Religious Leaders Vow to Help End Global Poverty

Article excerpt

Religious leaders from a wide range of denominations, including the Canadian Anglican primate, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, met in Washington D.C. from Sept 11 to 13 and urged governments to work with churches to eliminate extreme poverty around the world.

"There is a broadening consensus that it is now possible to eliminate extreme poverty from the planet. All that is missing is the political will," said Archbishop Hutchison in an interview.

The gathering supported the United Nations' Millennium Development-Goals, which seeks to cut extreme poverty in half by 2015 and get developed nations to commit to spending 0.7 percent of GDP on international aid.

The group met at Washington National Cathedral in an event that inaugurated the cathedral college's Center for Global Justice and Reconciliation, which is directed by Canon John L. Peterson, former secretary general of the Anglican Communion.

The group later released a communique stating, "We believe that our communities of faith, representing millions of people and sponsoring numerous human development initiatives, can provide new models for advancing a global movement against poverty."

It added: "In making these calls to governments, we know that the Churches themselves must be active partners in the work of development and building a just world economy ... At the same time, we humbly recognize our weaknesses. As Christian leaders, we challenge our own churches to pursue partnerships with governments, international organizations, civil society and across confessional lines."

The leaders, who also included Bishop Frank Griswold, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A.; former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey; Secretary General Kenneth Kearon of the Anglican Communion; Lutheran bishop Tord Harlin of Sweden; Methodist general secretary George Freeman and Stephen Colecchi, director of the office of international justice and peace of the U. …