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2 October 2000

New input from Eastern Europe to WCC staff

New appointments to WCC staff include three people from Eastern Europe and one from Cuba. The WCC Executive Committee, at its 26-29 September meeting in Geneva, approved the appointment of Fr Dr Ioan Sauca of the Romanian Orthodox Church as director of the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey from January 2001. Two new staff members of the Faith and Order team are also people from Eastern Europe. Dr Tamara Grdzelidze is from the Orthodox Church of Georgia, and the Reverend Kersten Storch is a Lutheran from Trusetal in former East Germany.

"The appointment of three persons from churches in the eastern part of Europe is an indication of the firm commitment of the WCC to support and accompany its member churches there in the process of reshaping and revitalizing their witness under changed social and political conditions", said Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser, general secretary of the WCC.

Rev. Dr Carlos Ham, of the Presbyterian Reformed Church in Cuba, will begin as the executive secretary for Evangelism in January next year. " The arrival of Carlos Ham will introduce some of the exciting dynamics of the 'evangelical celebration', that is presently taking place among the WCC member churches in Cuba, into the WCC work on evangelism", commented Dr Raiser.

Mr Michiel Hardon, from the Netherlands Reformed Church, is appointed director of the Income Monitoring and Development (IMD) programme in the WCC. The Executive Committee also ratified an earlier appointment by the WCC officers of Ms Christina Minezac, from Switzerland, as Human Resources manager. She is from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, and is one of the three new appointees from Orthodox churches.

The new appointees are:

Dr Tamara Grdzelidze: Dr Grdzelidze studied at Oxford University in the United Kingdom, at St Vladimir's Theological Seminary in Crestwood, New York, USA, and Tbilisi University in Georgia, where she was also a lecturer and research fellow.

Rev. Dr Carlos Ham: Rev. Dr Ham, a pastor in a Havana parish, is general secretary of the Presbyterian-Reformed Church in Cuba. He has been a member of the WCC Joint Consultative Group with Pentecostals and is currently vice-president of the Caribbean and North America Council for Mission as well as president of the Caribbean Conference of Churches.

Mr Michiel Hardon: Mr Hardon, from the Netherlands, has considerable experience in management and consultancy work on development. He has been project manager for a number of World Bank and European Union (EU) development projects and has led several missions to Central and Eastern European countries for both organizations. During the 1970s, he worked on the European and Africa desks of the International Monetary Fund and, earlier, for the UN Economic Commission for Latin America.

Fr Dr Ioan Sauca: Fr Dr Sauca was responsible for Orthodox Studies and Relationships in Mission in the WCC from 1994 and, in 1998, was appointed lecturer at the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey. His main field is systematic theology, with particular emphasis on issues of mission and spirituality.

Rev. Kersten Storch: Rev. Storch studied geology before embarking on theological studies in Leipzig and in the USA. Most recently, she has been a research assistant in the department of theology at the University of Leipzig and curate at the Martin-Luther-Church in Dresden.

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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.