In a newsletter released February 7, the World Council of Churches announced plans to organize a global alliance of churches to deal with world poverty and injustice according to requests made by ecumenical agencies and churches working in the humanitarian-relief field. This new alliance will be provisionally named Action by Churches Together Global (ACT Global).
According to the newsletter, WCC general secretary Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia that the meeting, planned for late 2005, “is a turning point in ushering in a new era of collaboration between churches, ecumenical agencies and the WCC.” The newsletter also stated that the WCC-members churches and other organizations have long struggled to cooperate in one unified voice on issues involving poverty and injustice.
The proposal to start the alliance arose during the February 4-5 WCC gathering at Bossey, Switzerland. At the gathering, delegates decided that more emphasis was needed for “humanitarian relief,” and development “in cooperation and advocacy work.” The alliance, the proposal stated, would be the first step in bringing together the ecumenical body in working for justice. The proposal also suggested that the alliance be named ACT Global. So far, the name has been used to refer to any emergency work the ecumenical body has been associated with.
Commenting on this event, Dr. Daleep Mukarji, the director of Christian Aid UK, expressed desires to see “a common instrument bringing together relief, advocacy and development, which can act quickly and flexibly.”
In addition to forging a new alliance, the WCC has appointed an overseer group to negotiate with ecumenical organizations currently involved in fighting poverty and injustice. The group also has the option of forming new ecumenical pilot projects amongst prospective alliance participants.