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

21 May 1999


Church leaders and church representatives from Eastern and Western Europe as well as from North America will meet in Budapest, Hungary, 26-27 May, to discuss the churches' response to the Balkans crisis.

The consultation, which is jointly organised by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Conference of European Churches (CEC) in cooperation with the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and the Ecumenical Council of Churches in Hungary, has, according to WCC Europe secretary, Alexander Belopopsky, three main purposes:

  • To exchange information on the churches' actions and statements in response to the crisis in the Balkans;

  • to engage in a dialogue aimed at a better understanding of differing perceptions and positions; and

  • to discuss the churches' role and witness in response to the crisis and in promoting peace.

Acknowledging the different and sometimes contradictory perceptions of the conflict as reflected in the public pronouncements of the churches and ecumenical bodies, Belopopsky welcomes the meeting as "an opportunity for representatives of churches from the affected area, and from Eastern and Western Europe and North America, to meet and look towards strengthening the churches' role and witness in promoting a lasting solution to this crisis."

Following the consultation there will be a

Press Conference at Hotel AGRO
H-1121 Budapest, Normafa út 54
on Thursday, 27 May, at 14:00 hours
Tel: (+36-1) 375 4011
Fax: (+36-1) 375 6164

Participants at the consultation will include representatives of the following churches and councils:

Church of England
Methodist Church UK
Church of Scotland
Churches Together in Britain and Ireland
Evangelical Church in Germany
Netherlands Reformed Church
Netherlands Council of Churches
Swiss Protestant Federation
United Methodist Church in Central and Southern Europe
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark
Church of Norway
Christian Council of Sweden
Protestant Federation of France
Reformed Church in Hungary
Lutheran Church in Hungary
Ecumenical Council of Churches in Hungary
Coordinating Committee of Churches in Croatia
Russian Orthodox Church
Church of Greece
Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
Romanian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Yugoslavia
Christian Reformed Church in Yugoslavia
Methodist Church in Yugoslavia
Anglican Church of Canada
National Council of Churches of Christ USA
Conference of European Churches, Church and Society

Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser, WCC general secretary
Rev. Dr Keith Clements, CEC general secretary
Rev. Dr Olli-Pekka Lassila, LWF Europe secretary
Mr Alexander Belopopsky, Europe secretary, WCC Regional Relations
Ms Elizabeth Ferris, consultant, WCC International Relations
Mr Huibert van Beek, executive secretary, WCC Church and Ecumenical Relations

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.