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

27 January 1999

A World Council of Churches (WCC)/Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) team will visit Indonesia 28 January - 3 February.

The visit follows concerns raised by delegates from Indonesian churches at the WCC Eighth Assembly in Harare, Zimbabwe, last December. The concerns relate to the destruction of churches and church property, violence in Indonesia and the question of self-determination for Irian Jaya.

The Assembly agreed an ecumenical delegation should visit Indonesia at the earliest opportunity.

The WCC has followed events in Indonesia since the May 1998 riots in which over a thousand people lost their lives and property worth millions of Rupiah was destroyed. Economic uncertainty and continuing violence has further aggravated the situation. Incidences of church burnings and attacks on Christian and Chinese ethnic minorities are of particular concern to the Council.

The WCC has also followed the situation in the troubled provinces of Aceh, East Timor and Irian Jaya.

The forthcoming visit will be a pastoral one and an expression of solidarity with the churches and people of Indonesia. The team will seek to learn how Indonesian churches are responding to their situation and what the worldwide ecumenical community might do to support them in their work.

The 10-person team will travel to various parts of Indonesia including Irian Jaya and Central Sulawesi. The team will meet church and civic leaders, and is expected also to hold talks with senior government ministers including the President of Indonesia, Mr. B.J. Habibie.

Team members:

World Council of Churches
Rev. David Gill, General Secretary, National Council of Churches in Australia
Dr Jochen Motte, Human Rights Officer, United Evangelical Mission, Germany
Rev. Dick Nicolai, General Secretary, Board of Mission, Netherlands Reformed Church
Mr Clement John, Executive Officer, International Affairs, WCC

Christian Conference of Asia
Dr Mathews George Chunakara, Executive Secretary, International Affairs, CCA
Rev. Dr Tso Man King, General Secretary, Hong Kong Christian Council
Rev. Ebenezer Joseph, General Secretary, National Christian Council of Sri Lanka
Mrs Sophia Lizares-Bodegon, National Council of Churches in the Philippines
Mr Mok Cheh Liang, Vice-President, Council of Churches in Malaysia
Rev. Max Reid, Conference of Churches in Aotearoa New Zealand

The team's itinerary is being arranged by the Communion of Churches in Indonesia (PGI). The media contact during the visit is PGI General Secretary, Rev. Dr Joseph Pattiasina. Telephone: (+61 21) 390 8118. E-mail

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.