1999 NCC News Archives
June 4-6, Chevy Chase, Md., Consultation on Africa Trade,
National Council of Churches' Africa Office is Among Supporters
May 25, 1999, WASHINGTON, D.C.. -- "Trade, Aid, and Debt: Toward Economic Justice in Africa - A Consultation for Faith Communities," will be held at the National 4-H Center, 7100 Connecticut Ave., Chevy Chase, Md., June 4-6, 1999.
The keynoter (Friday evening) will be one of Africa's strongest voices for economic justice, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town Njongonkulu Ndungane (Archbishop Tutu's successor). Other speakers include policymakers and Africa advocacy community members. All persons with a commitment to Africa and a desire to make a prophetic witness are welcome.
"It is a timely theme," according to the Rev. Dr. Leon Spencer, executive director of the Washington Office on Africa, which along with the Stony Point (N.Y.) Center, is planning the consultation. The National Council of Churches' Africa Office is among supporters.
"Two competing African trade bills have been before Congress this spring," Dr. Spencer said. "Every year marks another Congressional battle to maintain our modest aid to those in need in Africa; and the stunning debt burden of most African nations destroys the hopes of millions of our African brothers and sisters."
Planners maintain that the witness of the Church, both here and in Africa, is intimately linked with the Biblical call to affirm the dignity and worth of all persons. That, they say, can only be done if people of faith affirm the strong Biblical theme of just economic relationships.
The consultation will feature a Kairos-style process, made powerfully known in the anti-apartheid Kairos Document of 1985. Planners aim for a strong prophetic faith-based advocacy document to emerge from the consultation and feed back into faith communities for further reflection. They hope the process will form a solid basis for advocacy for mutually beneficial and broad-based trade relations, meaningful developmental aid, and significant debt relief.
The consultation follows on "Africa in Perspective: Prospects and Possibilities - The Role of the Church in a New Africa," hosted by the Stony Point Center in May 1998, where over 100 participants explored such key topics as economic development, democratization, human rights, and the role of women in Africa.
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