A new beginning for Lutheran and Catholic aid agencies
LWF World Service and Caritas Internationalis sign Declaration of Intent for cooperation
The Lutheran World Federation’s World Service and Caritas Internationalis today signed a Declaration of Intent mutually committing the global Christian organizations to deepened relationships and closer cooperation in humanitarian response and sustainable development.
The signing at Malmö Arena, near Lund, Sweden, is part of the historic Joint Catholic-Lutheran Commemoration of the Reformation co-hosted by Pope Francis, LWF President Bishop Dr Munib A. Younan and LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge, and leaders from Church of Sweden and the Catholic Diocese of Stockholm.
LWF World Service Director Maria Immonen and Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Michel Roy signed the declaration as a symbol of the shared commitment to expand joint work at all levels.
“As two global Christian organizations working for human dignity and social justice, we decide to join hands in order to bring hope, witness and act together, without being exclusive. And to invite our members to engage with their counterparts and friends locally,” Roy said.
Immonen described the signing as “a new beginning of increased joint action among our communities, families and our organizations. It will extend our work to reach more people and enable lives in dignity for all. Our churches are expecting this of us.”
She added, “We will actively look for opportunities to work together increasingly in countries affected by conflict and war, and where large numbers of refugees are on the move. The poor are expecting this of us. The world is expecting us to work more closely together. We need to bring hope, inspiration and faith in humanity through our work together.”
The signing was witnessed by some 10,000 people and followed by more all over the world in live broadcasts and live streams. Activities at the arena included testimonies of Catholic and Lutheran social justice activists from Burundi, Colombia, India, South Sudan and Syria.
In Colombia, LWF and Caritas have been working together since 2009 initiating interethnic dialogue and promoting local peace initiatives. When the Bojayá massacre was tried in court more than ten years after it happened, LWF and Caritas joined hands to help the Bojayá community develop a position paper to represent the victims and define the kind of compensation they would receive.
Caritas and LWF World Service believe faith-based organizations are uniquely placed to fight extreme poverty. They work with and mobilize local communities, which are in a unique position to respond to disaster, promote human development and advocate for their own situation.
The Declaration of Intent outlines areas of increased cooperation including care for refugees and migrants and other humanitarian response efforts, peace building, interfaith action, and joint implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The LWF serves more than 2.3 million refugees globally and Caritas Internationalis works in 164 countries.
Patrick Nicholson – Caritas Director of Communications
+39 06 698 79 725 or +39 334 359 0700
Arni Svanur Danielsson – LWF Head of Communications
+41 78 929 9686