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

22 December 1999


cf. WCC press release of 15 December 1999

Churches throughout Africa and around the world are being invited to recite the following prayer on Christmas day. The prayer was composed by an ecumenical delegation which visited Sierra Leone in November. It is being sent to African churches by the All Africa Conference of Churches, which hopes thereby to stimulate "a response to the Sierra Leone situation by the Church in Africa" and "international action for peace and reconciliation" there.

On this day when our hearts are rejoicing in celebration at our Lord's birth, let us pray for our young brothers and sisters in Sierra Leone who because of violence may have difficulty experiencing the joy and peace of this blessed day. May we reach out in prayer and solidarity to let them know that they are not alone as they seek to recover the peace which you wish for all your children.

We pray also for those young persons who were led into violent acts against their sisters and brothers. May they seek forgiveness for their deeds and be recognised to their families and communities so that healing may begin in a land whose people yearn for true peace. We pray especially on this day of your birth that the youngest victims of violence in Sierra Leone may see your light and presence in the midst of their suffering. May they hear and partake of the good news of peace on earth to all presons of good will. May your Spirit guide the people of Sierra Leone, especially those young persons to whom the future is entrusted, toward lasting peace. In the name of the New Born King we pray. Amen.

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.