Thursday, June 17, 2010

Brethren leader helps defend CWS against charges of proselytizing.

Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger has been among American church officials helping to defend Church World Service (CWS) against charges of religious proselytizing in Afghanistan. CWS is an international humanitarian aid agency related to the National Council of Churches, established after World War II in 1946 to assist displaced people in Europe and Asia with food assistance and relief activities.

"When I saw and read the allegations I was dumbfounded," said Noffsinger in a CWS release. "For more than 60 years, Church World Service has grounded its role in serving people regardless of faith tradition.

"Church World Service is held in the highest regard and is seen as honoring those whom it serves," he added. "I believe CWS functions with the highest of integrity."

Also quoted in defense of CWS was Susan Sanders, head of Global Sharing of Resources for the United Church of Christ, who noted that CWS has signed the NGO code of conduct of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement that specifically prohibits proselytizing in disaster relief, and that in Afghanistan and Pakistan CWS is a member of Humanitarian Accountability Partnership International, a self-regulatory partnership of NGOs, and adheres to humanitarian standards for quality and accountability.

In the first week of June CWS’s long-time work in Afghanistan dating back more than 30 years was temporarily suspended by the Afghan Ministry of Economy, pending investigation of allegations related to an Afghan television news story claiming that CWS and Norwegian Church Aid had engaged in religious proselytizing. CWS formally denied the allegations and said it expected the suspension to last only briefly.

Noffsinger’s experience with CWS dates back to the 1970s. He once served as a CWS staffer.

Source: 6/17/2010 Newsline

No comments: