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A report from the World Council of Churches (WCC) calls for an effective response in meeting the needs of communities faced with unprecedented financial and economic crises, the threat of climate change and widespread ecological devastation.

The document encourages churches, congregations, ecumenical organizations, theological faculties, seminaries and ecumenical partners to engage in intensive theological reflection and actions towards an “economy of life” – a concept promoting economic justice. It affirms the “pilgrimage of justice and peace” – a call from the WCC 10th Assembly in 2013.

The document titled The Economy of Life: An Invitation to Theological Reflection and Action issued on 28 November is an outcome of the WCC consultation held in October in Chennai, India. The event was organized by the WCC project on Poverty, Wealth and Ecology.

Promoting expressions of koinonia (being in communion with God, all peoples and the whole of creation) the document aspires to a world where “all people have a dignified, clean and safe place to live and die among family and friends who love and share life with them; where work has dignity and wages are fair and just.”

“The evolving of life-affirming economies of life is central to the pilgrimage of justice and peace,” said Athena Peralta, WCC consultant for the Poverty, Wealth and Ecology project. She explained this vision was incorporated in the report by some thirty theologians, church leaders, faith partners and social activists from all regions, who participated in the WCC India consultation.

“In the current context of unprecedented, intertwined, global socio-economic, political and ecological crises, what does an Economy of Life mean? What are the theological and spiritual resources our Christian faith offer in constructing an Economy of Life, and to achieve this vision what needs to change in current theological discourse and spiritual practice? These are some questions addressed in the report,” said Peralta.

The report considers how the teachings of Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism can contribute in building an economy of life. It encourages learning from the critical insights of those who dwell on the social margins, such as people living in poverty, people of colour, women, migrants, indigenous peoples (Adivasis and Dalits).

It also offers theological reflections on themes such as economy of life as an expression of koinonia, God’s justice and peace, solidarity as baptismal experience, learning from margins of societies, working with religious communities, living out an economy of life for justice and peace and relationships between koinonia and baptismal confession.

Read full text: The Economy of Life: An Invitation to Theological Reflection and Action

WCC Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace

WCC’s work on Poverty, Wealth and Ecology