We Cannot Shop Our Way to Prosperity, Says United Church Moderator

    TORONTO, Feb. 24 /CNW/ - In an open letter to Canadians about the world's
economic situation, the Moderator of The United Church of Canada, the Right
Rev. David Giuliano, delivers a message of hope tempered with resolve.
    "These are days of both hardship and opportunity. This crisis holds the
possibility of being a historic turning point energized by renewed human
creativity, adaptability, and spirit," writes Giuliano.
    It is a crisis that Giuliano is experiencing first-hand after he and the
citizens of the small town where he lives in northern Ontario recently learned
that the mill would be closing down.
    "Everyone here - builders to bakers, teachers to preachers - works
directly or indirectly for the mill or the already vanishing mines. A spirit
of dread and anxiety is settling among us. It feels like a microcosm of what
is happening to the economy across the country and around the world," says
    The Moderator's letter challenges Canadians to face these tough economic
times in a manner that is rooted in our history.
    "Times of crisis can call out the best in human nature. During periods of
war and the Great Depression, our grandparents bought bonds, rationed, rolled
bandages, bundled clothes, helped their neighbours, and learned to distinguish
between needs and wants. They pulled together as a nation. Solving the current
economic crisis will also require our best.
    "We have a moral responsibility to care for those most affected - here
and around the world. To do otherwise would be a marked departure from our
identity as Canadians."
    Giuliano's letter also poses the questions, "Will suffering as a result
of the economic crisis spur us to question the foundational values of our
economic system? Will we question a culture that has allowed profits to
overtake the basic needs of so many citizens, as though stock value increases
were the purpose of the economy?"
    Giuliano believes that Canadians have come to recognize that protecting
the environment is not a barrier, but the path, to economic recovery.
    He writes, "In fact, it has been our stubborn refusal to acknowledge the
rapid destruction of the planet that has led to our economic demise. More
cars, bigger homes, and insatiable consumption are the cause of, not the
solution to, our economic concerns. We cannot shop our way to prosperity. The
planet will simply not allow it. That system is a crumbling pyramid scheme
that rewards those at the top and is devouring everyone and everything below."
    The full text of the Moderator's open letter to Canadians is posted on
The United Church of Canada's website (www.united-church.ca).

For further information:

For further information: Mary-Frances Denis, Communications Officer, The
United Church of Canada, (416) 231-7680 ext. 2016 (office), 1-800-268-3781
ext. 2016 (toll-free), (416) 885-7478 (cell), (416) 766-0057 (home),

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