WCC Forms New Global Alliance for Development

Justice and poverty issues must be combated through the concerted effort of the churches, said World Council of Churches general secretary the Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia during a consultation in Geneva.

Over 50 participating churches and organizations from all over the world agreed to establish a new global alliance for development, taking new ecumenical steps forward to overcome poverty and injustice.

"The new alliance offers us an opportunity to create something new, something which lives out the principles we all uphold, something which strengthens us all," said Kobia, in a released statement.

The alliance is expected to increase coordination and strategic collaboration among participants for a more effective approach in addressing issues of poverty and injustice.

"Diakonia (service) is central to the mission and being of the churches," said Kobia. "Guided by the prophetic tradition, we are compelled to see justice as the essence of the love of God in our critique of the destructive impact of injustice and misuse of power."

Increased ecumenical efforts to stand against some of the most critical humanitarian issues today are being seen. Another world body, the World Evangelical Alliance, had also emphasized the need to mobilize the churches, especially against HIV/AIDS, during an International Council meeting that took place in Germany Nov. 28-Dec. 1.

"There is a definite need and common interest for ecumenical partners to move from isolated initiatives to a coordinated approach, especially in the face of critical problems like HIV/AIDS," stated the Rev. Cornelia Füllkrug-Weitzel, director of Bread for the World, one of Germany's main church aid agencies.

With hopes of enhancing the visibility of ecumenical organizations in the area of development, WCC alliance members also expect to draw close ties with ACT International, the WCC-related global body for emergency relief, and the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, a network for international cooperation in advocacy on global trade and HIV/AIDS.

"A collective analysis and response by the ecumenical family to the problems we face in Africa and elsewhere is absolutely necessary," confirmed Bishop Mvume Dandala, general secretary of the Nairobi-based All Africa Conference of Churches, according to WCC.

The new alliance, whose name will be determined by May 2006, will invite churches and organizations to apply to become a part of the coordinated group.