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LWF Welcomes Merger of ACT International and ACT Development :: Asia Lutheran Communion :: Communication Creates Communion

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LWF Welcomes Merger of ACT International and ACT Development

Posted by: LWI on Mar 29, 2010 – 04:40 AM | Read 594 times

ACT Alliance Launched as New Global Humanitarian Organization

GENEVA, 24 March 2010 (LWI) – The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has welcomed the creation of the ACT Alliance, one of the world’s largest networks of church and church-related humanitarian relief and development organizations.

In a greeting pronounced at the launch of the ACT Alliance on Wednesday, 24 March, LWF Deputy General Secretary Rev. Chandran P. Martin assured ACT Alliance colleagues of the Lutheran communion’s support and solidarity. The LWF had been instrumental in the formation of the ACT Alliance, he emphasized, and, through its programs and partner organizations, offered the Alliance the largest possible network for its operations.

Worldwide the ACT Alliance comprises more than 100 agencies, churches and organizations. Of these, 72% are from the global South and the remaining 28% come from North. With a total of 30,000 employees, ACT members have combined annual revenues of close to USD 1.5 billion. Members operate in 125 countries around the world.

The new alliance resulted from the merger of ACT International, a global alliance of churches and related agencies founded in 1995, and ACT Development, which was created in 2007. ACT stands for "Action by Churches Together." The LWF is one of its founding members.

Martin said that the ACT Alliance was neither an alliance of convenience, nor one of competition. "This is an Alliance for greater cooperation and synergy among the churches, ecumenical organizations, faith-based organizations and communities to respond to the challenges of poverty and humanitarian need," he declared.

According to Martin, the ACT Alliance helped churches engage in transformation, reconciliation and the empowering of churches toward more justice in the world. "This is also the diaconal affirmation of the LWF," he noted. Martin hoped the LWF’s decision to join the ACT Alliance would incite more churches of the LWF to join the Alliance.

According to Martin, the LWF’s country programs and associate programs in over 36 countries and its 140 member churches in 79 countries all over the world, representing over 70 million Christians, offered the new Alliance the best basis of support for its operations.

World Council of Churches (WCC) General Secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit said in his sermon at the launch prayer service at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, Switzerland, that the ACT Alliance was a genuine expression of the ecumenical movement, the call to be one so that the world can believe that God is a loving and caring God for all humankind.

"Therefore, we must also be inclusive in our work and our intentions, including all human beings in those who benefit from our service and acts, whatever culture, belief or color they might have," Tveit underlined. "And therefore, we are aiming at being inclusive in bringing churches from the whole world into this fellowship of service."

For John Nduna, general secretary of the ACT Alliance, unification also provided greater opportunities to work together more strategically. "We are already seeing the benefits of this, especially in Haiti and Chile. Joint strategies enable us to address more effectively the persistent challenges of emergency preparedness, disaster risk reduction, recovery and reconstruction," he commented.

Nduna went on to say that the new Alliance "aims to have a stronger and more coordinated approach to advocacy; we are determined to speak out with even greater courage against injustice and abuse of human rights. …We believe we will have greater impact; bringing together extensive knowledge and experience into one Alliance. We have more opportunities for shared learning rather than working independently, divided by differing humanitarian and development perspectives."

In the new Alliance membership criteria, the emphasis on quality and accountability had increased significantly, Nduna indicated. "ACT emphasizes its zero tolerance to fraud and corruption and sexual abuse and exploitation," he stated.

For the LWF, the establishment of the ACT Alliance was an important step toward closer cooperation between churches and their related agencies, said Rev. Eberhard Hitzler, director of the LWF Department for World Service (DWS).

As a common platform for both relief operations and development work, "the ACT Alliance is a unique chance to enhance ecumenical cooperation, and thereby, the efficiency and visibility of the churches’ development and humanitarian work," the DWS director told the Lutheran World Information (LWI). Hitzler is member of the ACT Alliance’s governing bodies on behalf of the LWF.

The LWF and the ACT Alliance cooperate closely in several countries including Chad, Colombia, Haiti and Myanmar. Through worldwide emergency appeals, funding and humanitarian action, the ACT Alliance coordinates humanitarian operations all over the world. (759 words)

More information on the ACT Alliance is available at: http://www.actalliance.org

More information on the global work of the LWF Department for World Service can be found on the LWF Web site at: http://www.lutheranworld.org
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