From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Iraq Crisis - U.S., European Churches Meet Feb. 5 Berlin

From "Nat'l Council of Churches" <>
Date Mon, 3 Feb 2003 19:26:12 -0500

National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.


WHAT/WHY:  On February 5, 2003, in Berlin -- just hours before U.S.
Secretary of State Colin Powell is scheduled to address the United Nations
Security Council in New York City -- a delegation from the National Council
of Churches in the United States (NCC) will join church leaders from across
Europe and from the Middle East Council of Churches for an urgent meeting to
consider a cooperative response to avert military action against Iraq.

For the National Council of Churches, participation in the Berlin meeting
will be followed by NCC-organized visits to four more European capitals as
part of the U.S. ecumenical bodys search for peaceful solutions to the Iraq
crisis.  Upcoming visits include Paris (Feb. 10-11), Moscow (tentatively
Feb. 13-14), Rome (Feb. 25-26) and London (TBA).  U.S. church leaders also
are seeking a meeting with President Bush (see

WHEN/WHERE:  On the groups schedule in Berlin, Germany, February 5, 2003:

* 8:30-12:30: United States, European Church Leaders Meet, Office of the
Plenipotentionary (Bevollmdchtigter) of the Evangelische Kirche in
Deutschland (EKD) to the Federal Government (closed to media).
* 12:30: Prayer Service, French Church (Friedrichstadtkirche (French Dom))
at the Berlin Gendarmenmarkt (open to media).
* 14:00: News Conference, in the building of the Evangelischen Akademie in
the French Church.  Speakers will include the Rev. Dr. Bob W. Edgar, General
Secretary, National Council of Churches (USA); the Rev. Dr. Konrad Raiser,
General Secretary, World Council of Churches; the Rev. Dr. Keith Clements,
General Secretary, Conference of European Churches, and Prdses Manfred Kock,
Chairman, Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland (EKD).
* 17:00: Meeting with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder (closed to media).

0511/27/96/777 -- with your name, affiliation, contact information & on-site
coverage plans.

CONTACTS: * WCC/Geneva & On-Site in Berlin: Sara Speicher, Communication
Officer, Tel: (41 22) 791 6398; Mobile: (41 79) 507-6363.
* NCC/New York: Carol Fouke, Media Liaison, Tel: (1 212) 870-2252/2227
* WCC/New York: Philip E. Jenks, Communications Officer, 212-870-3193.
* New York/Berlin: Rev. Dr. Bob Edgar, NCC General Secretary, Mobile: (1
917) 821-0852.


Three U.S. church leaders, including the General Secretary of the National
Council of Churches, will join European church leaders in Berlin Wednesday
(February 5) for "an urgent one-day meeting" on Iraq.

Forging a common and consistent response by churches to the threat of
military action in Iraq is the goal of Wednesdays meeting. The meeting is
convened by the World Council of Churches (WCC), in response to an
initiative by the Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland (EKD), and in
consultation with the Conference of European Churches (CEC).

The U.S. leaders attending the meeting are the Rev. Dr. Bob Edgar, General
Secretary, National Council of Churches (; James Winkler,
General Secretary, General Board of Church and Society of the United
Methodist Church (; and Dr. Rebecca Larson, Executive Director,
Division for Church and Society, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

The U.S. and European church leaders are scheduled to meet with German
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder after their meeting on Wednesday.

Peter Weiderud, coordinator of the WCC International Affairs team, said the
church leaders were invited to the meeting because "the crisis in Iraq is
moving into a new, even more critical, phase" since the weapons' inspectors'
first report to the UN Security Council on Monday, January 27.

Emphasizing that Europe has an "extremely significant role" in the present
crisis, he stated that the meeting would be "valuable both for individual
churches as well as for the ecumenical movement as a whole, in order to
prevent an humanitarian catastrophe and the far-reaching implications a
possible war would have on the region as well as internationally."

In addition to the U.S. delegation, additional participants in Wednesdays
meeting include:

Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser, General Secretary, World Council of Churches

Rev. Dr Keith Clements, General Secretary, Conference of European Churches

Prdses Manfred Kock, Chairman, Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland

Bishop Dr. Walter Klaiber, head of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Christlicher
Kirchen in Deutschland (ACK) (, and
Evangelical-Methodist Church (Germany) (

Rev. Dr Jean-Arnold de Clermont, president of the Protestant Federation of
France (

Bishop Mag. Herwig Sturm, Evangelical Church of the Augsburg and Helvetic
Confessions in Austria (

Rev. Thomas Wipf, president of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches

Bishop Jonas Jonsson, Bishop of the Church of  Sweden and Rev. Kjell
Jonasson, Church of Sweden (

Rev. Canon Dr Trond Bakkevig, Church of Norway (

Archbishop Jukka Parma, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (

Bischop Karsten Nissen, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark

Dr. Alison Elliot, Church of Scotland and Churches Together in Scotland
(ACTS) ( )

Rev Arie W. van der Plas, Reformed Churches in the Netherlands and Uniting
Protestant Churches in the Netherlands ( )

Archbishop Feofan, Russian Orthodox Church, archbishop of Berlin and Germany

Bishop Athanasius of Achaja, Church of Greece) (

Rev. Dr. Nuhad Daoud Tomeh, representing the General Secretariat of the
Middle East Council of Churches  (


The World Council of Churches (WCC), with headquarters in Geneva,
Switzerland, is a fellowship of churches, now 342, in more than 100
countries in all continents from virtually all Christian traditions.

The National Council of Churches (USA), with headquarters in New York City,
is the leading ecumenical agency in the United States.	Its 36 Protestant,
Orthodox and Anglican member churches comprise 50 million adherents in
140,000 local congregations.


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