NCC study guide focuses on poverty goals
Feb. 8, 2006
|A UMNS file photo by Mike DuBose
Anita Jose Nhanjale harvests cassava root, in Nhachengue, Mozambique. Cassava is a dietary staple in her rural area.
NEW YORK (UMNS) — To help churches
take action on poverty, the National Council of Churches has released a new
guide, Eradicating Poverty: A Christian Study Guide on the Millennium
The Millennium Development Goals are
a set of eight goals to end extreme poverty, hunger and disease by 2015, agreed
to by world leaders in 2000. The 2004 United Methodist General Conference, the
denomination’s top legislative body, supported those goals.
The purpose of the study guide is to
motivate people to make the goals a reality, according to Lallie B. Lloyd, one
of its editors.
“Since the Millennium Development
Goals were announced in 2000,” Lloyd writes, “a global movement has emerged.
Around the world and across the United States, Christians are joining other
people of faith ... in a unified effort to eradicate extreme poverty.”
The 64-page study guide has six
sessions for use in congregational church school classes and other settings “to
foster an understanding of the pertinent issues and promote this worldwide
effort on behalf of the poor,” said Antonios Kireopoulos, an NCC executive and
the guide’s editor.
Each session examines one or more of
the Millennium Development Goals. An appendix to the guide examines the special
economic and political challenges facing the African continent.
The first goal is to halve the
number of people living in extreme poverty or suffering from hunger by 2015.
Other goals touch upon such issues as education, gender equality, child
mortality and maternal health, and environmental sustainability.
One of the resources used in the new
study was the book, Ending Hunger Now: A Challenge to Persons of Faith, written
by the Rev. Don Messer and former Sens. Robert Dole and George McGovern.
|A UMNS file photo by Mike DuBose
For many children at the Surviving Child Orphan Trust in Murewa, Zimbabwe, this lunch will be their only meal of the day.
“In a world of plenty, Christians
dare not accept the moral scandal of allowing one person to die in this world
every three seconds because of the misery-go-round of extreme poverty, hunger
and disease,” said Messer, a United Methodist pastor and former president of
Iliff School of Theology in Denver. “Now is the time to make hunger history and
to work toward an AIDS-free world.”
As noted in the chapter on HIV/AIDS,
“the extent of human suffering brought about by the global HIV/AIDS pandemic has
rarely been seen before in the history of the world.”
“If we are truly one, we are the
church with HIV/AIDS,” said Denise Ackerman, a South African theologian. “People
living with HIV/AIDS are found in every ? religious denomination. We are all
related; what affects one member of the Body of Christ affects us all.”
Following the example of Jesus with
the leper, the church must practice the values of inclusion, engagement,
connectedness and continuity to deal with the HIV/AIDS crisis, according to
The idea for the study guide grew
out of a meeting hosted by the NCC that included a presentation by economist
Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Millennium Project, a U.N.-commissioned advisory
body that proposes solutions to meeting the goals by 2015.
The NCC governing board has endorsed
the U.N. Millennium Development goals. The study guide was made possible in part
by a grant from industrialist Chang K. Park, a Christian layman from New York.
Eradicating Global Poverty: A
Christian Study Guide on the Millennium Development Goals is published by
Friendship Press, 7830 Reading Road, Cincinnati, OH 45237. The cost is $7.95. To
order, call toll-free (800) 889-5733, or send a fax to (513) 761-3722. Order
also can be sent by e-mail to
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