From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
[ENS] Committee listens to development aid, Korea reunification,
"Mika Larson" <email@example.com>
Fri, 1 Aug 2003 17:59:54 -0400
Committee listens to development aid, Korea reunification, war issues
August 1, 2003
by Sarah T. Moore
[ENS] Korea reunification and humanitarian concerns, just and unjust
war, and the church's support of United Nations program pledging
action on international humanitarian development goals grabbed the
attention of deputies in July 30 hearings of the National and
International Concerns Committee.
The committee considers testimony as it decides what form resolutions
will take as they move on to both houses for action during the next
Mary Miller, a member of the Standing Commission on Anglican and
International Peace With Justice Concerns, spoke in support of
resolutions A036 and A037 regarding the Korean Peninsula and the
Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Status of Forces
Agreement With Korea. Miller and several subsequent speakers, including
an Anglican priest from Korea, said that a longtime goal of the Korean
people was reunification of the North and South, its families and
Faith McDonnell and Diane Knippers of the Institute of Religion and
Democracy stressed the humanitarian concerns. "North Korea is a whole
country which is a mass of labor camps," McDonnell said. Concerned with
misdirected humanitarian aid, she quoted agencies by saying, "Food aid
goes only to one place: Pyongyang to give to the military, leader Kim
Jong-Il, and his party. I don't want our church to go on record that we
shouldn't demonize this country."
Speaking to a resolution (C033) that asks to extend benefits to
immigrants and undocumented workers, James Tempro of Long Island noted
there are 8.5 million undocumented persons in the United States. "The
economy of the U.S. needs these workers if it is to prosper, especially
as the baby boom retires. The system in place leaves millions of
undocumented workers in limbo and, in Long Island, at the mercy of
unsavory characters. I ask support for this resolution, remembering the
accomplishments of Cesar Chavez."
Molly Russell, a Hispanic missioner in South Carolina, said Hispanic
people are "changing the demographics of the diocese. We have the power
and influence to make our political leaders aware. People need to be
recognized as human people and not machines. In a place where a church
is found and growing and welcoming people from different countries, I
need to be able to say 'the Episcopal Church supports you.'"
Richard Perkins, director of Episcopal Migration Ministries, said the
ones least able to protect themselves are undocumented workers. "They
are the most vulnerable." He spoke of low wages, orderly flow of
workers, and an expansion of the Temporary Worker Program to cover
workers legitimately employed filling a recognized labor shortage.
Thomas Woodward of Salinas, Calif., in the Diocese of El Camino Real,
described a successful ministry of two congregations in one church, St.
Paul's and San Pablo, serving chief executive officers of
lettuce-growing companies as well as workers who are contract labor for
harvesting lettuce, celery, broccoli, and strawberry crops.
"After 15 to 20 years of back-breaking work, some of these people have
no Social Security accounts and no recourse," he said. "Labor camps are
close to the Grapes of Wrath descriptions. When the church is involved,
the church can make a difference. We do not do enough."
Popping up around the Minneapolis Convention Center are "0.7%" buttons
being pinned on coats and shirts. This refers to a challenge to all
Episcopal dioceses and congregations to contribute 0.7% of their annual
budgets to fund international development programs, proposed in
resolution D006 from the Diocese of Massachusetts.
Resolution D006 asks that the church endorse the United Nations
Millennium Development Goals pledging to address issues of poverty,
universal primary education, gender equality and empowerment of women,
child mortality rates, maternal health, HIV/AIDS, environmental
stability and global partnership for development.
"We challenge the people to come together in global partnership," said
Ian Douglas, deputy from Massachusetts. The Diocese of Massachusetts
three years ago took seriously this challenge to pledge 0.7% from
diocesan income. "We're working on close to $100,000 a year going to
international relief and development, addressing HIV/AIDS through the
churches in Africa. Very important basic fundamental funding for that
came for the Diocese of Massachusetts or it would not be happening. What
we could do for the world debt relief."
The U.S. government failed to fulfill its commitment to fund
international development aid at 0.7% of U.S. gross national product
and is the last in giving among the 20 richest nations.
The Episcopal Church can lead by example by affirming and acting to
contribute 0.7% of annual budgets to international relief and
development, according to Douglas, the resolution proposer.
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