Memo re. foreign aid to the New Zealand Government: please match your actions to your words.
General Synod passed a motion calling on the Government to honour its commitment to the Millennium Development Goals (during Helen Clark’s term as PM) and increase NZ’s overseas aid to 0.7 percent of GDP by 2015.
It’s not just a matter of pointing the finger: the Anglican Church is challenging itself to engage with the MDGs, and to support wider church moves such as Micah Challenge
There was no argument about the motion: several members spoke in favour, and some speeches were powerful and poignant.
Bishop Richard Ellena (Nelson) contrasted two experiences he’d had. At the 2006 Lambeth Conference, bishops of the Anglican Communion had marched through London in their Episcopal regalia, bearing placards in favour of the MDGs.
Bishop Richard couldn’t quite bring himself to do that – the contrast between the finery, wealth and power of the marchers, and the poverty the MDG goals are meant to alleviate, didn’t sit well with him.
A few years earlier, he said, he and his wife Hilary had been to South Africa on a SOMA mission.
During that trip they’d become close to a poor Black widow with a radiant Christian faith.
At the end of the mission trip, this woman took off her gold wedding band – her only wealth in the world – and pressed this on Hilary as a parting gift.
Hillary wears it to this day, said Bishop Richard – and when he talks about the need to tackle poverty, he struggles with feelings of hypocrisy:
“She gave away all she had,” he told Synod, “while we give a little of what we have left over.”
This church will turn the light of Scripture on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, and see how its provisions should become part of church legislation.
Synod also is asking Standing Committee to examine the Declaration’s impact on the wider Communion, and how it might become part of New Zealand law.
This church has already welcomed government recognition of the Declaration.