World Council of Churches Office of Communication|
150 route de Ferney, P.O. Box 2100, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland
REPORT OF ECUMENICAL DELEGATION TO YUGOSLAVIA
cf. WCC Press Release of 29 March 1999
cf. WCC Press Release of 31 March 1999
cf. WCC Press Update of 15 April 1999
cf. WCC Press Update of 16 April 1999
The full report of a visit to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia by a joint delegation of the Conference of European Churches (CEC), the World Council of Churches (WCC), and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), 16-18 April, has just been published.
The team, led by CEC general secretary Keith Clements, met with church leaders in Novi Sad and Belgrade to discuss the causes and the consequences of the current crisis in Kosovo. The ecumenical visit was organised in the context of the intensive ecumenical response to the crisis, and especially the humanitarian actions coordinated through Action by Churches Together (ACT) in favour of refugees in Kosovo. A visit to Albania and other countries in the region is planned.
In addition to Dr Clements the team comprised Mr Alexander Belopopsky, Europe secretary, WCC and the Rev Dr Olli-Pekka Lassila, Europe secretary, LWF.
In Novi Sad the team met with leaders of the Lutheran, Reformed and Methodist Churches and in Belgrade with the heads of the Serbian Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches. With each leader, the team explained that they wished to manifest solidarity with the churches in Yugoslavia at such a critical time and to listen to them and receive information about their situation. They also endeavoured to discuss the conflict in Kosovo and the massive exodus of Kosovar Albanians and its causes, as well as discussing possible ecumenical initiatives in the country and region, including further humanitarian aid.
Among recommendations made in the team report is the call to encourage an international prayer for peace on 16 May and to support the churches in Yugoslavia in articulating and communicating their experiences and understanding of the present crisis, including the sharing of information.
Contact: Karin Achtelstetter, WCC Media Relations Officer