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5 December 2005
WCC partners move closer to a new alliance for development
Marking a new stage in ecumenical efforts to overcome poverty and injustice, churches and related organizations have agreed to move ahead with the establishment of a new global alliance for development.
The changing world context and impact of globalization require that churches combine their efforts for witness and service and for peace and justice, according to WCC's general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia at the consultation of over 50 churches and organizations from all regions, which ended in Geneva on 2 December.
"Diakonia (service) is central to the mission and being of the churches," emphasized Kobia. "Guided by the prophetic tradition, we are compelled to see justice as the essence of the love of God in our critique of the destructive impact of injustice and misuse of power. The new alliance offers us an opportunity to create something new, something which lives out the principles we all uphold, something which strengthens us all."
"A collective analysis and response by the ecumenical family to the problems we face in Africa and elsewhere is absolutely necessary," confirmed Bishop Mvume Dandala, general secretary of the Nairobi-based All Africa Conference of Churches. But he warned that any new initiative must be primarily focused on local empowerment and the building of "self-confidence" of people and churches.
"There is a definite need and common interest for ecumenical partners to move from isolated initiatives to a coordinated approach, especially in the face of critical problems like HIV/AIDS," agreed Rev. Cornelia Füllkrug-Weitzel, director of Bread for the World, one of Germany's main church aid agencies.
Studies confirm that the WCC and its related agencies form potentially one of the largest international networks for development. Those present at the consultation anticipate that increased coordination and more strategic collaboration between participants in the alliance could increase their effectiveness in addressing issues of poverty and injustice. It is also hoped that the alliance will enhance the visibility of ecumenical organizations in the area of development.
The alliance is expected to have a close relationship with ACT International, the WCC-related coordination body for emergency relief, and with the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance.
A final name for the alliance will be decided by May 2006 at which stage churches and organizations will be invited to apply to become participants. Any WCC member church, department of a church, or related ministry or agency which is mandated to undertake development cooperation may apply to be part of this new alliance.
Juan Michel,+41 22 791 6153 +41 79 507 6363
The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 349 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in over 110 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The WCC general secretary is Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, from the [Lutheran] Church of Norway. Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.