World Council of Churches Office of Communication|
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CHURCH VISIT TO INDONESIA
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.
World Council of Churches
Christian Conference of Asia
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.