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Archbishop of Canterbury becomes Patron of Five Talents International

Posted on: October 2, 2003 3:15 PM
Related Categories: USA

[ACNS source: Five Talents International] The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Rowan Williams, has reaffirmed his commitment to the poor in developing nations by accepting an invitation to become the principal patron of Five Talents International. Archbishop Williams, the titular head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, acted in response to the persistent poverty that continues to afflict and devastate millions of families around the world.

Five Talents is an Anglican initiative to help the poor through innovative savings and loan programs and small business training. In accepting the patronage, Archbishop Williams wrote, "I commend Five Talents International for its continuing efforts to empower the poor, to strengthen the church and to show Christ's love and mercy to all."

"His Grace has been supportive of Five Talents from its very beginning," said Craig Cole, Executive Director of the organization. "His acceptance marks his deep concern and priority for mission work within the wider Anglican Communion, especially work that reaches and empowers those deeply affected by disease, unemployment and a complete lack of social services."

Five Talents was launched as a grassroots effort to affirm the dignity of the poor, to address the root cause of poverty, ill health and illiteracy, and to bring economic justice. It was originally commended at the 1998 Lambeth Conference, a once-a-decade worldwide conference of Anglican bishops, and Archbishop Williams was one of its staunch supporters even then. The same Lambeth Conference also passed a resolution challenging Anglican and Episcopal provinces and dioceses to give 0.7% of their budgets to international development programs, and Five Talents is widely recognized as an organization that greatly meets the criteria for those pledges.

Since its inception, Five Talents has helped more than 3,000 poor entrepreneurs and their families in five countries begin to break the cycle of poverty through small micro-credit and savings programs. Micro-credit loans as small as US$50-200 make an enormous difference in the lives of subsistence entrepreneurs, and the average Five Talents loan recipient is supporting 4-6 other people (family members and employees). Existing programs in India, Uganda, Nigeria and the Philippines are being augmented by new programs in Bolivia, Honduras, Kenya, Tanzania and Indonesia.

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