Testimony: World of Hurt, Word of Life

Renewing God’s Communion in the Work of Economic Reconstruction

The Rev. Peter Nimmo presented this week the following testimony to the Social Justice Committee of the 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
peter nimmo
Rev. Peter Nimmo

My name is Rev. Peter Nimmo, representing the Church of Scotland.

Our General Assembly of 2010 set up a Special Commission on the Purposes of Economic Activity to look into what had gone wrong with our economic system. The Commission’s 14 members included anti-poverty campaigners, a senior politician who had chaired the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee, representatives of both business and the trades unions, and was chaired by the recently retired head of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland.

This very diverse group brought what they called ‘a clear and urgent call for action to transform our social and economic life’ to the 2012 General Assembly. They brought practical suggestions for Church, government and wider society, and urged that society (including Church, government and business) should have four priorities:

  • Reducing inequality—because ‘severe economic inequalities undermine the bonds which hold societies together’
  • Ending poverty—because ‘God… measures our moral and spiritual wealth on how we treat all members of society’
  • Ensuring sustainability—which ‘we owe to our children, to creation and to the Creator’
  • Promoting mutuality—because a balanced economy ‘grows by empowering the many, not the few’.

I am pleased to note that many of these concerns and principles are mirrored in the report ‘World of Hurt, Word of Life‘ coming to this Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Assembly from the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy. I commend the report to the consideration of this Church as together we seek to respond to the crisis which now faces the global economy of which we are all a part.

Read “World of Hurt, Word of Life: Renewing God’s Communion in the
Work of Economic Reconstruction”
Read “A Right Relationship with Money” from the Church of Scotland Special Commission on the Purposes of Economic Activity
Read background documents and multiple articles on specific economic justice issues
Check out Unbound‘s issue on economic justice and crisis, “The Dark Night of the American Economy


Peter W Nimmo is the Minister of Old High St Stephen’s Church of Scotland, Inverness, Scotland, UK. He is a graduate of the University of Glasgow and of Princeton Theological Seminary.
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