Photo: Ivars Kupcis/WCC

Photo: Ivars Kupcis/WCC

Participants at the annual Ecumenical School on Governance, Economics and Management are exploring how an Economy of Life is a key pillar of the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace. The school is running from 19-30 August in Bogor, Indonesia.

“We hope the Governance, Economics and Management School will empower participants to act, lobby for change and even influence socio-economic policymaking,” said Prof. Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri, deputy general secretary of the World Council of Churches.

“God’s vision of life-in-fullness for all creation, not just human beings, has never been more threatened than today,” said Rev. Dr Seong Won Park of the Gyeongan Theological Seminary in the opening panel.

Rev. Dr Septemmy Lakawa, president of the Jakarta Theological Seminary, said: “In response, we people of faith continue to envision an economy of life that is also an economy of ‘enough’. Enough in the sense of providing sufficiently for the basic needs of all people, but also enough in the sense of saying ‘no’ to an economic system based on accumulation that excludes and harms the most vulnerable.”

GEM School participants visited a community of scavengers living along busy railway lines in the centre of Jakarta, a rapidly growing metropolis where numerous modern skyscrapers are under construction.  Beneath a tarp, some of the participants helped to distribute food packages to around 300 women, men and children as trains whizzed past.

“I realise how much privilege I have,” said Renate Marique, a participant from the Netherlands. “I do not have to queue or rely on someone’s generosity for my lunch. I have clean water and a roof over my head.”

“No doubt this is a structural problem that entails a structural response,” said Rev. Dr Antonio Teles da Silva, a participant from Brazil. “But compassion is a first step.”

The school is jointly convened by the WCC, World Communion of Reformed Churches, and Council for World Mission, and hosted by the Communion of Churches in Indonesia.