Bishops join London march to highlight action on world poverty

By staff writers
24 Jul 2008

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, will today lead a high-profile march through London to highlight the need for governments to take firm action on the eradication of poverty worldwide.

Taking part will be hundreds of archbishops and bishops, and their spouses gathered at the Lambeth Conference, alongside other UK faith leaders.

The archbishop will warn that promises by world leaders in 2000 to halve poverty by 2015, are not on taerget to be fulfilled by then, and risk never being achieved at all.

He will be joined in his plea to governments to honour their promises on aid by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who has made the issue one of his priorities.

Although the 78 milion Anglican Communion is deeply divided on issues of sexualirt, authority and biblical trdaition, organisers say that this match is a symbol of unity around the Gospel's concern for poverty and justice.

It will be an act of commitment to the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) - eight promises made by world leaders to halve world poverty by 2015, many of which are not being met adequately, say campaigners.

The event will culminate in a rally in the grounds of Lambeth Palace, the London home and office of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The match is being organised in partnership with Micah Challenge UK, part of the international Micah Challenge movement dedicated to uniting Christians to work together for an end to world poverty.

The bishops will walk through the heart of the capital, including Parliament Square, in a vivid demonstration of the diversity of the Anglican Communion and a witness to the work already being conducted by Churches and other faith groups to work towards the MDGs - and a public pledge to work even harder to make sure they are delivered.

The faith leaders will also commit to putting more pressure on their respective governments to ensure that funding promises are met, and the right policies put in place, to make a real difference to local communities across the world.

On arrival at Lambeth Palace, the bishops and other guests will gather to hear brief addresses from special guests, led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and likely to include the Anglican Communion's Observer at the UN, Hellen Wangusa.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster; Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks; Sir Iqbal Sacranie OBE and Dr Indarjit Singh OBE will be among those joining in the march.

The United Nations meets on 25 September 2008, when there will be a review of progress towards the MDGs.

The new book Fear or Freedom? Why a warring church must change, edited by Simon Barrow, is published by Shoving Leopard / Ekklesia.

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