Plenary 3: Challenges and Network for Capacity Building, Bishop Albert Chama & Keith Chua

Plenary 3: Challenges and Network for Capacity Building, Bishop Albert Chama & Keith Chua

Let me firstly extend a personal welcome to Singapore and I trust that our hospitality teams have been taking good care of you. I was privileged to have been at the last 2 encounters – that may or may not be a good thing. Continuity can be very helpful but I realise that staying too long results in excess baggage. If you travel as often as I do excess baggage can be very inconvenient and slows you down.


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I just want to bring us back to the last encounter which Egypt so wonderfully organised and the spirit of unity and co-operation of the Global South was riding high. We were really beginning to come together as one in the Lord in the midst of the many issues confronting our Communion. Despite these issues we could take time and reflect on where we are, where we have been and where with the Lord’s leading we would like to head. In Egypt we spent time in the desert and also by the Red Sea. However when we moved in convoys we were lead by motorcycle police and flashing lights rather than cloud and fire – I say this is the natural sense. I do believe we were very much lead by the Holy Spirit when we met in Egypt.

Let me read you the relevant paragraphs from the 3rd Global South to South Encounter Communique.

Extract from the 3rd GSSE Communique

Poverty

37. As the church catholic we share a common concern for the universal problem of debt and poverty. The inequity that exists between the rich and the poor widens as vast sums borrowed by previous governments were not used for the intended purposes. Requiring succeeding generations of people who never benefitted from the loans and resources to repay them will impose a crushing and likely insurmountable burden. We welcome and appreciate the international efforts of debt reduction and cancellation, for example, the steps recently carried out by G8 leaders.

 

38. A dimension of responsible stewardship and accountability is the clear call to be financially self sustaining. We commend the new initiative for financial self sufficiency and development being studied by the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa. This is not only necessary because of the demands of human dignity; it is the only way to have sustainable economic stability.

Corruption

40. The holy Church will ‘show forth fruits that befit repentance’ (Matt 3:8). Many of us live in regions that have been deeply wounded by corruption. Not only do we have a responsibility to live transparent lives of utmost honesty in the Church, we are called to challenge the culture in which we live (Micah 6:8). Corruption consumes the soul of society and must be challenged at all costs. Transparency and accountability are key elements that we must manifest in bearing witness to the cultures in which we live.

 

Following the 3rd Encounter the GSPSC met and in order to action these aspects formally constituted the Economic Empowerment Track.

We have taken the liberty to make copies of the statements and agreements from the 2 consultations of this Track. All these have been posted on the Global South Website and have been provided to each participant’s folder. I hope you have all had a chance to read through this.

 At each of these meetings, Kigali in Rwanda in Sep 2006 and Accra in Ghana in Sep 2007 we had participation from 9 to 10 GS Provinces.

The consultations we had were productive and helpful. However being meetings much depended on each participating Province to put into action after returning to home Province. I have heard from some but not been able to get updates from some others. I do know that increasingly our GS churches recognise the urgent need for Economic Empowerment and Capacity Building From broad interaction in the past few years I am encouraged to conclude that all of us are engaged in this is one form or another and in varying degrees. In fact there is a growing view that we have all the material resources we need within the Global South and the potential to develop the other needs.

Let us briefly examine the Action steps proposed and that those in the first group committed to acting on.

1 Establish in each Province an Economic Empowerment Fund. The seed funding will come from our own Provincial resources as our commitment toward economic self sufficiency.

If we would like others to help us then we should at least show we are desirous of doing what we can within our means.

2 Begin developing in each Province a sustainable Economic Empowerment strategy.

Each Province is unique – we need to evolve what will work for us. However we have much that we can learn from each other.

3 Create awareness-raising and implement biblically based teaching on Stewardship.

Absolutely fundamental.

4 Enhance communication and allocate funding where necessary.

The prevalence of handphones and internet has made great leaps in the recent years – and at affordable levels.

5 Where practical to actively harness international initiatives on Poverty alleviation.

Again each Province is unique and programmes vary by continent and country. Just make sure that benefits flow into the community intended to be assisted.

6 Begin to actively develop inter Provincial economic partnerships.

As GS we have Provinces better resourced than others. We are one Body so let us help one another intentionally and unconditionally.

7 Convene an Economic Empowerment consultation in 2007 with participation by every Global South Province.

We convened in 2007 in Accra, Ghana. At the conclusion of Accra we submitted to our Primates the proposal to meet annually or bi-annually with specific targets.

