Church Leaders in France to Discuss Aftermath of Iraq War

Jun 02, 2003 10:26 AM EDT

The future of multi-lateralism and the international order, Iraq, the Middle East, and the role of the churches will be the focus of a 5 June meeting in Paris of representatives of churches in France and staff and members of the World Council of Churches' Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (WCC/CCIA). The participants will also be received by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Held at the invitation of Rev. Dr Jean Arnold de Clermont, president of the French Protestant Federation and member of the WCC/CCIA, the meeting will include representatives of the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches as well as Baptist, Anglican, Assembly of God, Lutheran, Evangelical and Reformed churches . Approximately 20 participants are expected.

De Clermont notes that the initiative for the meeting emerged from the French churches' recent advocacy with their government. This was largely based on their relationships, facilitated by the WCC, with churches in the United States and the Middle East. "As small churches, these relationships have been particularly helpful, and we need to find ways to continue them in addressing critical issues."

Peter Weiderud, CCIA director, notes that the meeting will help participants to "reflect further on where we, as churches, go from here, especially to further strengthen the role of the United Nations and international law, and promote the values, principles and ideas that underpin multi-lateralism".

The meeting with church leaders in France will be followed by a WCC/CCIA extended officers meeting on 6-7 June. WCC staff and CCIA members will review ongoing WCC work in international affairs, analyze political and global trends, and make recommendations for consideration by the WCC Central Committee that meets in Geneva, 25 August-2 September. Some of the topics under discussion include the aftermath of the war against Iraq, the situation in the Middle East, the responsibility to protect "endangered populations", the Cyprus problem, and the international order.