Lutherans and Anglicans Issue Joint Declaration on Resource Extraction
I remember meeting members of the Lutheran Church in Peru and Argentina who shared stories of villages being impacted by mining operations. They shared with me some of their struggles to secure safe water, to preserve a healthy environment, to maintain community and lifestyle. These friends and fellow members of the Lutheran World Federation then shared with me that the company is a Canadian mining company. And they wondered what the Canadian church was doing to address issues of rights and justice. I felt that question very deeply.
The Rev. Susan C. Johnson,
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
At their historic Joint Assembly on July 4 and 5, 2013, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and the Anglican Church of Canada engaged on just that question, and passed a resolution committing their churches to action on the impacts of resource extraction on the earth and all that is in it.
KAIROS was pleased to be a part of those deliberations, facilitating an educational process on the biblical and theological basis for the action; the economic, ecological, and human rights impacts of resource extraction; and our complicity in those impacts as consumers, Canadians, and Christians. You can view a video of the presentation by KAIROS Education and Campaigns Coordinator Sara Stratton and Executive Director Jennifer Henry here.
After reflection and much discussion, the motion came to the floor as part of a joint declaration (which also included a powerful statement on housing and homelessness). The Joint Assembly voted 98% in favour of the declaration and, in a powerful act of witness, stood and read it in its entirety.
The joint declaration commits the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and the Anglican Church of Canada to a process of education, reflection and action on a number of levels. Specifically, the churches committed:
- to learn about issues of resource extraction and the effects on environment, health, Indigenous peoples, communities, and economies and to raise awareness within our communities and with policy shapers and decision makers;
- to act in support of our partners in defining their own development goals, including supporting Indigenous communities in Canada and overseas in exercising their right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent; and to act to embed enforceable legal obligations based on FPIC in Canadian policies and practices with respect to resource extraction;
- to advocate for responsible and ethical investment and actions by individuals, faith communities, corporations, and governments both in Canada and around the world;
- to pray for the humility and discipline to use Earth’s resources wisely and responsibly.
Assembly on Demand, Joint Assembly’s daily video digest, dedicated an episode to the resolution on resource extraction, featuring interviews with delegates, National Anglican Indigenous Bishop Mark MacDonald, and Sara Stratton from KAIROS, as well as footage of the debate and the final vote. You can view the episode here.
What’s next? Even as Lutherans and Anglicans discern how to move forward with the resolution, the United Church of Canada continues with a petition campaign on a number of mining issues; you can learn more and participate in this campaign here.
In the fall, KAIROS will be joining with the United Church, Development and Peace, and other members of the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability to launch an online campaign to provide those who have experienced human rights abuses or ecological damage in the course of Canadian mining activity overseas access to Canadian courts and other justice mechanisms. We’ll have more on that in September.
In the meantime, if you haven’t already, you can order a copy of KAIROS’ video on resource extraction’s impact on the environment and Indigenous peoples, Remember the Land. It comes with a 4 page study guide. You can view it online free or order a copy for $10 from our online store.
For more information, please contact Education and Campaigns Coordinator Sara Stratton by email or at 416-463-5312 (toll free 1-877-403-8933) x 241.