8 Increase active engagement of both public and private sectors in improving the economic livelihoods of our people.

Let us share within our Diocese and Provinces. Urban churches will inevitably have more resources than rural churches. This aligns with income distribution patterns. Today the Forbes wealthiest person comes from the Global South.

The Ethical Economic and Financial Covenant is also fundamental to sustaining our capacity building efforts. This has been distributed earlier in the folders and I would like to suggest that we consider reaffirming this in our regional group discussions.

We acted on action step 7 by convening in Accra in Sep 2007. We were privileged to have the Archbishop of West Africa as our host. We were also privileged to have Archbishop Okoh from Nigeria who just recently succeeded Archbishop Akinola as Primate of all Nigeria. Our Prayer and Congratulations Your Grace as you lead our largest Province.

Accra for me was exciting. We shared our own walks in the area of Economic Empowerment. Each one of us presented a paper on a selected topic. And we spent time dreaming on behalf of our Provinces with the intention of bringing this to reality with the Lord’s blessing and in His time.

The initiatives commonly employed in Economic Empowerment and Capacity Building include micro finance and small enterprise, agricultural projects – very often with higher efficiency and yield improvement, skills development, land redevelopment and infrastructure development. One very valuable resource common in GS Anglican Provinces is land – it is vital we are good stewards of this highly prized asset.

Let me share with you some of the dreams – I hope we have begun turning these dreams into reality.

Uganda – considered the primary resource being her members numbering at that time 10 million. The goal was to encourage each member to give $1 more per year which would bring in $10 million more for the church yearly.

Congo – recognised that civil conflict was a very challenging reality. Despite this there was a desire to establish micro finance initiatives that would improve the livelihoods of members and their communities.

Nigeria – looked at a model that would provide the Province with operating income so that Dioceses could spend their surpluses for further church planting. The income would come from redeveloping a commercial building for rental income and also establish an endowment fund that would provide regular income stream.

 

Perhaps in the discussion time on this plenary we may want to do a quick evaluation of the extent our Provinces have moved forward in the area of capacity building and economic empowerment.

Let me briefly share a some goals for my Province -

PSEA has formed a Provincial Partnership with CPM.

Our Churches while being self supporting would most likely still be working toward being a fully tithing church. We are currently self sufficient but if we had access to more resources by truly being obedient we may be able to help others even more.

 

Our action steps from Kigali point us back to 3 scriptural principles guiding us as a Church and as members of the Body of Christ.

The first is Tithing and Stewardship-

Are we teaching the principles of Biblical Stewardship and Tithing? Are we and our members tithing.

A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord. Lev 27:30

Action steps 1, 2, 3, 4, relate

The second is The Greatest Commandment

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself.  Matt 22: 37,38

If we faithfully follow this then all the above action steps will apply as well as action steps 5,6 and 8.

If we follow the second commandment we will look at those amongst us in need and act on it. We will also look at our fellow Provinces who may have need and act on it.

The third is Generosity encouraged

At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality. 2 Cor 8:14

Again we can relate action steps 5, 6 and 8

A Provincial partnership today may turn around in the years ahead. As an example, Province A helps Province B today. Some time later, Province B having strengthened may be the in position to help Province A. Perhaps we might even be bold enough to relate this to our wider communion where the older and more resourced Provinces of the decades past could be tangibly helped or need the vibrancy from the South.

May I hand over now to my co presenter Bishop Albert Chama.
 

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Presented by: ArchBishop Albert Chama   

CHALLENGES AND NETWORKING FOR CAPACITY BUILDING

Part 3

We would like to conclude our presentation by looking at this extract from a lecture delivered by Lord Brian Griffiths – a friend to many GS Primates.

The extract begins -

The church has the potential to tackle world poverty and to change the cultureof globalisation in ways that governments and international institutions do not.

It is very easy in considering the challenges of globalization and international development to enter a secular debate, on secular terms, in which the Christian faith has seemingly limited relevance and is reduced to the margins. Jesus, however, was under no illusion of the claims He was making when He declared “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” While Christ’s kingdom is   “not of the world,” Scripture makes clear that Christ’s kingdom is nevertheless relevant to every aspect of our life in this world. The Church is a witness to that kingdom and because of that has great potential to influence our world for the better.

Let me provide two concrete examples of what this might mean:  the Church in Africa and the leadership of business.

