WCC Recap: Staff Appointments to General Assemby

The World Council of Churches inaugurated 8 new Assembly members to lead its international body of 342 fellowships across 120 countries in 2003. The highest governing body is the assembly, which meets approximately every seven years. The WCC was formally inaugurated in 1948 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

The following are the list of appointed assembly members:

Alexander Belopopsky from the UK was appointed coordinator of the WCC Public Information team by the WCC officers meeting in November 2003. Belopopsky, a lay member of the Orthodox Church (Ecumenical Patriarchate), has been responsible for the WCC Europe Desk since February 1996, and will move into his new position at the beginning of 2004. He replaces Sara Speicher from the USA, who moved to the UK end-November after 7 years with the Council. Before coming to the WCC, Belopopsky served as secretary-general of SYNDESMOS, the World Fellowship of Orthodox Youth. He has a degree in modern history from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, France.

Rev. Dr Laurence Konmla Brophleh from Liberia was appointed as WCC United Nations representative in New York by the WCC Central Committee meeting in August-September 2003. He has a doctorate with special emphasis on conflict resolution, uprooted people and refugees from Wesley Theological Seminary at American University in Washington, DC, USA. After serving as a United Methodist Church (UMC) pastor from 1991-97, he joined the church’s General Board of Global Ministries as regional executive secretary for sub-Saharan Africa. Most recently, Brophleh was director of African initiatives, and senior minister for the UMC Baltimore-Washington Conference. He took up his new post in September 2003.

Rev. Deborah DeWinter, a minister of the United Church of Christ, was appointed WCC programme executive for the United States. She replaces Jean Stromberg, who was executive director of the US Office, and retired on 31 March 2003 after 36 years with the WCC. DeWinter has served as a missionary in Hong Kong with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, worked with the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, NCCC-USA Church World Service Immigration and Refugee Program, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Resettlement Section and, most recently, FilmAid International, New York. She was appointed by the WCC Central Committee meeting in August-September 2003, and took up her new position in September.

Beate Fagerli from Norway was appointed by the WCC general secretary as conference organizer for the forthcoming 2005 Conference on World Mission and Evangelism in Athens, Greece. A member of the Church of Norway, Fagerli took up her duties in August 2003, and will work as a consultant in the Mission & Ecumenical Formation team. She has a master of theology degree from the University of Oslo, and has worked in various pastoral capacities - for example, as an assistant in homes for mentally handicapped people and as a university student counsellor. Before coming to the WCC, Fagerli was co-secretary general of the World Student Christian Federation.

Denyse Léger from Canada was appointed WCC coordinator, library and archives, by the WCC general secretary. She took up her duties in the Publications & Research team in May 2003, succeeding library director Pierre Beffa, who retired in December 2002 after 37 years of service. A member of the Roman Catholic Church, Léger has a Masters in Library and Information Sciences from the University of Montreal, and a graduate degree in business administration from the Ecole des hautes études commerciales, Montreal. Her extensive experience as a librarian and project manager in various environments includes ten years in Africa as well as positions at the United Nations, the US Agency for International Development, the Canadian International Development Agency, the University of Montreal, and private consulting firms.

Natalie Kim Maxson of the United Church of Canada was appointed programme executive of the WCC Youth Desk by the WCC officers' meeting in November 2003. Maxson will take up her new duties in November 2004, and will replace Rev. Freddy Knutsen of the Church of Norway, who will leave the Council after 8 years at the helm of the Youth Desk. Maxson is presently completing a degree in Women's Studies and Political Sciences at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. She is also serving as youth minister for the Cadboro Bay United Church in Victoria, BC. She has a broad background in youth work in her church, including an 8-months "immersion" visit of a youth group to India, and has been involved in a wide variety of human rights campaigns and activities.

Lina Moukheiber from Lebanon was appointed executive secretary of the WCC Middle East Desk by the WCC general secretary in November 2003. As of 1 January 2004, the desk will be located in Beirut, Lebanon. A member of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, Mukheiber has a Masters in Public Health from the University of Tennessee, and is currently director of development at the Saint George Hospital University Medical Centre in Lebanon. Previous posts include a 4-months' health education consultancy with the World Health Organization, and a decade of service as regional health coordinator of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC).

Sydia Nduna from Zambia was appointed consultant for the WCC programme on Uprooted People by the WCC general secretary in November 2003, and took up her position within the WCC Diakonia & Solidarity team at the beginning of December. With a diploma and a BA in social work from the University of Zambia, Nduna has worked for many years as a technical advisor to Sexual and Gender-based Violence Programmes run by the International Rescue Committee (IRC), and by the UN High Commission for Refugees - in refugee camps in, among others, Uganda, Rwanda, the Great Lakes region, Kenya, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Tanzania. She also did a study and report on sexual exploitation of refugee children in West Africa.