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Ecumenical Review focuses on role of religion in development

Ecumenical Review focuses on role of religion in development

Patti Talbot from the United Church of Canada. ©Marcelo Schneider/WCC

27 April 2017

International organizations are increasingly looking to develop partnerships with faith-based organizations to promote development objectives, according to a special issue of The Ecumenical Review presented at a World Council of Churches’ (WCC) meeting in Geneva.

The “intersection of religion and development has become increasingly important today,” the editors – Dietrich Werner and Corrie van der Ven – write in an introduction to the 12 contributions to the issue, “Religion and Development.

Werner is senior theological advisor at Bread for the World (Berlin), while van der Ven is a programme officer at ICCO Cooperation in the Netherlands.

The Ecumenical Review is the WCC’s quarterly journal and this special issue follows an International Consultation on Religion and Development held in Berlin in December 2014 and jointly prepared and organized by Bread for the World, the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), and ACT Alliance.

The publication was shared during presentations on WCC involvement in development and diaconia at an April meeting in Geneva.

“This is a welcome and timely resource for the current discussion on religion and development, with ‎experience-based reflections providing responses to the question ‘whither ecumenical diaconia?’” said participant Patti Talbot from the United Church of Canada.

In September 2016, the United Nations 70th General Assembly, for the first time in the history of the assembly, saw well over twenty side events focused on the theme of religion and faith.

“This marks a significant milestone in global conversations around the nexus between religion and international affairs,” writes Azza Karam, the senior culture advisor at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and coordinator of the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Religion and Development, in an article on “The Role of Religious Actors in Implementing the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

In the past, write Werner and van der Ven, the role of religion and religions was often sidelined or dismissed, mainly due to the dominance of the “secularization thesis,” and the modernization approach as the main paradigm in Western development approaches after the Second World War.

Yet now there is a growing realization, they write, of the need to engage with religious values and practices, since the ideas, values, and daily practices of the majority of the world's population are informed by religion.

The Ecumenical Review is published by Wiley on behalf of the WCC.

Contents page of The Ecumenical Review issue on Religion and Development
(content may be freely accessed until the end of June 2017)

The Ecumenical Review

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