Academic journal article International Review of Mission

Oikotree: Putting Justice at the Heart of Faith

Academic journal article International Review of Mission

Oikotree: Putting Justice at the Heart of Faith

Article excerpt

Abstract

Oikotree is an ecumenical space in which a movement of those seeking to live faithfully in the midst of economic injustice and ecological destruction can take shape. Sponsored by the Council for World Mission (CWM), the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and the World Council of Churches (WCC), Oikotree is open to individuals, local churches, peoples' movements and all who share a concern for justice and the healing of the nations. This article describes Oikotree's foundations and hopes and how transformative mission must challenge the church as well as the world.

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In August 2004, after seven years of hearings and debate, four thousand Reformed Christians from all over the world and meeting in Accra, Ghana, adopted what has become known as the Accra Confession, a faith stance subtitled, Covenanting for Justice in the Economy and the Earth. As identified in the Accra Confession, covenanting for justice involves:

* confessing our faith together;

* coming together in relationships of mutual solidarity and accountability;

* working together for justice in the economy and the earth in our own local contexts and globally ("to the ends of the earth" Acts 1:8).

A Kuala Lumpur statement called Living out the Accra Confession (1) further developed covenanting for justice under the themes of:

* reclaiming spirituality: rejecting anthropocentrism and reconnecting with nature, the incarnate reality of God's life-giving and life-renewing bounty;

* reclaiming a theology of God's economy: promoting solidarity and justice because God's economic measures emphasize compassion, grace, love and justice;

* reclaiming mission: recognising that proclaiming God's good news of liberation and redemption in the context of the neoliberal economy, ecological destruction and empire calls us to engage in transformative mission that reclaims life in its fullness for all.

In other follow-up work focussing on the issue of empire, the Manila Declaration (2) called on churches to "resist empire and to renew communities of life".

Alongside this, the ecumenical Alternative Globalization Addressing People and Earth (AGAPE) process, begun in 1998, also seeks to respond to the question, "How do we live our faith in the context of globalization?" Now being pursued through its study on poverty, wealth and ecology, the AGAPE process is exploring alternatives to neoliberal economic globalization, which link economy and ecology in ways that promote economic justice for all. This process calls for all of us to be transformed and to be accountable to the victims of neoliberal globalization.

The Kuala Lumpur statement, recognising the need to take these concerns and initiatives forward, concluded with an invitation to "all God's people to join with us in a covenanting for justice movement to transform ourselves and the world according to God's purposes and promises, inspired by the vision of a new heaven and a new earth".

Oikotree is the fruit of this vision; it is an ecumenical space in which a movement of those seeking to live faithfully in the midst of economic injustice and ecological destruction can take shape. Sponsored by the Council for World Mission (CWM), the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and the World Council of Churches (WCC), Oikotree is open to individuals, local churches, peoples' movements and all who share a concern for justice and the healing of the nations.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the muddle of the street of the city. On either sure of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations (Rev.22:1-2).

Taking its name from the Greek oikos (literally "household", from which is derived "economy" and "ecology", as well as "ecumenical") and Rev. …

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