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A Sense of Urgency

by Michael Ford last modified 11 Jun, 2021 10:52 PM

"We should be listening to the voices of the poorest and the youngest in society." That was the message from Bishop Nicholas, who has been speaking at a special live-streamed event in the run up to the G7 conference in Cornwall this week.

CAFOD (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development) organised the event on 10th June in conjunction with Christian Aid, Tearfund, World Vision, Islamic Relief and Faith for the Climate. It was hosted by Truro Cathedral for people of faith to reflect ahead of the G7 summit and send a message to world leaders.

The G7 summit will see heads of government of seven of the world’s richest countries – including President Joe Biden – travel to Cornwall and discuss how the world can rebuild after the coronavirus pandemic.

Bishop Nicholas began his reflection saying:

"In relation to the G7, surely the place for people of faith to begin is to recognise the scale of the task facing our political leaders when they meet here in Cornwall and pray for them to have an honest appreciation of what is happening in our world, to have a sense of urgency about it and to address the issues with understanding and wisdom. Listen to the voices of the poorest and the young who feel so passionately about the issues we are facing.

"Each of us grows up in our own family and nation. We learn to love in the particular but not so we only love our own family, tribe and nation but for us to grow to love the whole world in which God has set us. So we pray for our political leaders to put away selfish concerns and work for the world’s common good."

A spokesperson for the organisers said:

"Prime Minister Boris Johnson has a crucial role to play, with the UK holding the presidency of the G7, CAFOD wants to send a message to him and the other G7 leaders that people of faith in the UK and around the world expect them to put in place plans for a global and green recovery from the crisis which leaves no one behind.

"The pandemic means people can’t all travel to Cornwall to send this message to the leaders at the summit.

"But that doesn’t stop people from coming together online in an act of witness".

Bishop Nicholas was one of a number of contributors who reflected on the impact of the pandemic, rebuilding and sending a digital message to the presidents and prime ministers ahead at the start of their meeting the next day.

CAFOD tweeted a thread beginning with a series of quotes from the Bishop's address, and featuring other contributors. Read it here.

You can read Bishop Nicholas' response here and watch the video here.

Among the other contributors to the event in Truro Cathedral were Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, Senior Rabbi, Masorti Judaism; Imam Qari Asim MBE, Chair of the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board; Dr Ruth Valerio, Canon Theologian of Rochester Cathedral; and Davina Bacon, Young Christian Climate Network.

Full list of contributors:

Rt Rev Nicholas Holtam – Bishop of Salisbury
Rt Rev Mark O’Toole – Bishop of Plymouth
Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg – Senior Rabbi, Masorti Judaism
Imam Qari Asim, MBE – Chair of the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board
Sineia do Vale – Indigenous Council of Roraima, Brazil
Innocent Ndashe – Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection, Zambia
Dr Ruth Valerio – Canon Theologian of Rochester Cathedral
Priya Koria – Hindu Climate Action Team
Andy Norfolk – Pagan representative from the Cornwall Faiths Forum
Fr Augusto Zampini Davies – Vatican Covid-19 Commission
Fatima Alarakah – Student and climate activist
Mikey – Eco Dharma Network
Sukhjeevan Singh – Founder, Jyoti Saroop Foundation
Davina Bacon – Young Christian Climate Network

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