church and public issues - archive
poverty, debt and the
The Economic Crisis:
Towards Sustainable Economies and Livelihoods
A day conference organised by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland took place on 20th January 2009 at Methodist Church House, London. Well over 100 representatives from UK churches and related organisations came together to address the global economic and environmental crisis.
The aim of the conference was to reflect theologically on the root causes of the current economic crisis and the response of the churches in terms of their prophetic, pastoral and partnership roles and responsibilities.
Following the conference, CTBI is looking at further possible ways to resource or assist the churches across the 4 nations to take these issues forward and respond to the ongoing economic crisis.
Talks and presentations are available as downloads.
Bob Goudzwaard, a former Dutch MP and economist, in his key note speech referred to "a crisis not just in but of a system" warning us of a Faustian compact in which money expands its domain where politicians and government are brought under the hypnotic sway of finance capital. The God of finance, a self-made idol has betrayed us.
Ann Pettifor, former head of Jubilee 2000 debt relief campaign and campaign director for the Christian climate change organisation Operation Noah, echoed this, saying: "Principles of greed, selfishness and avarice underpinned the massive growth of credit, debt, consumption and the greenhouse gas emissions associated with consumption. These principles flouted all the teachings of the Abrahamic faiths, including Christianity, and have led to widespread delusion with secular principles of unfettered market-based individualism."
Speakers offered perspectives including: standing in solidarity with those most affected; engagement with the powers that be; developmental models; theological reflection and pointers to a green new deal. The churches can see things from the perspective of eternity, rather than with an eye on the next election and remind us of the need to be 'good stewards of creation'. The conference heard of a vision of ‘the richness of sufficiency' and the need to find meaningful human employment for future generations in ensuring that ‘self-interest prompts what justice requires'.
Michael Bartlet, Parliamentary Liaison Secretary for the Quakers in summing up for the conference, said: "We have falsely separated the economy from the environment in which it is rooted and sustained. We need to rebuild the link...we face a stark choice between a political economy, based on greed, acquisition and consumption and one based on sustainable and just relationships with our neighbour and reverence for life."
Conference photos courtesy of Methodist Church (copyright of Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes)
Please note: the opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of all of the member churches of CTBI, nor of all of those who were present at the day conference.
You can also read what the churches are saying and doing about poverty, debt and the financial crisis.