Christians observing the Lenten time of reflection and self-sacrifice are being urged by world church bodies to engage in acts that enable a better and more just sharing of the world's resources.
Lent is a 40-day period inspired by the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, a story shared in the Bible's New Testament. Observant Christians often give up meat, alcohol or chocolate or engage in some type of fasting.
Eastern Orthodox churches began Lent on Great Monday, two days before Western Christians on Ash Wednesday (17 February 2010).
In Geneva today, Jenny Borden, the interim executive director of the Geneva-based Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (http://www.e-alliance.ch/), said: "Despite the goodness and bounty of God's gifts to us in creation, so many people experience scarcity: famine, hunger, deprivation and want."
Speaking at an Ash Wednesday service at Geneva's Ecumenical Centre, Borden declared: "It is a good time to think carefully about the injustice of the world food situation, where food is unjustly and unsustainably produced, and unjustly and unsustainably consumed, and where the right to food for all people is not met."
The Ecumenical Centre houses the EAA, the World Council of Churches (WCC), part of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) and other bodies aiming to encourage and facilitate cooperation among Christians across the globe.
The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA) is an international network of over 90 churches and Christian organisations cooperating in advocacy on global trade and on HIV and AIDS. Working with these groups, EAA strives to better inform policies and practices of governments, international instritutions, corporations, and local communities.
EAA has been promoting Ash Wednesday as a Fast for Life "to reflect on our own consumption and commit to doing what we can to contribute to global food security."
ENI - www.eni.ch - contributed to this story.