Christian Leaders Challenge G8 to Keep Promises to Poor

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Press Release
June 2, 2007

Christian leaders joined together in Rostock, northern Germany, on Saturday 2 June 2007 to remind G8 leaders of their commitment to the poor and the promises they made to halve extreme poverty by 2015.

Geoff Tunnicliffe, head of the World Evangelical Alliance, Rev Joel Edwards, General Secretary of the Evangelical Alliance in the UK, and Michael Smitheram, International Coordinator of Micah Challenge International, are all in Rostock for a Christian youth training camp currently being hosted by Micah Challenge Germany.

Micah Challenge is a worldwide movement of churches, Christian organisations and individuals pressuring governments to do more to fulfil the Millennium Development Goals they agreed to in 2000 to halve extreme poverty by 2015.

This year marks the half-way point and as the G8 leaders prepare to meet in Rostock next week, the three organisational heads are joining Christians around the world in blowing the whistle on their governments to hold them to account on their promises to the poor.

“We’re here as Christians to represent the millions of people in our global network who couldn’t be here but are every day impacted by extreme poverty,” said Mr Tunnicliffe, whose organisation represents around 430 million Christians worldwide, many of whom reside in countries with the most to gain from the MDGs.

He added: “We are here to remind government leaders that they need to keep the promises they made in providing aid and assistance to the poor.”

Mr Tunnicliffe, Rev Edwards and Mr Smitheram were all present at a special interdenominational service in Rostock’s largest church, the Marienkirche, ahead of next week’s G8 summit in nearby Heiligendamm.

During the service, Rev Edwards urged more Christians to get involved with the Micah Challenge movement, which is spiritually inspired by Micah 6.8.

“We want to deepen our commitment to the poor and we want to advocate for and with the poor,” he said. “We invite God’s church across the world to do justice, love mercy and walk with God.”

The church was packed with hundreds of concerned Christians who joined in prayers for an end to global poverty and held balloons bearing 25,000 signatures of those in support of Third World debt cancellation. The prayers were led by Christian leaders from around the world, including Tanzania and Nigeria, who also prayed for greater access to and representation for developing nations at the G8 in the future.

Rev Edwards said: “Millions of people around the world are looking to the G8 nations to meet the promises they made to halve extreme poverty by 2015. These people are real, their poverty is real and people are literally dying every day.

“We want the G8 leaders to do everything they can to change that reality when they meet in Heiligendamm and, looking beyond that, follow up the agreements they reach with real and robust action.”

Amid reports of violent protests at the Rostock rally, the three leaders stressed that the majority of the people there were very peaceful in reminding the G8 leaders to keep their promises on international aid to the poor.

Mr Smitheram said: “Many feel frustrated about the scale of poverty around the globe and we are all looking to country leaders to play their part in ending that poverty, but violence is never the answer. Instead, we must reflect God’s heart for mercy and justice for the poor and the marginalised.

Contact Information:

Marion Uzac, Press Secretary, E-mail: [email protected]
Sylvia Soon, Chief of Staff. E-mail: [email protected]

World Evangelical Alliance (WEA): World Evangelical Alliance is made up of 128 national evangelical alliances located in 7 regions and 104 associate member organizations. The vision of WEA is to extend the Kingdom of God by making disciples of all nations and by Christ-centered transformation within society. WEA exists to foster Christian unity, to provide an identity, voice and platform for the 420 million evangelical Christians worldwide