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WCC general secretary to visit Samoa, American Samoa, Cook Islands and French Polynesia
The delegation is expected to pay particular attention to issues such as overcoming violence, the consequences of globalisation and its effects on Pacific churches, the history and function of the WCC in the Pacific, the effects of nuclear testing in the region, and the ministry of laity and clergy.
Arriving in Samoa on March 19, the delegation will meet with representatives of the National Council of Churches and of WCC member churches in Samoa. Raiser will meet the chief of state, Chief Susuga Malietoa Tanumafili, and the prime minister, the Hon. Tu’ila’epa. The delegation will visit theological colleges and meet local church leaders. The Congregational Christian Church of Samoa and the Methodist Church of Samoa are the two WCC member churches in Samoa, but the Samoa Council of Churches also includes the Archdiocese of Samoa, All Saints Anglican Church, the Congregational Christian Church in Samoa, the Congregational Church of Jesus in Samoa, the Women’s National Council of Churches in Samoa, the Methodist Church in Samoa, the Church of Nazarene and the Protestant Church.
The delegation’s second stop (March 21-23) is American Samoa, where it will meet with representatives of the National Council of Churches and the WCC member church - the Congregational Christian Church of American Samoa - and later visit this church's seminary at Kanana Fou. A conversation is also planned with the head of the CCCAS, H.E. Tauese Sunia, who is the governor of American Samoa.
In the Cook Islands (March 23-27), the delegation will meet with representatives of the WCC member church - the Cook Islands Christian Church. It will call on the prime minister, the Hon. Terepai Moate, and the minister for religious affairs. It will visit the theological college at Takamoa and meet local church leaders. On Sunday, March 25, Raiser will preach at the CICC Church in Avarua and attend a combined youth service at Aroroangi. He is xpected to make a special presentation on the theme of the ministry of the clergy and laity.
Raiser's last stop on his Pacific trip is Tahiti, French Polynesia (March 28-31). Here, the WCC general secretary will meet with representatives of its member church, the Etaretia Evaneria no Porinetia Farani (Evangelical Church of French Polynesia). He will call on various government officials and is also scheduled to meet with the leader of the Catholic community Monseigneur Hubert Coppenra.
At its 1995 meeting, the WCC Central Committee recommended church support to the establishment of an independent health commission to investigate the impact of French nuclear testing on the wellbeing of French Polynesia. His visit will thus allow Raiser to be updated on the long-term effects of nuclear testing in the area.
Members of the delegation:
The World Council of Churches 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, Netherlands. Its staff is headed by general secretary Konrad Raiser from the Evangelical Church in Germany.