World Council of Churches Office of Communication|
150 route de Ferney, P.O. Box 2100, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland
International launch of the Decade to Overcome Violence
The ecumenical service to celebrate the international launch of the Decade will be broadcast live on radio and television, directly from the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirche in Berlin from 10.00 till 11.00 a.m. (local time) and can be picked up worldwide on Radio Deutsche Welle.
Churches and congregations all over the world have been invited to hold services at the same time. The outline of the Decade launch service is available in English, French, German and Spanish on this site.
For the people of Berlin, the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirche is a not only a symbol of destruction and violence. After the church was badly damaged during the Second World War, it was not demolished but deliberately preserved in its ruined state. In 1961 a new church was built alongside the ruined part as a sign that, even in a world of violence, there is room for hope of a future of peace.
An all-night vigil to commemorate child victims of violence
Christians around the world have been asked to give the WCC names of children known to them who have been victims of violence in their community, their country or region or in other parts of the world. The names can be submitted directly via the WCC website, or by other means.
Public Event in Berlin's House of World Cultures
The first highlight of the afternoon, at 13.00 (local time) is a presentation of the WCC's dance theatre production "Peace to the City", with the Marcia Milhazes Dançça Contemporânea company, the Aquarius Trio and the soprano Juliana Franco. With the composer Nestor de Hollanda Calvalcanti, these artists from Brazil have created a modern music theatre production vividly depicting the experience of violence and work for peace in cities.
Prominent guests from Germany and abroad have also accepted the invitation to attend, including the Nobel Peace Prize-winner, José Ramos-Horta, from East Timor, and the chairperson of the German Parliamentary Commission on Immigration and former President of the German Bundestag, Rita Süssmuth. Both will talk about aspects of violence and their visions for peace. The moderator of the WCC central committee, His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of Cilicia, will then outline what is involved in the Decade and invite the churches to participate.
To conclude the event, a candle-light procession will make its way to the Brandenburg Gate.
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.