Profoundly so concluded 366 delegates from 52 countries representing 160 global organisations at Viva’s 6th International Cutting Edge Conference, held in July at Wheaton College, Illinois.
Christian concern for children arise from obedience to a divine call to protect and nurture children into all their fullness and to remind any decision maker affecting children that they are accountable to a God that weighs every thought, word and deed.
Wess Stafford (President of Compassion International) reminded participants that Christians are ‘blessed in order to be a blessing’; and that as God has blessed Christians so abundantly then we are set free to serve our neighbour. He asserted that “Our hope resides with God and our task is to know him first and then make him known. As we know God we will be transformed and in turn will transform our world. Christian care for children starts from the inside out”. He also commented that that “children are so often overlooked” as he challenged the church to re-focus their efforts.
Valdir Steuernagel (Vice President for Christian Commitments for World Vision International) pointed out that Christian care for children is about ‘presence not busyness’ about ‘love as well as homes’ and commented that so much Christian action seemed to be far more about us – the child care workers or administrators – than them (the child). He mused: “are we serving the children or selling their need to build our empires?” He was clear that God in scripture seemed to give children clear preference over adults and admonishes us to ‘walk the talk’ as Christian childcare workers: Steurernagel called for an incarnational and relational ministry to define the Christian: “they shall be known for their love for one another”.
The International Cutting Edge is a key meeting place for Christian child development practitioners. The event serves as a market place for ideas, learning and partnership with numerous workshops on best practice and learning on key issues.
A number of partnerships and publications were launched at the conference including the HIV toolkit “Let your Light Shine”. This valuable resource was put together by 10 organizations and shows what the church in Africa is doing to assist AIDS affective children without foreign support. The hope is that this local, sustainable and often spontaneous work will multiply as the toolkit now is being taken from village to village across Africa.
More outcomes and resources will shortly be published on www.viva.org
For further details please contact Ian Smith: [email protected], +44 1865 811671