All of the initiatives proposed by G8 countries to help sub-Saharan Africa – dealing with debt, aid, trade and so forth – are “top-down” proposals. The eagles meeting in 2005 were all “top-down” proposals. The report of the Commission on Africa made eighty recommendations. Of these, seventy-eight recommendations were addressed exclusively to African governments, the governments of donor countries, or a combination of these. The question that needs to be asked concerning such top-down initiatives is how they translate into tangible results affecting the lives of ordinary people in the villages and small towns of rural Africa. Sadly, the perception is that they do not.

It is here that the Church scores highly. If we take sub-Saharan Africa as an example, the Christian Church numbered around sixty million people in 1960. Today that figure is between 350 – 400 million. The Church in Africa is in closer touch with the poor – those living on less than one dollar per day – than any other institution. Moreover, the Church has a stable administrative infrastructure through the provinces, dioceses, and parishes, which is unrivalled and is in marked contrast to the often-failed structures of local government. The Church has a highly respected leadership (unlike the political class in Africa) who are trained, experienced, and live permanently in the communities they serve. This is a vivid contrast to aid workers and officials of international institutions. Through the provision of schools, hospitals, clinics, dispensaries and, more recently, micro-finance initiatives, the Church has a proven track record in helping the poor.

This should not surprise us. In Deus Caritas Est, Pope Benedict XVI stated:

For the Church, charity is not a kind of welfare activity which could equally well be left to others, but is part of her nature, an indispensable expression of her very being. (DCE 25)

The Church in Africa is a sleeping giant with enormous potential. The challenge faced by Christians in wealthy countries is how we can serve the Church in Africa so that in turn it can most effectively serve its people.

Another area of enormous potential influence is business leadership. We have argued the sine qua non for economic development is the creation of a vibrant private sector in developing countries. Successful private sector companies provide jobs, training, exports, and community involvement. Christians ought to be committed to shaping companies in ways that allow the people to develop and pursue excellence. Throughout G7 countries, there are thousands of Christians in positions of business leadership, not least in those companies that are at the heart of globalization.  There will be others, maybe of other faiths or even no faith, who will have equally high ideals for corporate life. Once again, I believe that the Church is in a unique position to mobilize its members to take responsibility and leadership. To cite Benedict XVI again:

In today’s complex situation, not least because of the growth of a globalized economy, the Church’s social doctrine has become a set of fundamental guidelines offering approaches that are valid even beyond the confines of the Church.(DCE 27)

Extract from ‘Globalization, Poverty, and International Development: Insights from Centesimus Annus’ by Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach

Published by Action Institute

We have chosen to include this extract from the lecture delivered by Lord Griffiths in 2006 as it describes both the challenge and the potential for the Church in Africa very well. We propose that this extract could be one of the key topics for our discussion in the next hour.

We hesitated at first because of the inclusion of the issue of ‘globalisation’ but as we reflected – this trend (globalisation) is embedded in how we function today. If there continue to be aspects of globalisation that concern the Church today then lets surface them. Where we as a Church can improve or even chart the future course of globalisation then let us also suggest specific aspects.

(Keith sharing from personal perspective)

When I first visited Africa in the 90’s – on arrival as I travelled to the hotel and looked around I saw a land of tremendous potential. As I engaged with the Christian leaders I heard a mixture of both excitement and discouragement. Whenever I have had the opportunity I have spoken of the great potential of the continent of Africa and that the day will come for the Church in Africa. If I were to suggest when this might be I would say it is now. The last fifteen years has seen changes in the entire global socio, economic and political areas and the corresponding shifts in many countries in Africa – most of these provide the supporting foundation for the Church in Africa to rise up. The latest CNN report places African Christians at 470 million (Muslims account for about 234 million).

I resonate with the words of Lord Griffiths and I would hasten to add that the global changes have also provided a similar opportunity for the Church in both South America and Asia.

 

In discussing the papers we propose these questions may help us focus in areas resulting in specific action following this conference. We look forward to the outcome of your deliberations.

 

Q1

Is it true that within the Church of the Global South there is potential for the economic empowerment to be realised?

Q2

What types of partnerships would you like to have with other Provinces or Diocese within the Church in the Global South and the North?

Q3

Is capacity building necessary in the Church of the Global South, further, in your own context what areas needs capacity building, where do you think we should go from here in order to achieve economic empowerment?
 

Presenters – Bishop Albert Chama and Keith Chua

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