Lutheran, Episcopal Churches produce ecumenical study guide on global poverty and MDGs

February 9, 2007

God's Mission in the World, a study guide on global poverty and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) produced jointly between the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, is now available to purchase and can be ordered from Episcopal Books and Resources online or by calling 800-903-5544.

In his introduction to the guide, Alex Baumgarten, international policy analyst for the Episcopal Church's Office of Government Relations, wrote: "The guide is designed to be used by Christian communities of any denominational background and any knowledge level. Ideally, its use will lead Christians to deeper patterns of involvement in the movement to end global poverty. To that end, it offers practical suggestions for how to take the MDGs beyond this course and into a congregation's prayer life, education program, social outreach, community organizing and public advocacy."

God's Mission in the World features six weekly sessions examining Christian understandings of social justice, global poverty, and the MDGs. The eight goals for the eradication of deadly poverty flow from the historic Millennium Declaration of 2000, and have been adopted by more than 190 nations, including the United States. The goals are to, by 2015, cut extreme poverty and hunger in half; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; and create a global partnership for development with emphases on debt cancellation, foreign aid, and fair trade.

Resolutions passed at both the 2003 and 2006 General Conventions put the Episcopal Church firmly on record in support of the MDGs. The guide was released as part of the ONE Episcopalian Campaign, inviting Episcopalians to speak with one voice in urging the U.S. government to keep the promises it has made in the fight against deadly poverty around the world..

The ONE Episcopalian campaign seeks to build on the enormous energy for the MDGs already generated among Episcopalians, challenging every congregation to become a ONE Congregation. This involves pledging to organize a "ONE Sunday" and achieve three of the following five goals:

1. Feature the MDGs in a sermon or rector's forum

2. Organize an "Offering of Letters" and ask participants to sign the ONE Declaration

3. Use ONE resources in Christian-education classes for youth and adults

4. Meet with Members of Congress to advocate for the MDGs

5. Collect an offering once a year for the MDG programs of Episcopal Relief and Development

Both Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), contributed forewords to the guide. Jefferts Schori wrote: "I am delighted to commend God's Mission in the World as a practical study course for how the process of learning, action and advocacy can begin and be deepened in Christian communities…It encourages us – through prayer, reading of the Scriptures, and examination of the dimensions of poverty – to come to a new understanding about Christian responsibility in a world scarred by hunger and unmet basic needs, pandemic disease, widespread conflict, and deep-seated inequality."

Copies of the guide can be ordered from Episcopal Books and Resources online or by calling 800-903-5544.