Bishop of Durham Speaks Out For The Poor And Reconciliation
The Rt Rev Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham, called for the Church to stand up for the world’s poor, when he addressed the Anglican Alliance for Development at Bishopthorpe, York, in a keynote speech called 'Good News for the Poor – at home and in the wider world' on Monday 30th April.
Present at the Seminar hosted by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu was an audience made up of 52 people engaged in Diocesan and other forms of overseas development links and activity. The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss the work of the Anglican Alliance for Relief, Development, and Advocacy.
Also present at the Seminar organised by the Church Mission Society, the Anglican Alliance and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s International Development Officer at Bishopthorpe Palace was the Rt. Rev Moses Masamba Nthukah of the Mbeere Diocese in Kenya.
During his keynote address, Bishop Justin said: “The question that faces the church both domestically and internationally, is that of what is human flourishing, good news, amidst the deep poverty that still grips many parts of the world and the utter spiritual bankruptcy and increasing material poverty in slump hit Britain?
“Our good news must be unique, because the radicality of the gospel calls us to a sense of what we are doing and saying utterly different from all other groups. The language of our good news is not GDP, output and so forth, though they are part of the means, it is human flourishing in a context of love. The tools of our good news is the unique ones of reconciliation and peace, with its fellow travellers of generosity, community and self-giving love.
“The task of seeking a just international trading system, of protection of those made most vulnerable, of being separated in our words and investments from oppressive and unjust structures is a task that becomes heavier with time and needs conscious refiguring and renewal. At home, the church has stood well for issues of justice in the House of Lords, and that sense of bias to the poor must be held. It is too easy to lose. We become distracted by too much power, seeking to benefit our own inheritance. Justice comes from not being compromised by our own self-protection, it calls for the institution as well as the individual to be ready to lose all.
“The good news of reconciliation is tangible. In 2005, severe civil violence in the southern senatorial district of Plateau state in Jos drove over 100,000 people from their homes and killed more than 4,000. The rare success of the processes that followed came from a holistic integration of conflict management through low tech and informal early warning systems to education in agriculture and restarting schools. It was Christian led, locally directed, empowered women, and subverted the power structure of gun running.
Human flourishing in a time of depression is our aim. The means are not GDP, even equality, although they are part of it. Rather we bring good news by living it so we put our walk with God and holding his values at the top of the list of priorities. We bring good news by being it, as God is to us, creating liberty, going where others do not, never seeking power. To do that we need to let ourselves be transformed, to imagine the good news in God's ways. As always the priority is to walk humbly with the Lord, and from that place we find the means to be good news.”