids and, in true Canadian tradition, lots of cold!

Enjoy the Blog by clicking here >>

Click here to read the Sermon for the Ecumenical Celebration at Copenhagen Cathedral, delivered by The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, on December 13, to start the bell-ringing worldwide.


copenhagen 2009 - logo

Back from the UN climate talks, KAIROS staffperson Ian Thomson has posted his final blog entry, reflecting on a turbulent two weeks in Copenhagen and what it means for our work to help solve the climate crisis and build a more just world.

“World leaders failed to reach an agreement in Copenhagen this month that will end our collective over-dependence on fossil fuels and prevent catastrophic climate change. This was a lost opportunity of historic proportions. For KAIROS and our global partners who are committed to achieving climate justice, Copenhagen was a setback but it is also a moment to sharpen our resolve.”

Indigenous Peoples and Oil and Gas Development

After generations of having their lands and societies damaged by unbridled natural resource exploitation, Indigenous peoples in Canada have had enough. Today, First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples are demanding more control over resource extraction projects on their territories. This paper by Ed Bianchi looks at how Indigenous peoples’ efforts to protect and promote their cultures, values and rights are influencing their response to oil and gas and mining initiatives.

Click here to read and/or download a copy of ‘Indigenous Peoples and Oil and Gas Development’.

For more information contact Ed Bianchi, Indigenous Rights Program Coordinator, at

donate to KAIROS



- Executive Director Environmental Rights Action
- Chairman Friends of the Earth

Nnimmo Bassey

Nnimmo Bassey is a Nigerian human/environmental rights activist. He is the executive director of the Environmental Rights Action (ERA) – Nigeria’s foremost environmental rights advocacy group, and chair, Friends of the Earth International – the world’s largest federation of grassroots organisations fighting for environmental and social justice. Bassey is a member of the international steering committee of Oilwatch International. Nnimmo Bassey is also a practicing architect in Nigeria as well as a published writer and poet.

Environmental Rights Action (ERA) is a Nigerian advocacy group dedicated to the defence of the human ecosystem in terms of human rights. ERA is the Nigerian chapter of Friends of the Earth International. ERA is also coordinating NGOs in Africa for Oilwatch International and is the premier winner of the Sophie prize for excellence and courage in the struggle for environmental justice.

Read Nnimmo Bassey's moving address to the Klimaforum alternative summit in Copenhagen, Dec.7, 2009 (pdf) >>


advent wreath

Excerpt from 'Those Who Saw the Star'

The Word became the seed-of-justice
and we conceived peace.

The Word cried out to the world the truth
about the struggle against inhumanity.

The Word made justice to rain
and peace came forth from the furrows in the land.

And we saw its glory in the eyes of the poor
converted into true men and women.

Grace and Truth celebrated together
in the laughter of the children rescued by life.

And those-who-saw-the-star,
opened up for us,
the path we now follow.

- Julia Esquivel