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

29 September 1999


On 1 November 1999 Geneviève Jacques (55) will become director of the Cluster on Relations of the World Council of Churches (WCC). She succeeds Myra Blyth, who was appointed last April as deputy general secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain. Jacques, who is a member of the Reformed Church of France, was previously an executive secretary in the WCC International Relations Team. She brings long-term ecumenical experience to her new position. Among other appointments she was general secretary of the ecumenical aid agency CIMADE from 1988 to 1996, and from 1982 to 1988 was executive secretary for Human Rights and Refugees with the World Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA).

Geneviève Jacques’ successor in the WCC International Relations Team is Elizabeth Ferris (49) from the United States of America. She holds a doctorate in political science and is a member of the Friends’ General Conference of the Society of Friends. She was a WCC staff member from 1985 to 1991 in the Commission on Inter-Church Aid, Refugee and World Service (CICARWS). She has also worked with the Life and Peace Institute in Uppsala, Sweden, and with the Migrants and Refugee Programme of Church World Service in New York, USA. Last January she returned to the WCC as a consultant for International Relations.

The newly appointed executive secretary for Peace Concerns is the Rev. Deenabandhu Manchala (40) of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church in India. He is expected to take up his appointment in the WCC Justice, Peace and Creation Team in March 2000. He is presently completing his doctoral studies on ‘Ecclesiology in the Light of Dalit Christian Experience’ at the South Asia Theological Research Institute in Bangalore.

The newly appointed Regional Relations secretary for Asia in the WCC Regional Relations and Ecumenical Sharing Team is Matthews George (40). He will succeed Kyung Seo Park, who has returned to his native South Korea, and it is expected that he will take up his appointment in March 2000. George, a member of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church, India, holds a doctorate in international relations and is at present a senior staff member and coordinator with the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA).

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 337, 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.