World Council of Churches Office of Communication
Press Release
150 route de Ferney, P.O. Box 2100, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland
E-mail: media

29 January - 6 February 2001
Potsdam, Germany

3 February 2001

International launch of the Decade to Overcome Violence
Christians around the world will join in the celebrations

People everywhere are invited to join in the celebrations in Berlin on Sunday 4 February. The international launch of the WCC Decade to Overcome Violence: Churches Seeking Peace and Reconciliation (2001 - 2010) will be a colourful and festive occasion for the people of Berlin and Brandenburg, many of whom will be taking part.

The programme will begin with a televised ecumenical service in the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirche, starting at 10 a.m.

The Decade launch service will be preceded by an all-night vigil in memory of children who have lost their lives as a result of violence of one form or another.
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.

Public Event in Berlin's House of World Cultures
The launch then continues with a varied programme of music and dance, speeches and interviews in Berlin's House of World Cultures, starting at 12.00. During the Festival in the Foyer peace groups and initiatives will present their work, projects and programmes. (Entrance free of charge.)

The first highlight of the afternoon, at 13.00, is a presentation of the WCC's dance theatre production "Peace to the City", with the Brazilian company Marcia Milhazes Dança Contemporánea, 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 will also be present, including the Nobel Peace Prize-winner, José Ramos-Horta, from East Timor, and the chairperson of the German Parliamentary Committee on Immigration and former President of the Bundestag, Rita Süssmuth. Both will talk about aspects of violence and their visions of 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, where the WCC general secretary, Dr Konrad Raiser will speak.

Photos from the Central Committee

For more information contact:
the Media Relations Office
tel.: (+49 331) 274 9203;
Celular: (+41 79) 284 5212;
e-mail: media
Top of page

2001 press releases

WCC homepage

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.