Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser will visit Brazil to launch local preparations for the next, ninth assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC), to take place there in February 2006. At the beginning of his visit, Raiser will meet the country's new president.
From 11-17 May 2003, the WCC general secretary will visit Brasilia and Porto Alegre - the city in which the Council's ninth assembly will be held.
Raiser will meet President Luiz Inácio "Lula" da Silva in Brasilia on Monday 12 May. He will be accompanied by leaders of national churches and the board of directors of the National Council of Christian Churches in Brazil (CONIC).
From Tuesday 13 to Saturday 17 May, Raiser will hold discussions in Porto Alegre with a committee responsible for the local organisation of the assembly. The committee is made up of representatives of WCC member churches, ecumenical organisations and other churches in Brazil.
The WCC general secretary will also visit the campus of the Catholic Pontifical University of Porto Alegre - the site chosen for the assembly - and meet with the university dean.
The WCC's ninth assembly will be the first to take place in Latin America. Provisional dates are 14 to 23 February, 2006. The WCC central committee is to take a final decision concerning dates and theme when it meets in August this year.
WCC assemblies take place every seven years, and are attended by about 3500 people. Gathering Christians from all over the world and from virtually every Christian tradition, they are major events in the life of the Council.
During his visit to Porto Alegre, Raiser is likely to meet with local government representatives.
WCC member churches in Brazil are: the Evangelical Church of Lutheran Confession in Brazil, the Christian Reformed Church of Brazil, the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil, the Methodist Church in Brazil and the United Presbyterian Church of Brazil. Representatives from the following churches and organisations have been invited to join the committee, along with the member churches: the National Council of Christian Churches in Brazil (CONIC), which includes the Roman Catholic Church; the Ecumenical Forum of Brazil; the Brazilian region of the Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI); and the Ecumenical Service Association. The Independent Presbyterian Church has also been invited to take part in the committee. It is hoped that other Protestant and Evangelical churches from Brazil will take part in this endeavour.
By Albert H. Lee