World Council of Churches - News Release
Contact: +41 22 791 6153 +41 79 507 6363 media@...
For immediate release - 03/09/2008 11:32:41
WCC DELEGATION VISITS GEORGIA AND RUSSIA
A pastoral delegation from the World Council of Churches (WCC) will visit
Russia and Georgia from 3 to 7 September. The delegation will listen to WCC
member churches in both countries, encourage their efforts for peace and
visit people displaced by the recent violence as well as church aid
"We expect this visit to encourage Christians in both countries to keep
talking to each other and praying for each other," says Elenora Giddings
Ivory, WCC director of Public Witness and Global Advocacy. "If Christians in
Georgia and Russia manage not to allow the divide between their countries to
separate them, they may help their governments to move towards a peaceful
resolution of the conflict."
The delegation expects to meet with high-level representatives of the
Russian Orthodox Church, Georgian Orthodox Church and others. The delegation
will visit humanitarian work of Action by Churches Together (ACT)
International and its local partners. ACT International is a WCC-backed
coordination body for emergency relief.
Members of the WCC delegation are:
Metropolitan Nifon of Targoviste, Romanian Orthodox Church (head of the
delegation); Rev. Jean-Arnold de Clermont, Reformed Church of France,
president of the Conference of European Churches; Rev. László Lehel,
director of Hungarian Interchurch Aid, on behalf of ACT International; Rev.
Elenora Giddings Ivory, director of Public Witness and Global Advocacy,
World Council of Churches; Mr Jonathan Frerichs, WCC programme executive
(Middle East and nuclear disarmament).
On 12 August, the World Council of Churches and the Conference of European
Churches called for prayers and assistance for those affected by the
conflict in the Caucasus, expressing alarm and distress at the use of force
in the dispute over South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
The ecumenical organizations affirmed the interventions of the Russian
Orthodox Church, the Georgian Orthodox Church as well as the Evangelical
Baptist Church of Georgia, all of which had called for a ceasefire, a
negotiated solution to the conflict and urgent relief for those affected.
"We encourage churches around the world to support these sister churches and
the international ecumenical emergency appeal (
)initiated by Action by Churches Together," a joint WCC-CEC statement said.
Media contact in Georgia/Russia: +41-79-814-5637
The full text of the 12 August WCC-CEC statement is available
Action by Churches Together:
Conference of European Churches:
Additional information:Juan Michel,+41 22 791 6153 +41 79 507
The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and
service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches
founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 349 Protestant, Orthodox,
Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in
over 110 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church.
The WCC general secretary is Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, from the Methodist Church
in Kenya. Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.