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Panels of Canadian and U.S. councils of churches
begin planning a 2007 biotechnologies conference
New York, January 26, 2006 -- Committees of the Canadian Council of Churches and the National Council of Churches USA met in Niagara, Ont., earlier this month to lay plans for an international biotechnology conference in Fall 2007.
A communiqué issued today by the Canadian Council's Biotechnology Reference Group and the NCC's Human Biotechnologies Policy Development Committee termed their joint meeting, "History in the making."
The groups met to lay the groundwork for a conference "that will bring together church delegates with expertise in the area of biotechnology from the various . . . regions of the world."
In May 2006, biotechnology professionals from the Latin America Council of Churches and the Middle East Council of Churches will join the U.S. and Canadian panels in Toronto to continue planning the biotechnology conference. A venue for the 2007 conference will be decided later.
The planners have a special calling to examine the issues of biotechnology, the joint communiqué said. "Their awareness of their particular global contexts, their awareness of the growing complexities and advances in current scientific practices and research, their awareness of God as the Creator, lead them to the recognition that the human, ethical consequences of biotechnology must be addressed."
The planners represent Anglican, Protestant, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox traditions, the statement said.
Last November, the U.S. NCC General Assembly received a policy on biotechnologies from the policy development committee, "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made." The policy, intended to guide practitioners and pastors through the maze of moral decision-making in the rapidly developing field of biotechnology, was approved as a first reading and will be studied by the Council's member communions for a year.
The full test of the joint communiqué follows:
History in the Making!
On January 17th and 18th in Niagara, Ontario, an historic meeting took place. The members of the Biotechnology Reference Group of the Canadian Council of Churches and the members of the Human Biotechnologies Policy Development Committee of the National Council of Churches USA met together to begin to plan for a 2007 international biotechnology conference.
The two groups met together to exchange context; to talk with one another about the most urgent questions in biotechnology in their two countries. They met to lay the initial groundwork for an international biotechnology conference that will bring together church delegates with expertise in the area of biotechnology from the various and varied regions of the world.
The Canadians and Americans meeting in Niagara and the international representatives from Latin America and the Middle East who will be participating in a major planning meeting in Toronto in May 2006 for the 2007 international conference feel called to this work. Their awareness of their particular global contexts, their awareness of the growing complexities and advances in current scientific practices and research, their awareness of God as the Creator, lead them to the recognition that the human, ethical consequences of biotechnology must be addressed.
The representatives of the church councils of the globe, representing a wide diversity of church traditions and denominations -- Anglican, Protestant, Roman Catholic and Eastern and Oriental Orthodox -- will be a "stained glass voice," exploring the realities of science, exploring the realities of theology and speaking to the world of the faithful relationship between the two.
As the words of the hymn writer James Russell Lowell declare, "New occasions teach new duties."
For more information contact:
The Rev. Dr. Eileen Lindner, Deputy General Secretary for Research and Planning, National Council of Churches USA, 212-870-2333
The Rev. Dr. Karen Hamilton, General Secretary, The Canadian Council of Churches, 416-972-9494, ext. 22.
feature story on the NCC's human biotechnologies policy.
Contact NCC News: Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2252, firstname.lastname@example.org; or Leslie Tune, 202-544-2350, email@example.com
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