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

20 December 2001

Prayers and messages for peace in the Middle East
WCC provides resource pack for 2002 campaign

cf. WCC Press Update, Up-01-43, of 5 December 2001
cf. WCC Press Release, PR-01-40, of 29 October 2001
cf. WCC Press Release, PR-01-34, of 14 September 2001

The World Council of Churches (WCC) has compiled a resource pack of prayers and messages to help its member churches and partners launch a campaign in 2002 in support of peace in the Middle East - a campaign which focuses on ending the illegal occupation of Palestine. The resource pack in English, French, German and Spanish is now available online.

In a covering letter, WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser encourages churches and congregations "to use these services to launch their 2002 activities, from 1 January up to Easter Sunday, and to feel free to adapt them to their own traditions".

The campaign was initiated by the WCC executive committee at its meeting in September, calling upon member churches and ecumenical partners "to focus attention in 2002 on intensive efforts to End the Illegal Occupation of Palestine" in the context of the Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV).

The prayers and messages were collected from the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, Catholic, Episcopal and Evangelical Churches of Jerusalem, lifting up the authentic voices of the churches and communities of the Holy Land. "Using their messages of hope, justice and reconciliation to initiate the 2002 focus is an appropriate way for churches around the world to participate in a collective effort of prayer, reflection and active solidarity with the Palestinians and Israelis striving for the end of the occupation and for a true peace in the Middle East," says Raiser in his letter.

Online resource pack

Decade to Overcome Violence (2001-2010)

At the Eighth Assembly of the WCC in Harare, Zimbabwe, delegates representing more than 300 WCC member churches brought the Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV) into being. The Assembly declared that on issues of non-violence and reconciliation, the WCC should "work strategically with the churches... to create a culture of non-violence". The Decade, which was launched world-wide in February 2001, will build on already existing initiatives around the world, and offer a forum for sharing experiences and establishing relationships so as to learn from one another.

For more information contact:
the Media Relations Office
tel.: (+41 22) 791 6153 (office);
e-mail: media
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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.