ELCT Press Release

Date: September 9, 2006
Press release No. 003/09/2006

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LWF Consultation releases Arusha Action Plan

ARUSHA, Tanzania, September 9th, 2006------The Lutheran World Federation
(LWF) Consultation on Poverty ended September 8th, 2006 by adopting an
action plan to combat poverty and injustice in Africa.

The strategy to be known as 'the Arusha Action Plan' among others involves
the provision of guidelines for participatory research in understanding and
addressing poverty in Africa. A team of five people will facilitate the
process and submit a draft proposal at the Africa Lutheran Church
Leadership Consultation in 2007.

The theme of the consultation that was attended by from LWF member churches
in Africa and partners in mission was "that the poor may have hope and
injustice shut its mouth," (John 5:16).

Full text of the action plan is as follows:


A Message from the LWF Consultation on Poverty and the Mission of the
Church in Africa, Arusha, Tanzania, 4th t0 8th September 2006.

We, representatives from LWF member churches in Africa and partners in
mission met in Arusha, Tanzania from 4th - 8th September 2006, for a
Consultation on Poverty and the Mission of the Church in Africa. Gathered
under the theme, "that the poor may have hope and injustice shut its mouth
(Job5: 16)".


  • Critically reflected on the self-understanding of the church in the context
    of the impoverishing conditions in Africa from biblical and theological
    perspectives, and our Lutheran heritage and what it means to be a church
    in such a context;
  • Were challenged by various presentations and experiences shared about
    the dehumanizing conditions posed by poverty and the negative impacts
    of economic globalization;
  • Experienced, and were saddened from field visits, how impoverishment
    continues to endanger people's lives and communities and destroy
  • Affirmed with the Africa Lutheran Church Leadership Consultation in
    Windhoek, Namibia (from 9th-13th Nov 2005), that Africa is endowed with
    enormous wealth of natural and human resources, diverse cultures and
    therefore not poor. We reaffirm that there can be no justifiable reason for
    the excruciating poverty and all kinds of human made sufferings
    persistently experienced in Africa;
  • Acknowledged that many meetings were held and statements adopted in the
    past concerning poverty in Africa. However, we were disturbed that most of
    these plans and promises have not effected significant change of the unjust
    situations facing those who are the poorest and most vulnerable in our

Therefore, we confess that we have sometimes neglected the plight of the
poor in our midst, and failed to speak the truth and confront the policies
and powers perpetuating injustice and suffering.

We do hereby declare as follows,

  • In a time like this, the sinful forces that perpetuate poverty must be
    denounced and opposed. Such forces continue exploiting our lands and
    robbing millions of people of their God-given right to daily bread and
    decent life. These forces include unjust economic system, the escalation
    of conflict and violence, and the forced flight of people from their
    ancestral lands. The spread of HIV and AIDS is exasperated by poverty.
    Human beings are compelled to live under bridges, forced to search in dumps
    for their daily bread. Men, women and children have no more tears, are
    robbed of their rights, gifts and potential.
    The numbers of young peoples who lack jobs and whose hope for the future is
    cut off, alarmingly continue to increase. In nearly every impoverished
    situation, the burden borne by women who continually groan in constant
    travail is overwhelming. Such crushing conditions are intolerable, and sinful.
  • That in the face of these seemingly hopeless realities of suffering, we
    celebrate God's presence in worship and communion and stake our faith
    especially in the crucified and risen Christ. As the body of Christ in the
    world today, we are empowered through the Holy Spirit to protest, resist,
    and seek to change whatever compounds injustices and results in untimely
    death. Our resurrection faith defies and goes against what is often alleged
    that; Africa is hopelessly poor. Instead we insist that Africa has been
    blessed with abundant resources for life. Furthermore, we proclaim: Africa
    is the Lord's and the fullness thereof (Ps 24: 1 paraphrase) such that
    poverty in Africa is a scandal!

We further state that being church in Africa today is not only a privilege
but also an obligation.

Having been so empowered, we therefore will speak out and act more boldly
as churches in concert with others, by witnessing against all forms of
social and economic injustice, corruption and bad leadership that
perpetuate poverty and work for the liberation of the oppressed for a
continent where there is justice, peace and dignified human life.

We shall seek to accomplish these by the following, and activities outlined
in the Arusha Action Plan (AAP):

  • Exploring all means of promoting discussion and joint action especially
    at local levels;
  • Working in critical solidarity with stakeholders in church, government
    and civil society;
  • Training for more people-centered and empowering styles of leadership
  • Renewing our worship, theological understanding, diakonia, church
    structures and practices in ways that liberate and empower all the members
    of the body of Christ for God's transforming mission in contexts of poverty
    and injustice.


A coordinated strategy for confronting poverty in Africa:

  • Provide guidelines for participatory research in understanding and
    addressing poverty in Africa. A team of 5 persons accompanied by the LWF
    shall work to facilitate this process. The team shall submit a draft
    proposal at the Africa Lutheran Church Leadership Consultation in 2007.
  • To set up a team of 3 persons from the sub regional expressions
    accompanied by the LWF, to explore avenues for possible collaboration with
    the World Bank and related international organizations in addressing
    poverty in Africa.
  • To engage the AACC in order to explore the possibility of launching an
    ecumenical campaign against poverty by 2008.
  • To call upon the Inter Faith Action for Peace in Africa (IFAPA) to deal
    more actively with poverty and commit ourselves to greater participation in

We commit ourselves and our churches to the pursuit of the vision herein,
in the Name of the Triune God. Amen

Word of gratitude

Finally, we express our gratitude to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
Tanzania for hosting the consultation in warm and safe conditions. In
addition, we thank the government of the United Republic of Tanzania, and
in particular the Hon. Mizengo K. P. Pinda (MP) Minister of State, PMO,
Regional administration and local government for his presentation and frank
sharing on the role of government and civil society in reversing poverty.

Issued by:

Elizabeth Lobulu
Communication Coordinator,
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania

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For more information contact:

Elizabeth Lobulu
Communication Desk Officer, ELCT
E-mail: ELobulu@elct.or.tz