Group Admits Failure of Main Goal The World Council of Churches celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and is planning to address homosexuality at its eighth assembly to be held in Harare, Zimbabwe, from 3 to 14 December 1998. The Reagan Information Exchange (RIE) reported today that the 332-church body formed to achieve unity is beset by hardships and has admitted failing in its primary goal. The General Secretary of the WCC Konrad Raiser blamed the “standstill” of the WCC efforts for unity on “institutional and doctrinal captivity”. At a press briefing in London, WCC press officer John Newbury suggested a change in the operations of the WCC to act in assisting rather than directing movements toward unity. The Council is suffering economic hardships and more damaging internal struggles. The Roman Catholic church has never been part of the group, and the Russian Orthodox Church has declined to send a bishop to the assembly for the first time since 1960. RIE also reports that eastern orthodox church leaders have warned delegates against participating in worship services and voting at the assembly.