Dear Friend in Mission,
In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote, ‘And it is written, “The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little,” (2 Corinthians 8:15)
Although the last year has been a difficult one for many people, the poor have once again been hit the hardest. As the effects of the financial crisis trickle down there is real concern that some of the gains, especially from debt reduction, may be lost.
Still a lucky country, the Australian gross national product was almost $40,000 per person. In Ethiopia it was $930 (World Bank).
There are a billion people in the world who live in extreme poverty and every three seconds, a child dies from poverty. (MPH)
As a response to this escalating and frequently desperate situation, in 2005, the Make Poverty
History (MPH) Campaign was created. A coalition of religious and secular organisations, it is now the largest anti-poverty movement in history. The campaign aims to end the injustice of poverty by ensuring that wealthier nations commit to delivering the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which are aimed at alleviating poverty.
ABM was an early member of the MPH coalition. The General Synod has endorsed the efforts we make to ensure the Australian government meets its own commitment to the MDGs – which have been identified and endorsed by the United Nations. To date, MPH has ensured that the Government has stayed committed to allocating 0.5 per cent of gross national income to overseas aid by 2015.
Most recently, the Government agreed to allocate $370 million to maternal and child health as a result of MPH lobbying.
In our support of the MDGs, ABM, along with many other Christian organisations, recognises the need to be holistic in our witness to the Good News of Jesus Christ. As the prophet Micah reminds us, “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8). As a result, Christian organisations have developed a specific campaign, known as Micah Challenge.
As its name suggests, this campaign presents several challenges. Firstly, there is the challenge of the Church to perceive mission as holistic and that working towards the MDGs is missional work. Secondly, there is a call to the Church to challenge governments, multinationals, corporations and ourselves to ensure that the MDGs are achieved. From a Christian perspective the MPH coalition and the Micah Challenge complement each other.
ABM participates in both these campaigns on behalf of the Anglicans of Australia, so I hope you will take up the call to participate (see page 11).
Jesus said that there will always be poor. I believe that how many they number and how much they suffer depends on our collective will.
The Revd John Deane