U.K. Evangelical Leader Tapped to Head Christian Anti-Poverty Effort

The global anti-poverty campaign of the World Evangelical Alliance and the Micah Network will have a new international director when the world rings in the New Year.

The Rev. Joel Edwards, who is currently the general secretary of the Evangelical Alliance UK, was recently appointed to lead Micah Challenge International, which aims to mobilize Christians worldwide against poverty.

"The board of Micah Challenge International is delighted to be able to appoint Joel Edwards as its International Director, from January 1, 2009," expressed Steve Bradbury, chair of Micah Network and acting chair of Micah Challenge International, in a released statement.

"We know Joel will bring to this role enormous passion, commitment to tackle issues of global inequality and a powerful, biblically-shaped vision for the kind of world God wants us to live in," he added.

The Micah Network and the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) created the Micah Challenge campaign to "grasp a moment of unique potential" – a moment when the intention of all of the world's leaders is to halve poverty by 2015.

In 2000, all 191 member states of the United Nations, and the global financial institutions, publicly promised to halve poverty by 2015 by achieving the eight "Millennium Development Goals," which include, among others, eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

The aims of Micah Challenge are to deepen Christian engagement with impoverished and marginalized communities through prayer and action, and to encourage leaders of rich and poor countries to fulfill their promise to halve absolute poverty by 2015 through the MDGs.

"Having been involved in Micah Challenge since its inception I am very much looking forward to the challenges of leading such an exciting global initiative, building on the excellent foundational work of Michael Smitheram and the team," commented Edwards in a released statement.

Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, the international director of WEA, also expressed how much he is looking forward to Edwards' new appointment.

"I am thrilled to see Joel take on this important international leadership role," said Tunnicliffe after returning from his visit to Australia. "Having worked closely with him over the last number of years, I believe he is uniquely gifted to serve our global community at this critical and Kairos moment in history as the church needs to significantly deepen its commitment to the global poor."

According to Micah Challenge USA, there are nearly 40 Micah Challenge Campaigns around the world. Like the international campaign, most of the national campaigns have been jointly convened by the national Evangelical Alliance, representing churches and locally based Christian community development organizations who are members of Micah Network.

Together they invite the Christian community to participate, and also cooperate with the broader civil society movement against poverty in their country.

"Micah Network, a Global Partner of the WEA, congratulates Rev. Edwards on his new appointment and seeks to continue to actively support the Micah Challenge campaign globally, regionally and through its members, nationally," the network stated.

While the Micah Network brings together more than 295 Christian organizations that provide relief, development and justice ministries throughout the world, the WEA is a global network of 127 national and regional evangelical church alliances, 104 organizational ministries and six specialized ministries serving the worldwide church.