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

11 January 1999


Moderator - Faith and Order Commission

For the first time, an African has been appointed as Moderator of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Faith and Order Commission.

At its meeting during the Eighth Assembly in Harare, Zimbabwe (3-14 December), the newly-elected Central Committee itself elected Rev. Dr David K. Yemba as Moderator of the Faith and Order Commission for the period until the next WCC Assembly.

Dr Yemba succeeds Dr Mary Tanner (Church of England). He is a United Methodist ordained minister in the Church of Christ in Congo, and currently Dean of the Faculty of Theology and Professor of Christian Theology at Africa University, a United Methodist-Related Institution in Mutare, Zimbabwe.

WCC Executive Staff

Four new executive staff appointments were approved by the World Council of Churches Executive Committee when it met in Harare just before the beginning of the WCC Eighth Assembly. The four new appointments are within the new organisational structure of the WCC which came into operation on 1 January 1999 (see details below), and are:

Ms Karin Achtelstetter: Media Relations Officer, Cluster on Communication. Ms Achtelstetter is from Germany and a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria. She is a journalist and theologian and comes to the WCC from the Lutheran World Federation where she has been the Acting Director of the Office for Communication Services, and Assistant Editor (German) of Lutheran World Information. Ms Achtelstetter speaks German, English, French and Spanish and reads Swedish, Yiddish and Italian.

Ms Genevieve Jacques: Executive Secretary for International Affairs, Cluster on Relations and Constituencies, Team on International Relations. Ms Jacques is from France and a member of the French Reformed Church. She is a former General Secretary of CIMADE (Ecumenical Service Agency, France). Since 1996 she has been a consultant on human rights within the WCC's Commission of the Churches on International Affairs and has concentrated on monitoring trends and responses to critical situations particularly in Latin America, the Caribbean and the Francophone countries of Central and Western Africa. She has also worked on questions of impunity, truth, justice and reconciliation. Ms Jacques speaks French, English and Spanish.

Rev. Dr Nyambura Njoroge: Executive Secretary for Education and Ecumenical Formation, Cluster on Issues and Themes, Team on Education and Ecumenical Formation. Dr Njoroge is from Kenya and a member of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa. She will move to the WCC from the World Alliance of Reformed Churches where, since 1992, she has been Executive Secretary in the Department of Partnership of Women and Men. Dr Njoroge obtained her Ph.D in African Theology and Christian Social Ethics from Princeton Theological Seminary, USA. Dr Njoroge speaks Gikuyu, Kiswahili and English.

Rev. Dr. Faitala Talapusi: Executive Secretary/Lecturer at the Ecumenical Institute, Bossey, General Secretariat. Dr Talapusi is from Samoa and is a member of the Congregational Christian Church in Samoa. He obtained a Master of Sacred Theology from Yale University, USA and his doctorate from the University of Montpelier, France. He is a former principal of the Pacific Theological College in Suva, Fiji and has lately been working as a parish minister in Samoa. Dr Talapusi is also a former international rugby player and coach, and has served as Chief Executive Officer for the Western Samoa Rugby Football Union. He speaks Samoan, English and French.


Ms Mary Ann Lundy, WCC Deputy General Secretary, will retire at the end of January. Ms Lundy comes from the USA and is a member of the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA). She joined the WCC staff in February 1995 and says, "I came to the WCC during a period of transition for the organisation in terms of finances and restructuring. Because of my previous experience with such work in the US with the YWCA and the PCUSA, I felt able to contribute to this process in the relatively brief time I was with the WCC. My work was primarily internal and staff-orientated and I very much enjoyed working with such committed and talented people." Ms Lundy will retire to Santa Fe in New Mexico where she expects to be involved once again on issues concerning migrants, refugees and Central America. In the mid-1980s, Ms Lundy was very involved in the sanctuary movement in the USA which gave shelter to illegal immigrants from Central America who were fleeing persecution and death squads in their own countries.

The new WCC organisational structure is:

General Secretariat - General Secretary, Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser

plus four 'clusters':

Communication -
Director, Ms Kristine Greenaway
Public Information
WCC Publications and Documentation

Finance, Service and Administration -
Director, Mr Robert Christeler

Income Monitoring and Development
House Services
Human Resources
Computer and Information Technology Service

Issues and Themes -
Director, Rev. Dr Sam Kobia
Faith and Order
Mission and Evangelism
Justice, Peace and Creation
Education and Ecumenical Formation

Relations and Constituencies -
Director, Rev. Myra Blyth

Ecumenical Relations
Regional Relations

International Relations

For more information contact:
John Newbury, Press & Information Officer
tel.: (+41 22) 791 6152 (office);
tel.: (+41 22) 369 3726 (home)
e-mail: media
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The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches, now 336, 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.