World Council of Churches Office of Communication
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4 October 2001

DOV festival in Tanzania takes up challenges after 11 September attacks

The September 11 attacks in the USA have had an impact on the programme of a Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV) festival to be held in Moshi, Tanzania from 6-10 October. According to DOV coordinator Deenabandhu Manchala, "Taking place amidst rumours of war, the DOV festival in Moshi will need to focus on issues arising in the aftermath of the events in New York and Washington".

"The terrorist attacks have compelled... discussion on how security for the north has been made a global concern. In light of the legacies of the past millennium, we also need to interpret the implications from the perspective of the south ," Manchala explains.

Recognising that "the churches have a political and prophetic role to play in situations where state policies cause enormous suffering and death to many innocent people," the DOV coordinator called on churches "to opt for nonviolent ways of ensuring security and peace".

More than 100 participants throughout the world and local communities are expected to attend the Moshi festival, whose theme is "Ondoa Ukatili: Cultivating a Culture of Peace with Justice". Ondoa Ukatili is a Swahili word meaning ending violence.

"Ondoa Ukatili will be a time for sharing experiences and hopes to uphold justice and peace in a world gripped by a persistent culture of violence. It will create an opportunity for dialogue with the cultures and experiences of the people of Africa," says Manchala.


Decade to Overcome Violence (2001-2010)

At the Eighth Assembly of the WCC in Harare, Zimbabwe, delegates representing more than 300 WCC member churches brought the Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV) into being. The Assembly declared that on issues of non-violence and reconciliation, the WCC should "work strategically with the churches... to create a culture of non-violence". The Decade, which was launched world-wide in February 2001, will build on already existing initiatives around the world, and offer a forum for sharing experiences and establishing relationships so as to learn from one another.

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The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches, now 342, 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.