E       d       i       t       o       r       i       a       l

justice, peace and creation news

ECHOES is an occasional publication of the World Council of Churches' cluster on "Issues and Themes", Justice, Peace & Creation team.

The executive Director of the Cluster on "Issues and Themes", Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia

Publication Staff Team:
Susie Harrison, Bob Scott, Eugenio Poma, Miriam Reidy-Prost

Articles for future publications are welcome.

Articles published in ECHOES are WCC copyright, however permission will be granted to reproduce most material on application.

All correspondence and inquiries should be directed to:

Justice, Peace & Creation
World Council of Churches
150 rte de Ferney
P.O. Box 2100
1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland

Tel: (41 22) 791 6111
Fax: (41 22) 791 6409
Email: WCC Contact

The Earth as Mother
Birthing and Sustaining Life

In the quest for faithful approaches to understanding and responding to the theme of Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation, a document entitled "Theology of Life" was developed. This theological frame had an impact on the programmatic life of the WCC in the period leading up to the eighth Assembly in Harare. There is continuing work on this thematic development into the new millennium. A draft statement prepared for the meeting of the Central Committee (August 1999) explores the implications for people of faith who share the "earth as home". The statement suggests that we affirm a "spirituality that is faithful to the voice of the earth and the children of the earth".

This edition of ECHOES give us, as Indigenous Peoples, an opportunity to present our ideas. There have been many articles in ECHOES that addressed the injustice related to the exploitation of people and the degradation of the environment. The previous issue examined the issues raised by global capitalism.

The global link between Indigenous Peoples is that we are aware of our relationship to the land and water of our territories. It is unfortunately also true that most of us share the experience of having been driven out of our places or denied access to that which is ours for life.

It is true that when an Indigenous person reflects on their life experience from anywhere in the world, there is resonance for us on the other side of the earth. The WCC has supported delegations of Indigenous Peoples who travel to Geneva for meetings with representatives of the United Nations. There is increasing momentum in the struggle for justice in addressing historic issues impacting on Indigenous Peoples.

The Harare Assembly was an occasion to celebrate the increasing involvement of Indigenous Peoples in the WCC. Three years of lobbying our churches resulted in more than twenty of us traveling to Harare as delegates and advisors. We met separately for orientation prior to the Assembly and consulted regularly to assess how our concerns were being addressed. The full participation of Indigenous Peoples in the WCC continues to be a challenge.

The Central Committee adopted a statement entitled "Toward a Common Understanding and Vision" in September 1997 and the second affirmation indicates that after fifty years of existence of the WCC "there are many signs of growth toward Christian unity". It is said of member churches: "They have challenged each other to replace old bonds of dominance and dependence by new forms of partnership." This is good news for Indigenous Peoples!

Stan McKay, Cree Nation,
moderator of the Justice, Peace & Creation advisory group

© 1999 world council of churches | remarks to webeditor