From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Title: WCC Young people ask WCC: Help us overcome injustice

From "WCC Media" <>
Date Wed, 27 Aug 2003 20:23:51 +0200

World Council of Churches
Central Committee 
Press Release No. 5
For Immediate Use

Young people ask WCC: "Help us overcome injustice!"

Young people have challenged the World Council of Churches (WCC) to support
and encourage today's youth in their efforts to change the world.  

In a plenary session on the second day of the WCC Central Committee meetings,
presentations from two young Christian leaders brought perspectives from
different continents.  

Matome Makgoba, president of the South African Council of Churches' Youth
Forum, spoke of the difficulties facing young people in his own country,
particularly HIV/AIDS, which he described as "the greatest killer of mankind
in this time and age".	

Speaking of the stigma created by the disease, he declared that "As churches
we really must overcome this challenge and let our places of worship become
places of open dialogues." Makgoba concluded with an appeal to the WCC to
"nurture and develop the talents and gifts of young people as they seek to
impact on matters of global importance".  

Tale Hungnes, the leader of "Changemaker", Norwegian Church Aid's youth
movement, spoke of the continuing injustices of the world. "My impression,"
she commented, "is that young people of the North are fed up of charity." In
her view, "Charity cannot change the world. Solidarity can. Politics can."  

According to Hungnes, one of the main reasons for global injustice is the
debt crisis of marginalised countries, particularly unjust as many debts were
incurred under the auspices of donors accountable to no one.  

Hungnes challenged the Central Committee to encourage and support Christian
young people in their work for global justice, and to strive for the
cancellation of illegitimate debt.  

The presentations followed a Bible study by Ashley Seaman of the Presbyterian
Church (USA). Referring to Jesus' words, "You are the salt of the earth", she
evoked the salt taste of tears and sweat, and challenged her hearers to "get
salty" in empathy with the suffering of others, and to labour in God's

Young stewards serving the Council during the week of the Central Committee
meeting also took part in the session, with a drama and presentation of the
projects which they had committed themselves to undertake on their return

Speaking after the session, Tungnes stressed that "Youth are not apathetic or
powerless. They are aware of the world situation, and they want to take part
in changing it."  

For further information, please contact the Media Relations Office
tel: +41 (0)22 791 64 21 /61 53

The World Council of Churches (WCC) is a fellowship of churches, now 341, in
more than 100 countries in all continents from virtually all Christian
traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member church but works
cooperatively with the WCC. The highest governing body is the assembly, which
meets approximately every seven years. The WCC was formally inaugurated in
1948 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Its staff is headed by general secretary
Konrad Raiser from the Evangelical Church in Germany.

World Council of Churches
Media Relations Office
Tel: (41 22) 791 6153 / 791 6421
Fax: (41 22) 798 1346

PO Box 2100
1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland

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