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28.07.2005 General News

Role of faith-based churches advocated

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Accra, July 28, GNA - The General Secretary of the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) has called on the International Ecumenical Movement to redouble its institutional investments in the capacity of faith-based communities as a way of empowering them to address global conflicts and violence.

The world, he said, must stand together in addressing the increasing culture of violence and destruction of human lives. A statement from the Nairobi-based AACC said Dr Mvume Dandala was speaking during a pastoral visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where he had discussions with various heads of churches, the political leadership and civil society groups.

It said the visit was to, among others things, stand in solidarity with the churches of the DRC to collectively reflect on the various challenges such as those relating to politics, the pending elections, economics, society, spiritual and church unity, wars and conflicts that had continued to inflict untold pain and death on the people of the DRC. Dr Dandala said notwithstanding these challenges, the human race must continue to have hope and embrace the ideals of a lasting peace for the survival of humanity.

He said in the 21st century, Africa more than any other part of the world, must reclaim her rightful position in the international community by doubling her efforts in the fight for poverty reduction, elimination of wars, conflicts, upholding the rule of law, respect for human rights and other fundamental civil liberties of the people of Africa. Dr Dandala recalled the London bombings earlier this month in which over 50 people were killed and hundreds injured and last week's bombing in Egypt in which over 88 people died and hundreds others were injured and urged the international community to rethink anew on the fundamental roles of faith-based communities in tackling wars and violence. "It is my belief that properly structured intervention programmes by the faith-based communities can go a long way in resolving our differences.

He said: "The world cannot live in anarchy and under uncertainties," adding that such situations undermined "God's gifts and abundant life for his children because God desires nothing less for his people but justice and abundant life". Dr Dandala, therefore, urged, the International Ecumenical Movement to collectively strive for the promotion of peace through dialogue as the alternative to violence.

He called on faith-based communities to take up a leading role and pray for peace in the world.

They should also pray for the perpetrators of evil "to turn away from ways that disregard universal values of human life and dignity". 28 July 05

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