Churches must be instruments of change, says racism gathering

By staff writers
June 21, 2009

"We believe that this is a moment where we are invited by God to commit ourselves to be instruments of change in the church and the wider society," participants in an international conference on 'Churches against Racism' have declared.

The message was read out on 17 June 2009 in the presence of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands during a closing worship service.

"We believe God is calling members of the church to action with and on behalf of the marginalised, the poor and the many who face exclusion," the message continues.

"The global economic crisis, climate change and systemic exclusion - generating desperation and increased migration", are described as the elements of a "three-fold crisis" creating a need and an opportunity for change.

The participants looked at the problems faced by migrants and minority groups such as the Roma in Europe, at discrimination based on the colour of one's skin, at the disregard for land rights of indigenous peoples and at Dalits being treated as "untouchables" in India.

Some fifty church leaders, activists and theologians attended the international conference which was organized by the WCC in cooperation with the Council of Churches in the Netherlands, the association of migrant churches in the Netherlands (SKIN), the missionary and diaconal agency KerkinActie, the interchurch organization for development cooperation ICCO and the ecumenical advocacy group Oikos.

The full text of the message is here:

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