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World Communion of Reformed Churches Among Four Groups Asking G20 Leaders for Economic Overhaul

World Communion of Reformed Churches
A rendering of a coronavirus particle and chaotic economic activity, courtesy of the World Communion of Reformed Churches.

Four global Christian organizations have written a letter to the finance ministers and central bank governors of the Group of 20 countries, expressing appreciation for the leaders’ efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic and calling for more “to be done to mitigate human suffering and promote a truly just and sustainable recovery.”

Signed by the acting general secretary of the World Council of Churches and the general secretaries of the World Communion of Reformed Churches, Lutheran World Federation, and Council for World Mission, the letter says the “organizations collectively represent more than 500 million Christians worldwide.” The Christian Reformed Church in North America is a member of the WCRC.

“This moment offers us an unprecedented opening to collectively examine the current order and to ‘build back better’ a different system that nurtures the health, wellbeing and resilience of communities and the planet for generations to come,” the July 13 letter reads.

It goes on to share specific proposals for the G20 to consider at the upcoming Leaders’ Summit in November 2020. The requests include to "cancel the external debts of low- and middle-income countries" and to implement global tax reform, including  “the initiation of a progressive wealth tax, financial transaction tax and carbon tax at national and global levels; the reintroduction of capital gains and inheritance taxes; measures to curb tax evasion and avoidance; and reparations for slavery and other social and ecological debts."

Phil Tanis, the WCRC’s executive secretary for communications and operations, said the letter came out of the partnership the four eccumenical organizations have in the New International Financial and Economic Architecture initiative. Described on the WCRC’s Justice: Economic and Financial page as “working together to bring a more just economy to the world,” the initiative was selected as a priority for the WCRC at its 26th General Council which met in 2017.

“All of our statements, whether they're advocacy such as this (letter) or calls to prayer and support, are backed by the actions taken by our General Council meetings (which happen every seven years) or our constitution,” Tanis said. Other actions taken at the 2017 General Council meeting were that the Accra confession, reaffirmed at the WCRC’s inception in 2010, would serve as guidance in this work (Action 25) and “that the WCRC will continue its advocacy to international forums and organizations,” specifically noting the G20 (Action 26).

The World Communion of Reformed Churches was formed in 2010 by the joining of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, which had been based in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Reformed Ecumenical Council, then based in Grand Rapids, Mich. The CRCNA had membership in both groups.

No CRC members serve on the WCRC’s executive committee. Colin Watson Sr., executive director of the CRCNA, serves on the steering committee of the Communion’s Caribbean and North American Area Council. “WCRC statements relate to the CRCNA only if they are synodically discussed and endorsed—which this statement is not,” Watson said. “There are no plans to bring this issue before synod."

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