Ecumenical leaders meet with Bolivian officials

(Photo Credit: Ministry of the Presidency in Bolivia / Maya Nemtala.)Members of an ecumenical delegation and Bolivian government officials poses for a photo in La Paz, Bolivia on January 9, 2012. From left to right: Ana Maria Guzmán, Humberto Martin Shikiya, Bishop Javier Rojas Terán, Juan Ramon Quintana, Walter Altmann, Caterina Bain and Marcelo Schneider.

An ecumenical delegation met with a senior Bolivian official last week to deliver a statement on ethical principles for a new global economic system as part of an advocacy initiative.

Bolivian minister of the presidency Juan Ramon Quintana, who received the document, stressed the importance of contributions by churches.

The delegation included members of The Evangelical Methodist Church of Bolivia, the CREAS deputy director and the WCC's communications liaison for Latin America.

The Sao Paulo statement created at an ecumenical conference in Brazil last year proposed a financial and economic architecture that is based on the principles of economic, social and climate justice. The architecture is meant to serve the real economy, account fo social environmental tasks, and sets clear limits to greed.

"Churches can be very effective in sharing and promoting gifts that encourage the good living of all people," said Bolivian minister of the presidency Juan Ramon Quintana, who received the document last week, according to the World Council of Churches.

"We work to defend and promote people's dignity, which is also one of your mandates," he said.

One ecumenical leader tied his group's efforts to a Bolivian indigenous concept of life.

"In the ecumenical movement we are advocating for a wider understanding of development inspired by the concept of good living," said Humberto Martin Shikiya, the head of the Regional Ecumenical Center for Advisory and Service.

"The Andean concept of Sumak Kawsay is more holistic than the current basic idea of development, he said.

Sumak Kawsay is a term means "good life" in the indigenous Quichua culture.

Another Bolivian official said the document being presented by the delegation could have a role to play in the national dialogue.

"This document can be an important piece in the upcoming dialogue among different segments of society," said ambassador Ferando Huancunni, vice-minister for interreligious affairs at the Ministry of External Affairs in Bolivia.

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