From the Worldwide Faith News archives

"The church's place is at the World Social Forum"

From "WCC Media" <>
Date Thu, 30 Jan 2003 17:29:41 +0100

World Council of Churches
Press Release 03-07
For Immediate Use
30 January 2003

"The church's place is at the World Social Forum"

"The way the ecumenical community joined forces at the third World Social
Forum showed that local, regional and international levels can work together.
This was a qualitative leap forward in terms of strategic vision," said World
Council of Churches (WCC) director of Programmes Genevihve Jacques. "We heard
many calls for the WCC to increase its participation in the Forum in the
future, possibly as part of the international council that organizes the

For Jacques, these calls are logical. "We don't need to invent anything new,"
she observed. "We only need to articulate the voice of the churches
effectively. They are already on the frontline, on the side of the poor and
excluded, taking part in movements for change." Which is why, she said,
"although we may also attend other fora like Davos, the churches belong at
the World Social Forum."

Her opinion was shared by the local ecumenical coalition and the inter-faith
group at the Forum. Marta Palma, WCC secretary for Latin America and the
Caribbean, reported that both groups felt that they had ensured an effective
ecumenical and inter-faith presence at the Forum.

"It is good to experience this collective conviction that it is possible to
change things and build a different world, good to share people's readiness
to personally commit themselves to achieving this change, without neglecting
spirituality as an integral part of what we need to build," Palma said.

What will the World Social Forum be like in, say, five years from now?
"There's no answer to that question," said Jacques, "because we're talking
about dreams." But "It would be good if other continents - Asia, Africa -
could also benefit from this powerful and dynamic experience."

Photos of the WCC delegation in Porto Alegre are at 

The WCC delegation is participating at the World Social Forum within the
framework of an Ecumenical Caucus set up by the WCC, the Lutheran World
Federation, the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, the Latin American Council of
Churches and an ecumenical coalition of Brazilian churches and related

Delegation members are leading a series of workshops showing links between
Christian spirituality and examples of resistance against the unjust world
order by churches and social and ecumenical organizations.

Further details of how the WCC is participating in the World Social Forum,
including descriptions of the workshops and the text of the presentations,
can be found at: (English) (Espaqol) (Deutsch) (Frangais)

For further information, please contact the Media Relations Office,  
tel: +41 (0)22 791 64 21 / (41 22) 791 61 53


The World Council of Churches (WCC) is a fellowship of churches, now 342, 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, The Netherlands. Its staff is headed by general secretary
Konrad Raiser from the Evangelical Church in Germany.

World Council of Churches
Media Relations Office
Tel: (41 22) 791 6153 / 791 6421
Fax: (41 22) 798 1346

PO Box 2100
1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland

Browse month . . . Browse month (sort by Source) . . . Advanced Search & Browse . . . WFN Home