World Council of Churches Office of Communication
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E-mail: media

9 March 2000

WCC general secretary's visit to the Philippines and Indonesia will focus on social justice and reconciliation

Issues of social and economic justice in the context of globalization, as well as aspects of reconciliation and conflict resolution will be among the topics addressed by the general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser, during his visit to the Philippines and Indonesia from 11 to 25 March. This is Raiser's first visit to the churches of the Philippines and Indonesia as general secretary of the WCC.

During his stay in the Philippines from 11 - 17 March, the WCC general secretary will meet with representatives of WCC member churches and the National Council of Churches. The issue of prime concern to the churches now is how to push ahead with a process of sustainable development based on social justice, against the background of globalization and the economic crisis in Asia, Raiser says.

Raiser is also anxious to gain first-hand knowledge of efforts for reconciliation between Muslims and Christians. Conflicts between them break out regularly, particularly in the south of the country. Besides the capital, Manila, Raiser's visit will therefore also take him to Mindanao, on Monday 13 March, where he will visit both the Southern Christian Leadership College and a Muslim village. On this occasion he will also take part in inter-religious prayers.

Questions of reconciliation and justice will be very much on the agenda during Raiser's visit to Indonesia from 17 - 25 March.

The WCC general secretary will meet for talks with church leaders from Irian Jaya and the Moluccan Islands, as well as representatives of the Chinese ethnic minority. Raiser hopes these conversations will furnish "detailed background information which will enable the WCC to continue to develop its initiatives for overcoming violence and conflict resolution in the region". At the same time, Raiser wishes to emphasize the readiness of the WCC and its member churches to stand by people in the conflict zones.

On Monday 20 March, the WCC general secretary will have conversations with political leaders, including the Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid. To conclude his visit, Raiser will attend the opening of the assembly of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia (PGI) in Kalimantan.

For further information, please contact Sara Speicher, Public Information Team, Tel: (+41.22) 791.63.98

For more information contact:
the Media Relations Office
tel.: (+41 22) 791 6153 (office);
e-mail: media
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The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches, now 337, in more than 100 countries in all continents from virtually all Christian traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member church but works cooperatively with the WCC. The highest governing body is the assembly, which meets approximately every seven years. The WCC was formally inaugurated in 1948 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Its staff is headed by general secretary Konrad Raiser from the Evangelical Church in Germany.