On 22 June, the World Council of Churches (WCC) Global Forum on Poverty, Wealth and Ecology concluded with a strong call for action to evolve “transformative congregations” with moral courage to build an “economy of life” that focuses on eradicating poverty, challenging wealth accumulation and safeguarding ecological integrity.
The forum took place in Bogor, Indonesia, with more than one hundred participants from around the world.
The call for action is an outcome of the AGAPE (Alternative to Economic Globalization Addressing Peoples and Earth) study process which analyzed the relations between poverty, wealth and ecology, undertaken in Africa in 2007, Latin America and the Caribbean in 2008, Asia and the Pacific in 2009, Europe in 2010 and North America in 2011.
The statement has been developed at the forum and will make a contribution to the upcoming 10th Assembly of the WCC and its theme, “God of life, lead us to justice and peace”. The assembly will take place next year in Busan, Korea.
“An economy of life is not only possible, it is in the making, and justice lies at its very foundation,” reads the statement. “The shaping of an economy of life will entail a range of strategies and methodologies, including, but not limited to: critical self-reflection and radical spiritual renewal, rights based approaches, the creation and multiplication of spaces for the voices of the marginalized.”
As part of a theological affirmation, the statement points out that “greed and injustice are the root causes of the intertwined crises.” It goes on to say, that the “crisis is therefore a deep moral and existential one. The challenges that are posed are not first and foremost technological and financial, but ethical and spiritual. The demon of greed must be exposed and cast out (Mark 5: 12).”
The WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, who has just returned from his visit to the churches in Papua, expressed gratitude to forum participants for their contribution to the statement.
“You have raised significant issues in the AGAPE study process. Now it is time to move to action which is relevant, strategic, inclusive and effective. And this action should be based on the understanding that the studies have brought forth,” said Tveit.
“With AGAPE studies, we are now better equipped to pray for justice and peace,” added Tveit.
The forum was organized by the WCC programme for Poverty, Wealth and Ecology, and hosted by the WCC member churches in Indonesia, including Huria Kristen Batak Protestan (HKBP), Communion of Churches in Indonesia (PGI), Urban Community Mission Jakarta (PMK-HKBP) and Indonesia Christian Church (GKI-West Java regional synod).