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Sunday, December 11, 2016
Churches issue joint message on eve of G8
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 A group of UK, US and African church leaders has called for decisive action and firm commitment on poverty from the world's G8 leaders meeting this weekend. The London Forum, meeting at Lambeth Palace and hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, issued a final communiqué saying that the time for change is now: "There is no place for apathy in a world which sees 30,000 children die each day because of poverty related conditions. The Bible teaches that whatever we do to the poorest we do also for Jesus. We believe God judges nations by what they do to the poorest." The Forum was attended by delegations from UK Churches organised by Dr David Goodbourn of Churches Together and Britain and Ireland; US churches organised by The Revd Jim Wallis, leader of the peace and justice network Sojourners, representatives of African led churches and representatives from faith based mission and development agencies. The communiqué calls upon G-8 leaders to: "provide courageous and costly leadership by providing the resources and making the structural changes necessary to eradicate poverty." Earlier some of the delegates had what they described as a 'constructive' meeting with UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown. The text of the full communiqué follows: There is no place for apathy in a world which sees 30,000 children die each day because of poverty-related conditions. The Bible teaches that whatever we do to the poorest we do also to Jesus. We believe God judges nations by what they do to the poorest. This means all of us in the prosperous world, governments, churches, the media and populations stand under judgement, to the degree that we fail to respond to such a situation with costly compassion and generosity, so that we may help in God's name and by God's grace to secure justice for the poor. The upcoming G-8 Summit is a challenge to the world's leaders to take decisive action on behalf of those living in extreme poverty. As leaders of churches and faith-based organisations from the United States and the United Kingdom in conversation with voices from the global South, we have gathered at Lambeth to strengthen our commitment to end extreme poverty on the occasion of the G-8 Summit. For the first time in history, humanity possesses the information, knowledge, technology, and resources to bring the worst of global poverty virtually to an end. What is missing is sufficient political and moral will. As church leaders from diverse Christian traditions, we re-commit ourselves and our faith communities to help generate that moral will at this critical historical juncture. We call upon President George Bush, Prime Minister Tony Blair, and the other G-8 leaders to provide courageous and costly political leadership by providing the resources and making the structural changes necessary to eradicate poverty. We applaud the progress being made in some of the poorest nations of the world on governance issues and commend the part played by churches and other faith-based communities in those countries in sustaining and supporting essential health and education infrastructures for the benefit of all. We recognise the necessity of proper investment in that infrastructure by governments and NGOs. We also commit to continuing our solid support for the role played by partner churches and pastors in those countries ensuring ongoing delivery of progress on poverty reduction by their governments. We also applaud momentum being built by grass roots campaigns around the world who are addressing these issues and pledge to mobilise our energies, in partnership with faith leaders from the Global South, to realise common goals emerging from these campaigns and the Millennium Development Goals: Debt - The recent agreement on 100% debt cancellation for eighteen of the world's poorest countries represents a major step forward that should now be expanded to include all multilateral creditors and more impoverished and heavily indebted nations. Aid - The moral scandal of extreme poverty requires that the wealthy nations do much more to assist the poorest countries in fighting poverty, hunger and disease through a dramatic improvement in the quantity and quality of aid. We are also united in the call for good governance and an end to the corruption that undermines all nations and people. Conditions attached to aid and debt cancellation must not be used to reinforce existing patterns of inequality that undermine pro-poor policies of local governments. Trade - The structural inequities and power imbalances in trade rules that tilt toward the rich nations at the expense of impoverished nations must be reformed so that people can earn a sustainable income and the private sector can generate jobs and wealth for the common good. Rich countries must reform their subsidies to prevent the dumping of produce on world markets and strengthen special and differential treatment for poor countries so that they are able to protect vulnerable producers and develop new industries. This is the agenda for young people and old together. We are all too aware that it is the poor who pay the greatest price of ecological degradation. It is women and children who bear the disproportionate costs of poverty while bearing also the greatest hope as agents for change. This is the time for change. We trust that by the grace of God we may all have the courage to change the course of history in favour of the world's poorest. Source: ACN
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