World Council of Churches

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Alternate Names: Programme to Combat Racism
Duration: 1948-current (most work related to African liberation struggles 1968-1994)
Location: Geneva, Switzerland


In 1937, church leaders agreed to establish a World Council of Churches (WCC), but its official organization was deferred by the outbreak of the Second World War until August 1948, when representatives of 147 churches assembled in Amsterdam to constitute the WCC. In 1968, the WCC Central Committee created a Programme to Combat Racism (PCR). The main aim of the PCR was to define, propose and carry out ecumenical policies and programs that substantially contribute to the liberation of the victims of racism and to struggle against apartheid in South Africa. Although it attempted to deal with racism as a world-wide problem, much of its attention and energy during the apartheid era was focused on Southern Africa. One of PCR's most effective tools was a WCC special fund to combat racism, from which annual grants were made to African liberation movements and to solidarity organizations around the world. The fund was supplied by voluntary contributions from churches as well as from local ecumenical and support groups all over the world. WCC is the broadest and most inclusive among the many organized expressions of the modern ecumenical movement, whose goal is Christian unity. Even before the creation of the PCR, the WCC was involved in supporting African liberation struggles. (Source: WCC website and archives)

Organizational Archive


Title: World Council of Churches, Programme to Combat Racism
Time Span: ca. 1939 - 1996
Description: This collection brings together the reports, general correspondence, papers, news clippings, trial reports, personal reflections, information on finance (grant proposals) and country files. The archive also documents WCC's support of African liberation struggles prior to the formation of the PRC. Some material has been microfilmed by IDC Publishers see Programme to Combat Racism, 1939-1996 .
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