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Multimedia: Njongonkulu Ndungane on the Millennium Development Goals

12/15/2006

Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane of Cape Town, Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa  

 
[Episcopal News Service]  Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane of Cape Town, Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, has been one of the leading voices on issues of peace and justice throughout the Anglican Communion and is steadfast in his endorsement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In an interview with the Episcopal News Service, Ndungane offers an overview of the MDGs and speaks about ways in which people can become involved in the fight against global poverty.    

Video and audio streams of Ndungane's interview are available here.

The full text follows:

The MDGs are a program that seeks, however inadequate, to address poverty in our world. We know that the fundamental objective of the Millennium [Development] Goals is to halve the [number of] people living in poverty by 2015. I think that poverty is the greatest scourge that we have in our times, something we need not to have, because our God is a God who has provided for our needs and, in fact, the world is in surplus. We have had so much economic growth, technological growth in our world; the gifts that God has given us. Therefore, as God's stewards we need to be sharing equitably in what God has given us.

I think that the recognition by the world leaders in 2000 that something needs to be done, is a commendable step, but it is one thing to make the statement, it's another one to deliver and implement. So the more we galvanize people towards the realization of the Millennium Development Goals, all the better for us, because all of us have got a responsibility to ensure that everyone who is created in God's image with dignity and worth has all that is essential for human living, such as accessibility to food, to clothing, clean running water, education, and so on and so forth.

It is an imperative of the gospel, because out Lord Jesus Christ came in order that we may have life and have it in abundance, and in fact his program of ministry -- as outlined in Luke Chapter 4, verse 16 following -- to bring good news to the poor is actually our marching orders as followers of Jesus Christ.

Each person can make a difference. It is little drops of water that chip a rock away; it is little drops of water that make an ocean. I think each person has got to identify one's niche, because the greatest contribution that each person can make is to make a difference to another person's life.

Sadly, we are good at making decisions, very slow at implementation. But I think that the good thing is that there are various campaigns that have been going around: Make Hunger History; Make Poverty History; The Micah Challenge; The ONE Campaign -- the whole coalition against poverty in the world. In fact, I have just been having some conversations with Soleil Charity and we want to mount a campaign, meet next year, because we are midway in terms of the Millennium Development Goals. We want to call this 07/07/07, to take place on the 7th of July next year to mobilize everybody to focus that as a campaign to say ‘where are we with MDGs; what can one person do; how do we move this together in order to realize that there are sustainable livelihoods for everyone in our world today.

Issues that affect people's lives should be a priority and we can only do that if we take our eyes from the terrain of battle and lift them up in terms of getting to the priorities of our Church. And we'd do well to remember, in the words recorded by St. John in his gospel, that God so loved the world. He doesn't say: God so loved the Church. Therefore, our focus is on how we witness in God's Church, remembering that we are God's stewards and God has entrusted this world to us. What a blessing; what a privilege; what an honor. Therefore, at all times we need to seek to be understanding. What is that stewardship that God has called us? And above all, again Paul says this very clearly in 2 Corinthians 5:18 that God reconciled us to himself to the ministry of Jesus Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. Paul then says that we are ambassadors for Christ, and being an ambassador for Christ it means we must be Christ-like in what we are doing and our actions must be measured by that and nothing less. Therefore, it's calling our Church to the fundamentals of who we are as God's servants, as God's stewards, as those who are called to make a difference to the people's lives.