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WCC's 9th Assembly to affirm alternative globalization


"A world without poverty is not only possible but is in keeping with the grace of God for the world" affirms a call that will play a central role at the 9th Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Porto Alegre, 14-23 February.


Called "AGAPE - A Call to love and action", the six-page document summarizes the results of the work done by the WCC and ecumenical partners on economic globalization since the 8th Assembly in Harare in 1998. It also calls churches "to act together for transformation of economic injustice".


The call, in the form of a prayer, will invite Assembly participants to recommit themselves to work "for the eradication of poverty and inequality", "for justice in international trade relations", "for responsible lending, unconditional debt cancellation and the control and regulation of global financial markets".


Preservation of natural resources and bio-diversity, resistance against privatization of public goods and services, promotion of land reforms, advocacy for decent jobs and just wages, and a firm faith stance against hegemonic powers are among the recommitments to which the call will invite churches and the wider ecumenical movement.


<span style="FONT-WEIGHT: bold"» Alternative globalization addressing peoples and earth


The proposals in the AGAPE call were shared with the churches prior to the Assembly. They build on work developed as a response to the WCC's 8th Assembly, which stated that "the logic of globalization needs to be challenged by an alternative way of life of community in diversity".


Programmatic work in this area since Harare has taken the form of wide consultations with churches, social movements and ecumenical bodies, notably the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, the Lutheran World Federation and the Conference of European Churches. The process came to be called "AGAPE: Alternative globalization addressing peoples and earth".


Its findings, proposals and recommendations to the churches are outlined in a 60-page background document with the same title, that was designed as a study guide for use in seminars and discussion groups.


The document seeks to address the human tragedies caused by economic globalization. It reflects the expectation that churches and the ecumenical family will move beyond a critique of neoliberal globalization and go on to develop a vision of a just, compassionate and inclusive world.


Throughout the document, the emphasis is on transformation, in accordance with the Assembly theme, "God, in your grace, transform the world". Even its title - AGAPE - is derived from the Greek word for love, used in the Bible as an expression for God's abundant grace and the love of God and the neighbour.


<span style="FONT-WEIGHT: bold"» Beyond the champagne glass economy


We live in what the background report styles a "champagne glass economy," where the richest 20% of the population owns 83% of the world's wealth, the next 20% owns 11%, and the remaining 60% owns only 6% of the world's wealth.


The intolerable levels of poverty which result from this economic model are condemned by the report, particularly on theological and spiritual grounds which challenge the churches to act.


"It is hoped that this document will inspire the churches and the ecumenical family to address the complex questions around economic injustice, which is the main challenge of our times," says Rogate Mshana, WCC programme executive responsible for economic justice.



The full text of the statement "AGAPE Call - for love and action" is available online at:



The full text of the background document "AGAPE: alternative globalization addressing peoples and earth" is available online as a PDF file at: