“We dare to claim that there is need to address the economic globalisation, marked by unregulated free market enterprise, systems designed to maintain the social pyramid requiring the majority to serve the minority. We acknowledge that there is need to confront the power houses where decisions are made, affecting the bread and butter concerns of those not privileged to participate in the discourse. And we agreed that there is need to uphold, celebrate and enable grassroots economies to receive prominence and provide models of alternative for wide scale consideration”, opined Rev. Dr. Collin Cowan, the General Secretary of Council for World Mission (CWM) in his keynote address to the participants of the Colloquium on New International Economic and Financial Architecture (NIFEA): Economy of life- addressing poverty and ecological destruction in South and East Asia which began today, the 12th October 2015 at YWCA, Singapore. The Colloquium will be held until 15th October 2015.
The Colloquium is part of a process of engaging CWM churches to begin working on a new financial and economic architecture from the grassroots level. This new economic architecture aims to influence policy makers regarding financial policies that will focus on addressing issues of poverty eradication and ecological justice. It also aims to enable churches to start specific initiatives that enhance an economy of life by promoting grassroots economies with schemes.
Rev Dr. Cowan delivered the keynote address on Theological Perspective on Theology Eradication. He pointed out that people living in poverty are denied and deprived of basic human rights to the gifts of God’s creation, by the social systems, designed to feather the social appetite of the few at the expense of the many. He added that poverty is a social condition which does not arise out of scarcity, but human greed and unjust economic structures and policies. To overcome poverty a sense of community is essential because this provides a sense of space; it has the virtues of kindness and a sense of social belonging. Following Jesus means adhering to the new economic order that focuses on rejecting and giving up on all life-negating tendencies that create poverty. He stressed that we, as individuals, have to analyze societies based on justice and we have to be bold and courageous in envisioning a change and act as agents of the change in the world here and now.
The programme began with a challenging bible study lead by Dr. Aruna Gnandason on the world in present times and with analysis of the society and popular human values that govern our present world. She went out to point that, human greed and will to dominate are the popular human values that govern the world. These values have resulted in wide range of discrimination and alienation of the vulnerable in the society. However, churches have remained frozen to a great extent on the treat that is faced by the vulnerable in the society. Reflecting on Hebrews 11:1-3, she stressed that faith in action is essential in challenging life negating values. Our faith in Jesus should inspire us to challenge values that discriminate and alienate because equality is God’s creation and its resources belong to all and not for the few and furthermore to take care of it is a shared responsibility of everyone.
Dr. Rogate Mshana led a session on introducing the Sao Paulo Statement. This statement was a result of a conference in which economists, church leaders, activists, politicians and theologians ‐ gathered in the State of São Paulo, Brazil, between 29 September and 5 October 2012 to envision together an alternative global financial and economic architecture. This statement was build on the Accra Confession of the WCRC, the “Statement on Just Finance and the Economy of Life” and the AGAPE Call to Action (“Economy of Life: Justice and Peace for All”) of the WCC as well as the theological statement on “Mission in the Context of Empire” of CWM. The statement laments the manner in which economic and financial legislation and controls are biased in favor of the wealthy. The statement calls for a system of just legislation and controls that facilitate the redistribution of wealth and power for all of God’s creation. Therefore, it rejects all kinds of discrimination and seeks to build life in community outside the logic of hierarchy and discrimination. In the context of discrimination, a prophetic witness stands at forefront. In the light of our calling as disciples of Jesus we need to respond concretely to issues of injustice. Therefore, the statement seeks to overcome capitalism, its nature and its logic and to establish.