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Global Anti-Poverty Campaign Launched

Micah 6:8 records that God calls on all of us to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with Him. One of our responses is to help those living in poverty.

With the inspirational music of a black Gospel choir, the Micah Challenge was launched in an auditorium in the heart of the United Nations building in New York. Christian leaders from around the world came together on the international day of the eradication of poverty to declare their intentions to mobilize in a great way the global Church to combat poverty.

The Micah Challenge was launched in an auditorium in the heart of the United Nations building in New York.
The Micah Challenge was launched in an auditorium in the heart of the United Nations building in New York.

Micah Challenge is spearheaded by the World Evangelical Alliance, which represents three million local churches in 111 countries, and a network of 260 Christian relief and development agencies. Already national Micah Challenge campaigns are being formed in the UK, Peru, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, India and Zambia. As a first step, Christians around the world are being asked to sign an on-line commitment and petition at www.micahchallenge.org.

Based upon a well-known verse in the Old Testament: "And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God," (Micah 6:8). The Micah Challenge has two aims:

  1. First, we want to work with governments to ensure the Millennium Development Goals are reached.

    The Millennium Development Goals are the most comprehensive and ambitious commitment that the world has ever made to combating the evils of poverty. At the head of the list is to reduce absolute poverty by half, and to reduce hunger by half, by 2015. In the long term we must eradicate both.

    The other goals are all consequences of poverty. They include reducing child mortality and improving maternal health, achieving universal primary education, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, and bringing sustainable access to clean drinking water.

  2. Second, we will challenge and encourage other Christians and development organizations to get actively involved in helping those living in poverty.

Last year Christians gave hundreds of millions of dollars to international aid projects. In addition, millions of individuals served as volunteers to help the poor in their country or other nations.

While we applaud these efforts, we believe much more should and can be done.

Why are we committing ourselves expanding our efforts and launching this global advocacy and action campaign?

The answer is simple.

There are 6.3 billion people in the world today. Half live on less than two dollars a day. A billion live on less than a dollar a day. Almost 850 million suffer hunger—one in seven.

We have seen the world's most economically disadvantaged and forgotten people.

We see their humanity.

We hear their voices.

We know of the struggle and pain in their lives.

And we believe that Jesus would have us do something about it.

Jesus is our inspiration, and we are convinced that He calls all His followers to reflect God's justice and mercy in the way we live.

Because of Jesus, we are persuaded that every person on this planet is made in the image of God, and that our Creator values and loves every one of us equally.

That is why, to quote Vinoth Ramachandra: "Injustice is a violation of God's own being."

The promises contained in the Millennium Development Goals are in harmony with this mandate, and we in the Micah Challenge will be doing all we can to encourage our government to deliver on these promises.

However, it is not just up to governments to act on behalf of the poor. As followers of Jesus we have a clear mandate to serve the " … least of these."

So in partnership, churches and agencies will work together in educating and mobilizing individual Christians to speak out for the poor and compassionately respond to the needs of the poor.

As South African Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane stated at the global launch, "Acting together, Christians can play a vital role in helping global partners meet their commitments. When we work with one another, united across nationalities and races, across rich and poor, across men, women and children, we have an enormously powerful and influential voice. We must speak up loud and clear."

Also, at the global launch, Katherine Marshall of the World Bank stated, "This remarkable event today symbolizes the vital global mobilization we are working for: to face what we together see as humanity's most critical challenge—to end acute poverty and fight for social justice. Poverty in the world today is an outrage, not only because of the misery it causes but we so clearly have the means to defeat it." She concluded by saying, "We must, we can and we will."

We agree with Dr. Marshall.

We must respond to the needs of the poor.

After launching the global campaign, I flew to Ottawa to officially launch the Canadian campaign.

At the Canadian launch held at the Laurentian Leadership Centre, members of parliament, Christian leaders and media heard how Canadian Christians are committed to fully engaging in this global campaign.

100 Huntley Street reporter and television crew recorded the launch and meetings that we held during the day with M.P.'s. This report will be used as background information for a special feature about the Micah Challenge to be aired on 100 Huntley Street, November 8th.

This Canadian campaign is co-chaired by Wayne deJong of the Canadian Christian Relief and Development Association and myself representing the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.

We are calling upon Christian's in Canada to join with million of others around the world to sign and live out the Micah Call:

The Micah call

This is a moment in history of unique potential, when the stated intentions of world leaders echo something of the mind of the biblical prophets and the teachings of Jesus concerning the poor, and when we have the means to dramatically reduce poverty.

We commit ourselves, as followers of Jesus, to work together for the holistic transformation of our communities, to pursue justice, be passionate about kindness, and to walk humbly with God.

We call on international and national decision-makers of both rich and poor nations to fulfil their public promise to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and so halve absolute global poverty by 2015.

We call on Christians everywhere to be agents of hope for and with the poor, and to work with others to hold our national and global leaders accountable in securing a more just and merciful world.

Geoff Tunnicliffe is director of global initiatives for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. He is also the co-chair of the Micah Challenge Canada.

 

 
 
 
 

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