Oikotree Press Release




“Resist life-destroying civilization, build life-enhancing communities, cultures and systems!” The participants of Oikotree Global Forum held in Arnoldshain, Germany, from 1 to 4 November 2010 called churches, congregations, individuals, community of faith, national and regional ecumenical organizations, networks, and social/people’s movements to promote life-sustaining alternatives to the prevailing death-dealing systems.

The Oikotree Movement, initiated by the Council for World Mission, World Communion of Reformed Churches and the World Council of Churches, brought sixteen faith based social movements from all over the world for strategizing common commitment and actions to transform the current Life-destroying civilization into Life-enhancing Community, Cultures and Systems.

“Looking back at the last five years or so, appraising our present global situation, we would have to say the churches who met at Accra in 2004 were right.” Allan Boesak, a South African theologian and former president of the then World Alliance of Reformed Churches said in keynote address to the Forum.

“In the work of the Globalisation Project, following the critical lead of the WCC’s Alternative Globalisation Addressing People and Earth (Agape) Project, we paid special attention to the role of financial markets. We foresaw the coming crisis precipitated by the global neo-liberal financial market policies. We have seen that crisis arrive, we are experiencing its devastation still and we have also seen how the empire has looked after its own. This unjust global economic system is defended and protected by political and military might, and for the poor, it has become a matter of life and death.”Dr Boesak drew attention to the urgency of today’s destructive global economic system.

In its Accra Confession (2004), the then WARC, now the World Communion of Reformed Churches, called unbridled consumption “sin” and urged member churches to resist “neo-liberal” economics. The AGAPE process within the World Council of Churches (2006) urges churches to work for the eradication of poverty and inequality through the development of “economies of solidarity and sustainable communities.” CWM in its theology statement, Mission in the Context of Empire (2010), observes that in bringing the love of God to the world and witnessing to God’s promise of ‘fullness of life’ we are called “to follow the example of Jesus in his response to Empire.”

Recognizing the urgency of the current life-destroying human civilization, the participating movements committed themselves to seek to live faithfully amidst empire that has provoked unprecedented economic and ecological crises in recent times.

“We have joined hands in solidarity to build platforms of dialogue, critical reflection and activism for justice in the economy and the earth.” Participating movements under the Oikotree affirmed their common commitment to work toward a Solidarity Economy and Life-sustaining Oikos. The name of Oikotree is derived from the Tree of Life in Revelation 22 – “and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations”- and the spiritual traditions of many indigenous peoples and faith traditions.

Korean theologian and Moderator of the Oikotree Movement, Park, Seong-Won said “a unique role of the Oikotree Movement  is to provide an ecumenical space where churches, individuals and social movements can come together, network and work for our common task of shaping our planet into a Life-enhancing Oikos.”

“Visiting the diaconal project with unemployed people and the Central Station Mission in Frankfurt, and hearing from the student network on liberation theology and other social initiatives I had the feeling that Oikotree spirit is largely shared among the churches,” said Antonella Visintin from the Waldensian Church.

The sixteen movements who came under the Oikotree identified areas of convergence, built synergies and linked global, regional and local agendas for fostering justice in all aspects of life.

The Oikotree Movement also challenged faith communities, in particular churches and ecumenical movements, to keep justice at the heart of faith.

The Forum planned common action at all levels for intensifying their united goal of building life-enhancing community, cultures and systems.