1974 AACS Niagara Conference
Perspective Report by Bert Witvoet
For those who attended the Niagara Conference it was an occasion to be treasured. As conference chairman Thomas McIntire pointed out, it was also a unique occasion. Having two economists, one from England and one from Holland, present a Christian critique of modern economy and technology to a gathering of about 500 of many ages and vocations is a rare event. Both Dr. A.B. Cramp and Dr. B. Goudzwaard contributed much to an increased awareness of individual and communal responsibility in economics. Their vision that economics is a human activity, not an objective science, clears the way for meaningful human response in a society that does not know how to get off the escalator of inflation, unemployment and scarcity of resources.
Several parts of the weekend event indicated an improvement over previous years. The Friday evening opening was much better organized this year. A definite program assured us that we were not just sliding into the conference. The pace was not as hectic as it had been at previous conferences. There was time for fellowship and play. The late evening singing, accompanied by guitars and drums, was a fitting way to end each day in praise. The topics were unified and of immediate interest to all kinds of people. All of us are involved in getting and spending; all of us are called to be better stewards. Many conferees expressed a desire to work towards changes in their life and in the life of the Christian community. The film “Limits to Growth” especially drove home the point that mankind in its indiscriminate and individualistic use of resources is on a suicide course .
Both lecturers warned against activism and demand for easy solutions. Both also encouraged us to work from the perspective that Christ has already conquered the world and that we may illustrate His victory in the way we live. Most of the people I talked to were stimulated in mind and uplifted in spirit. The joyful worship celebrations contributed much to the positive thrust of this conference .
Thank you, Lord, for one more wonderful AACS conference . Though I’m generally not given to superlatives, this report gives an honest picture of the way I experienced the conference. I hope the organizers of the 1975 Ontario conference will make sure that no paper plates and plastic cutlery will be used again so that your creation will not be unduly exploited and littered afterwards, and the saints may sing many hymns of praise to you while scrubbing plates of baked clay and cutlery of honest steel.