OUR COMMON TEXT
Our unity is in Jesus Christ (John 17:21). In Christ, the fullness of our being is fulfilled. The relationships we forge are an affirmation of that greater unity in Christ. Our unity owes from the likeness of God bestowed on each human being. It is unity made manifest in Christ becoming one with humanity. The likeness of God, imbued in each of us, constitutes our common humanity. Common humanity flourishes with the recognition of each one’s intrinsic value and worth, the affirmation of each one’s human dignity, and the protection of each one’s human rights.
Our common humanity makes each one of us equal in the sight of God and of each other. The recognition of each one’s intrinsic value and worth puts Christ at the center of our lives. God in Christ, sharing our common humanity, cast lot with humanity. That is not unlike what God requires of us: “To do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God” (Micah 6:8). The Gospel mandates of love, justice and peace must undergird the relationships we form and the partnerships we forge.
Partnership joins ministries already inaugurated by Christ. God enjoins us to immerse ourselves in the crucible of people’s hopes and struggles: this is the test of real partnership. God’s preferential option for the poor requires kenotic acts – the emptying of our beings so that we make room for the Holy Spirit to set us free to be just and loving, caring and liberating, sustaining and affirming, inclusive and empowering.
True partnership flourishes when it engenders transparency and accountability, mutuality and reciprocity, respect and trust. It also affirms human dignity, human rights, and the integrity of God’s creation – where every partner is an empowered agent and equal stakeholder in shaping and fashioning their present and future.
Our common text is a summons to ecumenical sharing of resources. The partnership that we affirm must seek the equitable sharing of resources in the oikoumene – so that everyone in the wider household of God partakes of Christ’s promise of full and abundant life (John 10:10a). Sharing of resources involves the mobilization of goods (i.e. goods, services and provisions, including financial resources) and will (i.e. political will, also vision) that approximates Christ’s promise of fullness and abundance. Partnership partakes of the nature of true discipleship and stewardship (Matt. 28).
OUR SHARED CONTEXTS
As partners in the common calling to join Christ’s liberating acts in the world, we will be common witnesses and advocates in situations and places of need and want, of vulnerabilities and deprivations, of exploitation and oppression, as much as in situations and places of hope and joy, of inclusion and affirmation, of abundance and sustainability. In this, we join Christ in transforming the world, even unto the ends of the earth (Acts 1:6-8).
Globalization – the unbridled pursuit of capital and the unregulated and unsustainable use of the earth’s finite resources – must not define how much and what of our resources (goods and will) can and will be mobilized for the prospering of God’s love, justice and peace
Partnerships have not always expressed life- and justice-affirming lifestyles and structures. We must acknowledge our complicity to the unmaking of God’s good creation in acts involving enslavement, impoverishment, colonialism, racism, apartheid, sexism, gender discrimination, casteism, homophobia, xenophobia and many more. As partners, we commit to remind each other of the ongoing task of seeking forgiveness and dispensing justice for the outrages on human dignity and the breaches on our historical and social relations. Singly, severally, bilaterally and multilaterally, our partnerships must expose and challenge the paralyzing and hegemonizing grip of globalization, and the wanton violation of human dignity and human rights.
We bid our partnerships to become instruments of transformation for the healing of nations and the empowerment of peoples and communities. Nations and peoples healed of enmities and freed from imperial occupation, statist constructs of domination and violence, are nations and peoples dedicated to partnerships that engender a just and peaceable world where participatory, inclusive and democratic governance prosper.
Our shared contexts are a summons to sharing of ecumenical resources recognizing “the global dimensions of development and justice“ and “other forms of non-material sharing, such as identification of common issues, needs and ways…which transcend old paternalistic relationships. Sharing of ecumenical resources requires an inventory of our resources and how we might use them effectively, efficiently, sustainably, transparently and accountably. In our partnership, we must examine the resources we have and discover to what degree they deny or enhance God’s justice and Christ’s will for the fullness of life.
OUR COMMON CAUSE
God has made common cause with us in Jesus Christ (Luke 4:18-19). There is no greater solidarity humanity has than the solidarity of God in Christ. Partnership as solidarity and accompaniment requires recognition of common witness and advocacy both at the peripheries and centers of power and privilege. In Christ, life has triumphed over death; in Christ, we are thus a resurrected people. We model partnerships that are life-affirming and that call to account forces, agents and structures that are death-dealing (Deut. 30: 15-20).
God’s disciples thrived even under conditions of persecution because they lifted each other in prayer and shared community (Acts 4: 32-35).The mobilization of resources goes beyond the ecumenical sharing of resources and the sharing of ecumenical resources. It involves equally the crucial task of resourcing our ecumenical sharing so that we share good and just practices in pursuing our common cause. Our partnerships must engender and resource a spirituality and faith that nurtures our unity in Christ and unity in our witness to God’s love, justice and peace.
OUR PARTNERSHIP: MAG-KASAMA
We are all mag-kasama: partners and participants in God’s saving and liberating acts of love, justice and peace in the world. Partners (mag-kasama) are in solidarity with and accompaniment of each other. They consult, collaborate, cooperate and coordinate with each other. Partners who are mag-kasama are also mag-kadamay – sharing their resources of goods and will: justly, equitably and sustainably. This dynamic of sharing reflects the will of Christ: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:48).
At this Partners’ Conference – convened by the National Council of Churches in the Philippines and joined by its member churches and associates, partners abroad, and representatives of sectors it serves – we lift and name the following endeavors to prosper and pursue together:
- Biblical, theological, and spiritual reflections on people’s issues, concerns and struggles.
- Archiving of our shared memory, in their varied forms, but especially official statements and documents on the many issues we commonly address.
- Partnerships that are transparent and accountable, mutual and reciprocal, respectful and trustworthy.
- Forming an International Ecumenical Peace Watch.
- People-to-people connection, accompaniment and engagement in mission and justice.
- Full and visible inclusion of the issues and struggles and discourse and praxis of the people of Asia in the (re)shaping of the global ecumenical agenda.
- Articulating and acting on people’s peace, security and human rights at the regional and global levels.
- Stewardship of God’s creation (ecological justice, resources extraction, water, land use conversion, emergency response, disaster preparedness and climate change adaptation, etc.)
- Inclusion, empowerment of, and capacity building of women, youth and children.
- Solidarity with migrants, indigenous peoples, urban poor, workers, peasants and other marginalized groups and vulnerable sectors.
We are one in the Spirit; we are one in the Lord. By the unities we forged, the solidarities we lifted up, and concerns we prayed for, we commend this document to every participant and the constituencies and sectors we represented at the Partners’ Conference. We hope and pray that working together we will make visible that greater unity in Christ so that the world may believe (John 17:21).
Partners’ Conference, November 10-11, 2011
La Verne D. Mercado Ecumenical Center
National Council of Churches in the Philippines
 See Guidelines for Sharing, World Council of Churches, El Escorial, Spain, 1987).
 See The Angono Document: The Role of Churches in Development, NCCP, 1974 and 1985; The Tagaytay Covenant, NCCP, 1985; and Statement from the NCCP Dialogue with Funding Partners, NCCP, 1985).
 Participants at the Partners Conference included: NCCP member churches and associates; ecclesial and ecumenical bodies from abroad; and representatives of social sectors in the Philippines.