World Council of Churches Office of Communication|
150 route de Ferney, P.O. Box 2100, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland
CHURCHES IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
In conversations with representatives of the Church of Christ in Congo (ECC), it had been clear that much was expected of ecumenical organizations like the WCC and the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC). In the area of work for peace and reconciliation among the churches in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the churches in Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi in particular, Raiser said, "the Congolese churches look to the WCC and the AACC for support".
In addition, he said, the Congolese churches are actively tackling the essential tasks of national rehabilitation and reconstruction in a cooperative way, and are planning to set up a "round table" that will, he said "create the conditions for international relief measures by the churches".
Also on the programme of the ecumenical delegation, whose members included the general secretary of the AACC, Canon Clement Janda, and the president of the AACC, Dr Kwesi Dickson, were meetings with representatives of WCC member churches and with the Executive Committee of the ecumenical umbrella organization, the Church of Christ in Congo, which has among its members numerous Protestant and independent churches which have not joined the WCC.
The delegation also attended the ceremonial installation of the ECC president, Rev. Dr Pierre Bodho Marini, and visited the birthplace of the Congolese church founder, Simon Kimbangu.
The WCC general secretary described the conversation with Laurent Kabila as "open and nuanced". During the 45-minute interview, the Congolese head of state had expressed his hopes for a lasting ceasefire. Noteworthy, according to Raiser, was the fact that President Kabila had sent the draft of the ceasefire agreement to various social groups for their reactions last Saturday, even before its signing.
Another very promising element, he continued, was the call for a national debate - débat national - on the restructuring of the country.
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.