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Download Annual Review 2010

Wednesday 2nd May 2012, 6.05pm, St Mary le Bow

 

JustShare Lecture: ‘Keeping Faith in International Development’  

with Revd Rachel Carnegie, Archbishop of Canterbury's International Development secretary.

 

It was a privilege and a pleasure to welcome the Revd Rachel Carnegie who gave a fascinating lecture on the role of faith in development to an excellent audience of practitioners. She combined some theology for development (as the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:26), as service to Christ (Matthew 25:40)) with some insights into the role faith can play in contributing to healthy development. Some of these insights resulted from Christianity's values; for example, Christian development agencies will be concerned with restoring dignity and valuing all people equally, with acknowledging interdependence and mutuality, with a holistic view of poverty and development, with speaking truth to power and addressing structural issues. Other insights were very practical; for example, the fact that the Church has living communities all over the world makes it easier to work with existing local communities rather than imposing western notions of development on them. Of course, these contributions were not unique to Christianity alone but faith-based development agencies and supporters were well-placed to espouse and share these values in their work.

 

Rachel also gave a number of examples of work which faith-based agencies had undertaken successfully, particularly in the areas of microfinance, Fairtrade, Jubilee, HIV and gender. A number of those present shared their stories of working in these areas, and also discussed how they had been affected by some of the potential drawbacks of faith-based development; different understandings of 'mission,' the danger of mixing faith-motivated humanitarian work  with proselytising, the conflict between human rights discourses and some religious teaching for example on gender or contraception; and the suspicion and hostility with which some regard faith-based agencies. However, development also offered rich opportunities for re-discovering shared humanity, for connecting the global and local, for inter-faith, ecumenical and non-faith collaboration. She noted that all of us, as people of all faiths or none, whether donors, practitioners or members of developing communities, had a role to play in securing human flourishing. God's millennium development goals, she concluded, were for 100% of humanity to flourish and we had all been given different gifts to contribute to that.

 

Discussions continued over La Riojana's Fairtrade wine. We are grateful to all who attended and contributed to the lively conversations, and to Anthony of Five Talents for chairing.