Reformed churches back radical call for global economic change

By staff writers
February 2, 2009

The World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC), whose members comprise 75 million Christians, says that that the global economic crisis offers an opportunity to create a more just financial system, backing calls from other churches.

Speaking in the aftermath of the World Social Forum – a grassroots alternative to the Davos ‘rich country’ agenda – the organisation’s general secretary, Setri Nyomi, declared: “WARC has made repeated calls over the years for a just world economic order that respects the rights and dignity of all peoples and that cares for the earth’s natural resources.”

He continued: “In this time of global crisis, we have the chance to make our voices heard. But it will take intensive and persistent pressure from church groups to ensure that global decision-making groups and financial institutions act on our calls for a new world economic order that is based on ethics and fairness.”

Nyomi was responding to comments by Rogate Mshana, WCC programme executive for poverty, wealth and ecology, at the WSF in Belem, Brazil, last week.

In his remarks at the global gathering addressing exploitative globalisation Mshana said, “The market is a gift from God because people cannot live without a market. But that relationship must be just.”

“The pundits of free market capitalism have not given up,” warns Mshana, a Tanzanian economist. “They are simply trying in one way or another to defend it. So I think we should not be naive.” The approach Mshana recommends is to examine the extent to which issues of finance and trade can be placed under the auspices of the United Nations.

“We need a contribution of faith based groups, civil society and also other groups from around the world to be participating in this,” said Mshana.

In supporting Mshana’s comments, Nyomi pointed to WARC’s document the ACCRA Confession which is based on the theological conviction that the economic and environmental injustices of today’s global economy require the members of the worldwide organisation of Reformed churches to respond to them as a matter of faith. Adopted by the organisation in 2004, the Confession calls on Reformed Christians around the world to work to overcome unjust economic practices as an integral part of their churches’ mission.

“The challenges posed by the ACCRA confession are significant,” Nyomi acknowledges. “It is for that reason that we must be strongly united at the global level in order to work together to meet those challenges. We need the strength of our collective voices in order to be heard in the world’s financial centers.”

The World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) brings together 75 million Reformed Christians in 214 churches in 107 countries.

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