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

3 May 1999


cf. WCC Press Update of 25 March 1999
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.

The 11-page report is available in English, French and German from the World Council of Churches, the Conference of European Churches or the Lutheran World Federation.

Contact: Karin Achtelstetter, WCC Media Relations Officer
Tel: (+41.22) 791.61.53
e-mail: media
Robin Gurney, Secretary for Communications and Information, CEC
Tel: (+41.22) 791.64.85
Pauline Mumia, LWF
Tel: (+41.22) 791.63.54

For more information contact:
Karin Achtelstetter, Media Relations Officer
tel.: (+41 22) 791 6153 (office);
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.