World Council of Churches Office of Communication
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10 November 2000

Asian and Pacific church leaders gather in China

With a special focus on globalization and its impact in their regions and respective countries, over twenty leaders of Asian and Pacific ecumenical organizations, churches, and regional programmes of church-related agencies will meet in Shanghai and Nanjing, China, 11-16 November. The encounter, hosted by the Asia desk of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in collaboration with the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) and the China Christian Council (CCC), is a joint meeting of two WCC regional groups.

The joint meeting, which takes place every three years, will identify common and emerging issues and priorities for ecumenical involvement and joint action in the regions. Participants will also have the opportunity to observe the life and witness of Chinese Christians and the changes taking place as the People's Republic of China undergoes a transformation from a socialist, centrally-controlled system to a market-oriented economy in a globalized system.

The Pacific regional group will be looking closely at issues of tradition and culture in relation to international human rights standards. Also, in light of recent crises in the region, the group will reflect on the role of churches and civil society. The group's main aim will be to determine the priorities for WCC regional work in the Pacific for the coming three years.

Matthews George Chunakara, WCC executive secretary for Asia, notes that discussion in the past between the two regional groups has emphasized the impact of economic involvement by Asian companies expanding their offshore activities in the Pacific, including joint ventures between foreign companies and state-owned Chinese enterprises. "This has been a common concern for people in Asia and the Pacific," he notes, "especially those business enterprises which drain natural resources from developing countries and ultimately affect the sustainable development and economic growth which should have helped the common people in the regions."

As part of the meeting, participants will visit the New Economic Zones near Shanghai, and will have an opportunity to observe the effect of the new economic trends in urban and rural communities. They will meet with people who, at local and national levels, have given leadership to the Chinese churches over the past several decades. Bishop K.H. Ting, a prominent ecumenical leader from the People's Republic of China, will greet and address the participants at the joint meeting's inaugural session.

Participants include:
Rev. Dr Feliciano Carino, General Secretary, Christian Conference of Asia (CCA)
Ms Li En-Ling, Amity Foundation, People's Republic of China
Rev. Dr Ipe Joseph, General Secretary, National Council of Churches in India
Mr Israel Paulraj, Treasurer, CCA
Ms Helen Monisha Sarkar, CCA General Committee Member, Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh
Rev. Dr Richard Siwu, Vice Moderator, Gereja Masehi Injili Minahasa, Indonesia
Ms Noi Ton, Thailand
Professor Dr Samuel Lee, Christian Institute of Social Studies, Seoul, Korea
Dr Prawate Khid Arn, Executive Secretary, Justice, Development & International Affairs Cluster, CCA
Ms Margareta Koltai, Asia Secretary, Church of Sweden
Dr Ad Mook, Asia/Pacific Desk, Dept. of Global Ministries of the Uniting Church of the Netherlands
Rev. Valamotu Palu, General Secretary, Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC)
Deacon John Dierking, Guam
Father Line Folaumoeloa, Roman Catholic Diocese of Tonga
Mrs Sophia W.R. Gegeyo, General Secretary, Papua New Guinea Council of Churches
Mrs Fuiva Kavaliku, PCC Executive Committee Moderator, Tonga
Rev. Dr Sekuini L Seva'aetasi, General Secretary, National Council of Churches in American Samoa
Mrs Losena Tubanavau-Salabula, Pacific Concerns Resource Centre Inc., Fiji Islands
Pasteur Jean Hnoija Wete, President of the Evangelical Church in New Caledonia and the Loyalty Isles

Special Invitees:
Bishop K.H. Ting
Dr. Han Wen Zhao, General Secretary, China Christian Council

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.